Before we can get into my thoughts on The Marvelous Beauhunks: Do Not Resuscitate there are two very important things to understand; the first thing to always remember is that The Barenaked Ladies are evil. The second is that I do not pretend to remember The Marvelous Beauhunks so neither should you; but by the end of Do Not Resuscitate, you can undoubtedly confirm you will never forget them.
Written by co-founder, drummer, Canadian extraordinaire Stephen C. Wright, The Marvelous Beauhunks: Do Not Resuscitate is, as it says, “cautionary tales from the best-looking band in the world.” The story crafted from the blood, sweat, belligerence and frustrations of four well-meaning friends is bound by the sticky floors of dark bars, cold nights on the shore of Lake Ontario and Seven-Eighty-Two.
The 404 page, incredibly quick-read all-or-nothing tale of 27 months in the early nineties bleeds with a realism you only find when talking to a good friend. Wright’s firsthand narrative lacks pretense and entitlement; it simply is what it is. The story, however, naturally has you clinging to the next page.
The events, or rather adventures, that took place for Wright and co-best-looking-band-in-the-world musicians Glenn Goodman, Stephen Closs and Adam Graham aren’t pretty and there is no effort to make them something they are not. Complete with set-lists, tour dates, photos and behind-the-scenes narrative, Do Not Resuscitate is a music lover’s book in the highest degree. At times you will laugh along with the misfortunes of one and then you’ll feel the defeat of all; in a very well-balanced perspective, Wright even opens up about his experiences, even going as far as describing his very personal struggle with anxiety, in an admirable way. He doesn’t hesitate to open up about his mistakes, conquests and his feelings.
Reading like Nick Hornby’s “High Fidelity,” but in real-life first person, I can’t shake Wright’s honesty coming out in the rhyme and whit of Hornby’s words with Cusak’s voice. Sadly there are no quirky lovable sidekicks to this book, but with little backstory, it takes no time at all to get a feel for the personalities and an understanding for each player’s attitude.
It is well worth saying that The Marvelous Beauhunks: Do Not Resuscitate is a must-read for any fan of musical process, especially those looking for a first person perspective. If you can set this book down, then I suggest you question your love of music. This is musical reality without the meat dresses, pyrotechnics and over-production. It is real musicians living, learning and sadly, taking losses. It is not written by just some writer; it is obviously written by a musician, a fan of music but most importantly a real person who is willing to lay it all on the line; Beauhunks style.
I, too, could not put this book down. An honest, real rock and roll memoir.