Rock Bottom Remainders

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Rock Bottom Remainders
The Rock Bottom Remainders, with Bruce Springsteen, performing at the American Booksellers Association convention in Anaheim, California, 1992 Photo by: Jamie Doncho
Background information
OriginAnaheim, California, United States
GenresRock music
Years active1992 (1992)–2012 (2012); 2015

The Rock Bottom Remainders, also known as the Remainders, was an American rock charity supergroup, consisting of published writers, most of them both amateur musicians and popular English-language book, magazine, and newspaper authors. The band took its self-mocking name from the publishing term "remaindered book", a work of which the unsold remainder of the publisher's stock of copies is sold at a reduced price. Their performances collectively raised $2 million for charity from their concerts.

Band members included Dave Barry, Stephen King, Amy Tan, Sam Barry, Ridley Pearson, Scott Turow, Joel Selvin, James McBride, Mitch Albom, Roy Blount Jr., Barbara Kingsolver,[1] Robert Fulghum, Matt Groening, Tad Bartimus, Greg Iles, Aron Ralston[2] and honorary member Maya Angelou[3] among others, as well as professional musicians such as multi-instrumentalist (and author) Al Kooper, drummer Josh Kelly, guitarist Roger McGuinn and saxophonist Erasmo Paulo. Founder Kathi Kamen Goldmark[4] died on May 24, 2012,[5] and the group disbanded a month later, following a memorial concert in her honor.[6]


The Remainders was founded by Kathi Kamen Goldmark in 1992.[4] Goldmark was then a musician whose day job was in book publicity.[4] Through this, she met many prolific authors.[4] One day while driving one of the authors around, she hit upon the idea of starting a band with them. It stuck.[4] The Remainders' first performance was in 1992 at the American Booksellers Association convention in Anaheim, California. A review of the concert in The Washington Post referred to it as "the most heavily promoted musical debut since The Monkees."[7]

In his memoir On Writing, Stephen King described the Remainders' performances as energetic if sloppy due to the limited music skill of himself and some other writers, and perhaps reminiscent of a bar band when augmented by a few professional musicians.: '...with a couple of “ringer” musicians on sax and drums (plus, in the early days, our musical guru, Al Kooper, at the heart of the group), we sounded pretty good. You’d pay to hear us. Not a lot, not U2 or E Street Band prices, but maybe what the oldtimers call “roadhouse money."'[8] Dave Barry later joked "We played music by what I call the Rumor Method, wherein from time to time an alarming rumor went around the band: There might have been a chord change. This prompted everybody to change to a new chord. Although not necessarily the same new chord."[9]

The Remainders also played at the opening of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1995.[10]

In April 2010, they began the Wordstock Tour presented by the Pearson Foundation and We Give Books, benefiting the children and schools of Haiti.

The Remainders gave their last concert on June 23, 2012, at the annual conference of the American Library Association in Anaheim, where they played their first concert 20 years before. The event, co-sponsored by ProQuest, raised money for library and information science scholarships.[11]

The Remainders last performed together on the August 6, 2012, episode of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, on which both Stephen King and Dave Barry were guests (although the segment was taped in June 2012 when the band was in town for the ALA concert).

In September 2014, it was announced that the Remainders would reunite to perform at the Tucson Festival of Books in March 2015.[12] On March 15, 2015, the band's reunion was referenced in Merl Reagle's syndicated Sunday crossword puzzle. Titled "Book Notes," the crossword included the band's name and several puns using names of writers who were members.[13]


  • 1992, Anaheim: American Booksellers Association convention
  • 1993, Various cities: The 'Three Chords and an Attitude' tour - 6 dates on the US East Coast
  • 1995, Cleveland: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (opening)
  • A version of the band with Barry and Albom and Ridley Pearson and Warren Zevon also played at the Miami Book Fair in 1997
  • 2012, Anaheim: American Library Association convention
  • 2002, Miami: Outside American Airlines Arena before Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band‘s concert during The Rising tour


Songs covered[edit]

[16] [17] [18] [19] [20]


Several RBR members are featured on the double album Stranger than Fiction ("Don't Quit Your Day Job" Records), along with other noted authors' comic attempts at song.[21]


Dave Barry, Tad Bartimus, Roy Blount Jr., Michael Dorris, Robert Fulghum, Kathi Goldmark, Matt Groening, Stephen King, Barbara Kingsolver, Al Kooper, Greil Marcus, Dave Marsh, Ridley Pearson, Joel Selvin and Amy Tan, Mid-Life Confidential: The Rock Bottom Remainders Tour America with Three Chords and an Attitude, 1994, with photographs by Tabitha King.

Mitch Albom, Dave Barry, Sam Barry, Roy Blount Jr., Matt Groening, Greg Iles, Stephen King, James McBride, Roger McGuinn, Ridley Pearson, Amy Tan, and Scott Turow, Hard Listening: The Greatest Rock Band Ever (Of Authors) Tells All, 2013. The interactive ebook combines essays, fiction, musings, candid email exchanges and conversations, compromising photographs, audio and video clips, and interactive quizzes to give readers a view into the private lives of the authors.[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rottenberg, Josh (August 6, 2012). "Stephen King's all-author rock band plays swan song on 'The Late Late Show' -- Exclusive Video". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 30, 2013.
  2. ^ Fujino, Ginny. "November 17, 2006 - 'Pink Elephants' benefits Voices for Children Foundation". Blacktie South Florida. Retrieved November 30, 2013.
  3. ^ Hellstern, Melissa (April 14, 2010). "The Rock Bottom Remainders: Writers Who Rock for a Good Cause". Retrieved November 30, 2013.
  4. ^ a b c d e McGrath, Charles (June 4, 2007). "Rock On, but Hang on to Your Literary Gigs". The New York Times. Retrieved May 25, 2012.
  5. ^ Green, Lynn (May 24, 2012). "Kathi Kamen Goldmark". BookPage. Retrieved May 25, 2012.
  6. ^ Burch, Cathalena E. (March 11, 2015). "Rock Bottom Remainders: Not the best band, but the most literary". Arizona Daily Star. Retrieved February 23, 2020.
  7. ^ Streitfeld, David (May 27, 1992). "Hey! C.C. Writers; Authors Rock 'Em at Booksellers Convention". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on June 10, 2014. Retrieved November 30, 2013.
  8. ^ Stephen King (2000). On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. NY: Scribner, ISBN 0-7432-1153-7, p. 7
  9. ^ Dave Barry (2020). Lessons from Lucy: The Simple Joys of an Old, Happy Dog. NY: Simon and Schuster, (paperback edition) ISBN 1501161164, p. 71
  10. ^ "Dave Barry Official Website". September 4, 1995. Retrieved June 24, 2013.
  11. ^ American Library Association (2012). "ALA/PROQUEST Scholarship Bash". Archived from the original on July 6, 2012. Retrieved July 3, 2012.
  12. ^ "Band booked: Rock Bottom Remainders reuniting in Tucson". Arizona Daily Star. September 13, 2014. Retrieved September 23, 2014.
  13. ^ "Merl Reagle's Sunday Crosswords - Sunday Crossword". Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  14. ^ "Archives -". Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  15. ^ Kingsolver, Barbara. "Confessions of a Reluctant Rock Goddess." High Tide in Tucson. New York: HarperCollins, 1995.
  16. ^ *"Jailhouse Rock" Mitch Albom lead vocal, and in full prisoner regalia
  17. ^ *"Runaway" Del Shannon Scott Turow lead vocal -- check out the wig
  18. ^ *"Teen Angel" Stephen King lead vocal
  19. ^ *"The Slut Song" written and performed by Kathi Kamen Goldmark with Amy Tan
  20. ^ *"Proofreading Woman" written and performed by Dave Barry
  21. ^ ""Don't Quit Your Day Job" Records Catalog Item". June 14, 2002. Retrieved June 24, 2013.
  22. ^ "Hard Listening". Coliloquy. Archived from the original on June 29, 2013. Retrieved June 24, 2013.

External links[edit]