This 538 page novel by T.L. Rotkiewicz is a pure labor of love and interesting food for thought in the 40 years following Woodstock. The fictional story opens with Jerome Michael Dagmar in a UCLA dorm room in the late 1960s, his meeting a Brendan Jenko and their head-first plunge into the music industry. The character development is very good and author T.L. sprinkles just enough memories of Cream, Jimi Hendrix Experience, Country Joe & The Fish and other sign-posts of that era to keep the new story exciting and part of a different dimension that could believably co-exist with the world we call our reality.
Quoting Jim Morrison’s “The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are” the philosophy at play here is the escape offered by the music industry, the door to an arena where the art is essential and where the mundane is not an acceptable avenue. What Rotkiewicz has created is a gripping drama with highs and lows and a moral that when you get to the end of the rainbow there may be platinum but it isn’t all a joy ride. When a fan of one of the recording groups gets his cassette recorder confiscated and a threatening baseball bat is looming it conjures up urban legends of Led Zeppelin management getting heavy with the black marketeers. The Freedom To Rock takes you to unfamiliar places while the region it is set in is chock full of things that we know, love and have allowed into our lives.
MTH Records (Make Things Happen), the band The Unconventional, Tina Merrick, Zadok Records, the monikers could be code names for what is the conventional in our reality, or a parallel universe out there on its own. Worth reading alongside Tommy James’ Me, The Mob and The Music: One Helluva Ride With Tommy James and The Shondells which will be a movie before the end of 2012, according to Mr. James himself, Rotkiewicz’s book also would lend itself well to the big screen.
The author finds a way to balance both referenced worlds while keeping the reader curious as to what will happen to the main characters. What happens is the unexpected and makes for a serious assessment of an industry (in the real world outside of the book) that imploded and how the creative forces behind important art are sometimes simply at the mercy of chaos.
Title: The Freedom To Rock
Author: T.L. Rotkiewicz
Publisher: Rocklynn Press
P.O. Box 562
Windsor, CT 06095