"Webster's says a hobby is 'an activity pursued outside of one's regular work primarily for pleasure.' Yes: Hitler did watercolors. However, as far as we know, he didn't paint in public." — Warren Zevon, in the liner notes for
Stranger Than Fiction the Rock Bottom Remainders' first and only album
Why would some of today's most-read authors leave the safety of writerly solitude to risk public humiliation onstage? Because being a rock star has its perks.
Brought together in 1992 by Kathi Kamen Goldmark for a charity event, the Rock Bottom Remainders is a band made up of more than its fair share of literary giants—Pulitzer Prize winners, internationally renowned novelists and New York Times
Following the success of their first 1992 gig, the group embarked on a nine-city "tour" where the proceeds went to support literacy programs. The following year, the book Mid-Life Confidential: The Rock Bottom Remainders Tour America with Three Cords and an Attitude
was published, recounting their days on the road. They even recorded a CD—Stranger Than Fiction
—on Goldmark's label, Don't Quit Your Day Job Records.
The band has gotten back together almost every year since to perform at limited engagements, taking on new members and associates depending on their availability. Not to mention the occasional superstar—Bruce Springsteen, Steve Martin
and, again this year, veteran Remainders special guest and The Byrds founding member, Roger McGuinn.
In the past 18 years, the Rock Bottom Remainders have raised close to $2 million for charitable causes—this year playing tour dates April 20–24 on the East Coast to support disaster recovery, literacy and education in Haiti. For tour dates and locations, visit RockBottomRemainders.com.
The beauty of the Rock Bottom Remainders is threefold: They don't take themselves too seriously, they are happy to be there and all of it is for a good cause. That's reason enough to buy the T-shirt.Meet the Wordstock 2010 band:Kathi Kamen GoldmarkDave BarrySam BarryRoy Blount Jr.Amy TanRidley PearsonGreg IlesScott TurowMitch AlbomJames McBrideSpecial guest Roger McGuinnStephen King
Dr. Maya Angelou **
*Unfortunately, Stephen King and Matt Groening will miss out on this year's tour due to scheduling conflicts.
**Speculation remains as to whether honorary member Dr. Angelou will finally show up for a gig.