The Rock Bottom Remainders
is a rock and roll
band consisting of published writers, most of them both amateur musicians and popular English-language book
, and newspaper authors
. The band took its self-mocking name from the publishing
term remaindered book
, a work for which the unsold remainder of the publisher's stock of copies is sold at a reduced price.
The band members include Dave Barry, Stephen King, Amy Tan, Maya Angelou, Cynthia Heimel, Kathi Kamen Goldmark, Ridley Pearson, Scott Turow, Joel Selvin, James McBride, Mitch Albom, Roy Blount Jr., Barbara Kingsolver, Robert Fulghum, Matt Groening, Tad Bartimus, Greg Iles, as well as ringers Sam Barry (brother of Dave) on harmonica and keyboards, Josh Kelly on drums, and Erasmo Paulo on saxophone. The original band members collaborated on a book about the band, Mid-Life Confidential. Musical zelig and published author Al Kooper also was a member for some time.
The Remainders were founded by Kathi Kamen Goldmark in the early 1990s. Kathi was then a musician whose day job was in book publicity. Through this, she met many prolific authors. One day while driving one of the authors around she came upon the idea of making a band of them. It stuck. The Remainders' first performance was in 1992 at the American Booksellers Association
convention in Anaheim, California
. A review of the concert, appearing in The Washington Post
, claimed it was "the most heavily promoted musical debut since The Monkees
The Remainders also played at the opening of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio in 1995.
- "We play music as well as Metallica writes novels." -Dave Barry
- "Your band's not too bad. It's not too good either. Don't let it get any better, otherwise you'll just be another lousy band." -Bruce Springsteen
- "I picked up one of the two guitars I'd been using, and just as we were about to start, Stephen King tapped me on the shoulder and said, 'We have a special guest.' I turned around, and there was Bruce Springsteen. I still don't know how he came to be at this convention; I don't believe he's a bookseller. All I know is, he was picking up the other guitar. My guitar. 'Bruce,' I said to him. 'Do you know the guitar part to Gloria?' This is like asking James Michener if he knows how to write his name." - Dave Barry
- "People are throwing panties at you. They certainly never do that at my book-signings." -Matt Groening
- "There's an audience out there, and the key is to kick it in the ass." -Stephen King
- "Roy actually coined the term for our genre of music; hard-listening music." -Dave Barry
Songs covered include
Several RBR songs are featured on the double album Stranger than Fiction
("Don't Quit Your Day Job" Records), also featuring other noted authors' comic attempts at song.