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Gary Benchley is actually the fictional creation of Paul Ford and is now available in the fantastic novel Gary Benchley, Rock Star (Plume); click here for the full explanation. Otherwise he is 22 years old and a recent immigrant to New York. Not long ago, he graduated from a state university in the middle of New York state. He absolutely hates Albany. His stories on TMN are only part of the story; you need to read the book to truly rock.
Some birds, like penguins, can’t fly. Others, like the majestic bald eagle, can. It’s a sentence we never expected to write, but here it is: This is the last column in the chronicles of our favorite wannabe rock star.
Ah, the glory of indie-rock touring: the drugs, the groupies, the rock. But are all those things negated when you’re forced to wear costumes? Singer, songwriter, fashion plate Gary Benchley prepares to take the country.
You invest your aspirations and your savings account into recording an album, and then place it in someone else’s hands to finish, and perhaps ruin with a drum and bass remix.
Who would have guessed the rock dream involves lots of old-fashioned hard work? And why is it rarely a good idea to include a brass band on a rock album?
When you’re recording a few songs with friends, it’s OK to slack around. When you’re recording a few songs with very expensive engineers, you better not flub that G sharp.
Are the acoustics to blame when some executive’s fancy stereo makes your demo sound like mush, or was it really mush in the first place? Can mush rule the world?
When you know your band is the greatest that’s ever rocked, how do you convince the rest of the world? Are nine songs enough to change nine billion minds?
There’s no one like your immediate family to make your shortcomings into dinner conversation. Our favorite dreamer continues the saga by heading home to Albany, to confront a table of successful siblings.
Trusting your instincts is tough; trusting others’ instincts can be a lot harder. Chastened with a broken ankle, Benchley puts his faith in his roommate’s healing hands, and his band’s ideas for their future.
In the city of ambition, dreams are rarely packaged with paychecks, and everyone must do something to pay the bills—even if it doesn’t involve rock.
On the heels of sudden success—a good show, a potential manager—arrives doubt, fear, and the means for everything to fall apart.
How can a rock band plan for the unknown? What good are hours of practice and training when it only takes one bad microphone to ruin a show?