Margin Notes

Craft Studio: For Those About to Rock: A Road Map to Being in a Band by Dave Bidini


What I Was Reading

You may know Dave Bidini from his career in music with Rheostatics and now Bidiniband, or you may know him as the author of Tropic of Hockey or Writing Gordon Lightfoot: The Man, the Music, and the World in 1972 (among other titles). For Those About to Rock combines Bidini’s passion for music with his skill as a writer. It is a combination of memoir, music history, and advice to aspiring musicians.

In the chapter, “The Myth of Making It,” Bidini explains, “There’s no rock-and-roll blueprint. It’s not like studying a manual and learning how to build a Battlebot. You can’t diagram it and watch it come to life.” Instead of a how-to manual, For Those About to Rock is a roadmap. When I opened the book to check out the Table of Contents, I appreciated how it was organized:


Let There Be Rock

The Mythology of Making It

And the Fickle Fruit of Fame

A Very Slow Hand

Your First Instrument

Playing in a Travelin’ Band

Getting Along in Spite of It All

The Squarest People in the World

Dressing for Success

The Fabulous Poodles, Etc.

Naming Your Band

The Men Who Hold High Places

Bands We Love and Why

A World of Brown and Tan

The Studio

Record-Rack Odyssey

Married to the Music

Radio On

The Airwaves

From Sea to Shining Sewer

Going on Tour


A Rage of Light

What Moves I Notice the Writer Making

* Each chapter in the Table of Contents highlights a major destination on Bidini’s roadmap. An initial review reveals a series of key topics. Rather than a step-by-step list, readers are offered a set of essential areas for reflection.

* The titles and sub-titles work well together to not only identify the focus of each chapter but also to give us some insight into what direction the chapter might take us in. I particularly looked forward to reading “From Sea to Shining Sewer” after skimming the list.

* The Table of Contents also reveals a bit about Dave Bidini himself. We get a glimpse of his voice and personality (including his music-based puns and sense of humour) before we even start reading the Introduction.

Possibilities for Writers

* Think about a topic you are an expert on or are passionate about. If you were going to create a “road map” for others, what essential ideas would you need to include?

* What titles and sub-titles would you create for the chapters of your roadmap to capture your readers’ attention and give them just enough information to want to read on?

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