Most accounts of a rock star on tour rely heavily on the trinity of human excesses: sex, drugs, and rock and roll. With every sight and sensation available to a young man traveling the world with a guitar in hand, who cares what they had to eat?
It doesn't take long to forget all of those misconceptions while sliding though the barely more than 100 pages of Sound Bites: Eating on Tour with Franz Ferdinand. Alex Kapranos is the lead singer of the Scottish rock band Franz Ferdinand, a group that quickly rose to the cream of the indie rock crop. The band's tightly-wound, angular rock is the polar opposite of Kapranos and his loose, insightful prose about the culinary delights - and disasters - he experienced on tour.
The book flows like an album of snapshots. A canned meal on the Bullet Train in Nagoya, snooty waiters in Beverly Hills, and Mom's homemade birthday cake are all treated with the same wonder and enthusiasm that makes Sound Bites such an infectious read. His enthusiasm is sometimes lost on his bandmates, who treat eating more like a necessity than the loving communal affair Kapranos is always looking for.
Kapranos does a wonderful job constructing scenes in detail, but he saves his true fervor for the tastes and textures that enter his mouth. Everything from donuts in Brooklyn to bull testicles in Buenos Aires is given the same warmth and interest. His love for food is so contagious that it is a true blessing to reach the end, where eight pages of addresses offer the locations of all the landmarks in the book.
Before rock stardom found him at 30 years old, Kapranos spent the better part of a decade slogging away in restaurants he couldn't afford to eat in. That he can come back to these restaurants without resentment, just an excitement for the food, is incredible. Fans of Franz Ferdinand will enjoy this book for its insights into one of their rock heroes, and fans of food will enjoy it for the zeal Kapranos feels.
You'll end the book feeling hungry and ready to try that new restaurant down the street.