TIN FOIL HAT by Justin Bauer

tin foil hatThis second book by Justin Bauer is a somewhat weaker effort than his first, The Blue Moon Catastrophe, which I talked about here, and which I LOVED.   It was a little darkish, a lot thoughtful, and possessed of an interesting and unusual plot.   Tin Foil Hat, while blurbed as being a satire, did not seem so much satire to me as an overworked trope — the music industry with its crazies,  its druggies, and its few serious musicians.  Not to say I didn’t like it, because I did.   It is just that The Blue Moon Catastrophe is a hard act to follow.

The basic story is told in first person by a young man, Ed, majoring in audio production at a small tech school in rural Ohio, who gets an unpaid internship at a minor recording studio in Cleveland, in exchange for 5 credit hours.   The studio is owned by an agoraphobic guy who inherited a bunch of money from his parents, and who holes up in what we in New Jersey call a twin — that is two houses  that share a center wall.  If there are more than two houses, we call them row houses.  The recluse’s friend and studio manager, Shane,  lives in the other side of the house.

The studio manager is a real douchebag   asshat  terrible person, and has figured out a way to not pay the female engineer at all, by convincing her to do all the work which will be great experience and look terrific on a resume.  The studio manager has set it up that whoever brings in the job gets the money.  Needless to say, he brings in the most money.  Ed’s friend, a nerdy shy guy, has a terrible time bringing in any work, and is pretty much living on his savings.

Ed does what he can to learn what he can while still doing his gofer intern duties, figuring it is not a lot of time out of his life, then he will go back to school and get his degree.

Into this studio strolls Monte, a fair to middlin’ musician, who pays for weeks of studio time to fulfill his lifelong dream of making an album.  He is a little strange, but let’s face it, this studio does a lot of recording work for metal bands, so need I say more?  Monte’s strangeness slowly escalates, until the owner, who has microphones installed all over the place, decides he is dangerous.  Shane the manager just wants to get the job over with and get the money,  Ed and his friend Kenny are wary but think it will all be all right.

It isn’t.

Ahhh, sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll.  It’s all there, except for the sex,  and very little drugs, cause Shane doesn’t like recording for whacked out musicians who are bad enough when they are straight.  That leaves the rock ‘n roll, and it is metal,  which I personally do not even consider to be music.  I know, I know.  Old lady tastes.  Hey, you druggies, get off my lawn.   Where’s Guy Lombardo when you need him?

So we have an exciting but not unexpected ending,  because it was telegraphed by the first chapter or prologue or whatever of the book, which kind of took the Oh-My-God! out of the grande finale.  I think the book could have done without it.   I don’t think we needed a little peeky at what was to come.

I found the descriptions of the studio and of the engineering actions pretty interesting.  I always wondered why those guys needed all those toggles and slides and buttons and stuff.

So final verdict:  Well written, well edited,  an OK story line, just a bit light weight, especially in comparison with his first book.

recording studio



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