Writing A New Page In Rock History

On Oct. 30, in New York's Times Square, The Rock Bottom Remainders will take to the stage in the name of America Scores, an organization that provides for after-school programs.

And who are the Rock Bottom Remainders?

You might not know the name of their band, but the names of the members are bestsellers. Bestsellers as in bestselling authors.

Playing a few charity gigs a year since 1992 are Stephen King, Amy Tan, Scott Turow, Mitch Albom and Dave Barry.

Proceeds go to America Scores, a literacy program that combines academic and athletic activities for children. One school with an America Scores program is Public School 132 in New York City, where, after the attack on the World Trade Center, youngsters were encouraged to put their feelings on paper , writing essays and poems and drawing pictures.

According to book publicist Kathi Goldmark, one of the Rock Bottom Remainders’ founding members, "in the fine rock and roll tradition, the Rock Bottom Remainders were conceived in a car."

Goldmark, a semi-pro musician with a day job in book publicity, spends a lot of time driving authors around San Francisco for book tours. In the early '90s, she decided to form a band of authors, which would make its debut at the 1992 American Booksellers Association convention in Anaheim, Calif.

“She called a bunch of us, “ recalls Barry, “and said, ‘Do you want to get together and play in a band?’ A lot of us had either played in bands when we were in high school or in college.”.

After hammering out a set list, practicing with a rehearsal tape made by author Ridley Pearson, and rehearsing for three days under musical guru Al Kooper's direction, the Rock Bottom Remainders took the stage of Anaheim's Cowboy Boogie nightclub. Recorded for posterity on video, the performance included "Money," "Nadine," "Sea of Love," "Louie Louie," "Bye, Bye Love," "Good Rockin' Tonight," "Double Shot of My Baby's Love," "Take Out Some Insurance," and "Ripple."

Following another show in September 1992 to celebrate their video's release, Stephen King had bigger ideas: He suggested getting the band back together for a five-city charity tour in 1993 that would end at the ABA convention in Miami.

Since then, the band has had gigs in Providence, R.I.; Northampton and Cambridge, Mass.; Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nashville and Miami. Today, the band plays only for charity at select venues around the country. This year’s schedule takes them to New York Oct. 30, Chicago on Oct. 31 and Denver on Nov.2.

“Every town we go to, the kids actually show up and they read,” says Albom. “These are kids who have gone through the programs. Unlike some charities, where you give the money and you don’t know where it goes, we see the kids.”


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