Find out the latest indie author news. For FREE.


The Yin and the Yang of It All: Rock'n'Roll Memories from the Cusp as Told by a Mixed-Up, Mixed-Race Kid
John Kim Faye
Faye debuts with a high-spirited memoir detailing his time as front man for 1990s alt rock band the Caulfields, alongside a vivid rendering of his lifelong love affair with music: “Music gave me my voice—not just the transmitter of lyrics and melodies from the songs I write but my place in the world, my sense of belonging somewhere and believing in something.” The son of a Korean mother and Irish father, Faye candidly shares his struggles with “growing up Asian” as he explores the often opposing forces of his mother’s culture, his school experiences, and the ever-present undercurrent of music humming in the background of his life.

In many ways a love letter to his music obsession, this polished memoir will awaken the songbird in readers familiar with ‘80s vinyl hits and the rising star of punk rock. Faye’s first band, No Excuse (later renamed Beat Clinic), found inspiration in artists like MDC and Dead Kennedys, and served as a mouthpiece for his initial attempts at lyrics and later development into lead singer. Faye fondly recalls their early days of cover shows and broken-down vans before reaching their big break in ‘94 as the Caulfields with A&M Records. Those recollections are consistently entertaining, whether it’s their first show with the then-unknown Indigo Girls or being pelted with water bottles onstage at ZephyrFest in New Orleans.

Faye covers the eventual breakup of the band, too (live on the radio, when the collapse of their label deal was a foregone conclusion), as well as his solo work and other projects, culminating with band IKE, which opened for Bon Jovi in 2006. He never shies from the weightier topics, including his divorce and the idiosyncrasies of his close relationship with his mother, who passed away in 2012 after a string of health issues. Rockers and anyone else eager to live a creative life will appreciate Faye’s intense passion for song throughout, “the voice that projects the me I want to see in the world.””

Takeaway: A backstage pass to the glory days of alternative rock.

Great for fans of: Kim Gordon’s Girl in a Band, Bob Mehr’s Trouble Boys.

Production grades
Cover: B+
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A