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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Unearthing? Oh Well, Whatever, Nevermind.


Over the last several months, if not the last year, the focus of my writing has shifted from writing novels to music journalism.

I suspect a lot of that has to do with the fact that my first published novel, “The Unearthing” has performed so poorly, whereas my time with CONFRONT MAGAZINE has pretty much given me a real audience and allowed me to review a lot of good music and interview a lot of great musicians. I’ve also been able to use the magazine as a platform to discuss more serious issues, like the humanitarian crisis in Darfur.

I dare say I’ve even made a couple of friends out of it, and gotten to live a little of the life portrayed in Cameron Crowe’s marvelous film, “Almost Famous”.

But it’s been almost a year since I’ve been able to write fiction; oh, I start projects up but they peter out, either because I lose interest or, more often, because the stories don’t seem to go anywhere after the first few dozen pages. I’ve a couple of novels that I’d finished prior to this descent into the cold Hell that is Writer’s Block, but I’ve not successfully completed writing a novel since some time late last year.

Recently an old friend emailed me, having just purchased my one and so far only published novel. God bless her, she didn’t even try and finagle a discount. Being an avid reader, however, she seized upon the opportunity to pick the brains of the writer whose work she was reading. While dissecting “The Unearthing” we started discussing another novel that I’d finished work on last year and I even sent her some sample chapters to put under her literary microscope.

The novel in question, under the working title “Oh Well, Whatever, Nevermind”, chronicles the lives of six friends involved in a college bar band in the early 1990s, during the height of the Grunge era. Some chapters of that novel saw the light of day at PHYTE MAGAZINE, but other than that, not much came of it. Yes, it’s a novel I plan to eventually publish, even hiring an illustrator to do some artwork to include in the book.

But like so many other writing projects, I’ve been avoiding it, not feeling confident enough to pick it up for a re-read and revision. “The Unearthing”, a novel that I spent nearly ten years of my life writing, rewriting, revising and updating, a novel whose publication was oh-so very important to me has stalled and coasted to a halt in the box canyon of obscurity, has loomed large in my mind since I realized (and admitted) just how poorly it had sold.

But, having discussed it with my friend and having started looking at “Oh Well, Whatever, Nevermind” with her (and getting some much-needed critical feedback), I decided it might be time to have another look at that Grunge-Era novel, pick it up again and start working on readying the project for eventual publication.

The first place I started, however, wasn’t with the story itself, but with the music I listened to while writing the novel. Much of the music I listened to while writing “Nevermind” was, of course, from the 1990s. However, there were some old standards from the 60s, 70s and even the godforsaken 1980s. The playlist I built successfully captures the overall tone of the novel and probably did more than a little to inspire the novel’s writing.

All that to say that while I am now officially back at work on completing “Oh Well, Whatever, Nevermind”, I would like to start by sharing that playlist with you. Obviously I can’t legally share the music files with you per se, but using the list you can probably cobble together the music for yourself.

If you do decide to, I hope you enjoy listening to the selections. Maybe you could even suggest some music that I could add to the list.

Music Inspirational to the Writing of “Oh Well, Whatever, Nevermind” :

01 – “Tones of Home”, Blind Melon
02 – “Mellow Yellow”, Donovan
03 – “Dancing Days”, Led Zeppelin
04 – “Hunger Strike”, Temple of the Dog
05 – “Little Wing”, Jimi Hendrix
06 – “So What?”, Ministry
07 – “Head Like a Hole”, Nine Inch Nails
08 – “Dominion / Mother Russia”, The Sisters of Mercy
09 – “Love Buzz”, Nirvana
10 – “Hard to Handle”, The Black Crowes
11 – “Get Here”, Oleta Adams
12 – “Breaking the Girl”, Red Hot Chili Peppers
13 – “Detachable Penis”, King Missile
14 – “Riders on the Storm”, The Doors
15 – “Sweet Child O’ Mine”, Guns & Roses
16 – “Push”, Stone Temple Pilots
17 – “About a Girl”, Nirvana
18 – “Drug Buddies”, The Lemonheads
19 – “Kid Fears”, Indigo Girls
20 – “I’m Still Alive”, Pearl Jam
21 – “Take A Walk on the Wild Side”, Lou Reed
22 – “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”, U2
23 – “Locked in the Trunk of a Car”, The Tragically Hip
24 – “You Give Love a Bad Name”, Bon Jovi
25 – “Unbelievable”, EMF
26 – “Been Caught Stealin’”, Jane’s Addiction
27 – “Runaway Train”, Soul Asylum
28 – “Old Woman Behind The Counter”, Pearl Jam
29 – “Higher State of Consciousness”, Josh Wink
30 – “Think About You”, Radiohead
31 – “’Round Here”, Counting Crows
32 – “Time After Time”, Cyndi Lauper
33 – “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, Tori Amos
34 – “Closer to Fine”, Indigo Girls
35 – “No Excuses”, Alice in Chains.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Dolores O'Riordan and the Stars of Track and Field


So, I’ve been very busy of late with a lot of different projects for CONFRONT Magazine. The two most pressing have been doing research for a phone interview I had on Tuesday with Dolores O’Riordan, formerly of The Cranberries, about her new solo project (though we spent a lot of time talking about her kids) and transcribing the interview I did back in March, with Daniel Orvik of the Stars of Track and Field.

The Dolores O’Riordan interview was really thrilling for me, because I’ve been a fan of her music since ‘Everyone Else is Doing it Why Aren’t We?’ which was the Cranberries’ debut CD. Dolores O’Riordan also qualifies as my “first” big celebrity interview and I’m fairly sure it’s the first time I’ve gotten an overseas call from Germany, which is where she was on Tuesday.

The Stars of Track and Field are, of course, a band whose music I love and enjoy, a band whose music deserves a far larger audience than it’s currently getting, thanks in no small part to the recalcitrance of corporate radio to play something that doesn’t easily fit into the mould of what their focus groups tell them the kids are listening to these days.

As I listened to my interview with Daniel Orvik to transcribe it for this edition’s Beat Bazaar, I was reminded of how well he and I hit it off, talking and joking throughout the interview.

I think that my time with CONFRONT Magazine has taught me to better appreciate music, simply because I’ve learned so much about what goes into the production of an album and how hard those musicians work to get their stuff out there, even after they have “made it”, per se.

By nature (and I speak from personal experience as an author) artists tend to desire acceptance and approval from other people. Life on the road for all but a very few lucky musicians who can tour with their closest family and friends tends to be very lonely, so I imagine it must be gratifying for them to meet anybody they can relate to, especially when that person appreciates their music.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

I can't keep it in any more...I HATE the homeless...

...except for very few cases, these bums are the architects of their own misery.

And, having several use the sidwalk outside the coffee shop I work at as a base of operations, I also know that many of them earn more in a day than a lot of us. The number of people stupid enough to give them $5 or more, buy them groceries, and gush all over them...White Lexus Liberal guilt at its finest.

What none of these insipid bleeding hearts realize is what fncking parasites these "homeless" are...taking us all for a ride.

Given the level of disrespect and contempt that they display to society and to the very fools who soon part with their money to feed these filth? I work for a living, and I earn every goddamn cent I make and I'm barely able to scrape by! These bastards just sit around all day and wait to be GIVEN everything to them! WHAT respect are they deserving of? The only reason I don't want to see them rounded up and shot is because I'm opposed to capital punishment.

If it were up to me the homeless would be rounded up and put to work in labour camps, along with most prisoners, in order to train them to become productive members of society.

Friday, June 01, 2007

THE WARLOCKS STILL ROCK!




I am pleased this week to pass on some information about my favourite underappreciated rock band, the Warlocks.

This week Bobby Hecksher, frontman and founder of The Warlocks, announced that the band had signed with Tee Pee Records and have been in the studio since last month, recording tracks for a new CD.

My old readers all know that I fell in love with the sound of the Warlocks back in March of last year when I went to see the Sisters of Mercy perform their first show in Montreal in 14 years. The Warlocks were their opening act and I was so taken by their music that I went out and got their whole catalogue.

Every so often I devote a CONFRONT MAGAZINE Broadcast to the band and they’ll be perpetually on my best of lists. Their music is trippy rock and roll, fusing elements from the whole Rock Spectrum: blues, arena, anthem, trip, and metal all into one unique sound.

The Warlocks have been around the better part of ten years, coming together in 1999 when Hecksher joined forces with guitarist Corey Lee, Bassist Jenny Fraser, keyboardist Laura Grigsby, and drummers Bob Mustacio and Jason Anchondo. That’s right: The Warlocks use two drummers—and you can’t believe what that does for their sound!

These guys put out one of the best live shows you can hope to see; none of the ridiculous costume changes, wire-flying and stage theatrics that so many pretentious acts use to cover up their actual lack of stage presence.

And they’ve weathered problems that have crushed other bands, from losing band-mates and lawsuits, to break-ins and thefts to being dumped by their label in the middle of a tour.

The news that they’ve signed to a label that’s put out some of the best acts out there in rock music and that they’re recording new material is something we should all be encouraged by: they don’t sound a thing like any of the acts that are getting attention these days.

Their sound is unique and original, and bloody fresh given the cookie cutter acts mentioned above. It’s just what the music listening public needs right now: something wholly new. The Industry’s been feeding us hamburger for too damn long. It’s going to be nice to sink into a nice, juicy steak.

The Warlocks Official Site : http://www.thewarlocks.com/

The Warlocks MySpace : http://myspace.com/thewarlocks