The Upsetter Blog
201│ 6x9 │ $19.95
To write the Upsetter Blog, washed-up author Henry Barclay will have to leave behind his adult son Patrick, who has Down Syndrome, and follow the Flak Jackets, a rock band of no renown, on a grueling, months-long nightclub tour for the obscure magazine startup, Upsetter. He’s reluctant to take on the assignment, but when Patrick catches the band's act and immediately declares himself their 'Number One Fan,' Henry sees a chance to redeem himself after decades of clumsy parenting. Setting out from Los Angeles, blasting through the deserts of Southern California and up the West Coast, Henry quickly learns how tough this job will be. He did not expect he would become obsessed with the mystery behind lead singer Jack Hackett's tortured wailing and violent onstage antics. He did not expect he would fall in love with Jack's new girlfriend, Wendy, who's along for the ride. Faced with Jack's hostile stonewalling, struggling to hold back his own feelings for Jack's girl, Henry can only hang on tight and keep writing, filling in the blanks Jack leaves with musings about his own troubled past—and watching in horror as life on the road takes its toll, and Jack's fragile world begins to fall apart.
The Upsetter Blog
The literary alter ego of American rock 'n' roll musician Mat Treiber, Brett Marie is a contributing editor for the online literary journal Bookanista, and a staff writer for the website PopMatters. His short fiction has appeared in various magazines, including New Plains Review, Words + Images Press, and The Impressment Gang. His story 'If It Had Happened to You' was shortlisted for LoveReading UK’s first Very Short Story Award in 2019. He currently lives in England with his wife and daughter.
"The Upsetter Blog is dramatic and sad and funny and well… rock ’n’ roll. Within the narrative, the reader will find history and literature and faith—and a little Red Sox and Yankees rivalry never killed anybody. Or maybe it has--probably has. Read this book."
─ S.E. Feinberg, co-author of What's Exactly The Matter With Me? with P.F. Sloan and Southern Man, co-authored with Alan Walden.
"The Upsetter Blog is an illuminating and satisfying novel about the world of pop music, the gritty backstage, the hazy lights, the chemistry of a great band, the narcotic thrill of a good set before a rousing crowd, and the soul-testing hit or miss nature of the biz. I thought of William Miller, the kid genius in Cameron Crowe’s “Almost Famous” and Lester Bangs and Richard Meltzer those like Marie’s protagonist tasked with putting words to the indescribable moment of falling headlong in love with a band.”
─Tom Barbash, author of The Dakota Winters.
"Brett Marie has accomplished quite a feat: he’s written a book about a touring band that will delight those who aren’t into rock music, a book about love’s vagaries for those who don’t actively seek out such explanations in their literature, a book that thrills with its Big Questions for those who prefer to stay grounded in the familiar. Marie’s experience in the rock scene shines through in his descriptions of the venues, triumphs, and pitfalls of the Flak Jackets’ tour, and his knowledge of human nature allows him to give a light and sure touch to characters’ ruminations on fate and the transitory nature of life, humans’ choice and illusions of choice, and of the questions that keep young and old awake at night. Anchoring this book is its wizened and wise narrator whose biological son and adopted sons and daughters give him frustration and heartbreak, but also unbridled joy, laughter, and a reason to think that he, like the readers of The Upsetter Blog, is right where he wants to be."
─Peter Riehl, writer, host of the Chills at Will Podcast
The Upsetter Blog is an ancient love-story wearing the buoyant guise of the contemporary music scene, a meditation on what happens when truth is drained from a "shattered heart." It plays with ideas of fate and chance in a story that puts truth and the heart back together again.
─Kim Echlin, author of Speak, Silence
"A book about a band, with music in the writing."
─Rachel Genn, author of What You Could Have Won
"Brett Marie's exhilarating debut is at once a loving homage to music told in the most lyrical of prose and a cautionary tale that reminds us that before a phoenix can rise, it must first crash and burn. I couldn't put it down."
─Orlando Ortega-Medina, author of Jerusalem Ablaze, The Death of Baseball, and The Savior of 6th Street
"Brett Marie's The Upsetter Blog takes us back to the turn of the century, when the Internet was still a wilderness and "new media" had not yet upended cultural coverage. His finely drawn characters look to rock and roll for redemption, fame, love, and intimacy, caught between old ideas of stardom and new possibilities of communication. A roaring road-novel debut."
─John Lingan, author of Homeplace
"An accomplished, polished, surprisingly moving piece of writing. Brett Marie has a strong sense of the messiness of life, of how things rarely pan out as hoped or planned, and how that can be good, bad or anything in-between. There's tons to admire here."
─Gavin Extence, author of The Universe Versus Alex Woods
"This is a book about rock and roll, but it's about so much more: guilt, love, dreams, troubled artists, a struggling writer and the complicated relationship between a father and son. It's refreshing to read a book that includes a character with Down syndrome with such ease. "
─Amy Silverman, author of My Heart Can't Even Believe It: A Story of Science, Love and Down Syndrome
"The Upsetter Blog" is an insightful journey into the cycle of life through the eyes of an aging writer, a struggling rock band, and a loyal son born with Down Syndrome. Brett Marie explores the crippling disappointments, confusion in relationships, dreamsimagined, unfulfilled, lost to self destruction or fate as people try to find their place in the world. Life -- it seems -- belongs to those who adapt, move on, and endure.
─Chris Blatchford author of Three Dog Nightmare and The Black Hand
"Brett Marie masterfully guides the reader on a journey into rock 'n' roll, fatherhood, the heady days of blogging and online magazines when they were the "it" thing in the aughts, and more. It's a road trip you'll think about long after finishing the novel."
─Suzanne Reisman, author of The Triplets of Mt. Sinai
"Un-put-downable! Brilliantly captures the rollercoaster life of a rock band while unearthing some deep & universal truths about the human condition. I loved it. Enjoy the ride!"
─James Kennedy, musician, author of Noise Damage: My Life as a Rock 'n' Roll Underdog
"Who would have thought when rock 'n roll first started that decades later it would be novelized? Good rock novels are more difficult to write than a decent indie-rock album, but Brett Marie delivers the goods here. As I read it, I wanted to debate the character's opinions as if they were real people - you don't like The Doors?!? what's wrong with you! Like any solid rock story, there's also romance and high jinks. Dig in."
─Pat Thomas, reissue producer & editor of the book My Week Beats Your Year: Encounters with Lou Reed