Meet 20-year-old roofer and aspiring blues guitarist Alex Gray, who, on the cusp of the millennium, is heading west to California to seek his fortune. Armed with big fear, bigger dreams, a handful of dollars and his beloved guitar Camille, he arrives in Los Angeles to a self-imposed ultimatum: Make it here and now, or grow up and Get Serious.
It's a well-worn track, however, and Alex follows the vapour trails of former dole-buddy and expat-done-good Marvin Price. Already gregarious and exuberant, Marvin has been well and truly Californified by his year in the sun, and persuades Alex that fame and fortune are practically guaranteed the moment you clear customs.
As if to prove the point, a fortuitous encounter with homeless Santa Monica busker Rosco Dunhill III leads to a showcase at Rosco's downtown residence, and the American Dream seems to be playing out in front of Alex.
But the sudden appearance - and transformation of - Alex's onetime love, Marie Clement, is a broadside he doesn't see coming, and the flames of Possibility evaporate almost as soon as they have appeared.
Not one to admit defeat, Marie injects her new zest for life into Alex’s dejected dumbfoundedness, and pretty soon the three of them are in search of the elusive busker, chasing the spirit of Gonzo and the soul of the Beats around California.
THE BEACH meets THE RUM DIARY meets INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS meets ON THE ROAD - and released on what would have been Hunter S. Thompson's 80th birthday - BLUES WITH ICE is a book for anyone who loves music, anyone who's ever been in love, and anyone who was ever a kid that was stumped about what to do with their life.....