As the writer is a middle aged man with young family, still gainfully employed, it's perhaps no surprise that rocking the boat of his glamorous employers is not on the agenda. So oddly for a book on backstage with a globally successful band that is Coldplay: tales of Lear Jets, 5 star hotels and adoring stadium full fans, there is zero spice or young men made good, excess to be found anywhere in the 222 pages of Roadie. Really, is it all this saccharin in the happy world of Coldplay? Let's not revert to stereotype but we can be sure Matt McGinn has most surely left out more than he's put in. As Coldplay state in the foreword: "half of this book is probably true", we can only guess that the other half not in the book is where the remainder of the real story, lays hidden.
This doesn't make Roadie a bad book just a largely inconsequential one. McGinn, our chummy host, is humble and deferential and at times has some mildly illuminating stories of life on the road and in the studio. It'll help if you're a Coldplay fan but for those that aren't and have a passing interest in what makes the music world tick, there's a little to keep you amused if not wholly enlightened. Having said that, McGinn seems to struggle to understand who his audience is.
Here's a book written for those that have no knowledge of what goes into making music, have never made music and do not know what a guitar or an amp or whatever... does, hence it all being explained and a glossary to boot - do we really need an entry for an "amp" even if it is trying to be witty? On the other, we get constant lad banter that must have been hilarious at the time but wilts on the page. And mostly McGinn is stifled / muffled by a lack of real story or incident to keep the book moving - we'll wait for your memoirs Matt to hear the rest.
Early advice for our new writer was that he should quit being flowery and write like he speaks. For that read: add expletive at every opportunity, don't hold back, it's just like it is and you're being honest, guv. Sadly whilst we all know and probably join in what we hear down the pub, in print the constant F / W / C / S *** get to be tiring, juvenile and unnecessary. We're treated to such jolly repartee on every page when this should be about the story and not ladding about after 10 pints.
So, Roadie won't lead to any lawsuits or naughty chuckles under the bed sheets when books of this kind might entice you to think so. It is instead a mild foray into setting up equipment backstage and drinking beer with your mates on a tour bus.
Chances are you'll come away being none the wiser about what it is to be Coldplay or being a full time roadie. Shame, when Matt McGinn had the right royal chance to tell us both, properly.