I initially read Party of One: A Memoir in 21 Songs by Dave Holmes two summers ago. I would be lying if I said that I did not take an extra long lunch break the day I began the book, just indulging myself in the memoir which was framed in a way that appealed to my inner music nerd.
If you have been reading this blog for awhile, you are likely aware that I grew up in a family of music enthusiasts, which has materialized in my collection of some kickass vintage concert tee shirts. Thanks to my parents being cable subscribers and my dad’s monopoly on the remote control, MTV was a constant. My childhood was a contrast to the Irish Catholic household in which Dave Holmes came of age. There was a considerable age gap between himself and his older brothers and the roles that his older brothers played in introducing him to music reminded me of that of my parents. Warring musical interests. In Dave’s (can I call him Dave?) case: AOR versus soul. In my case: classic rock versus oldies. To illustrate, one of my earliest memories was when my dad teased my mom for her affinity for The Beach Boys.
Fast forward to the late 1990s. Raise your hand if you were part of the TRL generation. If you flipped the television to MTV and subsequently squabbled with your sister over who was going to marry Justin Timberlake, you also likely spent one of your Saturdays watching the Wanna to be a VJ competition.
Sidebar: I have the distinct memory of watching the second iteration with my high school b/f/f and eventual MOH as well as running to my parents’ room where the desktop computer was set up to cast our votes for Thalia.
You probably recall the outlandish Jesse Camp winning first iteration; the everyman (and secret-strategy music savant) Dave Holmes was first runner up and also ended up with a MTV hosting gig and consequently cemented his place in popular culture.
While I loved reading about Dave Holmes tenure at 1515 Broadway in Times Square, I enjoyed reading about his experiences – his successes up to this point were few and his struggles were plenty – leading up to his breakthrough. I have said it before and I will say it again – the 1990s in New York City. I don’t think I romanticize and place and time as much I do the end of the century in NYC and I enjoyed reading about it through Dave Holmes’ lens.
Bottom line: Despite our different perspectives, I crisply identify with the realization that Dave Holmes came to at the end of the book. For that epiphany, you will have to read Party of One. Buy it – and you know, actually read it – if you grew up as part of the TRL generation or if you grew up along the emergence of MTV.
Party of One: A Memoir in 21 Songs by Dave Holmes