Rock Bottom at the Renaissance, the mixtape memoir from Emmy-winning producer and music journalist (Comedy Central, Rolling Stone, Billboard, Spin, and Vice) Mike Henneberger – featuring songs by Jimmy Eat World, Bayside, Alkaline Trio, Mayday Parade, The Wonder Years, The Dangerous Summer, Bright Eyes, and more – is officially available today wherever books and ebooks are sold. Purchase links can be found at rockbottombook.com.
Though much of the book is set in a hotel room during a weekend of self-imposed isolation and self-destructive introspection, and navigates the dark tunnels of Henneberger’s booze and drug-addled mind, it’s much larger in scope – taking in much of his past. Henneberger tells us of his Texas childhood defined by divorce, sibling rivalry, and an instability that forced him to navigate the most important years of a young man’s life without any sort of compass. He takes us through his minor successes – touring in bands, launching a magazine, and performing stand-up comedy – as he wonders if the sense of confidence instilled by those accomplishments is actually delusion. We get a glimpse into his time in the U.S. Army, which rather than increase his sense of purpose, only increased his chemical dependencies and triggered mental illness. And at the heart of the book, are Henneberger’s quests to find love, and, perhaps most importantly, his relationship with music and its power to get us through life’s toughest moments.
“You might not get that much hope from reading the book,” Henneberger admits. “But you get it from me still being here and putting it out. You have to look at it like an old Dangerous Summer or a Bayside album – it’s fucking dark, and it’s scary and it’s sad, but we were all able to make it through and make that album or book. I’ve been suicidal multiple times in my life, but I’m still here – and you can turn that into something to offer other people so they can deal with things they’re suffering with, just like the bands in this book helped me survive through this stuff.”
Some members of a few of those bands have even shared some early social media anticipation and appreciation for Rock Bottom at the Renaissance, including Jack O’Shea from Bayside, Steve Soboslai from Punchline, Ryan Zwiefelhofer from Acceptance, and Brett Detar from The Juliana Theory.
Henneberger will be donating 50% of the royalties from sales of the book from June, July and August to MusiCares and For The Nomads to support ongoing fundraisers aiming to provide emergency Covid-19 relief funds for artists & music industry crew members.