Mock Memoir Author Brings "Borat of Hard Rock" to Life...

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Spinal Tap Meets Running With Scissors: Hit Songwriter-turned-Novelist Portrays Provocative, Fictional Rock Superstar in a Series of Videos and Recordings.

Rand Bishop, author of Grand Pop

"Grand Pop is like Spinal Tap meets Running With Scissors." -- Kip Winger (Winger)

Rand Bishop wasn’t satisfied with just bringing Keefe Taylor to life on the pages of his first novel, Grand Pop. The hit songwriter-turned-author felt equally compelled to slip under the skin of his fictional, egocentric, middle-aged rocker in a series of videos and on four new hard-rockin’ tracks as well. “Keefe is kind of like ‘the Borat of hard rock,’” Bishop explains. “Frankly, he’s not the most likable dude in the world. But, you' kinda gotta love him anyway.”

Obnoxious, sometimes offensive, and certainly provocative, Bishop’s virtual superstar swaggers and poses, while touting his sexual prowess and pontificating about parenthood and marriage. Bishop elaborates: “Keefe is the archetype for a classic episode of VH1’s Behind the Scenes. Miraculously, he’s survived drug addiction, alcoholism, numerous tabloid-covered arrests, a humiliating public divorce, and a close scrape with financial ruin.”

As Bishop's novel begins, Keefe is 14-years sober and his hard-rock unit, King Pest, is a thriving, corporate, rock juggernaut. Having put all that self-destructive drama in his past, the now-aging frontman proceeds to share the details of what he considers to be his most traumatic challenge to date: turning 50 and becoming a grandfather, under the eagle eye of the ravenous, tabloid-news media. Not your typical novel, Grand Pop (Eloquent Books, 2010) can be more precisely defined as a mock memoir. As ’80s-rock-icon Kip Winger blurbs on the book jacket, “Grand Pop is like Spinal Tap meets Running With Scissors.”

Bishop is no stranger to embodying egotistical, flamboyant characters, having preened theater stages as Captain Hook in Peter Pan, Lancelot in Camelot, and the Artful Dodger in Oliver. While in the acting company at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Bishop donned tights on the Elizabethan boards, then picked his acoustic guitar, sang, and passed the hat at a nearby coffee house. Thus began the transformation to his most outrageous portrayal ever: as himself, in the glittery glam-rock unit, The Wackers (three albums released on Elektra Records). Bishop recalls, with a chuckle: “I wore eye shadow, lipstick, and feather boas, did ridiculous Pete Townsend leaps, and duck-walked like a transvestite Chuck Berry. I even did my act at Carnegie Hall!”

In the mid-'70s, realizing that touring and hard partying were shortening his life, Bishop quit the road for the recording studio. Through the '80s, he sang with Ted Nugent, Quiet Riot, and the Beach Boys, wrote songs for Heart, Cheap Trick, and King Kobra, and produced records for the Outlaws, Kick Axe, and Rhythm Corps. Bishop received a Grammy Nomination for the soundtrack album to Paramount's Saturday Night Fever sequel, Staying Alive (working closely with screenwriter/director Sylvester Stallone). The details of that trial by fire are recounted in two chapters of Bishop’s “songwriting course wrapped in a memoir,” Makin’ Stuff Up (Weightless Cargo Press, 2008).

The ’90s brought Bishop to Nashville, where he garnered cuts with Tim McGraw, Lorrie Morgan, Dan Seals, and others. In 2002, Toby Keith took Bishop’s “My List” (co-written with Tim James) to a five-week ride at number one on Billboard’s “Hot Country Singles” chart, ending that year as country radio’s most played song. The enormous success of Keith’s record inspired Bishop to expand his creative endeavors, as he puts it, “beyond the confines of the three-minute pop song.” Bishop and James coauthored the companion book, My List, 24 Reflections on Life’s Priorities (McGraw Hill, 2003). Bishop then went on to pen an award-winning screenplay: The Tin Roof (First Place, National Screenplay Showdown, 2004); a stage play: The Viewing (Rhubarb Theater Company, Darkhorse Theater, September 2006); and the aforementioned Makin’ Stuff Up.

“Grand Pop has been a four-year labor of love,” Bishop shares. “I’m extremely proud of this book. And I hope the reading public finds the humor in Keefe’s developmentally arrested buffoonery and some empathy in his reluctant journey to middle age and grandfatherhood. But, my real goal is to see Grand Pop made into a major feature film. Johnny Depp and Brad Pitt are both the perfect age to vie for the lead role. Till that happens, though, I guess the part of Keefe Taylor is mine.”


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