by Nick Griffiths
Release date, 25 January 2022
DeadStar is fun. Lots of fun. In the opening scenes, we see the author forge an unlikely friendship with an early morning burglar. The offender (Roy Richardson), before he fell into a life of casual housebreaking, played bass in Speed of Life, a pop/punk/New Wave band. After a disastrous gig in 1985, Speed of Life front man, Garth Tyson, took off for good, leaving bandmates in the lurch, relatives bewildered, and enduring questions about his disappearance.
With Roy’s help, Griffiths tracks down the key players. A hilarious oral history follows, revealing setbacks and failures while seeking a solution to the decades-old mystery. Readers from outside the UK may need a few pages to adjust to colloquial mannerisms and turns of phrase, but will soon find the rhythm of this wild rock-n-roll ride.
As the story unfolds, interviewees are sometimes insightful, often spiteful, and always amusing. Their banter keeps the pace of this intricate story brisk and lighthearted. The mystery of Tyson’s disappearance is solved following a search which sees the author persuade reluctant friends, family, and acquaintances to dish the dirt on Speed of Life. But DeadStar’s last surprise, Griffiths, leaves to his acknowledgements.
“I penned DeadStar after reading Dylan Jones’ excellent oral history, David Bowie: A Life,” writes Griffiths, saying, “There aren’t enough music oral histories, which is why I made this one up. All the characters herein (see: Dramatis Personae) are, of course, fictional.”
A witty read with heavy doses of the original (and still the best) ‘mockumentary,’ This Is Spinal Tap, DeadStar is a novel to enjoy. And don’t forget to turn it up to eleven.
Thank you to Reedsy Discovery for an Advance Reader’s Copy of this title. First reviewed on Reedsy.com, 25 January 2022 https://reedsy.com/discovery/book/deadstar-who-the-hell-was-garth-tyson-nick-griffiths#review