Had a wonderful time yesterday at Princeton’s Local Author Expo. Some of us were selected to speak about our book, and with a seven minute cap, I did my best…okay, quick: Lexicon of Grunge hoax, TAD makes up backstory about being savant backwoodsmen, Laura Vanderpool quote about living in the music scene. The end.
I think my favorite part of the day was a conference on character development conducted by Scott Morgan, author of Character Development from the Inside Out. See, my next book will be a novel, so… (arent’ you excited?)
as part of the Princeton Public Library Local Author Event on Saturday, March 24 from 1 to 4 pm. The day will also include seminars by various professional writers. And, since I am the best author to write about Seattle music who lives within a 20 miles radius of Philadelphia*, I have been selected to do a five minute reading at 3:10 pm. Should be interesting…I’ll have to select the most abruptly outrageous passage to offer unsuspecting patrons. Suggestions are appreciated.
These things are always fun…especially when they’re at an independent record store like Main Street Music. They have a great selection of new and used vinyl and CDs…all at reasonable prices.
Prior to the event, MSM’s Jamie asked if she could order some relevant CDs ahead of time. I suggested a few folks, and then when I got there I noticed they had–in addition to Nirvana, Soundgarden and Mudhoney–Gas Huffer, the Young Fresh Fellows, and, and…the Monkeywrench! For those not familiar with the last band, the Monkeywrench was one of those Seattle super-group side project things featuring the U-Men’s Tom Price and Mark and Steve from Mudhoney. I was proud…and one of my friends bought a copy at my urging.
Some friends and patrons watched as I did my Seattle schtick…nothing too outlandish, although this time I remembered to read the excerpt on the Thrown Ups’ “Dirtiest Band in the World” show at the Central.
I want to thank MSM’s Pat and Jamie for hosting the event as well as Lucky’s for contributing beers…and thanks to the folks who stopped by.
I will have a table (well, half a table, apparently) at the Princeton Public Library Author Day Event on Saturday, March 24, from 1 to 4 pm…and will be signing copies of The Strangest Tribe. The Library will also randomly select a few of us to do readings, so keep your fingers crossed.
Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore stopped by Siren Records in Doylestown, PA recently, and was perusing my book…and, according to Siren’s owner Blair, he appreciated its coverage of lesser-known Seattle bands. So yeah, I’m happy.
Doylestown, PA’s Siren Records graciously invited me back for a second book reading and signing. This time, I would have the opportunity to play musical and interview clips over the store PA.
My wife and daughter sat down as I set up my array of laminated Seattle photos and show posters. I played a few musical selections to get the audience warmed up: “Polly” and “In Bloom” by Nirvana, “Half Past You” by Love Battery, and (at my daughter’s request) “Don’t Take It Personal Dave,” by the Cops.
A group of about 10 patrons stopped over to listen as I began the presentation. I talked about that wonderful Seattle sense of humor, and introduced the audience to Mr. Epp and the Calculations…the fake band that became real. Then I played them the following clip where Mr. Epp’s Mark Arm (now with Mudhoney) talks about the band’s latter days where a band mate began complaining that Epp had become “too rock.” Back in the ’80s, punk bands could be shunned for sounding too much like a mainstream rock band. As I played the clip, I scanned the store, waiting to see how people would react to Mark’s imitation of a guitar plugged into way too much distortion and amplification (occurs at the end of the clip.)
I saw a few patrons physically jump.
I then read the notorious U-Men 1985 Bumbershoot (annual Seattle outdoor music festival) story, where the band set fire to a moat in front of the stage. The band members didn’t realize that the moat actually ran underneath the stage, and that flames would follow. But the U-Men kept performing, oblivious to the danger of the players themselves going up in flames. A clip of U-Men guitarist Tom Price’s assessment of the situation followed…”We just kept playin’,” he said with typical Seattle nonchalance.
I talked about the incredible diversity of the Seattle music scene, which existed even during grunge’s heyday–offering up the Young Fresh Fellows’ “Amy Grant,” and Jack Endino’s experimental “Sideways Savannah” as evidence.
At the conclusion, my daughter asked some great questions about the book (not planted, I swear), as did some other folks not related to me. After signing a few books, I hung out for about an hour, and Siren owner Blair allowed me to maintain control over the store’s PA. And so I played a few Nirvana selections (“Love Buzz,” “Spank Thru,” “School,”); the U-Men (“Shoot ‘em Down”); Mudhoney (“Into the Drink,” “Fuzzgun ’91,”); Screaming Trees (“Ash Gray Sunday,” “Last Words”)…quietly finishing with the Shins (“Caring is Creepy.”)
I’d again like to thank Siren’s Blair and Chloe for hosting the event, and for supporting local writing.
So, apparently I will be teaching a course about my book this fall at Delaware Valley College. It will be a one credit honors class. I’m still kicking ideas around…perhaps I can Skype-in some of my Seattle friends and have them scare my students. Regardless, it should be a blast. Stay tuned. (Could the next step be “The Strangest Tribe: The Musical”?)
Reading and signing scheduled for Friday, March 2 at 7 pm. The event will be held in conjunction with Manayunk’s First Friday festivities. (For you Seattle folks, Manayunk is to Philly like Ballard is to your town.) This should be amazing! Come out, have some beers, and listen to my favorite Seattle characters tell their stories.