Everything Im Cracked Up to Be: A Rock Roll Fairy Tale By Jen Trynin

    With plenty to say and ample musical gifts with which to say it, Boston newcomer Jennifer Trynin is poised to join the upper ranks of GenX alternative rock queendom . . . One of the year's best debuts. A revelation.-BILLBOARD

    It was 1994-post-Liz Phair, mid-Courtney Love, just shy of Alanis Morissette. After seven years of slogging it out in the Boston music scene, Jen Trynin took a hard look at herself and gave making it one last shot.

    It worked. Suddenly Trynin became the spark that set off one of the most heated bidding wars of the year. Major labels vied for her, to the tune of multiple millions of dollars in deals. Lawyers, managers, and booking agents clamored for her attention. Billboard put her on the cover. Everyone knew she was the Next Big Thing. But then she wasn't.

    In a series of dizzying, hilarious, heartbreaking snapshots, Trynin captures what it's like to be catapulted to the edge of rock stardom, only to plummet back down to earth. Everything I'm Cracked Up to Be is the story of a girl who got what she wished for-and lived happily ever after anyway.
    Everything Im Cracked Up to Be: A Rock Roll Fairy Tale

    On the one hand, I wanted to edit it, and was annoyed by several elements in the storytelling, but on the other hand, I tore through it and always wanted more, even though I knew exactly what was going to happen (I lived through the 90s). I loved Better Than Nothing when it came out, and I came of age in the era of fAlanis Morisette, so I loved reading this first-hand account Trynin's experience in the rock world during this particular pop culture moment. There was way too much repetition in the sections during the big bidding war with the record companies that could have been edited down and condensed, but if you are a rock nerd like me who was paying attention during the emergence of the Lilith Fair era, you will probably enjoy it at least somewhat. 0151011486 What happens to one hit wonders? Well, they are people who go on to live normal lives for the most part. A well written story of what happens when it suddenly stops happening. 0151011486
    Nice Try- but Trynin comes off as a big loser idiot who had no business getting caught up in a mid 90's major label bidding war. Like her music, the writing wasn't very good and story never held my attention.
    Check out Jewel's book - Never Broken if you want to read a deserving book on a 90's chick singer.

    0151011486 An interesting story about the rise and fall of a singer/musician. I wish I could rate it higher, but the author is kind of an ahole so I really wasn't rooting for her. I did listen to some of her tracks and I do like one of her songs, but I don't remember her from back in the 90's, when most of this story takes place. Paints an ugly picture of the music industry, but I'm sure it's much different today, what with the rise of the internet. 0151011486 Jen Trynin is a very good writer, but even if she wasn't, she has the kind of story that's so compelling that there's no way this book could have been boring. In the early '90s, the buzz around her self-released debut album made her the subject of an insane bidding war between record labels. She eventually signs a contract, tries to be a star, engages in a lot of self-destructive behaviors, decides she hates trying to be a star, and gives it all up. The dream of being famous is so ingrained to the American psyche, that's unusual to hear someone say they tried it and just didn't like it.

    Tryin also has an deep level insight into the way the music industry works, and she's pretty brutal in the telling. The bidding war itself is fascinating and sleazy, as people use any and all techniques to seduce Trynin to their labels, including flattery, coddling, vague threats, and actual seduction. She must have kept a journal during this time, because her vivid descriptions and realistic dialogue are so good, they sound like they were written only days after this stuff happened. She also gives a great breakdown of how the money works, which will make you wonder how anyone ever makes any. 0151011486


    Here’s the thing with rock and roll memoirs (at least this is the thing I’m getting after reading, well, two) stories about playing crowded, smoky clubs all the sound the same after you hear about three of them. Doesn’t matter where the club is, who the band is, or what year it is. Sometimes something quirky happens, but even then it’s not enough to break up the monotony.

    That would be my main complaint about Jen Trynin’s Everything I’m Cracked Up to Be, which weighs in at a wrist-straining 350+ pages, a lot of her stories all sound alike. In fact, much of Trynin’s rockstar career can be broken down into three stories:

    Read the rest on I Will Dare 0151011486 In “Everything I’m Cracked Up to Be: A Rock ‘n’ Roll Fairy Tale” Jen Trynin relates her experiences in the 90’s music business from wanna-be at open mic nights at coffee houses, to putting together her own album first as a cassette tape, later as a CD. Cockamamie that garnered indie buzz and soon got the attention of the major labels and soon a full out bidding war was on, Trynin’s wildest rock ‘n’ roll dream came true!

    Trynin tells her story in a stream of conscious manner that puts you in the moment, and some times those moments feel surreal. Trynin imparts that with an acerbic sense of humor on the situation and her part in it. “Everything I’m Cracked Up to Be” is also very insightful into the business of the music business in the mid-1990’s. From how a deal actually works, what the percentages and who gets them and how many albums an artist has to make before they make a profit (this is told in a totally relatable way and isn’t boring in the least) to the personalities of those deal makers as well as the people she met on the road.

    Like any good cautionary tale, it has a downside too. However, it’s a double edged downside, as Cockamamie started to falter and fizzle in the charts and in the eyes of the record company, Trynin’s alienation from the experience and the industry executives increased, as well as her feelings of inadequacy in not being a rock star (note: if someone asks you are you a god, you say yes!). Leaving you with the question did her music career falter because her label lost interest or because of her attitude? Although, one is left with the feeling by the coda is that Trynin was able to exercise an option no male in her place would be able to.

    While the tale told in “Everything I’m Cracked Up to Be: A Rock ‘n’ Roll Fairy Tale” is almost twenty years old. The music business probably hasn’t changed that much and would make it a must read for any artist wanting to follow their dreams, you should at least be fore warned of the dragons ahead. Or if you want to read a quirky look at the rock ‘n’ roll scene, or if you were there “Everything I’m Cracked Up to Be: A Rock ‘n’ Roll Fairy Tale” is the book for you. 0151011486 I don't have a whole lot of good to say about this book. I liked learning about how musicians actually make money (or more often don't) once they're signed to a record label. I liked how Aimee Mann flitted through the narrative like some alt-rock wraith, searching for a label to call home & offering pithy statements about bassists with issues and going straight to the studio from the airport. So that's where the star comes from.

    I did not like the despicable things Trynin did, like making out with her bassist behind her boyfriend's back even though his erratic behavior terrified her. I don't like that she never explicitly told her band members that they were not actually her band, that the contracts she signed had nothing whatsoever to do with them. I don't like that she told her bassist to go ahead & buy gear and never stressed that it wasn't actually his to keep, even though she'd just learned all about recoupables. Most of all, I don't like that she repeatedly referred to the people who shared her apartment/house/nursing home-wherever she lived as retards. I hate that word. It was so important to get that point across, apparently, since she mentioned it three or four times, but I have no idea why even though I read the damn book and I still don't have any idea what type of place she lived in except there were tards there. Whatever. 0151011486 Funny, heart-breakingly honest book!

    I feel sorry for Jen. From this book she is a hilarious, self-effacing, honest, creative, darkly witty person who often mistakes and isn't afraid to say so. It sucks that the music business swept her off her feet, making her think her music was much more than it was (and it sucks that the music execs couldn't hear how just OK it was), and then dropped her flat. How depressing! But luckily she picked herself up after this and was able to get married and have a child and get on with her life. Amazing that she could write this book! It must have been deeply cathartic for her.

    I bought both of Jen Trynin's CD's from amazon after having read this. I just had to hear the music she was describing! The songs are a little catchy in some places, but mostly so ... dated and unoriginal sounding. But you know, she wasn't the only one cranking out music like this, hoping it would catch on and make her famous. She dreamed of being another Joni Mitchell. She wanted to be the voice of her generation. And then Nirvana came on the radio, and she felt like someone had beat her to the punch ... clearly it was Nirvana who would be the voice, not her. But she thought, she could still be the next big thing for a woman singer-songwriter-rocker ... however, Alanis Morrisettte swooped in and took that spot. (Most of Alanis' music sounds pretty dated and awful when you go back and listen to it as well.)

    I loved the part at the end when Jen, after having turned down excellent opportunities to tour with Jennifer Hatfield (at the time, Jen thought she was too much of a big deal to open for Juliana), and then Lillith Fair (because Jen had burned bridges, saying she didn't to be pigeon-holed as a woman singer-songwriter; she wanted to be acknowledged as a true rocker and play on the same bill with MEN, not women! ... which pissed off the other women singer-songwriters) ... finally, as her opportunities keep dwindling, she goes on tour, opening for this singer-songerwriter she totally hates. Prior to the show, she does her usual rockin' show, opening for that same hated singer, who was headlining. (I think she must have changed the name of the hated singer because when I looked up the name online, I came up with nothing.) According to Jen, she totally upstaged the headliner, with her rockin' electric guitars and what-not. And so the headliner made it a rule that when they go on tour, Jen has to do an all acoustic set, which Jen hated. So Jen ends up turning her opening act into a stand-up comedy routine, mainly talking and cracking jokes and only playing a little bit. The audience loved it, and she STILL upstaged the hated singer-songwriter lady. (I read this more than 1 year ago and can't remember the name, which I think was made up anyway, of the hated singer-songwriter lady right now. It was something like Shalam! with an exclamation mark.) So after only a few shows, the hated Shalam! or whatever canceled the tour, due to some (in Jen's mind) feigned illness, which got Jen off the bill. Then the Shalam! lady recovered and re-booked her tour without Jen.

    And that was the end. Of Jen's musical career anyway. I do think Jen's stand-out talents lie in comedy and writing, if this hilarious book, and her success with impromptu stand up comedy, are any indication.

    Go Jen! Your music was fun, back the in day, and your live performances certainly helped a lot of people have a rockin' night out on the town. Sure, the recorded music wasn't something to last for the ages, but you know what's more important? You are awesome, and you rock. Totally! Thanks for writing this book. 0151011486 Gun Shy Trigger Happy is one of my favorite albums, and let's face it, Better Than Nothing is a friggin' fantastic song. But Jen Trynin is a far better song writer than she is a prose writer. Somehow she manages to make the lead character in a memoir -- herself -- largely unlikeable and hard to root for. Everyone around her is treating her like a star, but she keeps finding ways to be miserable. As much as I admire her guitar skills and love love LOVE her songs (Everything is one of my all-time favorites), I found myself looking forward to the inevitable fall from grace. This was an okay position to be in as a reader, but a confusing one as a fan.

    It was fun to read about her experiences on tour, particularly her self-financed Gun Shy Trigger Happy tour in '97. I happened to see one of those shows, in New Haven. It was great and her trio was super solid. But what I'd forgotten until I read this book was how heavily Trynin flirted between songs with the cute college guys at the bar, picking on them from her position behind the mic. It was a little weird and oversexed. But then that edginess and give-and-take with the audience is her, I guess, or at least part of her rock persona.

    Overall, this book is very readable and quick. It was my first rock memoir, and great fun to learn about the inner workings of the music business, from the initial bidding war through the contract all the way to the tour bus and beyond. Also fun to read about Trynin's creative process, though there isn't a tremendous amount of insight into that here. But it's still neat to imagine the moment when the lyric you're destined to sing forever first dawns on the songwriter. 0151011486

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