BOOK REVIEW: Jessie May – Money Hacks for Metalheads and Old Millennials

One of the few regrets of my life so far is I never really learned how to handle and invest money. While I squarely blame myself for my misspent youth and years when I made higher salaries and still failed to save, I have to wonder why they don’t teach personal finance in High School, as opposed to say, calculus most of us will never use after that semester is over. Even in my long-run at undergrad and graduate school to earn multiple degrees, no one explained to me how much my student loans would dwarf my expenses and even salary in some years. All the while during this time, I played in middling successful bands with a regional following or ran a series of heavy metal websites for the last 15 years. Do we abandon all hope, ye who goes to the ATM to see a negative balance? Or is there a hero coming out of the dark to demystify the seemingly impossible Mount Doom-style odds against working-class musicians?

Now comes that hero, and she doesn’t even need a cape! Mild-mannered school librarian by day, writer/musician by night Jessie May performs in bands like Owl Maker, Turkey Vulture, and is the editor of and more recently, has released her first book, and it is right on time unpacking the perils of the industry in 2020. Money Hacks for Metalheads and Old Millennials, Conquering Personal Finance, One Riff At A Time (Kindle Direct Publishing) is here to take a 30,000-foot view of a gnarly subject, money, and gear it towards working musicians so you can get out of your mom’s basement and actually make a living wage someday. The book sets out to prove you don’t need to be a forever wageslave to “the man” and make more money, save more money, and best of all, actually earn money from your music

Jessie takes a practical view of money, mistakes you make, things you never knew, and a common-sense approach on how to get out of the hole you likely dug yourself in. There is great advice on first, keeping more of what you have, if anything, in a way that feels thoughtful and realistic. Then there is a ton of advice on how to make more money. It may seem like the low-hanging fruit of advice, but realistically most of us would like to have more money, but most millennials and hell, even Gen Xers are not prone to scrimping and saving, scoffing at working extra jobs. Just the facts.

The main thing, the most important part of the book, is the next to last chapter. Here is the section on money advice for working musicians. Real-world, crushingly honest, advice on band finances and your music career. I can’t say enough about how valuable this section of the book is for anyone in 2020 still trying to make it in a band. This section of the book alone is worth whatever you pay for it.

While Jessie goes to great lengths to say she is not a financial professional, the care, research, and sources cited, plus with the help of a CPA for backup, makes me feel like this is coming from a very trustworthy perch of knowledge. She also interviewed working musicians and industry types such as Monica Strutt (The Last Martyr), Jason Lekberg, Jeramie Kling(Venom Inc., The Absence), gave in-depth advice about the pros and cons of investing and your 401K plan, and, and even some great money-saving recipes for bands( buy a crockpot yall!) Since Jessie is a professional writer by trade, the book is fun and not at all dry, as you would imagine most finance books are. Certainly, this is the first personal finance book ever with puns about both Carcass and The Dark Crystal series on Netflix. (Cancel your Netflix, btw, it’s not essential!)

This book is a phenomenal resource for anyone in a band and is essential reading in 2020 for anyone interested in improving their fortunes in the near future. She even made the book dirt cheap (less than a Starbucks break or a fast-food order), so even your broke ass can afford it. I wish this was around when I was in bands. Pour one out for my music career, but now I have hope of fixing some of my major financial mistakes in the past.

Ebook preorders are currently available here, with paperback preorders available shortly:

10 / 10