Last night (March 30, 2017) I previewed a chapter of my new novel, “Untitled,” at The Octopus Literary Salon in Oakland. There was a nice sized audience at this venue, which has the best atmosphere for reading prose or poetry.
Here is the audio from my reading:
“Untitled” is the third book in a rock ‘n’ roll, coming-of-age trilogy titled, the Freak Scene Dream Trilogy. Each of the books stands alone, and at the same time is part of the bigger story.
There’s a lot of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll in the book.
The chapter I read an excerpt from is mostly about the drugs, or rather, what it’s like tripping on the drugs. It takes place in 1973. Nixon is still in the White House, the Vietnam War is still going on as is the Watergate investigation. But all of that feels far, far away to the narrator, Michael Stein AKA Writerman.
The excerpt is about Michael Stein and his best friend, who he calls his “freakster bro,” Jim Costello. Jim is still recovering from being dumped by his first girlfriend, Jade Kaufman, who the narrator refers to as Jaded.
I think the excerpt speaks for itself, except there is one thing you need to know. The narrator has a cigarette lighter that he calls The Dylan. He stole it from Jerry Garcia, who told him that it had once belonged to Bob Dylan. How he came to know Jerry Garcia and steal the Dylan is detailed in my first novel, “True Love Scars.”
“Untitled” will be published in August of this year.
I read before Larry Beckett, the poet/songwriter best known for the lyrics he wrote for many of Tim Buckley’s best songs. Larry read from his book “Paul Bunyan,” which is an epic poem that explores tall tales and the myth of America as bigger than life.
Last night (May 7, 2016) myself and the amazing experimental guitarist Henry Kaiser gave a reading to a standing-room-only audience at The Octopus Literary Salon in Oakland, CA.
Henry opened with a 20 minute solo electric guitar set of improvisations utilizing several guitars and a bank of effects pedals as well as a strange box that produced drum and bass based on what Henry played.
Then I joined Henry on the stage to read ten excerpts from my new rock ‘n’ roll coming-of-age novel, The Flowers Lied.
This reading was very special because Henry was accompanying me on guitar and machines. We had done this only once before, back in 2014, at Down Home Music. That was a great show, but it was totally different. Completely different vibe.
I read five longer excerpts with an “interlude” devoted to a musician or song between each. The first was about Skippy James and “I’m So Glad,” then Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone,” John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme” and Neil Young. Below you can hear “Interlude #4: Neil Young.”
For me, it was so very intense to stand there before the audience, all eyes on the two of us, and read words I’d spent more than six years perfecting. I had been reading my novel aloud as I wrote it. Every day for six years I read some of it aloud. Every page was read aloud and every revised page. I knew the sound of my words, my sentences, my paragraphs. I knew the rhythms of those sentences, and the music they make.
I had read in the privacy of my office. I had read before the members of three writers groups I was in: The Dangerous Writers group in Portland in 2008 and some of 2009 where all the early work got done, another group in Inverness, CA in late 2009 and 2010, and the group I led in Oakland and El Cerrito from late 2010 to late 2013.
And yet this was totally different. There really is nothing like reading before an audience in a public space, an audience silent because they want to hear the words and the music, the music of the words and the music of the music.
Here’s a taste of what went down. This is a brief excerpt from a chapter in which the narrator and his friend go to a Neil Young concert in late 1972. The first line is cut off. So I’ll tell you what it is:
“I dig Neil the most, beginning in his Buffalo Springfield days…”
Great review of my novel, The Flowers Lied, went live at the online magazine, Ragazine, March 13, 2016. Here’s an image of it but please link to the site to read it. (By the way, the book is available here.)
Reviewer M. Sedlof writes:
It’s not easy to go through life driven by an intense desire to be part of a scene that really doesn’t think it needs you. Such is the quandary of Michael Stein in The Flowers Lied, Part Two of the Freak Scene Trilogy by Michael Goldberg that began with True Love Scars. After suffering ritualistic tribulations of young love in Scars, Stein (aka, Writerman), returns to the college scene older, wiser, increasingly hell-bent on becoming the rock ‘n’ roll writer of his dreams…
I’ll be reading from my new novel, The Flowers Lied, and the Grammy-winning experimental guitarist Henry Kaiser will be improvising when we do “a post-beat happening – words + music” on May 6, 2016 at The Octopus Literary Salon in Oakland, CA.
And please let your Bay Area friends know about this.
Here’s more info:
Celebrating ex-Rolling Stone Senior Writer Michael Goldberg’s new rock ‘n’ roll novel, The Flowers Lied, Goldberg and Grammy winning experimental guitarist Henry Kaiser will collaborate on “a post-beat happening” at The Octopus Literary Salon in Oakland, CA on Saturday, May 7, 2016. Goldberg will read from his new novel while Kaiser improvises on electric guitar. Plus a solo set by Kaiser. Note that no meat will be served during this event! Free.
What the critics say about Goldberg’s novels:
“Radioactive as Godzilla!” – Richard Meltzer
“Kerouac in the 21st Century.” – Dennis McNally
“Penned in a staccato amphetamine grammar…” – Simon Warner
“Holden Caulfield meets Lord Buckley?” – Paul Krassner
“Our hero drinks and drugs and dances to the nightingale tune while birds fly high by the light of the moon.” – Larry Ratso Sloman
“Reads like a fever dream from the dying days of the Summer of Love.” – Alina Simone
“If Lester Bangs had ever published a novel it might read something like this frothing debut by longtime music journalist Michael Goldberg.” – Colin Fleming, Rolling Stone
Michael Goldberg was a senior writer at Rolling Stone magazine for a decade. He has interviewed Jerry Garcia, Patti Smith, George Harrison, Captain Beefheart, Stevie Wonder, Sleater-Kinney, James Brown, Frank Zappa, Berry Gordy Jr., John Fogerty, Neil Young, Lou Reed, Black Flag, The Replacements, Flipper, Robbie Robertson, Sonic Youth and many more. In 1994 Goldberg launched the first Web music magazine, Addicted To Noise, and “invented music journalism on the web,” as journalist Denise Sullivan put it. Goldberg currently writes a column, The Drama You’ve Been Craving,” for Addicted To Noise and feature stories for the online animal rights magazine, The Daily Pitchfork.
“The Flowers Lied,” the second of the Freak Scene Dream Trilogy, is a story of love, friendship and the search for identity, set in the early ‘70s. Although it takes place in the past, themes running through the book — trying to live an authentic life, struggling against the powers that be, navigating the terrain between love and lust, loyalty and betrayal — are as relevant today as ever. Goldberg’s first novel, True Love Scars, was published in 2014.
Grammy winner Henry Kaiser is widely recognized as one of the most creative and innovative guitarists, improvisers, and producers in the fields of rock, jazz, world, and contemporary experimental musics. The California-based musician is one of the most extensively recorded as well, having appeared on more than 250 different albums and contributed to countless television and film soundtracks.
A restless collaborator who constantly seeks the most diverse and personally challenging contexts for his music, Mr. Kaiser not only produces and contributes to a staggering number of recorded projects, he performs frequently throughout the USA, Canada, Europe and Japan, with several regular groupings as well as solo guitar concerts and concerts of freely improvised music with a host of diverse instrumentalists. Among the numerous artists Kaiser has recorded or performed with are Herbie Hancock, Richard Thompson, David Lindley, Jerry Garcia, Steve Lacy, Fred Frith, Terry Riley, Negativland, Michael Stipe, Jim O’Rourke, Victoria Williams, Diamanda Galas and Cecil Taylor. Kaiser’s latest album, The Celestial Squid, was released last year.
The Octopus Literary Salon is located at 2101 Webster St #170, Oakland, CA 94612
Yesterday afternoon, Saturday December 13, 2104, I read from my novel, True Love Scars, as the acclaimed, Grammy-winning experimental guitarist Henry Kaiser improvised. And then Henry did a short, brilliant instrumental. The reading took place at Down Home Music in El Cerrito, CA.
I called the event a “post-beat happening.”
It was thrilling to read as Henry’s music lit up the room. When you’re on a stage and you’re in the groove, and the music, music you’ve never heard before, is exactly right for what you’re doing, you levitate.
Two sections I read were about how Bob Dylan’s music changed the narrator’s life. I’ve included both of those and then another excerpt which is the first few pages of the novel. Plus an instrumental improvisation by Henry that concluded the reading.
Down Home Music was an incredible environment for a reading. A room filled with CDs and vinyl and a wall of music books and music posters on the walls and incredibly knowledgeable folks running the place.
Where else is an impulse buy going to be a Roscoe Holcomb DVD?
Yep, I now own that DVD.
There was a nice write-up in advance of the reading in the East Bay Express and that brought a great group of folks into the store to hear me and Henry do our thing.
I read about 30 minutes while Henry utilized a guitar, a whammy bar and more than a dozen pedals to create a sonic backdrop for my words. Actually, it was more than a backdrop, as you’ll see if you listen to the first excerpt, below.
1) The impact of “Like A Rolling Stone”:
2) “It was Dylan, man!”:
3) How the book begins:
4) Henry’s concluding instrumental:
[I just published my rock ‘n’ roll novel, True Love Scars.” Rolling Stone has a great review of my book in a recent issue. Read it here. There’s info about True Love Scars here.]
Big surprise today when I opened the latest East Bay Express and discovered that my reading Saturday with Henry Kaiser at Down Home Music is their pick for “Lectures & Lit” this week, and one of this weekend’s “Top Five Events.”
How cool is that!
I’ll read from my novel, True Love Scars, and experimental guitarist Henry Kaiser will improvise on electric guitar.
It’ll happen at 3 pm at Down Home Music, 10341 San Pablo Avenue, El Cerrito, CA. And it’s free, of course.
Writes Arts and Culture Editor Sarah Burke:
True Love Scars is a rock ’n’ roll novel about harboring nostalgia for the 1960s, getting lost in a drugged-up dream-world, finding love, and then losing it tragically.
Grammy winner Henry Kaiser is widely recognized as one of the most creative and innovative guitarists, improvisers, and producers in the fields of rock, jazz, world, and contemporary experimental musics.
The California-based musician is one of the most extensively recorded as well, having appeared on more than 250 different albums and contributed to countless television and film soundtracks.
A restless collaborator who constantly seeks the most diverse and personally challenging contexts for his music, Mr. Kaiser not only produces and contributes to a staggering number of recorded projects, he performs frequently throughout the USA, Canada, Europe and Japan, with several regular groupings as well as solo guitar concerts and concerts of freely improvised music with a host of diverse instrumentalists.
Among the numerous artists Kaiser has recorded or performed with are Herbie Hancock, Richard Thompson, David Lindley, Jerry Garcia, Steve Lacy, Fred Frith, Terry Riley, Negativland, Michael Stipe, Jim O’Rourke, Victoria Williams, Diamanda Galas and Cecil Taylor.
Don’t know how I managed to miss this, but last month my friends at R.E.M.H.Q. did a cool post about an interview with Peter Buck I did prior to the release of New Adventures In Hi-Fi, back in 1996.
And they included a nice plug for my novel, “True Love Scars.”
You can check out the post and read the interview with Peter Buck here.
Coming up this Friday, August 17, 2014 at the Make-Out Room in San Francisco is the momentous LitQuake “Rock ‘N’ Roll Circus: A Cavalcade of Stars,” an evening of music critics reading from their latest books.
The lineup: Gina Arnold (author of the book “Exile In Guyville”), former San Francisco Chronicle pop music critic Joel Selvin (“Here Comes the Night: The Dark Soul of Bert Berns and the Dirty Business of Rhythm and Blues”), Kerouac/Grateful Dead biographer Dennis McNally (“On Highway 61: Music, Race, and the Evolution of Cultural Freedom”), Addicted To Noise founder/former Rolling Stone Senior Writer Michael Goldberg (“True Love Scars”), musician Bruce Cockburn (“Rumours of Glory”), rock journalist and author Denise Sullivan (“Shaman’s Blues: The Art and Influences Behind Jim Morrison and the Doors”), rock historian and college teacher Richie Unterberger (“Jingle Jangle Morning: Folk-Rock in the 1960s”) and best-selling authors Keith and Kent Zimmerman (“Shining Star: Braving the Elements of Earth, Wind & Fire”).
Providing music will be Camper Van Beethoven cofounder Victor Krummenacher.
The evening starts at 7 pm and admission is a cheap $10.
And finally, for today and maybe Tuesday the Kindle version of “True Love Scars” is available for $2.99. A bargain at three times the price. Soon it will be again priced at $9.99, so get it on the cheap now.
[Rolling Stone has a great review of “True Love Scars” in a recent issue. Read it here. There’s info about True Love Scars here.]