You wouldn’t think a book detailing the rock star life would be one about hope or faith – but this one is. Sure, it’s got the usual tales of sex, drugs and rock and roll that you would expect but the story of this wanna be rock star evolves into one of trials, triumph, finding God, and following his dreams, regardless of the circumstances. The rocker we’re referring to is James Michael McLester and he’s the drummer for Saints and Sinners, a Whitesnake tribute band based in Dallas, and author of Wannabee Rockstar that Finally Found the Rock.
McLester spent his teenage years and adult life as a songwriter and drummer for several local bands, including the popular band Solinger. More recently, McLester has added author to his resume as well. The story he tells though is more than that of chasing the dream of rock and roll stardom; McLester’s story is his journey of finding faith through a near-death experience and facing the challenges of kidney failure.
If you were into the rock and roll scene in the late 80s and early 90s in the north Texas area, McLester’s reminiscences will bring back lots of memories of the cool local venues in the area, some that are long gone, as well as familiar names of popular bands and the songs we loved from those years.
McLester’s life took a detour in 2001 when he was diagnosed with kidney failure. In early 2003, he had a near-death experience with end stage renal failure. His renal failure was the result of mercury toxicity caused by the mercury fillings he received as a child. Although the fillings were removed, the damage had already been done. At this point, McLester was facing regular kidney dialysis and needed a kidney transplant.
His journey over the next years involved doing everything he could to restore his health. All throughout that time, McLester never lost faith that God would restore him to good health, while still focusing on making music and sharing his story and testimony. Wannabee Rock Star Who Finally Found the Rock chronicles the years following his diagnosis, his struggle to restore his health, and to keep making music.
After watching Saints and Sinners perform at the House of Blues, we were able to sit down with James and talk about his life, the book, and what the future holds for him. He spoke of his undying faith that God will restore him to health. McLester is continuing to receive dialysis three times a week while still playing drums for Saints and Sinners and Supernova Remnant.
In order to help raise the funds he needs to cover his ongoing dialysis, medications, and upcoming transplant, McLester is involved with Help Hope Live, a nonprofit organization to help transplant patients. The costs related to transplantation are astronomical and the anti-rejection medications he will need will be an ongoing financial burden. The good news is that McLester is expecting to have a living donor within the next few weeks and begin his journey through kidney transplantation.
Check out the slideshow of some of these recent events:
Learn more about James Michael McLester from his website and follow him on Facebook and Twitter to find out when he’ll be performing next and to follow his journey to good health. You can also order a copy of Wannabee Rock Star Who Finally Found the Rock to help offset some of his medical expenses.