You know the drill. Rock 'n' roll memoirs need three essential elements: sex, drugs, and—space permitting—rock 'n' roll. Black Postcards: A Rock & Roll Romance is lacking all three.
Sure, there's some sex, but it's often awkward and haunted by the black cloud of guilty infidelity. Drugs are present, although it's mostly Ambien for the long plane rides; and if you have ever heard Dean Wareham's two bands—Galaxie 500 and Luna—you know they barely rock. Yet despite all this—and in blatant defiance of the rules set forth by The Dirt, Mötley Crüe's rock memoir to end all rock memoirs—Black Postcards is still an enjoyable read.
This is primarily because Dean Wareham is one likeable fellow. (This is probably not an opinion shared by his former wife, countless scorned ex-bandmates, or the discarded, bankrupt record labels he has left in his wake. But other than that, the guy is a real peach.) Wareham comes across as a rock 'n' roll tourist, aimlessly killing time behind a mic and guitar, documenting the whole experience like a visitor on the outside looking in. The book consists of his obsessive, clinical tour documentation, a writing ritual that he kept for his entire career in music. (And I do mean obsessive—what did he eat for dinner before the 1998 Luna show in Spain? He had the fish.) But for all that detailing, he tends to devote less time to the larger picture, especially his relationship with Luna bassist Britta Phillips, which eventually dissolved his already unstable marriage.
The best moments of Black Postcards come not when Wareham is describing the van-to-venue minutia of touring, but when he examines the difficult relationships between band members ("I felt like a lonely prisoner in my own band"), and how, after contracts are penned and success—no matter how modest—comes calling, friendships change forever. This was especially the case within the tight dynamic of Galaxie 500, a doomed relationship perfectly summed up in this line: "You may still be able to laugh together and have fun, but at the heart of it all something has changed forever. Your friendship has been poisoned."