What a night!
It was billed as the “Rock ‘n’ Soul Circus: A Cavalcade of Stars,” and it featured a great group of music journalists, rock critics and musicians who each read from recent books or from books that haven’t been published yet.
It was held at The Make-Out Room, an atmospheric rock club in San Francisco’s Mission District, and that club was the perfect venue.
I’d never read in a club before, and it was a thrill.
A video excerpt of me reading — the first word, “She,” is cut off (video shot by Jackie Bryan). I had to sub in audio for the last part of this clip and so the audio and video stops syncing. But you’ll get the idea. Or just list to the entire audio clip below.
Reading at a book store is great, don’t get me wrong, but a cool club is really set up to highlight the performers.
When you’re standing on that stage, the stage lights making it impossible to see the audience, a microphone in front of you, it’s hard not to feel like a rock star.
Crazy I know, but it did feel a bit like that.
A stage, stage lighting, a PA system, a near capacity crowd of over 100 people fueled by alcohol — perfect for rock ‘n’ roll stories about the guy who discovered Van Morrison, the importance of Liz Phair’s Exile In Guyville, the trials of making Dino Valenti’s 1968 self-titled solo album, Motley Crue’s crazy antics and more.
I read from my new novel, “True Love Scars,” and you can listen to the audio below.
I love how author Denise Sullivan, who organized the event, introduced me:
He interviewed everybody, everybody you’d want to read an interview with, he interviewed them. OK, so that’s part of his story. Another part of his story. Does anyone remember the dawn of the Internet? We didn’t have Internet and then we had the Internet? Remember that? He basically invented music journalism on the Web. OK, so that’s another distinction of our next author, whose latest book is ‘True Love Scars.’ But the reason that he lives large in my imagination, and this is true, he is the guy – he doesn’t know I’m going to say this — he snuck recording equipment past security so he could do the jailhouse interview iwht Rick James. Can I get a hand for him for that. Michael Goldberg!
Audio of my reading:
The other writers: University of San Francisco professor/ former rock critic 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 (“A Long Strange Trip: The Inside History of the Grateful Dead”), 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”).
Camper Van Beethoven cofounder Victor Krummenacher performed a short but tremendous two-song set. After hearing his transformation of Woody Guthrie’s “I Ain’t Got No Home,” I immediately bought his CD with that song on it.
Thanks to Jackie Bryan for the video!!!
[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.]
— A Days Of The Crazy-Wild blog post —