The foibles and passions of rock bands make for lively fiction, and the group that comes to life in Michael Robert Krikorian’s first novel is decidedly no exception. In Tomorrow Will Be Yesterday: The Story of BASH, Krikorian creates a collection of musicians that are just as eager for fame as any former chart-toppers who end their careers playing in casinos.
BASH—painted by the author as a little-known band from Southern California—puts out three unsuccessful albums in the late 1970s before breaking up. Its four members head off to different places. A decade later, a movie producer chooses one of their songs to use in a film soundtrack, and soon the song is being broadcast on the radio. Interest in the band is rekindled, with its all-but-forgotten albums suddenly going multi-platinum. One of the band members, Fast Johnny Axe, begins to think about getting the band back together for a reunion tour, but another member, Ed Simmons (formerly known as Eddie Steele) resists, happy in his life as a high school math teacher. Nonetheless, the other musicians work to keep the buzz going over two more decades of ups and downs. Throughout this time, Simmons has burrowed himself into his life as a teacher. Not surprisingly, the unknowing public suspects he is dead and begins fueling rumors to that effect. Ed Simmons watches in amazement as the online tributes to Eddie Steele begin to appear.
Krikorian chooses to focus much of the narrative energy on Ed, following him through the twists and turns of the band’s revival, and subsequent complications in his love life. His affable, romantic nature is tested by the turbulence around him, and Krikorian nicely captures the emotional upheaval that can come as a result of unexpected life changes.
In describing the other three band members, the author expertly captures the slightly weary but optimistic tone of their reunion efforts—the trio’s dialogue is charming and offbeat. Throughout his description of the band’s journey back into the music business, Krikorian adeptly gives the reader a glimpse of the industry as seen through the eyes of people struggling to capitalize on fleeting fame. While there are times when the pace of the story slows and the author seems unsure where to go next, he eventually finds his way and picks up the tempo again.
In the book’s prologue, Herman Rarebell, the real-life drummer of the heavy metal band Scorpions, remarks on Krikorian’s ability to create a novel that reads like a nonfiction account of the rock scene: “His uncannily accurate portraits of musicians, executives, producers, agents and fans is so dead on that even those like myself who were a part of it will believe that this band BASH was right there with us in the trenches.”
Making fiction sound like fact gives Tomorrow Will Be Yesterday: The Story of BASH—with its fully developed and nuanced characters—a ring of authenticity.