Rumours, half-truths, shames and scandals. The music world is full of them, and comedy writer Holmes has gathered about 80; from the hilarious tour bus incident that gives the book its title, to the oftrepeated tale of TV quizman Bob Holness playing sax on Baker Street (he didn’t), and sundry alcoholrelated mishaps usually involving metal bands.
Fine enough to dip in and out of, it’s somewhat marred by Holmes himself. A sharp-witted regular on Radio 4’s The Now Show, here he gets in the way of the fun, either by injecting lame puns every few paragraphs, or with endless footnotes. These yarns are perfectly capable of telling themselves (Paul Weller chanting his own name around a bonfire in Noel Gallagher’s garden), and need no embellishment.
Freely admitting that the source material is (at least) second-hand, it’s as if Holmes is desperately stamping his own authority on things. But even the greatest raconteurs can add little to Led Zeppelin’s manager Peter Grant accidentally sitting on Elvis Presley’s dad.
A large chunk may be familiar to many (about half were in NME freebie booklets), though it’s useful to have them in one place. Hopefully Holmes will take a back seat in the inevitable second volume.