Online today: High Hat Issue 9.5: the 2007 Year-End Best-Of Supplemental. Go forth and read. Or don't, and spend your life wondering.
Friday, December 28, 2007
Monday, December 10, 2007
I don't know how long it would have taken me to get back to blogging if Mr. Emlyn Lewis had not tagged me with a meme. How could I resist?
I am to tell you several (7? 8?) random facts about myself, potentially tied to brushes with people of fame. I am a sadly boring man, so I'll play up the brushes with fame.
1. Once when I was a child, my parents and grandparents took me after church to a brunch at a fancy hotel in downtown Mobile, Alabama (or, at least, what passed for a fancy hotel in Mobile at the time). Although they were certainly trying to keep me on my best behavior, I must have escaped their clutches at one point, because I remember running around the lobby all willy-nilly like children do. What makes this memorable was that I rounded a corner and ran smack into the crotch of Kenny Rogers. I knew who he was. He'd been on the Muppet Show, and here he was, doubled over in pain, looking at me as if I was less a misbehaving little boy than the horrific demon spawn of some countywide-known coward. I tore-ass out of there as fast as I could, but now, of course, I wish someone had been taping the event. It would have ruled one of those Schadenfreudiest Home Video shows.
2. I met Robbie Fulks at a party. I like his synthesis of ironic detachment with heartfelt country (even if he does get carried away sometimes), and I liked him as a person. Great guy, with a similar geeky love of music esoterica. This was only a few years ago, and this party was less than a week before my wife and I were leaving for a two-week vacation in the Northeast. I had just enough vacation time saved up at work and an early morning the next day, so when Fulks asked if I wanted to go with him to the Continental Club to catch Redd Volkaert's set, instead of saying "hell yes" like a smart or normal person, I said, "Man, I have to work in the morning. I have a real job, y'know." It took me several minutes to realize what a phenomenal placement of foot in mouth that was, as if I'd said Fulks' job, which involves schlupping all of the country to play music for people who will criticize to the skies the slightest hint of a lack of enthusiasm, isn't real work, right? By the time I'd apologized, I'd lost him. He was polite but detached, and instead of being Robbie Fulks' friend today, I'm a distant well-wisher. Do I suck? Yes. Yes, I do.
3. All the other brushes with famous or semi-famous people that I can recall at the moment were not good stories. I shook Robert Jr. Lockwood's hand (he's the son of legendary bluesman Robert Johnson). I passed on a joint from Clarence Gatemouth Brown. Paul Westerburg was a dick to me when I was supposed to interview him for the university paper, but Slim Dunlop was a nice, low-key guy. My friend Sue in North Carolina is married to Mike Dean from Corrosion of Conformity, which was the first hardcore band I ever saw back when I was 15 or so. I met the novelist Larry Brown, who was on a book tour and tired as he could be. I rode in the back of a pickup carrying the poet Michael Harper to a reading. My old friend Jeff played in the underrated Remy Zero, who appeared on Smallville quite a bit, which had something to do with the lead singer's short-lived marriage to Alyssa Milano, I think. I got drunk with the cult musician Col. Bruce Hampton one night, and he read my Tarot cards, but I forgot what he said. Britt Daniel liked my GBV t-shirt in the line to the pisser after a Spoon show in 1996 (where they'd covered "A Good Flying Bird"). I spoke briefly with J. Mascis at a Consonant show. There may be a few others, but I can't think of them.
4. So, random facts. I broke my collarbone in a fight in 9th grade, the last fight I was ever in. The guy was named Chad, and he was being a jerk in the weight room, stealing weights, pushing people around, other jock bullshit. I told him he couldn't treat people that way, and he challenged me to prove it to him. You know how they tell you bullies are all talk? Lies. I managed to bruise his eye and bloody his nose. He broke my damn collarbone. By the time I got the brace off a month later, you couldn't tell he'd been in a fight at any point in his life. I still have a knot of bone near my left shoulder.
5. My bachelor's is a joint degree in philosophy and creative writing from the New College of the University of Alabama, which exists only in a diminished half-life now. People have joked to me about studying philosophy in Alabama (because, I presume, we studied ontological approaches to possum stew or the historical dialectic involved in catfish noodling?), but state schools are state schools. You get out of them what you put in. I was mainly interested in the crossover between quantum mechanics and philosophical systems of being at the time, but now that seems much less important than the grounding I got in history of philosophy. You can really retain that sort of knowledge. At least you can retain enough to fuck you up for the rest of your life.
6. I've been playing in bands since I was 15. I love to play music with other people. I've never had a shared creative experience in any other context that could even compare. True, I've never had a threesome, but the logistics of group sex seem confusing, whereas the roles you play in a band are well-defined and presumably a lot less messy.
7. I finished the manuscript for Shoot Out The Lights about a month ago. According to the 33 1/3 blog, it will be released in April 2008. Despite the description in the promo materials, it is not the definitive Mojo article on the album, but a novella about a man obsessed with the album and its parallels with his life. It will be my first mass-market published work of fiction, although it is only a little bit fictional. All of the hardcore analysis of the album and the context around its creation is nonfiction and fairly heartfelt for me. Immediately after finishing the manuscript, I started writing a novel. If I finish it, it will be the second novel I've written. The first was a piece of shit I wrote as an undergrad. No copies of that novel exist, which is best for everyone. I hope to publish this new novel, though. I hope it is good.