The novel is a historical fiction work centered on the early years of the Beatles. With his creation of the main character, Dust Bin Bob, Kihn takes the reader inside the world of Beatlemania.
“It was a magical time never to be repeated because obviously now the technology’s changed everything and you know let’s face it, the entire music business has changed and become much more corporate so I think what happened with the Beatles probably never be recreated,” Kihn said.
Kihn’s inspiration for the story came from a series of interviews he did with former Beatles.
“When I interviewed Ringo and then later Paul I asked both of them where the Beatles got their records. The songs, the R&B singles that constituted their early repertoire and set the pace for what they would be writing later, basically their entire musical genre. Where did they those records, well they got them, and the answer came from everybody was the same. They got them from merchant marines,” Kihn said.
While the character Dust Bin Bob is purely fictional, Kihn said that a person like him could have existed due to the fact that the records the Beatles used for inspiration came from several merchant marines who brought them over from the states.
Kihn went on to say that a band’s repertoire during that era became a crucial factor in determining the success of the band. Having the advantage of learning from records from America, which generally took longer to reach Europe, gave the Beatles an edge over other local bands.
“When they went to Hamburg they need six sets a night. They needed a ton of material,” Kihn said.
It was a result of learning these covers that shaped the Beatles’ original musical style.
“If you go back and you listen to the early Beatles’ hits like ‘Please Please Me’ and ‘Love Me Do’ with the Harmonica they’re very reminiscent of those early R&B songs that they had learned,” Kihn said.
The idea for Rubber Soul started with Kihn’s earlier interviews with Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney but it wasn’t until he spoke with Pete Best that the story came to life.
“I talked to Ringo and the idea was in the back of my mind but it wasn’t until I talked to Pete Best about a year later. Pete was a real fountain of knowledge. Pete Best was the original drummer for the Beatles and he was the drummer during the Hamburg days. And his insight into the early stuff like, I put things in Rubber Soul that appear nowhere else that I know are true, you know, little nuggets of fact mixed in there with the fictional story. For instance where Stu Sutcliffe, you know, no one’s ever published where and when and how he got kicked in the head and died from a brain aneurism a year later but Pete Best remembered the whole thing. He told me the entire story about how he tried to come to Pete’s aid and John Lennon came. It was a real battle,” Kihn said.
There’s an interesting part in Rubber Soul where a drunken audience member stammers onto the stage and takes over the Beatle’s drum set and insists on performing with the band. According to Kihn the story is true and it also comes from Best.
Kihn is a true Beatle fan who says he purchased each album the day it was released. That’s what gives Rubber Soul its magic. Kihn’s passion and dedication invested in the project is present in every sentence written.
“I gotta tell you I had so much fun writing this book. And I think when people it read they see a lot of the joy and the fun that I came up with when I was writing it. Cause you know at the end of the day I couldn’t wait to get home, fire up the computer and slam down a couple pages,” Kihn said.
The root of Kihn’s enthusiasm is what he calls the “creative muscle.” He said he’s always working on a creation. Whether it’s a song, a radio sketch or a novel it all leads back to the same part of the brain. Everything comes together including crossovers from his personal life.
“I got so much personal experience. So many things have happened to me. Crazy things, funny things, bizarre things, that I use all of that in my writing,” Kihn said.
Kihn went on to say that, “to me, that’s the fun of living. I got a million stories. I could sit here and just reel them off one at a time and I think that that’s what makes what I do special. I got a lot of background and a lot of experience. So when I sit down to write, I never have to strain it just comes flowing out.”
Along with real life experiences interwoven in his work, Kihn also uses symbolism to give life to his work. True rock and roll fans will appreciate the several nods Kihn made to rock history throughout Rubber Soul.
“Symbolism is, you know, such a big part of novel writing these days. These symbolists are out there and they try to read things into everything. And yes your right I was planting seeds left and right to get people to notice things,” Kihn said.
Kihn’s enthusiasm towards the project has continued on into a sequel that picks up after Rubber Soul’s climatic end in Milan. Kihn said he is more than seventy pages into the first draft of the sequel.
With a lot on his plate including concerts, book signings and recording pod casts Kihn still manages to find time to write.
“I enjoy writing it as much as I hope people enjoy reading it,” Kihn said.
Rubber Soul can be ordered through Kihn’s official website or by visiting Amazon.com.