What is redemption worth and what are you willing to risk for it? Five friends, three decades, one band and a set list of rock and roll songs that had defined their unique dynamic and generation, American Zen is an alternately tragic and hilarious week in the lives of four friends in search of the fifth who broke up their band. Hunting for their ex-front man Dave, their odyssey becomes a wider and deeper search for salvation and meaning. During their road trip throughout the eastern seaboard, their amities are put to the test while realizing how much they can and can’t afford to risk. What unfolds is a story of undying friendship driving home the point that even salvation and redemption can come at a high price. Rob the conflicted Zen master, Billy the suicidal ex-SEAL, the ailing Jo Jo, his husband Jeremy and Mike Flannigan our narrator learn how cruel the last three decades have been to them. As they reluctantly seek the truth behind their breakup, the reunion garners for them more infamy and notoriety than they’d ever had as a group. Yet on their road to redemption, they give the best and most soul-defining performances of their lives even in the midst of scandal, gang violence and sudden death. American Zen offers a snapshot of a nation in painful transition. As Barack Obama is about to take the reins as President, Mike is virtually the only political journalist currently not writing about the incoming administration. As America looks forward to change, Mike struggles with that in his and his friends’ lives, realizing that, while the game too changes, the rules remain the same. This is American life and death. This is American rock and roll. This… is American Zen.
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Robert Crawford is a published poet and independent author who lives with his fiancee and surly cat in central Massachusetts.
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