Geek to Guitar Hero
Alex is an awkward, introverted child growing up in 1970s Berkeley, California – a confusing vortex of shifting values, rampant drug use and social confusion. Misunderstood by his family and taunted mercilessly by classmates, he suffers from a paralyzing lack of confidence and low self-esteem. His existence is made tolerable when he discovers a superhero-like rock band, KISS, which inspires him to learn the guitar. While in high school, he auditions for Legacy – a group of hard partying, working class, twenty-something metalheads from the East Bay suburbs. After recording his first album with the group at age eighteen, he defies his Ivy League parents’ rigid academic expectations by forgoing college and hitting the road with metal bands including Slayer, Megadeth, White Zombie and Judas Priest. As his own band, now known as Testament, rises through the ranks of thrash metal, the world begins to take notice of the young guitar prodigy who, despite being fawned over by autograph-seeking metalheads, guitar fanatics and adoring female fans, still feels the pain, awkwardness and ghosts of his past. Soon, a blooming interest in jazz and literature reshapes his values and strengthens his musicianship, bringing further accolades from fans and media but causing resistance and tension from within his inner circle. These experiences cause a realization to unfold: that the scene in which he had first sought his freedom and self-identity is fraught with its own perilous limitations, while the education he’d so fiercely resisted from his family can be invaluable when sought on one’s own terms.
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