The Rock Bottom Remainders

The greatest rock and roll band ever (of authors), that was the strapline for the wonderful rock and roll band that consisted of a bunch of wannabe rock musicians who had day jobs as published writers, including the one and only Mr. Stephen king.

Other members of the Rock Bottom Remainders have included, Matt Groening, Amy Tan, Sam Barry, Robert Fulghum and others, joined at times by professional musicians to help the band rock.


The Rock Bottom Remainders may not have ever had the likes of Guns n Roses and U2 very concerned about them being competition, but if the huge grins on the faces of the members of the band in every video you see of them are anything to go by, the authors absolutely loved every minute they had on stage being rock stars.

The band was founded in 1992 by Kathi Kamen Goldmark, who was working as a book publicist or her own company, Goldmark Media Escorts, which worked with authors who were undertaking book tours. 

She came up with the idea of forming a rock band with the authors that she knew were into music and She recruited 12 well-known authors to take part in what was meant to be a one-off performance at a book convention.

The Rock Bottom Remainders took to the stage for their first performance in 1992 at the American Booksellers Association convention in Anaheim, California and the band were an instant hit. The name of the band, incidentally, is a reference to the publishing term “remaindered book”, which is the unsold stock of a book that is sold off at a reduced price.

Take a look at this great little 10 minute min-documentary about The Rock Bottom Remainders, which includes some short interviews with members of the band and some clips of the band in action.

Rather than simply fold there and then as had been expected, The Rock Bottom Remainders performed numerous times after that first gig, including a six date tour of the US East Coast in 1994, called The 'Three Chords and an Attitude' tour, at the opening of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland in 1995, and at the American Library Association convention in Anaheim 2012. The band was even joined on stage in Los Angeles Bruce Springsteen in 1997 for a performance of "Gloria".

The Rock Bottom Remainders decided to call it a day in 2012, out of respect for Kathi Goldmark, who died of breast cancer on May 24, 2012. 

Their final tour, which was called Past Our Bedtime, included a public show at LA’s El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles, from which all the profits were donated to charity, as had been the case with the profits of all the band’s shows.  

In the band’s 20 year history, during which time they had played with Bruce Springsteen, Gloria Gaynor and Phil Spector, the Rock Bottom Remainders raised $2 million for charity and, they say, managed to learn four chords.

The Rock Bottom Remainders reformed for Tucson Festival of Books in March 2015, but little had been heard of from the band since, which is a shame really, because they really weren’t anywhere near as bad as they pretended to be!


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