Many thanks to Jimmy Newborg for tagging me to do a Next Big Thing blog post. Below is my attempt to make sense of a memoir project I’ve been working on for about two and a half years. I’m especially pleased to pass the mic to Aaron Gilbreath, Ian King, and Carey Wallace for the next round.
What is the working title of your book?
Only the Good. (Yes, this is a Billy Joel reference. And no, he does not make an appearance in the book.)
Where did the idea come from for the book?
A little more than a decade ago, I was the staff music writer for an alt-weekly in Detroit. A lot of the bands I had covered were starting to get international attention, and an uncle of mine (a former music journalist himself) suggested that I collect some of my early stories on these bands into a book. About three years later, my uncle died, and at his funeral, I made a promise to him and myself that I would write a book. I began serious work on the project in 2010 while attending the Bennington Writing Seminars, and by suggestion of my teachers, I approached the subject material from a personal angle. As such, my uncle, other family members, the city of Detroit, and its music all play prominent roles.
What genre does your book fall under?
I would call it a music memoir.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Several of the musicians could theoretically play themselves. A healthy degree of natural awkwardness would help in the role of me. Kristen Stewart could probably throw on a pair of glasses and phone it in.
What is a one-sentence synopsis of your book?
After an adolescence spent obsessing over riot grrrl spreads in Sassy magazine, Melissa Giannini pursued a career in music journalism; it seemed like a good idea at the time.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
The first draft took about two years. During the same period, I was working full-time as a magazine editor in New York and enrolled in an MFA program—but sleeping very little.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
There are many music-journalist-penned memoirs, but not a ton by women—Ann Powers’s Weird Like Us and Donna Gaines’s Misfit’s Manifesto come to mind.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
The resiliency of my family, Detroit’s refusal to die, independent record stores, dream hampton, Virginia Woolf, Ellen Willis, and Patti Smith.
What else about your book might pique a reader’s interest?
It sounds sad, but it’s actually a joyful book.
When and how will it be published?
Just a quick note to let y’all know that I’ve been posting my five favorite new songs every Friday over at nylonmag.com. You’ll also be able to read lots of words by yours truly in upcoming issues of NYLON and NYLON Guys. But in the meantime, here are links to the weekly song picks I’ve made so far in case you need to catch up. Enjoy!
Oh! And an interview I did over the summer with the one and only Philip Lopate is up right now at The Aviary. Happy New Year!
I enjoyed talking to these two (twice) for SPIN: Brooklyn Punkers Handcraft a Warpath
The second piece is in the September/October print issue (on stands now), along with a short feature on Willis Earl Beal.
Filed under: Writing | Tags: Daisy, Daniel Rossen, M. Ward, MEN, Neneh Cherry, Patti Smith, Psychobuildings, Ra Ra Riot, Starring
Plus, Daisy sleeping:
Hey, friends. A little interview I did with Sharon Van Etten is up on the new SPIN site. I hope you like it!
Filed under: Writing | Tags: Bon Iver, iceland, tiger strikes asteroid, tracy thomason, travel
A guest post by yours truly was recently featured on Martha Stewart’s daily blog:
Many of the photos in the post above were taken by Tom Costa. Check out his most recent painting and sculptural work at TomCostaStudios.blogspot.com.
And here’s the video I’ve had on repeat since returning from Iceland:
Filed under: Etc. | Tags: Dirtbombs, Girls to the Front, Lac la Belle, Sharevari, The Scene
Hi friends. It’s been a while. Dayjob + nightschool = little time for anything else.
But this new Dirtbombs “Sharevari” cover has gotten me through the past couple days:
The techno classic has been covered by everybody. This one just might be my favorite. Brooklyn’s Plasticfish is responsible for the visuals, and the project is part of the Scion A/V video series. I’m guessing they were inspired by this 1982 episode of “The Scene”:
Seeing my dear friends Lac la Belle play in a Lower East Side basement last week didn’t hurt either — although Jennie Knaggs’s vocals lilting between sorrow and joy brought me to tears 4 times. They should be posting videos from their tour soon. I highly recommend you check them out when they do. I also highly recommend Vanilla Stoli and Vernor’s. They will make it for you at Motor City Bar, conveniently located around the corner from the basement art space where Lac la Belle played.
Here’s my last bit of Detroit+New York news for the evening: Adult. is performing the soundtrack to their “The Three Grace(s)” triptych at Anthology Film Archives on Thursday. Very much looking forward to that.
P.S. I just finished reading Sara Marcus’s “Girls to the Front.” It rules. Really. I’m totally bowing down to it. Or curtsying. Or whatever. It makes me want to DJ again, which reminds me: We’re coming up on Halloween, almost a year since my last gig. And my DJ partner, the lovely Sara Bee, is leaving me for a thrilling life overseas. OK, I know she was the only one of us who knew what she was doing, but I’m the one who owns the smoke machine! And I’ve been practicing. You should really consider hiring me to DJ your party. It’ll be just like “The Scene” in 1982!