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33 Days: Touring In A Van. Sleeping On Floors. Chasing A Dream.
     

33 Days: Touring In A Van. Sleeping On Floors. Chasing A Dream.

4.9 15
by Bill See
 

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This harrowing, deeply personal, coming of age, on the road memoir follows critically acclaimed 80s indie alt rock band Divine Weeks' first tour in the summer of 1987. No roadies, no soundman, all they have is their music and their friendship. The tour is a now or never moment: take a shot at making it or regret it for the rest of their lives. Liberated from

Overview

This harrowing, deeply personal, coming of age, on the road memoir follows critically acclaimed 80s indie alt rock band Divine Weeks' first tour in the summer of 1987. No roadies, no soundman, all they have is their music and their friendship. The tour is a now or never moment: take a shot at making it or regret it for the rest of their lives. Liberated from alcoholic upbringings and rigid cultural constraints, they follow the breadcrumbs left on the highway by the bands that came before them. The road is filled with yuppies, brothels, riots, sleeping on floors, spiked drinks, DJs with no pants, and battles with racism. It's 33 days and an adventure of a lifetime on a road to discovery to drink in all they can and maybe sell a few records. They grow up instead.

Editorial Reviews

Brady Tami
33 days and the adventure of a lifetime. Truly one of those periods of time where dreams became reality, if only for the blink of an eye. In 1987, Divine Weeks (Bill, Raj, George, Dave, and their road manager Ian) stuffed themselves into a back of a beat up old van and went on their first tour (Don’t Hassle It Tour ’87). No roadies, no soundman, playing dives, sleeping on someone’s floor, eating PB&J sandwiches. Music at its purest. The tour itself is one of those now or ne
Conrad Heiney
"At once universal and deeply personal, this is a coming-of-age story for the D.I.Y. generation. Read this and know what "indie" was when it still meant "independent."
Steve Wynn
"Bill gives you a good picture of what it was like to be in a band, on tour, loving music and hanging out in LA in the '80s. I was there as well, and I can tell you that it's all true — this was our life, our reality. It certainly takes me back and reminds me of why it all mattered so much at the time."
Stuart Levine
"What Bill See articulates so perfectly in 33 Days is the realization that life moves at light speed, and there’s never a better time than the present to turn dreams into reality. The circumstances may be tough and the window of opportunity small, but See appreciates that if rock ’n roll is the gateway to happiness, then let the music play."

Product Details

BN ID:
2940012670540
Publisher:
Bill See
Publication date:
02/15/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
751 KB

Meet the Author

Bill See was the lead singer for critically acclaimed Los Angeles band Divine Weeks for the duration of the band's lifespan from 1984-1992. Divine Weeks was signed to the Dream Syndicate's Steve Wynn's Down There label in 1987 and released their debut "Through & Through" that May before embarking on their first national tour that summer. The journals Bill kept on tour are the source of the majority of "33 Days." Divine Weeks released one more record on First Warning Records called "Never Get Used To It" in September 1991.

Bill has released five solo records.

"33 Days" is a combination of two unrelated projects that commenced simultaneously about 12 years ago. The first was a letter to his sister, who was given up for adoption and reappeared in his life. "She asked me to describe for her what she missed and what it was like growing up," Bill explains. "I grew up in a pretty turbulent household. Alcoholism, mental illness. I was originally going to call it, 'Hey Sis, Glad You Missed It,' but that only told half the story. The other thing I was working on at the time was turning my old tour journals into a readable book. So, I had these two things that seemed so unrelated, but then it occurred to me, the background I'd written for my sister was actually the primary motive for what lead to me making music, starting a band, and all that drive I found to getting us on tour. So that basically became the book's first chapter, day one as it were, before segueing into the day by day journal that's the crux of the book.

Bill calls "33 Days" a docu-drama. "It's basically a coming of age, on the road story. It just happens that the "characters" play music at the end of every mind blowing day out there. They could just as easily been mountain climbers or comedians on the road and the motivations and arc of the story wouldn't be all that different. My motive was to write a book you'd go searching for after finishing Kerouac's "On The Road." In the end, it's a book about liberation, the perils of sitting on your dreams. It's about giving yourself the gift of opportunity, and defining your own idea of success. And ultimately, it's about redemption and reclaiming the original spark for why you create. It's a book for anybody who ever stood at their own crossroads with a dream screaming inside, wondering whether to fold up their tent and head back home or take the road that goes off the map."

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33 Days: Touring In A Van. Sleeping On Floors. Chasing A Dream. 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Butterfly-o-Meter_Books More than 1 year ago
I was very cautious going into this experience, I guarded myself quite well. For some reason, I was utterly afraid such a story would become the epic of debauchery and over-glorified rock-godly human figures, which is, you know, fine by me, as long as we get to see pictures of it :D Seriously though, I was very guarded before actually starting to read it. And then, after the first few pages, I was completely disarmed. To my stupor, it wasn't the epic of people becoming rock gods, but of young(ish) people becoming functional (I hate the term!), successful grown-ups. And the story, or should I say stories, proved to be incredibly touching, and agonizingly real. All that struggle, all that passion just sweeps you off your feet. Just like that, I was totally on board. We could have gone on a 4 years long tour, I was on board for that; 33 days suddenly felt too little, precious little no doubt, but little none the less. The first hand account makes a strong impact, without a doubt. Pictures sprinkled here and there along the way really compliment the story in a beautiful way. It's a constant reminder these are peoples lives you're peeking into, not some fantasy story, not some ,delightful as it is, fiction. It feels so incredibly real, and vibrant, and quite breathtaking here and there. Following the events, I was constantly reminded of my artist (especially musicians) friends, and their struggles. And it struck me the struggling artist is a phrase that will never get old, no matter how times change, no matter how societies evolve (or involve, as the case may be for some). When I was done reading this lovely novel, I just had to get a hold of a few of my friends I haven't talked to in what seems like ages, just to see how they're doing in the grown-up world. Few, I find, have the courage Bill See has, his strength. More often then not, they abandon that dream, and after all that struggle, all that enthusiasm and creative brewing, only the memory remains, or even that is overlooked somehow. The pains of "growing up", of going from dreaming to doing, from becoming to being are a heinous necessity. All in all, I'd say this is a brilliant read, though I caution, it can give you bouts of melancholy. It had that effect on me, that's for sure. If I'd have to pick a favorite moment, out of all of them, it would be Epilogue 3. And my absolute favorite quote would be the last paragraph, words to live by.
AshtonTheBookBlogger More than 1 year ago
Epic. Just plain epic. First off, this isn't my usual read. But as I read more and more I was so moved by what was happening with this band. I wish I hadn't been born in 1988. I would've so been a groupie for Divine Weeks! Bill See tells a wonderful coming of age story here in 33 Days. I laughed, sighed, got angry ( I really wanted that racist lady to get punched in the face....), and the epilogues just really touched me. This story really shows what happens when you have a dream and decide to follow it and not give up. During these 33 days on the road - Divine Weeks' first national tour - they trek from L.A. to Canada to the eastern and midwest parts of the US. It is during this set of travels that they uncover the true love and respect that they have for their music and each other. Through the trials and tribulations, as well as the best times they face, they never forget their deep love for their music - it is what holds them all up and together. There were times I actually I felt like I was right there in the room with them during one of their breathtaking performances. Just Amazing. *~*~*~*~*~* After reading this book, I skipped on over to the 33 Days website...here you can check out Bill's blog, video's of Divine Weeks, as well as listen to some of their songs.... My favorite...Bitterness. =D ~don't give up on your dreams.
BigAl70 More than 1 year ago
Sex, Drugs, Rock and Roll. Many people see the life of a touring rock band as one long party. A life of limos, jets, and tour buses with roadies and groupies taking care of all your needs. For some bands it is. For most it isn't. In "33 Days" Bill See tells the story of the first national tour of Divine Weeks, a Los Angeles based band, during the summer of 1987. As the subtitle explains, instead of jets and groupies it was "Touring In A Van, Sleeping On Floors, Chasing A Dream." "33 Days" is also the story of what the majority of bands that make it past the local level experience: Playing in clubs where a sellout means a couple hundred people, not tens of thousands and weeknight shows where you hope you'll make enough to earn gas money to make it to your next gig -- ten or twelve hours down the highway. The music fan in me liked "33 Days" for the inside look at what touring is like for the kind of band I've gravitated to for the last several years. I had a clue - multiply a pittance of a cover charge by forty or fifty and compare that with a quick barebones estimate of expenses. But, you can't get a sense of the highs and lows unless you live it, even if only vicariously. For those interested in such things "33 Days" delivers. All readers, even if they don't give a hoot about the workings of the music business, will still find a compelling tale. In many ways, this is a classic coming-of-age story. For See, this tour is a chance to escape his dysfunctional family and test his own limits. Many of his band mates have home issues they're also working out. How this group of young men come together as a team while dealing with their individual issues is a story anyone could learn from and enjoy. As an avid reader of indie books, I frequently cite recent music business history as an explanation of where the publishing business is going -- "33 Days" is a primer on how that will happen. Indie authors who lament how much work it takes to get their book noticed could learn from the ethos of See and Divine Weeks. **Originally written for "Books and Pals" book blog.**
Heavenisabookstore More than 1 year ago
I'll be honest, if I were walking by this book in a bookstore I might have kept walking because it isn't my usual type of read, but that is exactly why I love GoodReads. I come across so many wonderful reading opportunities that normal wandering (in my usual sections) might not bring to light. I read the premise for this book and instantly knew I would love the journey that was bound to take place. A bunch of young peeps playing in a rock band experiencing the highs and lows; sex, drugs and rock and roll. I instantly wanted it. I was so excited and surprised when Bill See emailed me direct and asked if I would be interested in reading and reviewing an eBook copy. HELLS YES!! GoodReads Summary of this book - For 33 days in the summer of 1987, Divine Weeks toured in a beat up old Ford Econoline van, sleeping on strangers' floors, never sure they'd make enough gas money to get them to the next town. This deeply personal, coming of age, on the road memoir follows critically acclaimed 80s indie alt rock band Divine Weeks' first tour. Liberated from alcoholic upbringings and rigi...more For 33 days in the summer of 1987, Divine Weeks toured in a beat up old Ford Econoline van, sleeping on strangers' floors, never sure they'd make enough gas money to get them to the next town. This deeply personal, coming of age, on the road memoir follows critically acclaimed 80s indie alt rock band Divine Weeks' first tour. Liberated from alcoholic upbringings and rigid cultural constraints, all they have is their music and each other's friendship. The road is filled with yuppies, brothels, riots, sleeping on floors, spiked drinks, DJs with no pants, and battles with racism. They set out on the road to discovery to drink in all they could and maybe sell a few records. They grew up instead. Being the little girl growing up who sung at the top of her lungs every moment I could, I completely understood this book. To this day, I have a guitar that I was given years ago that I would love to learn how to play, but still it sits there gathering dust. My mother has taught me a few songs, but it just doesn't come to me without a teacher. Deep down inside, I still think I can be Sheryl Crow. Who doesn't at some point in their lives think they want (and can be) a rock n roll star? Music helps me escape and purge any pent up feelings. Hell it's the best part of working out; what better way to forget I am running on a treadmill. It is how I wake up in the morning and most days in the background as well. As Bill See says, " . . .until music permeated my bloodstream, I was just walking around dodging bullets." Music, I feel, is the way to someone's soul. It touches me in ways other things, people included, cannot. It allows me to feel feelings that I never knew I could, or would. I can sing about heart ache, my truck being broken down, smoking a doobie, whatever. As long as it hits the heart and I can feel the beat, it doesn't matter. And I can't really feel music unless it is pounding from the inside. It just feels me up and pours out of me. I am and always will be that little girl who got sent outside because my singing was so loud it was annoying my parents (and probably after awhile, the neighbors). This quote from the book, "We know music can't change the world, but music changed our world, and it could change theirs. It's not even like we're trying to convince anyone our music can change their world. We're just trying to show peopl
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ravenwolf More than 1 year ago
Seize the moment! Follow your dream! This is what "33 Days" is all about for a Rock & Roll band from LA , Divine Weeks, who spent 33 days on the road in 1987 as they toured up the coast and into Canada, then back down into the States as they worked they way home. Bill See, the author and the lead singer of the band, says of the band during a radio station interview, "We're losers. Nobodies in school. Music is the only thing that gives us a voice Individually, we're just self-loathing wannabe, never-will-be's. Together we believe we're capable of great things." Great things happen on the tour. Each member grows individually and together, sleeping on floors and in an overcrowded van, subsisting on pizza and peanut butter & jelly, fighting for the pay they are due so they have enough money for gas to reach the next town and gig. Reading this true story, your minds wanders to such songs as "On the Road Again," "Turn the Page" and "Into the Great Wide Open." This is a book that should be made into a movie. This is a band that achieved some success but should have achieved more. It's a story about what it means to be an artist in any medium. It's all about being human even when some think you are a freak while others put you on a pedestal. While everything is seen through the eyes of Bill See, his story is as much the story of the members of his band - Raj, George, Dave and their road manager Ian. All come to life as See remembers that very special time in their lives. See makes you see past the glamor of the performers on stage. Through his well crafted words, he makes you care for these guys, suffer what they suffer and cheer them on when they succeed.
christinelisa More than 1 year ago
33 Days: Touring In a Van. Sleeping On Floors. Chasing A Dream is based on indie rock band Divine Weeks first foray into "touring" (a loose term by an means) in the Summer of 1987. Inspired by "DIY elders" The Minutemen & Black Flag, See and his other bandmates seize the moment of their time as a local popular band in LA to spread their live music beyond LA's insular perimeter, hop into a van rented to them by the good graces of a friend as none of them even have credit cards to experience life 'On the Road'. It is a fun blast from the past for Indie Rockers as the author references the music of the time -- Husker Du, The Replacements, The Smiths, Jane's Addiction and of course R.E.M. throughout the book. The author is adept at creating atmosphere of what it must of been like traveling in a van with 5 guys whose probably sole sustenance was big box cereal, pizza & beer (ew!). His descriptions of the venues they play are nuanced giving you a true feel for life on the road as an indie band. This was not a band backed by major record label by any means. Affording gas money and basic needs such as safe tires for the van are a constant challenge for these guys. The main characters in the book, or bandmates and "tour manager" (another loose term) are all engaging with different plights in life. Lead singer and character Bill is insightful, poetic and ever challenging his bandmates. Guitarist Raj is battling his family's cultural expectations. George, the Bassist with a nagging girlfriend at home is truly at a crossroads trying to decide whether or not to pursue Grad school for Englisht Lit. Drummer Dave is the practical one of the group remembering to bring a toolbox (for van repairs) while Bill has only managed to remember his mix tapes and journal. Ian, the "tour manager" offers the non-musician perspective. As Raj, the guitarist is of East Indian descent, race relations are dealt with in a spot on natural way, never didactic. You can always find some ignorant person in a bar who still believes the color of your skin is the most crucial aspect of one's being and there is a significant scene where Raj is picked on by an invariably low brow scary woman for being a "Paki". It is one of the many heartfelt and poignant moments in the book where friendship trumps all and strengthens the band's intent. In some respects the book is 'A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man' as See shares insight to his upbringings, a classic case of a dysfunctional family. See's writing is emotionally touching without ever becoming sappy or self-pitying. Raised by a single mother and his grandparents without ever knowing his father, music is a form of salvation for him. Now was Divine Weeks the long lost band of the '80's? Most likely not but if you venture on to the book's website to listen to the band's music you can hear their simmering soulfulness, songs written with integrity and solidly crafted music that is undeniably rockist. If you appreciate good music with integrity (obviously quite a relative term) or some of the bands referenced, wonder what it's like to chase your dream no matter how scary or impossible it might seem you will enjoy this book. It is truly a story of friendships, how they grow and are challenged over the course of being 'On the Road' together -- basically a life and dream affirming, humorous coming of age story.
peacedanceCR More than 1 year ago
OK, a little self-confession here. I used to sing from when I was young, up until my early twenties. My dad once told me when I was living in Boston (back during Tracy Chapman's fame), why don't you go out there and sing on the street corner? I thought he was nuts, but he was being an awfully good parent, thinking I could sing. These guys are the real deal and I never had the guts to try the DIY just-get-in-the-van! I love their take on the music industry and the insights (for someone who loves music and zoned out for a countless number of hours to it) are spot on. The personal stories are incredibly touching. For anyone who once dreamed of being a rock star - this book is a great ride!
MariaSavva_Author More than 1 year ago
The story of a 33 day tour by the band Divine Weeks. Bill See, the author, was the lead singer of the L.A. band who enjoyed some notoriety in the '80s. In this memoir, See has collected together journal entries and memories to create much more than just a tour diary. He documents the tour with a great descriptive narrative that really captures the moment and brings his memories to life. He also talks about his own dysfunctional home life, which in some ways spurred him on to chase his dream. See is a talented writer, who is able to impart wisdom and knowledge through his prose. I enjoyed reading about the band's progression from an unknown group who played only weekday gigs in their home town, to a successful band touring nationwide. But this is not just a story about the band's journey, it's also about the individual band members' personal journeys along the way. See's introspective and thought-provoking prose make the book a compulsive and insightful read. We follow the band on their first real tour, across the US and Canada in 1987, where they play small venues, often to a handful of people. But the band's passion is such that they are determined to do anything to reach their dream of one day becoming real rock stars. They survive with hardly any money and sleep in a van and cheap hotels, or even on friends' floors. There is a lot of humour sprinkled throughout the book which makes it an enjoyable read. I liked the fact that the author has included photographs of memorable parts of the tour and his life in the book. It gives an extra dimension to the story. As well as being an enthralling tour diary, this book deals with such subjects as family life, alcoholism, racism, dysfunctional families, relationships, friendship, loyalty, and the power of dreams. Divine Weeks's story is an inspirational one that shows what someone can achieve if they follow their dream. The author captures the essence of the book best, when he says: 'This book is for everyone who's stood at their crossroads with a dream screaming inside wondering whether to choose the road that goes off the map or fold up their tent and head back home.' Highly recommended. Reviewed by Maria Savva as a reviewer for Bookpleasures.
Grady1GH More than 1 year ago
33 DAYS: TOURING IN A VAN, SLEEPING ON FLOORS, CHASING A DREAM places author Bill See in a new career. This is one of those breakthrough books that very quietly begins as a need form a writer to share a magic period in his life but ends up being one of the more sensitive and touching stories of how a young man joined his companions in blazing a trail of courage to shoot for the stars instead of settling for a flatline life. Yes, this is a memoir about the 33 days in 1987 when Bill See and his best friend Raj Makwana (this side story alone is worth reading as it sculpts the life of a mistreated Indian lad who happened to have the good fortune of finding his soul mate in Bill See), his other best friend George Edmondson, and Dave Smerszinski, together known as the Divine Weeks who with Road Manager Ian Bader toured the United States without capital, completely dependent of the good will of others for survival and how that experience changed them all. Though the Divine Weeks was a famous band in Los Angeles they felt the need to go for broke on a now or never trip to see if the rest of the world would listen, would care, would 'get it' in their form of musical communication. The story is rich in those crazy wonderful memories of guys able to leave it all behind, work out their personal issues among friends, and take that leap that so few of us, especially in today's economic climate, dare to do. It is a story of humor, of tenderness, of the hard side as well as the soft snuggle of humanity and Bill See writes it with a style that is intoxicating. 33 DAYS is a challenge to all of us. In sharing his memoirs of a trip and experience of a lifetime he somehow encourages that hidden secretive spot in each of us to simply go for it while and when we can. In creating the sights, the smells, the hunger, the laughs, the noise and the solitude of being on the road in the height of discomfort just going for a dream, he offers not only some philosophy worth reading but also a really fine novel! There is a very good movie lurking in these pages... Grady Harp
TCM_Reviews More than 1 year ago
33 days and the adventure of a lifetime. Truly one of those periods of time where dreams became reality, if only for the blink of an eye. In 1987, Divine Weeks (Bill, Raj, George, Dave, and their road manager Ian) stuffed themselves into a back of a beat up old van and went on their first tour (Don't Hassle It Tour '87). No roadies, no soundman, playing dives, sleeping on someone's floor, eating PB&J sandwiches. Music at its purest. The tour itself is one of those now or never experiences. Either the guys really take a shot at making the band work or they leave it all behind and go their separate ways. Family demons, responsibilities, college, career, and relationships yelling are louder and louder demanding an answer, a direction, a commitment. Still, somewhere deep inside, each of the guys knows they had to do this or they'd regret not taking the chance. In the process, each guy has some unforgettable experiences while gaining some clarity about who they want to be and what's really important. I think every one of us has that moment where we decide to either live our dreams or just give up. 33 Days touches that part of us. I read this story in one go-stayed up until 3:30 am to do so. I simply couldn't put it down. It was like I was a tagalong for the ride. My dreams may have been different at 22 years old but for a fleeting moment I remembered.
Gildo More than 1 year ago
I stumbled on this book, and was blown away. This book was like time travel. Took me back to a time in life when the credo was nothing ventured, nothing gained. What the author does so well is let you feel like you are along in the van for the journey with them. Boy, did these guys go through some ups and downs together on their tour, but this just made their bond stronger. These were young men at the crossroads and it's fascinating getting inside their heads to understand the major life issues they were each grappling with. Being this story is that of a real band, I'm going to go see if I can find any of their music to download. Their story got me curious. A great adventure, it's both funny and touching -- and oh so real.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bill See's 33 Days is a wonderful read -- this book captures the essence of what it was to chase a dream. In this case the dream was making a name for a burgeoning L.A. indie band, Divine Weeks, by touring through the US and Canada in the summer of 1987. Lead singer, See, kept a journal of their days on the road and converted it into this gripping "memoir." Reading it takes you back to a time in life when dreams don't have boundaries, when everything is possible. It's anchored in the real-life struggles the guys in the band had to overcome -- breaking free from the chains that held them back -- toxic upbringings, racism, overbearing families, survivor guilt, school, girls, etc. Their adventures were both hilarious and harrowing. They celebrated the kindness of strangers, critical to DIY touring at the time. DIY touring meant they were at the mercy of club-goers who'd volunteer their floor for the boys to sleep on after the shows. They also encountered slimy club owners and bitter, confrontational racists. All of this only served to bring the band closer together and cement their drive to make it out there. What could have been 33 days of sex, drugs and rock n' roll, has become so much more in See's capable hands. Ultimately a beautifully written coming-of-age story, he reminds us of the power of friendship, the allure of the dream, of a time and place when anything is possible.