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Never Mind the Pollacks: A Rock and Roll Novel

3.35  ·  Rating details ·  446 ratings  ·  37 reviews
The most important document in the history of rock 'n' roll since the liner notes to Killroy Was Here.(This paperback includes a new P.S. section with author interviews, insights, features, suggested readings, and more.)

Never Mind the Pollacks, the first novel from acclaimed humorist Neal Pollack, is an epic history of rock-and-roll told through the eyes of two rival rock
Paperback, 288 pages
Published September 21st 2004 by Harper Perennial
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3.35  · 
Rating details
 ·  446 ratings  ·  37 reviews

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Aug 18, 2009 rated it did not like it
Neal Pollack is the guy in school that all the boys thought was funny. All the girls wavered between wanting to kick him in the balls and wanting to send him secret love notes because they kept thinking that maybe, maybe if he were to hone it just a little, that he could be a really truly funny dad to their babies some day, and that maybe, maybe he might even just make a little money off his humour - if he were to somehow hone it a bit.

He didn't hone it.

In other words, this book is not funny.
Yama Rahyar
Apr 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
I wonder if this would be funny to anyone who hasn't read Greil Marcus's review of Wire's "Fly in the Ointment."
Ross Lockhart
Jun 23, 2007 rated it liked it
Neal Pollack skewers fifty years of rock-and-roll idol worship in this mean-spirited, yet laugh-out-loud funny, piss-take on rock criticism. From its cough-syrup swilling anti-protagonist, the out-Lester Bangs-ing critic Neal Pollack (yeah, you read that right) to its swipes at everybody from Bob Dylan to Bruce Springsteen to Iggy Pop to Johnny Rotten to Kurt Cobain, Never Mind the Pollacks is a wild, decadent, and fun ride through rock-and-roll excess. Sure, it’s nothing Hunter Thompson didn’t ...more
Jun 29, 2011 rated it it was ok
(mdc) This was amusing, but also contains everything i hate about rock criticism and music fan-ship in general. Parts are like listening to my dad tell me about how craaaazy rock was in the 70s and how my generation just doesn't have that; other parts are like trying to talk to the most jaded boring scenester who only likes 2 bands and sucks their dicks relentlessly. It also has the "you couldn;t possibly understand unless you were in memphis in the 50s/london in the 70s/dc in the early 80s/wher ...more
Feb 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
For you musics fans (snobs)! Neal Pollack was a rock critic who created rock-n-roll history, discovering everyone from Elvis to Kurt Cobain. Has the same self-important feel as "Anthology of American Literature", but how else would a great rock critic be remembered? Fun to follow the ride through rock history and hillarious writing, as always.
Julie Haydu
Jan 17, 2012 rated it liked it
I would like to like this book even more given the number of Iggy Pop references including the phrase "WWID?" What Would Iggy Do? All the characters are so cartoonish though that it just gets downright silly at times. I do love how Neal Pollack inserts himself into the backstory of rock and roll history.
Nov 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
Do you share my pet hate of the music press? Read this book.
Are you a rock critic? Read this book.
Does the idea of a satirical Forest Gumpian race through the history of popular music appeal to you? Go on, read it already!
Feb 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Joel.
Simply the best book ever written in the English language. About rock music. Or really about rock music criticism. Or most accurately about the satirical portrayal of a fictional rock music critic.
Art Edwards
Aug 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Top Five Rock Novel Ever!
Scott Kellicker
Sep 25, 2018 rated it did not like it
Some mildly amusing parts. Not enough to keep me interested. Could not get past page 50.
May 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
I read this.. kinda bored..
May 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: recentlyread
Judging from a quick scan of Goodreads reviews, Pollack is a writer, and Never Mind the Pollacks a book, that most readers either love or hate, and it gleans anywhere from one to five stars. Great! A good satirist should irritate and amuse in equal measure or, probably, more like sixty-forty. It's not comedy, people, nor is it a "novel" in the usual, dramatic, sense (Oprah's not going to induct this one). Yes, much of it is sophomoric and yes, it does try to piss off just about everyone who ever ...more
Feb 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
The story runs pretty good in this, and I can't fault how meticulous the industry feels sketched out. I can't help but feel that the author had more fun writing it than I had reading it, but I still enjoyed the book.
Jul 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing
As I've been getting more and more into not just reading books, but also reading about books (on fine blogs like Bookslut and 50 Books), I've noticed that there are a few names that are often used as examples of both what is right and what is wrong with writers today - "you either love 'em or hate 'em" kind of authors. Neil Pollack's name seemed to come up more than most, so when I saw Never Mind at a used book sale for $4, I picked it up. After reading it I can see how it would be hard to have ...more
Aug 14, 2007 rated it really liked it
Because I can't put it any better, I'm cutting and pasting Chris G's review into this field:

Never Mind the Pollacks offers a pretentious academic/critic/biographer's take on the legendary (and entirely fictional) life of the "greatest rock critic who ever lived and ever will," Mr. Neal Pollack. Though preternaturally brilliant, the syrup-sqigging Pollack's also "a pretentious bloated nightmare of a man" who seems to get routinely screwed (both literally and metaphorically) by the people he turns
Dec 07, 2008 rated it liked it
Neal Pollack's Never Mind the Pollacks is the tale of a fitional rock critic's research and writing about another fictional (the greatest of all time) rock critic named, humbly, Neal Pollack. Neal PPollack, the critic, not the author, has an insight into the essence of rock unparalleled by any. The youing Pollack is guided by the spirit of a black bluesman known as "Clambone" (think that annoying Indian in Oliver Stone's "The Doors." Pollack sets of on his critic adventures financed by a trust f ...more
Aug 06, 2007 rated it really liked it
Never Mind the Pollacks offers a pretentious academic/critic/biographer's take on the legendary (and entirely fictional) life of the "greatest rock critic who ever lived and ever will," Mr. Neal Pollack. Though preternaturally brilliant, the syrup-sqigging Pollack's also "a pretentious bloated nightmare of a man" who seems to get routinely screwed (both literally and metaphorically) by the people he turns into legends. The author Neal Pollack enmeshes his fictional alter-ego into the most semina ...more
Aug 14, 2009 rated it liked it
bought it today for the equivalent of $0.25.

About halfway through. A great big pretentious romp (largely through my hood) making me remember that my bombed out times living both broke and large at the same time were(are) much less poetic/artistic and more... well, pathetic.

I'm guessing that the people gushing about the book are featured in and/or masturbate to Look At This Fucking Hipster

good fun. good book? we shall see.


well, it made me laugh.
Ed Wagemann
Apr 03, 2012 marked it as to-read
Shelves: rock
Why Everything You Think You Know About Punk Is Completely Wrong:

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Katrina Bergherm
Feb 18, 2010 rated it did not like it
Horrible. Horrible. Horrible book. Neal Pollack is a fictional rock critic with obscure connections to many famous musicians (Rolling Stones, Iggy Pop, Elvis, and more) and this book is about his story through the years, from one tragedy to another. It's not interesting...even though it sounds like it might be. It's not humorous. It's not amusing. It's not even entertaining. Don't bother with this book!
Finished this book and threw it in the trash can. Then felt bad about the slow and quiet lives of the trees that were sacrificed for its printing. This book is the unfunny guy who follows you around telling the same joke over and over and wonders why you're not laughing. Wink wink...get it?? Yeah, I got it.
Aug 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
If you have been involved in your local underground music scenes through the years (as well as infecting others) you may find this as hilarious as I did. Fear in Loathing meets Confederacy of Dunces, oh and a little Christopher Moore for good measure. Could be a 4 but I could not put it down unless I needed a break from cracking up.
Mar 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
A hilarious semi-tribute to Lester Bangs (and passionate tribute to rock 'n' roll), Never Mind the Pollacks is the story of rebellious (against everything) music critic Neal Pollack and his search for the source of all music. Along the way, he sleeps with Lou Reed, drinks with Elvis, and provokes Michael Stipe into a fistfight.
Brian Topping
Jul 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of rock
strange, disturbing, but somehow poetic, love him or hate him, Pollock creates a great rock fiction, the kind that happen in the midst of a dreamy hallucination. If Nick Hornsby and John Kennedy Toole had a love child...
Sandie Brown
Jul 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
I thought it was funny as hell
Jan 10, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
I made it over halfway through, but eventually I couldn't take any more of Pollack's smug, self-congratulatory hipness. Good riddance.
Ed Cruz
Dec 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
Absolutely hysterical!
Oct 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The height from which Pollack fell.
Josh Sammer
Oct 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
Forrest Gump Meets Rolling Stone...that pretty much covers it. It's amusing and fun at times, but there's nothing below the surface once the novelty and nostalgia wears off.
Jul 09, 2014 rated it liked it
Entertaining enough, but probably more enjoyable for people (unlike myself) who are extremely knowledgeable about the 1960's and 70's music scene.
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Neal Pollack’s first book, The Neal Pollack Anthology of American Literature, was published in 2000, becoming an (almost) instant cult classic. His debut novel, Never Mind the Pollacks, hit shelves in 2003, and was shamelessly promoted by his band, The Neal Pollack Invasion. In 2007, he published Alternadad, a best-selling memoir. In 2010, Pollack became a certified yoga teacher and published Stre ...more