POWDER, the second novel by KEVIN SAMPSON, former manager of The Farm turned bestselling author, is published on June 24 by Random House, one of the first novels to write about the ups and downs of a rock and roll band from an insider’s perspective.
“It’s about The Farm, the Mondays, The Verve, James, The Real People,” he told nme.com. “Basically anything anecdotal that I saw with my own eyes or was told faithfully from a reliable source.”
Set around a fictional Liverpool band called The Grams, the novel is like a literary soap opera, following the fortunes of the characters as the band sign a record deal, get their first NME cover, tour America, become the hot ticket for groupies and drug dealers, getting madder and more strung out as the book progresses.
“I started writing Powder when ‘Bittersweet Symphony’ was in the charts and it seemed perfect for what I had in mind,” said Kevin. “A moody, mystical Northern sounding band. Of course, in the finest tradition, the Curse of the Farm now seems to have landed on The Verve…”
Very few novels have ever delved into the actual mechanics of the rock and roll industry – exceptions being Groupie by Jenny Fabian, The Tale Of Willy’s Rats by ex NME writer Mick Farren and Platinum Logic by Tony Parsons – though recently Salman Rushdie and Elmore Leonard have both set their books on the music scene.
“I just sat down and made a list of things that I thought I could do that hadn’t been done very well in the past,” said Sampson. “I was originally going to write Powder first but despite the clutter of football books I wrote Awaydays because although a lot of people had caught onto the football aggro, few had got the fashion side of it.”
Powder avoids a lot of the cliches about the rock and roll business; the book’s main character and most sympathetic character is Wheezer, who – not surprisingly – is the band’s manager. He’s almost the opposite of the Peter Grant larger than life manager as monster.
“Yeah, Wheezer’s a lovely lad despite having a Jerry helmet haircut and clothes from C&A,” said Kevin. “The reality is that most managers don’t have big personalities. I’m more interested in the manager who started as mates of the band and grew into the role. They’re usually the nicest people you ever meet in the music business.”
Powder is published by Jonathan Cape on June 24 priced ’10