Thomas Wictor

Ghosts and Ballyhoo: Memoirs of a Failed L.A. Music Journalist

An extravagumbo of uniquely honest insights!

—Stephen Jay
“Weird Al” Yankovic band, singer, songwriter, composer, and obscenely talented bassist

Unlike other writers’ retrospectives, Tom Wictor’s Ghosts and Ballyhoo doesn’t just feature the most interesting insider tidbits from a long career in the music-journalism trenches; included is the exorcism of the personal demons that informed the stories in the first place. The result is funny, revealing, and worth reading.

—Bryan Beller
Bassist, composer, writer, and official replacement hands for Thomas Wictor

It just may be one of the best books you’ve ever read… As you find yourself laughing out loud on one page and getting a lump in your throat on the next, you’ll come to the same conclusion I did: Thomas Wictor is a great writer. Calling Wictor a bass journalist is kind of like calling Picasso a cartoonist; Tom was once, and Pablo was once, but of course that was never their real calling.

—Rick Suchow
Bass Musician Magazine

At every turn revealing, enlightening, and heartbreaking in the most jagged fashion imaginable. Part essayist gone wild, part wild talent at Gonzo full-speed rhythm, this is a tour-de-force to be reckoned with and cried over. I have been truly, deeply touched. So very, very rare.

—Bobbo Brown
KNTX Radio

What would you do if life’s cruel vicissitudes stripped you of your several careers as artist, model maker, writer, musician and, to top it all, robbed you of the love of the woman you knew in every fiber of your being was predestined to be yours? If you’re Thomas Wictor, you exorcise Fate’s demons through the art of memoir, in the process richly entertaining your readers even as you chronicle your slow journey towards understanding and forgiveness.

—Robert Schulslaper

While Thomas Wictor may call himself a “failure” at a great many things, he has been successful in accumulating many interesting experiences. Few people have met with so many famous musicians and even fewer can tell us what it is like to be murdered.

—a public officer
State of California

Post-Abrahamic pseudo-religious chatter about synchronicity, a slightly creepy obsession with Scott Thunes, some hippy dippy necromancy stuff and other forms of “me me me.” It is beyond frustrating. Weird tales about ghost cats, ex-girlfriends and medical history. In the end we are drip-fed stuff about Gene Simmons, Scott Thunes and Ray Shulman. This is why blogs exist.

Edinburgh, Scotland

If you’re looking for a breezy, gossipy tell-all about the music industry, Thomas Wictor’s Ghosts and Ballyhoo is not the book for you. Sure, there are some juicy tales of excess and bratty star behavior, but Ghosts and Ballyhoo is more about the business of being human than it is about the business of music. Wictor has penned a brutally honest account of life, loss, and learning from one’s mistakes that is both moving and funny. Wictor’s book may not be for everyone, but I enjoyed it tremendously and even learned a thing or two.

—Kelli Simpson
The Zen of Motherhood

Obviously Wictor does look back on many of his articles and interviews fondly. The part he does not remember fondly is the bitter politics in the publishing industry and the mind games editors play. This is an enjoyable book perfect for music fans, pop culture fanatics, writers and those who dig studying human nature.

—Gwen Joy
Motor City Blog

What we have here is an unflinching, brutally honest and yet strangely hopeful look at a life full of ups and downs from someone who just didn’t want to give up. This isn’t a “woe is me” type of autobiography however. Instead it’s a very well written one that shows just what you can do when you set your mind to it and also teaches a good life lesson about trying your best… All in all, this is an absolutely brilliant autobiography and well worth picking up.

—Patrick Challis
Curiosity of a Social Misfit

If you enjoy reading brilliant writing about a self-centered man who is willing to tell anything about anyone he has every[sic] known (without giving their real names) and who is one of the most judgmental people this reviewer has come across in literature, you will enjoy this book. Other reviewers are praising it. This reviewer, by the end, found it nearly impossible not to throw against the wall.

—Rhetta Akamatsau

Sick guy; good book!

—Kevin Johnson
First Assistant to the Undersecretary of Torpidity

Those of the American persuasion may find this torrent of sex, bad manners, and famous people I have known, as they say, uplifting. Personally, I felt my breakfast kipper uplifting toward the buccal egress. Ballyhoo indeed. This Wictor wallah deserves a good hard rogering, and I’m sure there are legions of responsible and high-toned critics polishing the blue steel of their bayonets at this very moment for that very purpose. Never apologise, never explain. You ninny.

—a gentleman