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Sex, Drugs & Rock n Roll

Stephen King & John Mellencamp Create Musical

Novelist Stephen King and rock star John Mellencamp have teamed up for a musical called Ghost Brothers of Darkland County. Atlanta’s The Alliance Theater will produce the show.

Here’s more from “King’s story is based on the real 1957 deaths of two brothers and a young girl. Mellencamp is in charge of the ‘roots and blues-tinged score.’ The Alliance’s artistic director Susan V. Booth will direct and legendary producer T-Bone Burnett will provide musical direction.”

The video embedded above shows King playing guitar at Mellencamp show. The musical is scheduled for a six-week run in 2012 from April 4th to May 13th. Would you go see it?

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Radiohead Releases Free ‘The Universal Sigh’ Newspaper

To promote the release of King of Limbs, Radiohead has been giving out free copies of a one-time newspaper around the world.

Today (March 29th) the paper will be given out in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York City and many other locations. We’ve included the NYC giveaway points below. The paper includes stories by Robert Macfarlane, Jay Griffiths, and Stanley Donwood.

Here’s more from the site: “To commemorate this momentous occasion, Radiohead have produced a newspaper which will be given away, free, gratis, without cost to the consumer by accredited vendors from a multitude of locations WORLDWIDE! In the USA, in the Netherlands, in Belgium, Poland, Germany, Austria, in the Czech Republic, in Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Ireland, France, Italy, Slovakia, Finland, Greece, Norway, Lithuania, Estonia, Russia, Hungary, Australia, Latvia, Iceland, Romania, New Zealand, the UK and a load of other places around the globe, our dedicated teams of newspaper delivery people will be handing out copies of THE UNIVERSAL SIGH to anyone who wants one, until we run out!”

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The Bill Clegg Reader: A Link-Heavy Look at a Notable New Book

1529181_215X340.jpgLiterary Agent Bill Clegg‘s new addiction memoir, Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man, has been the talk of the town for weeks now. This isn’t the first time Clegg has been in the spotlight, and his confessional book didn’t exactly come out of nowhere. So in order to make sense of Clegg’s publicity blitz, we’ve put together a brief dossier on the buildup of newsworthiness.

It’s 2005, and Clegg represents some big names in fiction, like Nicole Krauss and Susan Choi, through his boutique agency Burnes & Clegg. Then he disappears. He loses his clients. Then he returns to the scene, signs on as an agent with William Morris Agency, and gets most of them back. In 2008, Clegg sells a book, the book in question, to Little, Brown for a reported $350,000. The book comes out. Clegg and his publisher decide to focus on “getting as many major national profiles, features and reviews as possible, rather than personal appearances.” New York Magazine scores the first excerpt, and runs it with great pictures. The Guardian excerpts it, too. Everybody loves it. The New York Times calls it “a mesmerizing bummer.” Then they excerpt the first chapter.

And that’s why you’re hearing so much about him. His book excerpts well and he seems preternaturally good at taking headshots (see picture). It’s a one-two punch of pre-release publicity.

Mike Edison Writes Books About Debauchery and Liner Notes About Rock & Roll


In a recent interview, Mike Edison, author of I Have Fun Everywhere I Go, explained what he’s writing when he’s not writing books: Liner notes.

It’s a pretty envy-inducing gig. Edison (pictured with The Iron Sheik, via) has written the liner notes for reissued albums by The Stooges and The Ramones; press releases for the New York Dolls; and the copy for a handful of albums by the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion.

Here’s Edison, on the art of the liner note: “I want the reader to feel like, Hey, I read these notes and there was a real payoff, they were a gas to read, it wasn’t the usual huffing and puffing, and now I understand this record better – the music, whatever historical importance it might have, how the damn thing got made. I always color outside of the lines and try to offer new insights. Sometimes it doesn’t hurt to smoke a joint when I am scribbling in my notebook on the first close listen, but believe me, I have no shortage of ideas when it comes to spewing about rock’n'roll. Or jazz or classical, for that matter.”

(Edison is actually in pretty good company among novelists who write liner notes. Thomas Pynchon famously wrote the notes for an album by the semi-obscure alt-rock band Lotion.)

Edison’s book is best explained through its extended subtitle: “Savage Tales of Pot, Porn, Punk Rock, Pro Wrestling, Talking Apes, Evil Bosses, Dirty Blues, American Heroes, and the Most Notorious Magazines in the World.”

I challenge you, reader: Find me a writer who has more fun than this guy appears to.

Blogger Experiments with Twilight’s Sexy Factor


Exactly how sexy is Twilight fanaticism? Over on, blogger Drew Grant attempted to find out. Grant (pictured, via Crushable) donned an “I Heart Sparkly Vampires” t-shirt and carried around New Moon for an evening on the town (or, well, in Williamsburg at least). Sure enough, a few people muttered that she was crazy and one guy complimented her headband. In the end, she tells some guy it’s all a ruse and they hit it off.

Here at GalleyCat, we’ve always been under the impression that bookishness is attractive, at least in its own narrow way. (And at the very least, in Williamsburg.) But carrying around a Twilight book maybe doesn’t speak to the same qualities. The most astute comment that came out of her experiment? “I asked the guy next to me to take a picture to prove to my friends that I did it, and he said ‘What, sneak into a bar?’”

Her Twilight geek get-up was an extreme example; what if she had dressed up in support of a more age-appropriate book? Like, say, Lush Life? Or Tree of Smoke? An “I Heart Skip Sands” t-shirt? Our guess is it would have been a pretty positive experience.

Then again, maybe this GalleyCat contributor is only curious because a long time ago, when he was 18 years old and fickle, he decided it’d be a good idea to brand himself with a tattoo for his then-favorite author. Sexy factor: Non-existent.

Film Rights Sold to Alan Goldsher’s Upcoming Novel, Paul Is Undead

9781439177921.jpgAlan Goldsher has sold the film rights to his forthcoming zombie-Beatles novel, Paul is Undead: The British Zombie invasion, due out in June by Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster.

The book, which got a ton of press when it was announced last year after people realized Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was awesome, is an oral history of the undead Fab Four, who are trying to, ahem, “escape eternal death at the hands of England’s greatest zombie hunter, Mick Jagger.”

Double Feature Films, the company run by the producers of Pulp Fiction and Erin Brockovich, bought the rights. Earlier this year, Goldsher gave GalleyCat some publishing predictions.

Translating Literature with a Four-Piece Band


Inside Higher Ed has a fun little profile up about Glass Wave, a California band made up of professors who sing about literature. The band is pictured above, via their site)

From the story: “Inspired by a line in Ezra Pound’s Cantos, the band’s moniker is consistent with its modus operandi: writing rock songs based on canonical works of literature. The 11-track album adapts themes and narratives from Homer, Ovid, Shakespeare, Herman Melville, Mary Shelley, Edgar Allan Poe, and Vladimir Nabokov, and sets them to musical compositions, generally in the vein of 1960s and ’70s progressive rock typified by groups such as Pink Floyd, The Soft Machine, and Supertramp.”

Well, that’s awesome. Maybe they’ll end up touring with the Rock Bottom Remainders. Or at least sign to their record label.

What Are the Best Pandora Stations for Writers?

logo_pandora.jpgThe music streaming website Pandora counted 40 million registered users this year. The free service generates a customized radio station for every band in a musical database, playing similar-sounding music in an uninterrupted stream. This continuous stream of similar-sounding music is perfect for the extended focus of a writer.

What are your favorite Pandora stations for writing? This GalleyCat editor prefers listening to the stations created for Explosions in the Sky and Cloud Cult to maximize his writing focus.

Here’s more about the music selection process, from the site: “We ended up assembling literally hundreds of musical attributes or ‘genes’ into a very large Music Genome. Taken together these genes capture the unique and magical musical identity of a song – everything from melody, harmony and rhythm, to instrumentation, orchestration, arrangement, lyrics, and of course the rich world of singing and vocal harmony. It’s not about what a band looks like, or what genre they supposedly belong to, or about who buys their records – it’s about what each individual song sounds like.”

Nick Cave’s Experimental Audiobook

In explaining how they built “what may be the most ambitious audiobook yet” for Nick Cave‘s new novel, “The Death of Bunny Munro,” two artists explored the wide-open crossroads of audiobooks, digital books, and web video.

Artists Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard have created materials for rock & roll artist and novelist Cave in the past, and they were granted access to a huge collection of sounds, clips and music from Cave’s musical vault. They created the iPhone app demonstrated in the video above, an audiobook mixing video, music, and Cave reading his novel. The essay also contains photos of Cave’s manuscript, extensively annotated for this unique audiobook application.

Here’s more from the essay: “The text is incredibly vivid and without doubt we’d begun to construct a mental image of Bunny’s world from our first reading, so we began by sharing those images with each other, and developing a kind of shared non-existent movie … But clocking in at over eight hours the soundtrack analogy only really goes so far. The finished result is really something else altogether. Something between a film soundtrack, a radio play and an hallucination.”

Rock Journalists’ Hardcore Memories

030681806X.jpgTo celebrate the release of Decibel magazine’s DaCapo anthology, “Precious Metal,” the LA Times has collected some heavy metal memories from rock journalists around the country–an oral history of this strange genre of American rock.

The collection includes the stories behind such classic metal albums as Black Sabbath‘s “Heaven and Hell” and Slayer‘s “Reign in Blood.” In the article, rock reporters reminisce about heavy metal dinners, drug abuse, and satanism.

Here’s rock journalist Adem Tepedelen with an anti-climactic memory: “[I arranged] an interview with Mercyful Fate on their first U.S. tour in late 1984 … lead vocalist King Diamond['s] stage get-up at the time featured corpse paint and an upside down cross painted on his forehead. He also used a microphone holder reportedly made from human thigh bones to screech lyrics largely about Satan and other occult-themed topics … The things that I remember most vividly to this day are how blue his eyes were, how well he spoke English and how smart and how nice he was. Which I gotta admit, at the time, was a little disappointing.”