Dave Holmes might be a familiar face if you were an MTV junkie, or if you follow his writing and TV hosting gigs across the pop culture landscape. If not, consider this your introduction: Holmes will publish his memoir, Party of One: A Memoir in 21 Songs, on June 28, 2016, in which he charts his own coming-of-age through the songs he’s listened to along the way.
Check out the book’s cover and read an exclusive sneak peek from Holmes’ intro below:
PARTY OF ONE: A MEMOIR IN 21 SONGS by Dave Holmes
Of all the epic stories, both factual and fictional, that we have passed down through history, I identify most strongly with the journey of the Bee Girl in Blind Melon’s “No Rain” video. If you didn’t happen to spend your life in front of a television in 1993, here’s the situation: a plucky, bespectacled girl, maybe nine years old, has dressed up in a cheap bumblebee costume, and all she wants to do is dance. Throughout the video, Bee Girl taps her little heart out, giving everything she’s got to everyone she meets, and door after door slams in her face. I remember seeing the video in college, miserable and about to tap-dance my way through another social interaction, and saying out loud: “I fucking get you, Bee Girl.”
My name’s Dave Holmes, and I have spent most of my life being the odd man out. In retrospect the only negative part about that is how much time I spent thinking that being an oddball was bad.
I did a lot of embarrassing things on the road to finding my bee-people, and it would have been a much more painful experience had I not had access to the most powerful stimulant known to humankind: the music and popular culture of the last forty years. My identity was formed in the eras of Thriller, The Cosby Show, and Nirvana—all those stories ended well, right?—and when I felt like I didn’t have a friend in the world, they were there for me. I had intense love affairs with albums. I saw movies so many times I could direct them from memory. I spent so much time in front of MTV it finally gave up and invited me in.
In my younger days, my preferred method of communication was the mixtape. I could tell people I liked them, or that I wanted them to like me, or that I was breaking up with them, or that I understood they were breaking up with me (but if they could just understand how I felt, maybe they’d change their minds) in 90 minutes of music. It’s the way a non-musician could make his own album, the way a kid too scared to speak his mind could get his point across.
It’s still my favorite thing to do, and you better believe I tried to sell my publisher on getting this into the marketplace as an Apple Music playlist, but these book types insist that you use words. So here they are: stories of the blessed and stupid life of a kid on the margins, and the music that moved it forward, in book form, which I figured I should hurry up and do before we start passing down our histories via emojis and GIFs of Rue McClanahan.
I hope you like it. I hope I bring back some memories or help you understand a beautiful time in pop-culture history that is absolutely gone forever. And if you are in the middle of your own desperate tap-dance right now, I hope that you can learn from my mistakes.
Just stay with me, and we’ll have it made.
Adapted from PARTY OF ONE: A Memoir in 21 Songs Copyright © 2016 by Dave Holmes. To be published by Crown Archetype, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC, on June 28, 2016.