Saturday, February 28, 2009

2 2009 Playlist

This month, I just want to say

This month's playlist
Bag of Monsters by Nova Express
Caught Between Heaven And Hell by Ripsnorter 
People Got A Lotta Nerve by Neko Case
All the machines are quiet by Robert Calvert 
Tribute To Buddy Holly by Mike Berry & The Outlaws
Everyday by Buddy Holly 
That'll be the day by Buddy Holly 
The Natives Are Restless by The Cramps
Cornfed Dames by The Cramps
Voodoo Idol by The Cramps
Bop Pills by The Cramps
I Walked All Night by The Embers

Books Feb 2009

The Vengeful Virgin By Gil Brewer 
Hard Case Crime book for the month
The title says it all, you have a young woman desprate to get away from her dying, but not quick enough, stepfather and the older man who is willing to take the risk and speed things along.  There is a point when both have the power to call the whole thing off and wait, and they have to make the choice to step over the line and take or not. The languae is tough, terse and has a poetry to it. I look forward to reading more Brewer

The Burn Journals by Brent Runyon 
- Non Mystery- This book is the true story of a 14 year old boy who set himself on fire and his recovery.

The Blue Cheer by Ed Lynskey 
I know Ed is out there and might read this, so let me honest. There were parts of this book that I just didn't follow, that just didn't flow for me and there were things that worked. 

Dig that Crazy Grave by Richard S Prather
Christa Faust mentioned this book in a interview somewhere and my ears perked up. Not only because the divine Ms. F was speaking, but the title is also the title of a song by my favorite band.... The Forbidden Dimension (the song is Dig that Cr-a-a-a-zy grave). It was a fun fast read with a plot that unfolds in a couple of bounces and PI Shell Scott grinning the whole way through 

The Hot Rock by  Donald E. Westlake 
Donald Westlake book for the month
This is the first of the Dortmunder books, and it's a fun heist gone wrong story. There are six jobs that get pulled by Dortmunder and his crew, and the story moves along with humor and fun. I like the fact that Parker cohort Alan Grofield gets a role and a starting point in the book. I also watched the movie version of the story with Robert Redford.... which was a flat-pale-abridged version of the book.

Thieves' Market by A.I. Bezzeridies 
Speaking of films, this is the book that Jules Dasins Thieves Highway was based on. It's a gritty tale of the failure of the American Dream. Nick grows up in the inner valley of California where his parents fumble through a loveless marriage and family life. His father never manages to pull himself up by his bootstraps and Nick wants something better. The first 50 or so pages were set up and kinda a slow build, once Nick gets on the road with his truck and buys a load of Apples the story starts to flow. Honestly I like the film better, I think it captures core of the book (apples... core... anyone, anyone?) and give a better ended.... until the very end... just check out the movie, and the book is well worth a read as well.

Spade & Archer by Joe Gores 
Tarot Card Book Mark: Chasing
I have to admit that I haven't ready Hammett's work in many, many years. I read the Maltese Falcon and The Thin Man when I was in my 20s and exploring the world of crime and detective novels seriously for the first time. I recall enjoying them, but wasn't moved to read any of Hammett's other work (for the record I have Red Harvest, The Glass Key and The Dain Curse all with arms reach as I type this).

At any rate, this book is a prequel (a word that too often rhymes with MONEY) to the Falcon. It is well written, fast paced, and a fun slice of classic Detective fiction that will and should sate readers looking for more Sam Spade. The book is structured in three acts, each one a mystery partly built on the previous act, and each one showing us the development of Sam Spade into the tough guy we all have come to know from the book and the movie versions of The Maltese Falcon. We see Spade start his agency, bring on staff and interact with the police. We see him develop long lasting relationships and connections. The crimes that he works on are your typical Detective jobs; missing persons, dock side corruption and lost items. Along the way we also get several nods to Hammett's other work, the appearance of names that might be familiar to some, and locals that already have their built in cashe'. The writing style is sparse and terse, with quips and attitude, along with a wink and a nod. Overall I enjoyed the book, and look forward to the true test of it's power, reading The Maltese Falcon to see how this book flows into it... or not.
Old man's war by  John Scalzi 
Tarot Card Book Mark:The Great Mother
Sci Fi military story

The Wheelman by Duane Swierczynski
Tarot Card Book Mark: The Ocean
Fast and frothy heist-gone-wrong story. It's a nice nod to Westlake/Stark cannon.... I liked it and look forward to reading more Swierczynski.... I just want to know... what's a '.38 German made Bettera'?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Firday's Forgotten Books- River by Rodrick Thorp

Fridays Forgotten Books- River: A Novel of the Green River Killings by Rodrick Thorp

If the name Rodrick Thorp rings a bell... but you don't know why, it's likely that you saw it on a movie or TV screen. Four of his books were adapted and filmed for cable or theractial release. Starting with his 1966 book called The Detective . In 1979 a sequel followed called Nothing Lasts Forever... in which... well here is a bit the plot summary from Wikipedia

" Detective Joe Leland, who is visiting the Klaxon Oil Corporation's headquarters in Los Angeles, where his daughter Steffie Leland Gennaro works. While he is visiting, a German terrorist team led by Anton "Tony" Gruber takes over the building. Leland remains undetected and fights off the terrorists one by one, aided outside the building by LAPD Sargent Al Powell."

Now if any of those names ring a bell, you might have figured out that the book was filmed as a little action flick called Die Hard. It was that film that brought me to Thorp's work and his last novel 1995's River: A Novel of the Green River Killings.

It has been almost 15 years since I last read River, and it wasn't until I started noticing a copy at the local library book sale that I realized that some of the ideas in the book had stayed with me since that first reading. As the title suggests it is a fictional account of the Green River Killer, who had yet to be captured at the time the book was written. Now we all know that Serial Killer stories are few and far between, kidding, they're a dime a dozen. So why would River be worth checking out? and why would it stay in my brain all these years?

Simple, two big story elements in this novel are unlike anything else that I have encountered before or since. The first of these is the killers attempts and desire to record and document every event and step of his development and life's work. He keeps a storage area with every report card, every doctor bill, every bank statement along with records of his kills. Stop for a moment and think about this. The idea that a killer would provide Law Enforcement with everything they would ever need to prosecute him, and the psychologists with reams and reams paperwork to shift through to discover the eternal question of why. It also plays into the idea that serial killers are often looking for people to know who and what they are.

The second thing that has stuck with me is the way in which, shall we say, justice is served. I don't want to give anything more way, let's just say that every other serial killer story has really paled in comparison.

Thorp had an interesting background, having worked as a Private Detective and an investigative journalist writing about crime in the greater LA area. Thorp passed away before the real Green River Killer was finally captured, and I wonder what a new addition of this novel with an afterward about the real killer would look like. Alas, I'll just have to make due with the copy that I picked up at the Library sale and look forward to re-reading.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Evily Led

Hey Restless Ones (tm)...... FICTION! wait before you published writer run in fear, this has been published, Loafers Zine back in 1995 or 1996, I have the physical issue around here somewhere... anyway, yes this was the best and only (surviving) story that I wrote the whole time I was in college.... the first time around and the second time (as I recall).  Anyway, I still dig the first line, enjoy!

The Evilly Led
The nice thing about a padded cell is there is almost always a comfortable place to sit. Of course when you are wearing a straight jacket the only way to be anywhere close to comfortable is to lie down. Luckily u don’t have to wear a straight jacket anymore. I have complete freedom to wander around my cell, complete freedom to draw and write on the walls with my handful of non-toxic, washable markers. My doctor says it’s ok as long as I am drawing and writing ‘productive’ things.

To that end I have drawn sunsets, trees, landscapes and other natural events on my Western Wall. I have written the names of the best books I have ever read the best movies I ever saw and my favorite bands. The doctors say that ‘productive’ thoughts and events are the only way I’ll ever become well again. What they can’t see is that I have hidden the story of my incarceration in the jumble of words scrawled on the wall. If you string together all the blue letters from the top of the wall to the left and then down, you will uncover the tale of how I went from a fairly normal college student to a captive of the system.

I should have known better than to speak up! My mouth as always gotten me in trouble. I lie daily to my doctors; if I tell them what they want to hear maybe they’ll let me go, all I do know is that once I get out of here I'm going to get that .32 ACP semi-automatic pistol I have stashed away and I'm going to lace up my boots and change the world.

That’s right I said my boots. It’s those boots that got me into this mess. If I hadn’t taken a job to get the boots I would have stayed clear of the basement of the science building; I never would have seen the horror that lead me here. I would have never worn the title of madman, or crazy. Enough about that, I'm sure you want to hear my tale.

My name is Jack Bridger, I'm 21 years old, and until a week ago I was a student at Dark Lake University. The school is located in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The school is mostly known for its criminal justice and wildlife management programs. Funny some times they are the same thing. Anyway, I was there to study journalism. I found the investigation classes for criminal justice gave me the skills I need to get into investigative reporting. My mother, with seven years of higher education, still only managed to make enough money to keep a roof over the heads of my family. My father had disappeared when I was eleven years old; all they found of him was his shoes, smoke rising from their depths. So by the grace of some member of my extend family and a lot of government money I was in college.

I needed a new pair of boots, as I have alluded to. The only way to get the money was to get a job. I found the best deal around was to work as a janitor. [Well, the pay was the best I could find]. I was sent to the massive Dr. Ashley Campbell hall Science Building. I cleaned labs for a week and was switched to bathrooms for three months. The bathrooms were the worst job in the building and they were used to punish workers the building head didn’t like. The hope was that students would quit when they were faced with the idea of cleaning bathrooms indefinitely. The only reason I was able to switch back to cleaning labs was that someone the building head liked even less was hired.

The building has, my boss, was an uneducated, bigoted, sexist jerk. He didn’t like people who had opinions that were in conflict with his or people who were smarter than he. Of course, this effectively made all students his enemies. His superiors didn’t care what he did as long as the building got semi-clean. I quickly became the target of his discrimination. I openly criticized his bosses and spoke my mind. For this reason I was given the worst jobs and treated badly in general. It was only when a woman named Jen came to work in the building that I was given a new job assignment.

I was to run the floor-cleaning machine very night. I piloted the massive device through the halls of the six-floored monster building. Because of experiments going on in parts the building, I was not allowed on the third floor, and parts of the fourth floor were off limits to everyone. The worst part of the job was that I could complete it in only three hours. Our shifts were four hours long and it was bad trouble to get caught not working. The most common solution to being finished whit your job was to hide. By the time I got done all the good hiding places were taken. I could have gone and helped Jen finishes her bathrooms, but I would have likely gotten in trouble. So I wandered the building.

I spent a couple of initial nights wandering the top floors. I stayed from the restricted areas. I looked at a lot of gothic architecture and walked through many monolithic doors. Soon the top floors became boring and one night I went into the basement.

The basement was not off limits per se, but I was always encouraged to spend as little time in the basement as possible. Usually I ran the basement floors as quickly as possible and left even quicker. Once or twice I stopped to read the fliers on bulletin boards. There were old announcements of paper presentations, articles on strange subjects, and even once I found a notice about animal rights terrorists. Great. That made my day, the though of some animal rights nut sticking a gun in my face demanding my keys to they could enter someone’s office and destroy research or free animals from the labs in the building.

So one day I wound up in this place I waned into the basement. I had an hour to kill before I could go home. I walked the halls looking into darkened rooms, opening doors that had net been opened in decades. Mostly I found empty offices and dust covered labs. In one abandoned office, I found a couple of comic books from the late 50’s and early 60’s. I tucked them into my jacket with out reservation. It was obvious that they had been left behind long ago, and whom ever they had once belonged to was long gone.

Finally I was confronted with a door that read shelter. I have long had a fascination with the mentality of survivalism and the paranoia that surrounded the nuclear war in the `950’s and it’s resurgence in the 1980’s. So I wandered in. the place was like a lot of the other rooms that I had entered I was glad I had started carrying a mini mag lite. When I started ruining the floor machine I had started carrying the light so I could see the underside of the machine to snap on the brush pads. I twisted the light on and scanned the room. Here were boxes of prehistoric C-rations from World War II, and a couple of army cots with piles of dust covered army blankets on the ends.

What grabbed my attention the most was a closed cabinet at the end of the room from me. There was a shelf of books. Pat franks Alas Babylon, George R Stewarts Earth Abides and even a copy of on the beach by Nevil Shute. The real find was a copy of Richard Matheson’s I am Legend, which I added to the stash of comic books in my jacket. I had read all of the books, except I am legend, and was not the least bit surprised to see them here, they we were just the king of light reading everyone who survived the end of the world should read.

I examined the other shelves finding little of interest. That is until I started moving around empty boxes on the bottom shelf. I thought there were empty until one rattled. I opened it like it was some sort of Christmas present. I was rewarded with a Walter PPK and a couple of empty magazines. A couple of handfuls of loose ammo rolled around ht bottom of the box, the gun was covered with a heavy layer of dust and grease. I knew that was how guns were stored for long term storage, in grease, not dust. There was no way I was going to leave it there. What if some kids wandered in or worse my boss found it! Someone could get hurt or even killed.

I turned to leave that’s when I noticed the light in the hall was gone out. I walked to the door and looked down the hall. It was pitch black. Not wanting to let anyone know I was down there I wandered in the dark. I let my hands follow the wall, counting doorways and bulletin boards. I wandered blindly turning down passages and turning around, finally I had to admit I was lost, if there had been a gas station I would have asked directions. Ok I wouldn’t have gone that far.

Finally I turned on the mini-mag lite. The glow from the small flashlight was getting dimmer and I didn’t think I had any spare batteries in my jacket. I had so much stuff in my jacket pockets there was no telling what I had on me. I was glad for the jacket; I wouldn’t have been able to carry all that stuff with out it. I turned a corner and found myself looking at a set of double doors. There was a light emanating room the crack between them. I cautiously waked closer. I could hear noise form behind the doors. I was fairly certain I was in a place I wasn’t supposed to be.

I peered through the crack. The only thing I could make out was a moving line of white animals. I couldn’t be sure but I though that were sheep. My nose told me that they were some kind of animal. Strangely they made no sound. This was weird and I knew I had to get away. I turned to try and find my way to the stair well to the first floor that’s when the lights came on.

I was momentarily blinded. I could hear voices and footsteps, the thought occurred to me that I might just be about to lose my lousy job. I felt a cold chill run through my body as the voices came nearer. I had nowhere to run nowhere to hide. And the they came around the corner: my boss and one of the student workers, and a man I had never seen before.

‘there you are,’ my boss said grinning.

‘I I got lost in the dark, Was there a black out?’ I tried to sound unimpressed at their presence.

‘No. I turned out the lights, and you’re in trouble,” my boss said in the happiest voice I have ever heard.

‘Now I have to get rid of that weird Jen girl,” he mumbled.

‘Are you evil and demented, or just stupid? I said. As long as I was loosing my job, I figured I’d get in a few compliments to the boss. Someday I might need to use him as a reference.

‘You are not getting off that easy. I mean of course you’re fired, but that won’t matter where you’re going,”

He just kept running his mouth.

“Well listen how about I just meet your guys up stairs, you look like you have a drug deal or an illegal poker game to attend,” I was feeling brave and stupid

“See son, it’s not that easy. Why don’t you lead the way through that door behind you,” the stranger said

‘Don’t call me son, and you know I was raised to open doors for ladies, but if you insist,” I smirked.

‘Why you…” my now former boss yelped.

The strange man grabbed my boss’s arm preventing him from attacking me.

‘Save your snide comments for later,” the st4range man warned me.
I pushed my way through the doors and stopped in my tracks. What I saw was so awful I wanted to throw up. I felt bile rise in my stomach. My eyes beheld a number of men dashing about in plaid! Worse yet was he terrible machine they were servicing, I felt for sure that it had some diabolical purpose. It looked like a big cappuccino maker with two arms. Were they making mad scientist coffee here? Was this the Starbucks research lab? Each arm had a doorway, and there was a door coming out of the middle part of the machine.

The center was a huge metal cylinder with a glass top. The glass part was filled with water and floating in it was a huge brain. I was horrified. I watched as a line of sheep entered the right arm of the machine. A line of kids were herded into the left arm. Moments after entering the left arm the kids would exit the center door.

Only the kids were changed. They shuffled in a zombie-like state, drool dripping from the corner of their slackened mouths.

‘What are you doing here?” demanded, finding a hint of authority accident accenting my voice.

“Were creating the next generation of R.E.M. fans. Were making people who will wear NIN tee-shirts, walk out in the middle of their college classes, and most importantly run the world,” the strange man said, a smile creeping into his face

“ So your Ad men?”


“You’re free to go” the man said

“After what I have just seen you’re just setting me free? I could bring you down,” I occurred to me that I had chosen the wrong words.

“Who is going to believe you? Why would anyone believe you?” the man answered.

“Ok, I'm gone,” I shared for the door.

“Don’t forget to punch out, and leave the keys. You don’t work here anymore,” the boss called clearly upset his didn’t get the chance to punish me more.

My silence lasted a couple of hours. I stashed the gun and the comics I had found, and called the police. I insisted that kids were being turned into sheep and abused, and that my boss was a monster. The police came right over. I watched them arrive, I was ready to go, and I had my boots on and my jacket in hand. After a quick round of introductions I jumped into the car with no trouble. I thought it was a little strange that they wanted me to wear handcuffs, but they explained it was regulations, so I went along with them. Of course they brought me here. I’ve been here ever since; maybe I’ll get out soon. They say I'm crazy. Who knows?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Head Cold A Go Go

I got home from work yesterday shivering. My head was feeling congested and I was feverish. I stayed around the house today trying to read a little 'Old Man's War' and catching up on DVDs, Generation Kill series end, Jules Dassins 'Brute Force ', Charlie Bronson in 'The Mechanic', and 'They Lived by Night' (sorry if I got any of those wrong chalk it up to fever fingers and hot tears). 

Any way, tonight is the Oscars (Sigh!). I have kinda a love hate thing with them. Last year was so strong, No Country and Juno being at opposite sides of the spectrum, but both being flicks that I really liked. This year... aside from Wall-E and The Wrestler (liked them both) I haven't seen many of the big flicks... oh, I saw The Dark Nut and thought that Ledger was great, just for  the line "I am an Agent of Chaos" (I try to be as well... thank you Norman Spinrad)... any whooo, I just couldn't get the energy up to watch, so I watched the previously mentioned Brute Force, while my siblings took in a showing of Let the Right One In (DVD at the start of March!)..... the one thing that the morbid noir hound me really likes every year is the memorial montage. I just wish the Academy would post it on their sight after the show....

I think my fever dream story telling is running out, to bad last night I dreamed of Donald Westlake after watching The Hot Rock (So So flick from '72) which was memorable enough that I failed to note it above. After Brute Force it was a paralyzed half away half hour of Hard Case Crime type set up for a Roller Derby noir..... part of which I did get down, and which might see the light of day sometime.

Stray thought: Has anyone seen DVDs packaged with the book they are based on? Westlakes Hot Rock, Thieves Market and the Film Thieves Highway by A. I. Bezzerides are both films that I have seen recently and read the books they are based on as well (and there is the fever confusion seeping to it's fullest) 
Oscars? Ann Savage? Richard Widmark? Ron Asheton (not likely, ditto Lux)?, Betty Page? Bo Diddly? anyone, anyone, Buller?

Update: I am feeling better, and I did get to see the In Memoriam video via youtube

Now I could have done with out the song, it's a nice thought, but really let's give these people who have us so much joy a couple of moments of attention with out the big distraction. I also, like a lot of others will note those missing from this list..... Patrick McGoohan (how cool would it have been if it had started off with that closing image from the Prisoner and the sound clip, 'I'm not a number I am a free man' and then went into clips of his film work. I am glad to see that the video it's self was posted, and want to challenge the powers to be to post a longer more full one next year.

I was glad to see a lot of behind the scenes people remembered

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Spade & Archer

Spade & Archer: The prequel to Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon."

by Joe Gores


    I have to admit that I haven't ready Hammett's work in many, many years. I read the Maltese Falcon and The Thin Man when I was in my 20s and exploring the world of crime and detective novels seriously for the first time. I recall enjoying them, but wasn't moved to read any of Hammett's other work (for the record I have Red Harvest, The Glass Key and The Dain Curse all with arms reach as I type this).

At any rate, this book is a prequel (a word that too often rhymes with MONEY) to the Falcon. It is well written, fast paced, and a fun slice of classic Detective fiction that will and should sate readers looking for more Sam Spade. The book is structured in three acts, each one a mystery partly built on the previous act, and each one showing us the development of Sam Spade into the tough guy we all have come to know from the book and the movie versions of The Maltese Falcon. We see Spade start his agency, bring on staff and interact with the police. We see him develop long lasting relationships and connections. The crimes that he works on are your typical Detective jobs; missing persons, dock side corruption and lost items. Along the way we also get several nods to Hammett's other work, the appearance of names that might be familiar to some, and locals that already have their built in cashe'. The writing style is sparse and terse, with quips and attitude, along with a wink and a nod.  Overall I enjoyed the book, and look forward to the true test of it's power, reading The Maltese Falcon to see how this book flows into it... or not.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Screaming Trees Dust proposal

I have gotten a kick out of reading other's rejected proposals and figured that someone might like to see mine.

Thoghts, comments, spare change.


The Screaming Trees


A Grunge Requiem

On June 25th, 1996 the Screaming Trees released their final album, Dust. It had been four years since their previous album Sweet Oblivion had hit shelves and they had seen their world turned inside out, their community shoot to international prominence and acclaim and then spiral into chaos. They had been in the trenches, they had lost friends, they had seen into the deep dark depths of their generation and they had made it to the end of the grunge era. Andy Wood was gone, Kurt Cobain was gone. Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden had hit their zenith as commercial powers, and either becoming a cult only act, imploded or faded away.

The grunge revolution, renamed Alternative had been commoditized and processed, the labels, radio, promoters had gotten their hands into the pie, and their machine had figured out how to manufacture and market it for mass consumption. The confidence men running the record industry were also getting ready to launch a new wave of hyper poppy disco on a new generation who were more than happy to let take the money and walk away.

Knowingly or unknowingly the Screaming Trees offered up their last recorded document as a requiem for their scene, their city, and their friends and for the era. Part eulogy, part history, part meditation, Dust stands at not only the last record of that scene that matters, but as one of the last classics of the first era of alternative rock era as a mainstream concern. This is the story that I want to tell. The story of not only the record, the band, and the scene, but of Generation X and its first real foray into the mainstream of American pop culture as a voice, mostly saying something isn't right and isn't as it seems.

Drawing on lyrics, articles, reviews and my personal experiences, I want to talk about the reflective elements of this record; along with it's mapping out music of the world of alternative rock from the early days to what it has become. I also want to talk about the journey into roots rock for those who were there, those who survived and those who listened.

My target word count is 30,000 words, broken into three rough sections.

Pre Dust- this section would focus on:

  1. a history of the Screaming Trees

  2. a history of the grunge scene and their role with in that scene.

  3. a time line of the band's history

  4. notable events in the scene

  5. An overview of the Screaming Trees sound as it developed through:

    1. Psychedelic punk

    2. Grunge

    3. Rootys hard rock

Dust- This would focus on 1996 and be the biggest part of the book covering:

  1. the album,

    1. It's release

    2. The cover art

    3. The Songs

    4. The singles

    5. Radio play

    6. Videos

    7. Reviews

    8. sales

  2. Exploring how grunge had been renamed Alternative (just as punk was re-chrisined new wave) and marketed.

  3. The coming prominence of the Internet and it's effect on music

  4. the Telecom act of 1996

  5. The death of MTV as a music channel

    1. Headbangers Ball being canceled

    2. 120 Minutes floundering and vanishing from the airwaves

    3. The Real World/ Road Rules

Post Dust- this would cover what has happened with the album since it was released.

1. The end of the Screaming Trees

2. looking at the record from the lens of 2009

3. Discussion of the albums status and that it is considered by many to be a lost classic of the era

4. The current state of the former members of the Screaming Trees

5. wrap up section



At this point I have not contacted the former members of the band, but if this proposal was to be moved forward I would do my best to contact some of the members just to ask a couple of general question and see if they are at all interested in talking about the album.

Promotion. In addition to writing about the project on my blog, my mog (which is a music blogging site) and my face book, I am open to talking to the press, participating in radio and podcast interviews on the book. I am not the best at reading in public, but I would love to find a way to DJ at an event (with the Screaming Trees music of course) and/or talk about the book in public discussion.

I would like this book to read like the Minutemen 33 1/3, that is to say, readable, and not overly academic, and with sections that can be read on their own, but also read as a part of the whole. I want to be approachable and thought provoking. Too many of the installments in the series that I have read have been overly techy, or dry, and offered more in the way of the Names/Dates/Places school of history. I am also a big believer in not dragging things out, or padding. I strive to say what I have to say and move on.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

No Grunge Requiem: 33 1/3 Proposals Rejection Edition

So I got the e-mail... sorry but your proposal was not selected for the short list... honestly I expected this when I saw the number of entries, the lack of comments mentioning my proposal, and looking back and feeling like what I had submitted wasn't as strong as it could have been.

The good news is that I have committed to writing the book anyway, even if it's going to end up as a writing exercise..... 

I am looking forward to seeing what was selected and hoping that a few of the books that intrigued me get the nod.

anyone who wants to see the short list can check here

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Thieves' Highway

Thieves' Highway
I watched this flick for the first time last year after hearing about it on the top notch Out of the Past Podcast. For what ever reason it's been stuck in my mind and so I just checked the book, Thieves Mark by A. I. Bezzerides.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Noir Pie- Devils River

a little Noir cowpunk for you all...

Friday, February 6, 2009

Friday's Forgotten Books : Resume with Monster

This small review for Patti Abbott's Friday's Forgotten Books series went live on her blog earlier today. You can find that at

Resume with Monsters by William Browning Spencer

I think at this point we all know that there is little virtue in the corporate world, that the grind of the Dilbert world is the modern slave pit for too many modern men and women. William Browning Spencer explores the modern Office Space world with his tale of a lowly worker, a Morlock if you will, Philip Kenan and his last chance job at Ralph's One-Day Resumes. The only problem is that his last job and last girlfriend were lost when a couple of creatures out of a HP Lovecraft Mythos tale showed up and wrecked the place. Now not only is Philip holding onto his job by a string, but his sanity as well. Philip is also writing his cyclopean (sorry I had to find a way to use that word) tome (that one as well) titled "The Despicable Quest" hoping that it will be his ticket to big league of Sci Fi/ Horror Star-Dumb, all the while on the lookout for the reemergence of the Great Old Ones that destroyed his previous life. The book is funny, surreal and satirical. I don't recall exactly how I stumbled across the book, but I noted inside the front cover that I wrote "8-31-96" which was the end of my first summer out of college and working my first full time minimum wage job, and wondering what evil powers were keeping me from finding rewarding work that paid well and satisfied my artistic need. I guess the Great Old Ones were as good an answer as anything else.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Lux Interior

Maybe I should call this We Will Fall Pt. 2?

Lux Interior, lead singer for The Cramps... has left the building! 
Shocking! Sad! With out Warning! The fallen Voodoo Idol!

I never met the man, I saw him live once, The First Ave in Minneapolis when I lived there. He climbed the stacks and jumped around. They played this hits... ok, not hits cause I don't think they ever topped the charts, but what they did was so much more important, they helped the expand the world of punk, they brought trash and fun b-flick culture into the punk world and helped to launch the obscure 45 RPM collection addiction of many and spear headed the excavation of early primitive rock and roll and it's roots.

For the longest time the real impact of The Cramps and Lux has been obscured and unread. Where they punk? Did they invent Psychobilly? Were they a horror punk band? I think the answer is simply, yes and no to both questions. They were part of the 70's NYC Punk Scene and moved to LA to be part of that scene. They did fuse Rockabilly and Punk... by they did the same thing with country, blues, surf, hillbilly and what ever else happened to come their way. When people talk about Psychobilly these days they mostly are pointing towards the UK and European scene which was started by The Meteors in the UK.... but a loft of those bands also like, listened to and followed The Cramps. Horror Punk has always been a theme and a subject and not so much a Sound, and so yes The Cramps were a horror punk band.... but that's not all they were. I think that at this vantage point that it's safe to finally say that they were the pioneers of what we now call garage punk.

I can say that they have made my life more fun, more interesting, and that 3 of the best CDs that I own are the Songs the Cramps Taught Us comps. I can say that I admire their spirit, their music, and the fact that they stuck with it as long as they could. I realize that I started off talking about Lux Interior and then moved quickly into talking about The Cramps, but to me Lux, along with Ivy, was The Cramps. I think all that's left to say is thank you for the music, for the stories and for heads up on all the great tunes...

You Better Ask my Momma how to make a Monster!

RIP Lux Interior

The king is dead.... it's spinning in my head. Lux has left the building.

More to come when I can gather my thoughts.
Images from by the amazing Anna Log

Monday, February 2, 2009

25 Story-Tellers who have influenced my writing!

Writers, Musicians, Reporters and other story tellers that have influenced my writing.... not in any order!

3 Tom Bagley (Tomb)
4 Gary Trainer
5 H.P. Lovecraft
6 Johnny Cash
7 Marty Robbins
8 Louis L'amour
9 David Simon
10 Kevin Smith
11 Richard Sala
12 Kurt Besiuk
13 Alan Moore
14 Roky Erickson
15 Sarah Vowell
16 Whit Stillman
17 Wes Anderson
18 Raymond Chandler
19 Stephen King
20 Jerry Ahern 
21 William W Johnstone
22 Lester Bangs
23 Jeff Bale
24 Thee Whiskey Rebel 
25 Stan Sakai

thoughts, comments, and "who the hell is that?" info requests

Noir Pie- Killer in Texas

More grim Noir rock... this time from the great Dallas band Ghoultown.