Note that David Kinney who wrote The Dylanologists will be on the show as will Bill Wyman who just wrote an article for New York magazine, “How Did Bob Dylan Get So Weird.”
Plus this story that ran about my novel and me in the Marin Independent Journal was reprinted in the Contra Costa Times (http://www.contracostatimes.com/…/former-rolling-stone…) and Inside Bay Area (http://www.insidebayarea.com/…/former-rolling-stone…) today.
[I just published my rock ‘n’ roll/ coming-of-age novel, “True Love Scars,” which features a narrator who is obsessed with Bob Dylan. To read the first chapter, head here.
Or watch an arty video with audio of me reading from the novel here.
Of just buy the damn thing:
–- A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post: sounds, visuals and/or news –-
On Saturday morning I got an email from a friend telling me I was on the FRONT PAGE of the daily newspaper for Marin Country, the Marin Independent Journal.
I just about fell over.
The article, by Paul Liberatore, begins like this:
There’s a scene in Michael Goldberg’s new rock ‘n’ roll novel, “True Love Scars,” that takes place in Mill Valley’s Depot Bookstore and Cafe, where the author was sitting one recent sweltering afternoon, sipping a hot coffee, despite the heat, and talking about this first book in what he’s calling his “Freak Scene Dream Trilogy.”
An ex-Rolling Stone associate editor and senior writer cum online music pioneer, the 61-year-old author describes the narrator of his coming-of-age story, 19-year-old Michael Stein, aka “Writerman,” as “a caricature of his teenage self,” a rock-crazed kid with raging hormones who’s obsessed with Bob Dylan and the “Visions of Johanna chick,” Sweet Sarah, he meets and falls in love with at a meditation center in Woodacre.
In Goldberg’s tragic love story, set in Marin County in the late ’60s and early ’70s, young Writerman begins his betrayal of Sweet Sarah at the Depot and its downtown plaza.
“It’s the first time he looks at another woman,” Goldberg explained, noting the parallels between the arc of his fictional tale and the maturation of the music he’s spent his career writing about. Novelist Tom Spanbauer calls Goldberg “a total rock ‘n’ roll geek,” a characterization that’s borne out in the rock references on just about every page.
“There are so many songs about teen love in the early days of rock n’ roll, and that’s a big theme in the early portion of this trilogy,” he said. “Then things change and get more sophisticated and evolved as the books progress, just as rock music did. I was taking emotion from songs and from albums and manifesting that into my fiction.”
And this fantastic review was posted by Gigi Little at her wonderful blog, ut omnia bena…, yesterday.
Here’s an excerpt:
This is sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, folks, which normally you probably wouldn’t think would be my thing, but Goldberg’s book is full of a voice that is so breathless and particular and, what attracts me the most, innocent. There is such a sweetness in the narrator, such youthful naive charm under all the F-bombs. (There are lots of F-bombs. Sometimes when he read pages in the Dangerous Writing basement, we’d count the F-bombs.) Michael Stein knows everything there is to know about music and the music scene. He’s a walking encyclopedia of rock ‘n’ roll. But there’s so much that he doesn’t know. And it’s in what Michael Stein doesn’t know that the story finds its heartbreaking charm – and, of course, its danger.
Today the British music site, Rock’s Back Pages, features “In The Dylan Zone,” a long excerpt from my rock ‘n’ roll novel, True Love Scars.
The excerpt is all about what it’s like to hear Bob Dylan for the first time, how it changed the narrator’s life, and the life of the girl he is dating. It’s powerful stuff and if you’re a Dylan fan, I think you’ll be able to relate.
So I have a favor to ask of any of you who have enjoyed posts at this Days Of The Crazy-Wild blog during the near-year that I’ve been posting here. I’m asking for your support, and the way you can support me is to buy a copy of my rock ‘n’ roll novel, True Love Scars. The Kindle version is cheap — $2.99 — which is less than a penny a day. And if you do buy a copy, please leave a comment on this post so I can thank you. And if you read the book and like it, please post a short review at Amazon.
Introducing the excerpt, Perfect Sound Forever founder/editor Jason Gross writes:
“Writer/editor Michael Goldberg has had a pretty storied career. After working as an editor at Rolling Stone for 10 years, he went on to found the first online music magazine, called Addicted To Noise, and later became an editor and VP at another pioneering music site SonicNet (which would later fall under MTV’s umbrella).
“Goldberg is now turning his attention to fiction, coming up with the first book of a projected trilogy – True Love Scars, a stream of conscious coming-of-age story of a 19-year-old California kid who crawls through the refuse of the early ‘70s with an obsession for music, writing and women.”
Perfect Sound Forever has been covering great music since the mid-‘90s.
Gross has also been involved in getting some great compilation reissues released including two Kill Rock Star albums; one for Kleenex and one for Essential Logic.
There’s a great overview of recent music books by Howard Hampton at the New York Times today.
He covers books about the Allman Brothers, Alex Chilton, Kiss, Bob Dylan and Earth, Wind & Fire, plus rock journalist Lisa Robinson’s memoir.
All rock biographies/memoirs agree on one point. As Gregg Allman tells it in “One Way Out,” an exhaustive oral history of the Allman Brothers Band by Alan Paul, escaping the workaday lot of “a shock-absorber washer-jammer in Detroit . . . is why I became a musician in the first place.” Or as Joey Ramone sang: “It’s not my place in the 9-to-5 world.”
Whatever form the music might take, it promised a palatable alternative to the routine assembly-line life. Learn how to play an instrument, be able to clutch a mic and project some personality or attitude, and you too might ascend from the pits of menial-labor, desk-job drudgery, or the “Do you want fries with that?” service industry. Not only were shimmering nonunion perks like sex, drugs and fame on the table, but you could sleep until the afternoon, not be penalized for lapses in hygiene or deportment and, with luck, get paid to be utterly irresponsible. What wasn’t to love?
You didn’t even have to be a musician to tap into that life. In 1969, you could be a young substitute teacher in Harlem who started working after school in the office of a syndicated music writer/D.J./would-be record producer named Richard Robinson, and in no time find yourself skating down a yellow brick road of free record albums, concert tickets and record company buffets straight into the spanking new field of rock journalism (while marrying the boss in the process, a union that would also stick). As Lisa Robinson says in her winning THERE GOES GRAVITY: A Life in Rock and Roll (Riverhead, $27.95), she wasn’t like the “boys who had ambitions to become the next Norman Mailer”: She took over her new husband’s column and was off to the races.
A dedicated Manhattan girl, she adopted a very laissez-faire, New Orleans attitude to the rock circus — let the good times roll over you and leave the existential-metaphysical-political implications to others. Robinson wasn’t a partyer, though. She came for the music and the warped conviviality of the milieu (a professed “drug prude,” she passed on the cocaine hors d’oeuvres). Observing Mick Jagger or Robert Plant in their offstage habitats was almost as entertaining as seeing Keith Richards or Television’s Tom Verlaine play sublime guitar licks.
By the ‘70s, Robinson was writing a cheeky gossip/fashion column she called “Eleganza” for Creem magazine. This led to her being hired as the press liaison for the Rolling Stones’ 1975 Tour of the Americas…
So you already know that Neil Young has written a second memoir, and that it’s being publishing this fall.
What you didn’t know, was what the cover was gonna look like, only now you do thanks to the folks at Thrasher’s Wheat, who posted this photo that, in turn, was first posted to Instagram by rockbookshow.
–- A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post: sounds, visuals and/or news –-
Mountain Goats’ leader John Darnielle will have his first novel, “Wolf in White Van,” published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux this year at the end of September.
Here’s the description of the book on Amazon:
Welcome to Trace Italian, a game of strategy and survival! You may now make your first move.
Isolated by a disfiguring injury since the age of seventeen, Sean Phillips crafts imaginary worlds for strangers to play in. From his small apartment in southern California, he orchestrates fantastic adventures where possibilities, both dark and bright, open in the boundaries between the real and the imagined. As the creator of “Trace Italian”—a text-based, role-playing game played through the mail—Sean guides players from around the world through his intricately imagined terrain, which they navigate and explore, turn by turn, seeking sanctuary in a ravaged, savage future America.
Lance and Carrie are high school students from Florida, and are explorers of the Trace. But when they take their play into the real world, disaster strikes, and Sean is called on to account for it. In the process, he is pulled back through time, tracing back toward the moment of his own self-inflicted departure from the world in which most people live.
Brilliantly constructed, Wolf in White Van unfolds backward in time until we arrive at both the beginning and the climax: the event that has shaped so much of Sean’s life. Beautifully written and unexpectedly moving, John Darnielle’s audacious and gripping debut novel is a marvel of storytelling brio and genuine literary delicacy.
-– A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post: sounds, visuals and/or news —
In 2001, an intense Bob Dylan fan named Bill Pagel bought the Duluth, Minnesota house where Robert Zimmerman lived before he moved to Hibbing, Minnesota. Five years later, Pagel settled permanently in Hibbing and attempted to buy the other Zimmerman house, the one where Bob lived while growing up, attending high school, etc., before taking off for Minneapolis, New York and stardom.
Kind of puts ones own obsession in perspective — right?
Pagel is one of the serious Dylan fans that Pulitzer Prize winning journalist David Kinney writes about in “The Dylanologists,” a book that will be published this May.
Kinney describes himself as a Dylan fan in the book’s introduction:
I first found Dylan in the dusty basement of my childhood home. In the summer before my junior year in high school I was flicking through a pile of vinyl left behind by my older brother. I found a heavy box with five records inside. The man glowering on the front cover looked like he didn’t take orders from anybody. I liked that. I pulled off the top of the box, slid one of the records from a sleeve, fitted the vinyl onto the turntable, and dropped the needle into the groove. The music started, and a switch flipped in my head.
The album was called Biograph, a retrospective of the first two decades of a recording career still very much in progress. Dylan’s folk ballads were jumbled together with wailing mid-1960s rock classics; his gospel songs shared space with tomfoolery. A maid is beaten to death. A good man is sent to jail. A husband abandons his wife to hunt for treasure with a shadowy figure, and all he finds is an empty casket. There were songs about girls, and war, and politics. I didn’t know who all the characters were: Johanna, Ma Rainey, Cecil B. DeMille, Gypsy Davy. I couldn’t honestly say I knew what Dylan was saying half the time. But the lines were riveting. I wore out those five records. I leaned every word and made them mine, and Dylan grew into an outsize figure in my universe.
I’ve just started reading advanced proofs of the book and it’s very good. There’s a great section in which Dylan shows up in Hibbing to attend a funeral, as seen from the perspective of Linda Hocking, co-owner of Zimmy’s Downtown Bar & Grill, who is hopeful that the great man will stop in for a meal at her restaurant — or at least a piece of cherry pie.
After all, ten years earlier, shortly after the restaurant was renamed Zimmy’s and decorated with Dylan photos and other paraphernalia, Dylan’s mother Beatty stopped in for lunch, and when asked what she thought of the place, she replied: “Honey, it’s about time somebody did something nice for my son in Hibbing.”
Kinney seems to have combined a biography of Dylan with stories of obsessive fans and so far it’s working.
I’ll post a review in late April or early May, once I finish the book and it’s closer to the publication date.
-– A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post: sounds, visuals and/or news –-
This Tuesday sees the publication of British writer Barry Miles biography of William Burroughs, “Call Me Burroughs.”
Reviewing the book in Bookforum,Jeremy Lybarger writes:
William S. Burroughs lived the kind of life few contemporary American novelists seek to emulate. A roll call of his sins: He was a queer and a junkie before being either was hip; he was a deadbeat father and an absent son; he was a misogynist, a gun lover, and a drunk; he was a guru of junk science and crank religion; he haunted the most sinister dregs of Mexico City, Tangier, Paris, London, and New York; he was an avant-garde writer with little affection for plot and none at all for epiphany; he wore his Americanness like a colostomy bag, shameful but essential. When he died at age 83 in 1997, his last words were: “Be back in no time.” At least he wasn’t a liar.
This year is the centenary of Burroughs’s birth and the occasion for Barry Miles’s new biography, Call Me Burroughs: A Life. Miles specializes in Beat literature and is arguably the definitive biographer of Ginsberg and Kerouac, as well as a devout Burroughsian whose 1993 book, William Burroughs: El Hombre Invisible, remains a mainstay of academic bibliographies. Call Me Burroughs eclipses everything else he’s done in terms of breadth, erudition, and sheer narrative combustion. If you’re one for literary gamesmanship, note that it also trumps Ted Morgan’s Literary Outlaw (1998) as the authoritative record of Burroughs’s life.
Let me suggest that a fair barometer of biographical writing is how well it resists hyperbole. Miles is successful in this regard, which is impressive given that Burroughs’s life yields so much that is extreme. There’s the foggy childhood incident in which his beloved nurse either aborted her baby in front of him or forced him to suck her boyfriend’s penis (years of psychoanalysis never fully recovered the details). Or there’s the murder of Burroughs’s friend David Kammerer, about which Burroughs “showed no emotion.” Or there’s the afternoon that Burroughs, desperately in love with a teenage hustler but also desperately possessive, sawed off his own finger joint with poultry shears in an act of lurid chivalry. Or there’s his smorgasbord of addictions—to heroin, alcohol, marijuana, Eukodol, morphine. Above all, there’s the horrific event he spent endless doped years and infinite harrowing pages trying to exorcize: the shooting incident in which he killed his common-law wife, Joan Vollmer, in Mexico City, 1951.
Joan Vollmer is something like the Tokyo Rose of Beat literature; her presence is subliminal but toxic…
Today The Daily Beast printed an excerpt about Bob Dylan from Sherill Tippins “Inside the Dream Palace: The Life and Times of New York’s Legendary Chelsea Hotel.”
It begins like this:
In the fall of 1965, all Bob Dylan wanted to do was check into the Chelsea Hotel with his girlfriend Sara Lownds and write his album, but he ended up trysting with Andy Warhol superstar Edie Sedgwick—and then making the biggest decision in his life.
Bob Neuwirth, Bob Dylan’s closest friend and “supreme hip courtier” during this period, later recalled that it was on a snowy night sometime in the late fall of 1965 when he and Dylan first crossed paths with Edie Sedgwick. Dylan had finally returned east after a harrowing tour with his new band, the Hawks, and had more or less abandoned the house he had bought in Woodstock, not believing he could write something new in a place where he’d written before. “It’s just a hang up, a voodoo kind of thing,” he said. “I can’t stand the smell of birth. It just lingers.” Instead, he had returned with his girlfriend Sara Lownds to the Chelsea Hotel—the perfect environment for writing the city songs he had in mind.