Neil felt a tremor of excitement. If she could appreciate groups like those, she had to have some musical intelligence. He bought her a drink, reminding himself not to get his hopes up to high. He had been disappointed before, every time.
Then he gets her home, and she wants to hear a particular song, a song that is not challenging, edgy, or exciting. She wants to hear it over and over again.... Tessier can write, and has written convincingly about the music scene before, in his first novel The Nightwalker. Placing Tessier's prose within the same pages as Rex Miller's or Paul Dale Anderson's or Michael Garrett's is unfair; it only highlights how clumsy are their attempts to meld rock and horror.
1994 Pocket Books sequel
Other stories worth reading: "Vargr Rule" by Nancy Collins, a nicely sleazy werewolf tale, which contains one of the antho's most surprising scenes; Richard Christian Matheson's taut and fatalistic "Groupies," about you-know-what; and definitely "Requiem" from Brian Hodge. He creates a pretty believable art/prog-rock band of the 1970s and '80s, Grendel, who all die in a plane crash, leaving behind countless grieving fans and a rumored concept album about the Knights of the Round Table. "You Know They've Got a Helluva Band" from Stephen King mines baby-boomer dead rocker territory in a fairly by-the-numbers manner. Jimi Hendrix features in "Voodoo Child" - well, duh - Graham Masterton's contribution. It has a nicely personal vibe, a sadness about the passing of time and wild youth. "Flaming Telepaths" ends the antho, former punk singer John Shirley's swipe at smug televangelists - one of 1980s horror fiction's go-to villains.
Cooper and Shirley, 2001
The fault of Shock Rock is that too many of the authors simply have no feel for the written word, or for capturing human speech patterns and motivations; they may as well be re-telling a moldy-oldy EC Comics story, only adding more sex and graphic violence but no depth. Slapdash and junky, most don't even show a particular feel for rock'n'roll other than its most obvious trappings of sexist excess, substance abuse, and amps that go to 11. To me, that's the most shocking thing of all.