Book Review: Jim Peterik – Through the Eye of the Tiger: The Rock 'N' Life of Survivor's Founding Member

Book Review: Jim Peterik – Through the Eye of the Tiger: The Rock 'N' Roll Life of Survivor's Founding Member
BenBella Books
All Access Rating: B+

Jim Peterik - Through the
Eye of the Tiger: The
Rock 'N' Roll Life of
Survivor's Founding Member
Usually, rock 'n' roll autobiographies are a damn sight more tawdry and scandalous than this.

A faithful husband devoted to his wife of 40-some years, Karen, and a good Catholic, whose greatest vices seem to be a love of fast cars and vintage guitars, Jim Peterik, practically a teetotaler, never experienced a harrowing descent in the dark world of addiction or took part in out-of-control sex orgies with underage groupies and farm animals.

Nobody's doing blow off a stripper's ass or tossing televisions out of hotel room windows in the refreshingly sweet, sometimes tumultuous and deeply personal "Through The Eye of the Tiger: The Rock 'N' Life of Survivor's Founding Member," from BenBella Books. Aside from a brief moment of weakness in a hotel room with Connie, made famous in the Grand Funk Railroad song "We're An American Band," that ended before anything serious happened, Peterik was practically a choirboy.

His story is pretty tame stuff compared to the endless debauchery of Motley Crue's "The Dirt: Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band" or even Sammy Hagar's "Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock." The juiciest bits have to do with Peterik unwillingly ceding control of Survivor to Frankie Sullivan and their often fractious relationship, as well as behind-the-scenes power struggles with meddling music-industry Svengali types – kingmaker John Kalodner being one of them – and the dirty dealing that resulted in .38 Special's hit version of "Rockin' Into the Night," originally written by Peterik and members of Survivor for their own use.

Mostly a straightforward account of Peterik's struggles and triumphs in a music industry, as well as interpersonal relationships with band mates, friends and family, "Through the Eye of the Tiger" –featuring a forward by REO Speedwagon's Kevin Cronin – focuses on Peterik's almost obsessive drive for success, which almost cost him his marriage and his own sense of identity. The commissioning of the rousing Survivor anthem "Eye of the Tiger" by action-movie star Sly Stallone for "Rocky III" is addressed right up front and without delay, and his sometimes scattered prose, competently shaped by writer Lisa Torem, turns almost giddy with excitement any time the conversation turns to the process of making music, which, for him, has always been something magical. That's what garners the lion's share of attention in the book.

From his teen years fronting Ides of March and riding the smash hit "Vehicle" to the top of the charts on through the mega success of Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger," Peterik leads readers into intensely creative studio sessions, recalls sensational live performances and gigs that fizzled, and handles uncomfortable matters, such as the firing of band members or personal failings, with kid gloves. His musical fandom and admiration for bands like The Turtles, the Allman Brothers and British Invasion influences comes shining through, as well, and, in the end, even though it's not a torrid page-turner, "Through the Eye of the Tiger" has a charming and rare innocence and a good heart that other books of this ilk simply don't. That makes Peterik's story one worth telling.
– Peter Lindblad


  1. AWESOME REVIEW Peter Lindblad!!- I met Jim Peterik while in Nashville in 2009 and he was just as you describe…he was a very sweet "Rock Star" and he was "ego-free" and "attitude-free" I was introduced by a mutual friend…and then the the friend left and let us sit there and chat…I told him he reminded me of Darryl De Loach from Iron Butterfly personality wise…because he was so free-spirited and fun to be around! Jim signed a pair of pants for me that I had, since starting to collect signatures on, in 2005 that I told him eventually will be put up on a celebrity auction to help kids and musicians through Music Aid NW in Seattle and Music Cares…I still have the "Luv Jeans" with "tons" of autographs on them…and someday will spread the luv! I thought it was kewl that he had signed the jeans,we sat there and chatted for a bit more and his energy I'm sure will lift off right off of the pages and straight into the readers heart….as only his lives story could be told…"Through the Eye of the Tiger!" Thanks Jim for writing this book…finally and signing the "Luv Jeans!" and thank you DT for the introduction to "The Tiger" himself!!

  2. That's a great story, K.K.! I've never met him, but after reading his book, he's one I'd really like to interview some day. Thanks for the kind words.

  3. awww thanks Peter- I would also love to hear Jim read his own autobiography in audiobook form for Audible!! That would rock!!

  4. He should make an audio book!