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Showing posts from October, 2008

When Crazy Ideas Aren't Crazy At All

Every once in a while, some idea hits me and I think I'd be stupid not to follow-through with it. In regards to the proposed book commentary track, as much as I appreciated the feedback from people saying it was good idea, I pretty much decided to do it whether or not anyone said anything. If anything, even the worst naysayer wouldn't have stopped me from doing this. The deal is, I don't often think this way. It's just sometimes I come up with something that I think it very doable and plausible and I should not pass it up. Better to risk and see what happens rather than to not do anything and only wonder, right? In the case of the commentary, I know where and how I can record this, I have a good idea about what I want to talk about, and I have a pretty good feeling about being able to get this whole thing out there. Usually if there's any serious doubt that pops up, the idea stalls on the tracks. Maybe this is some TM by way of David Lynch and Wayne Coyne talking h

When Crazy Ideas Attack

A temporary Internet outage a few hours ago somehow inspired me to come up with this seemingly not-so crazy idea. Since I like listening to DVD commentary tracks, and find them very inspiring and helpful, what if I did a pseudo-audio commentary for the chapters of POST ? What I have in mind is recording eleven relatively short (5-10 minutes at most) clips and post them on a site. Each clip will be devoted to a chapter, discussing the process and whatever stories I'd like to share about writing and researching the chapter. I have plenty to share that I haven't shared on this here blog, so I don't think I'll be at a loss of words. I have the means to record and produce the tracks already at my disposal. Now I'm just wondering how many people would actually like to hear these tracks. Feel free and leave a comment or shoot me an e-mail.

Plot Does Matter

In Bruce Campbell's book If Chins Could Kill , one picture shows him wearing a T-shirt that spoofs the Godzilla ad campaign of "Size Does Matter" with "Plot Does Matter." Knowing I will probably catch heat for saying this, I must say that the plot is the reason why I paid good money to see Saw V in the theater this weekend. Reading Nathan's review of the film the day before, I wasn't swayed. Based on what he wrote, I figured if you hated the previous Saw sequels, you were going to hate this one as well. The same went if you loved the sequels. I enjoyed the movie quite a bit and thought the entire series could end with this film. (Not so, Saw VI , the apparently final film is already in the works.) All the earmarks that have made the series a bankable box office and DVD franchise are there. I still don't enjoy watching torture or excessive gore, but since I know it's actors with makeup and CGI, I'm able to suspend belief and not be weirded

And in June reformed without me

The recent Ben Folds Five reunion, where they played The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner in its entirety, is now online . Definitely something worth checking out. Don't know much about these guys? Read my guide to them, along with Ben Folds solo material up to Songs for Silverman .

Five years later

Five years ago today, we heard that Elliott Smith passed away. Now, I'm not one to celebrate an artist's death or birth, but I think it's worth mentioning today. Norman did a great post on his site yesterday. As far as my feelings on the matter, I point to that Complete Idiot's Guide piece that I did on Elliott's music for

The "So What?"

Part of my constructive (or sometimes, destructive) self-talk about committing to a major project involves a question of, "So what?" I once heard Simon Cowell say those words to a finalist on American Idol , and I've always thought he's got a valid point. Why should somebody read this book? Who do you imagine reading this, outside of your friends and family? Why should anyone care? This isn't a call to bend over backwards and please everyone. Far from it. But it's a question of understanding why you're doing what you're doing and why you want it out there. In the case of the second book, knowing full well that any accolades I received for Post could be zapped (or not) because of how people respond to it, I think there's a lot of value in this risk. No matter how maligned the sophomore effort may be received (or not), I think people should do a sophomore effort if they believe in their heart and mind that there should be a sophomore effort. With Wh

Book #2

Looks like this week will be the week I start back to work on Book #2. To recap, here's a rundown. --Though it's a fictional book, it's heavily based on real life experiences of playing in bands. Specifically, high school garage bands. So, there will be no passages about seeing naked grandmothers, being chased by mind-reading zombies, or meeting people online while living in New York. --It will be told like an oral history. No, this isn't about dentist visits, Oral Roberts, or stories about Deep Throat . Nope, it's just all quotes from various characters. Look at books like Fool the World , Please Kill Me , and We Got the Neutron Bomb for examples. Except those are nonfiction oral histories. Max Brooks's World War Z is a fictional oral history. But again, no zombies in my book. --The tentative title is When We Were the Kids . The title is also the title of a song by this now-defunct band . I liked the song title, "When We Were the Kids," even though

Cover design

Part of the whole idea of "make a book I'd want to read" was designing the cover of Post . I knew I wanted to use that picture I had taken of Red Animal War (at the show that pretty much changed my life) in some way, so I started there. Using Word -- yes, Word -- I laid things out, including the entire pic, which not only features Justin playing live, but also Jeff and Jaime. Nick suggested I crop the other guys out to focus on the shot of Justin screaming his head off away from the microphone. Coupled with the advice from Nick's partner in Mission Label at the time, the title itself was in a different color than the rest of the artwork. Since hunter green is my favorite, I just went with it. It's an odd coincidence that the picture of Red Animal War was at a place called Green Means Go! Since I realized that, the phrase "green means go" has meant a lot of other things to me. Where I placed all the lettering of the book was intentionally to the right. T

I'm somewhere in between

Being a regular reader of Modern Drummer from 1994 until 2000, I often heard about drummers playing along to the dreaded click track. Essentially a glorified metronome, it was sometimes the reason why a drummer was replaced in the studio with an ace drummer-for-hire. As in, it didn't matter if all of the band members sucked at playing their instruments; if the drummer couldn't pull things off according to the producer, he or she's out of there, or worse, out of the band. On top of this, the click track was to blame for why a song sounded so non-energetic in the studio compared to how the band played it live. Usually the tempo was slowed down so that everything sounded "right." I've thought otherwise. Given how long I've played drums in bands, the amount of time I've spent recording songs is far, far less. I've recorded a few four-track stuff where I played all of the instruments myself. When it came to band stuff, it was usually recording everythi

I want to play a game

For several reasons, I had never gotten around to checking out any of the Saw movies. I knew what they were about, and I heard plenty of groans of displeasure from people with each new installment. I knew full well they'd be heavy on gore and non-plausibility with each consecutive film. But still, I wanted to check them out, mainly because I see copies of each film (filled with multiple commentary tracks and featurettes) everywhere I go for a really inexpensive price. Besides, since I like horror movies, why not brush up on a modern day horror franchise that doesn't involve remaking classic horror movies or rehashing the Halloween formula? I am not someone who enjoys watching people get tortured. I'm not one of those dudes who will be in a screening of Hostel and cheer uncontrollably when the protagonists lose limbs or worse, their life. No, I'm somebody who likes horror movies because I can face my fears in a situation where I'm in the safety of my home, watchin

Because not knowing how to cook . . .

As I've said before, how Robert Rodriguez explains his process of making films is inspiring to me. Even though I'm not tempted to make a movie, he's a message of "green means go!" to whatever you want to do. So it's not just with writing another book for me; it's now translating into cooking. Since I cook for myself, I tend to take the really easy path: heat up something in the oven between fifteen and forty minutes. I get frustrated really easily with trying new things, but every once in a while I come across something where I believe I could possibly do. (I'm well aware that's something that goes beyond the kitchen, but in order to stay on track, let's stay in the kitchen mindset.) Recently, I checked out the "10-minute Cooking School" featurette on the Sin City double-disc DVD set. The dish this time: breakfast tacos made from scratch. The first thing he recommends is making your own tortillas. Since he has a very simple recipe


Today marks the day that I've done this blog for four years. Though I originally started the blog to track the progress of Post , I found a lot of other things to talk about. Here's a list of some things I'm thinking about expanding upon in the next week: --Volunteering to babysit is not a bad idea. --I'm curious if the makers of the Saw franchise think they're playing a game with the audience. You know, one that is not that far removed from Jigsaw's games. --The click track is not an evil thing when laying down drum parts. --Making homemade breakfast tacos from scratch does not seem that hard.

The Good Show

Barring any sports pre-emption, I'll be on the Good Show tomorrow morning promoting the book. You can listen live here , and I have no idea exactly when I'll be on between 9am and noon. A podcast of the show should be available sometime next week.

Book notes

I'm quite honored to have Post featured on Largehearted Boy's Book Notes series. Here's the link . It's an essay discussing some of the integral moments for me before I decided to write the book. Also, looks like there's another book in the works on 90s post-hardcore. There are some similarities to my book and Brian's book as far as bands covered, but it looks to be a pretty promising book on plenty of other great bands.

Now, for my next trick

I can't think off the top of my head exactly why this idea sounds bad, but something doesn't sound right at first. The idea: somebody writes a nonfiction book and decides his or hers next book will be fiction. Maybe it just seems like the writer thinks he or she can write anything and people will read it. Depending on the person, that can seem like a really egotistical, bad idea. All this said, I'm still planning on going ahead with writing another book, and it's going to fiction. But I have a lot of reasons why I'm doing it this way. I don't read a lot of fiction. Only six of the books on my "to read from scratch or never finished" shelf are fiction. Two are by Bret Easton Ellis ( American Psycho and Lunar Park ), one is by Nick Hornby ( High Fidelity ), one is by Chuck Palahniuk ( Fight Club ), one is by Stephen King ( Cell ), and one is by Max Brooks ( The Zombie Survival Guide ). Those, coupled with a handful of graphic novels/trade paperbacks, ar

Time takes time, you know

Since last week, I've given a number of spins to the majority of Ben Folds's third proper solo album, Way to Normal . Reading Jeff's post about his thoughts on the record, I'm finding myself in a bit of a pickle. Longtime readers are probably aware of my fandom of Ben's work with Ben Folds Five and solo, so I'm a little torn with saying what I really think of Way to Normal and reflecting on previous Ben releases that didn't immediately grab me. Right now, I can't say I'd go beyond the Sound Opinions rating scale of "Burn It" for Way to Normal . Something seems a bit off in the sense that the record is mostly whimsical and bitter at the same time. I dig tracks like "Brainwascht," "Hiroshima," and "You Don't Know Me," but I'm not getting much mileage out of them, or really any of the other tracks. But before I go into a ritual I find strange and bizarre with some critics who get paid to spout their opi

A word of thanks

Thanks a plenty to everyone who's bought a copy of Post . I don't have exact sales figures, but I know it is selling well. Selling a lot of copies was not the intent when I decided to write it, but I did want people beyond my friends and family to read it. More coverage is coming in the next few weeks, and regular blogging will hopefully return next week.


The response to Post 's release has been very positive. A number of write-ups have surfaced online, and here's what I've seen. Tickle me, emo Traffic Reporter Eric Grubbs Is Way More Emo Than You Could Ever Be Congratulations . . . A Post About "POST" I'm friends with famous people! My cousin wrote a book! Finally, An Emo Book to Be Proud Of The Big Takeover Death to Traitors At the Expense of the Listener Summer Reading: Get Schooled by Local Music Scribes