Published by Vagabondage Press, EXPERIENCED: Rock Music Tales of Fact & Fiction explores the topsy-turvy world of rock 'n' roll as only fine literature can. Its 16 compelling narratives relate the lives of touring musicians and touring fans, label signings gone awry, the evolution of life as a roadie, or (in one case) a DJ with a serial killer for a caller. While the stories are unique to each writer, you’ll discover within them an experience that is universal. Some are fiction and some non-fiction, but they’re all true.

Friday, September 30, 2011

"We're thinking of getting the band back together..."

 Few statements elicit such "mixed" feelings among fans and critics alike. The Eagles, Phish, Van Halen, The Police. It might seem like a good idea for at few seconds, maybe even a few minutes. But in the end, it's almost always a bad way to go. We know why bands keep reuniting, and it's definitely not about the music.

In J.T. Townley's "Deja Vu (All Over Again)," a band called The Real Enchiladas discuss plans to follow in the footsteps of such bands. Those who've made it through rehab and dusted off their instruments in hopes of riding the wave of hype and financial reward that comes from our longing for rock 'n' roll nostalgia. Only it might not be that easy...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Review of EXPERIENCED by Book Pleasures

Happy to see EXPERIENCED get a glowing review by Dr. Wes Britton at  He describes the book as a type of kaleidoscope with each of its 16 stories colorful shards of glass. And sums things up by saying:  

"If you love rock ‘n roll and all that comes with it, you’ll not only enjoy this fast-moving book, but you’re likely to see at least one reflection of yourself in it. But as the level of writing is so high, you need not be solely interested in the subject matter to appreciate what the editors have collected here. Experienced is chock-full of memorable characters—real and imagined—settings and situations—fact and fiction—and narratives that move with the pace of a pop classic. A most enjoyable kaleidoscope indeed."

You can read the entire review here

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Rock Music Shaping Our Lives

Esteemed music writer and critic Jim DeRogatis has written about leading figures in the rock 'n' roll world, including entire books on The Flaming Lips and Lester Bangs, among others. But "Bodies on the Moon," his piece in EXPERIENCED tells the story of another subject, himself, recounting those awkward teen years and how rock music helped him through. One night his band got the chance to perform at the school dance, although its set list wasn't vetted. Some songs just aren't appropriate in such circumstances.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Connections: Zak Sally

This will be the first in series I'll post periodically called "connections," whereby the lit and rock music worlds overlap. Some entries will be anecdotes, others brief profiles on multi-talented artists like EXPERIENCED contributor James Greer. Since I saw a great show by the band Low last night, I thought I'd start by writing about the bass player who wasn't there...

Zak Sally played bass for the Duluth, MN-based band Low for more than a decade. A very talented comic artist involved in the underground zine scene for years, Sally took the next step and formed his own publishing company called La Mano 21which publishes graphic novels and comic books. The small press features the work of many fine artists and writers, including some of Sally's own work. Check out its site and see for yourself. They offer many limited edition pressings.

Here's a video of Low with Sally playing "Monkey" from the album, The Great Destroyer.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Rock Band on the Road

Sean Ennis is a seriously talented writer, who in an earlier life found himself traveling cross-country by van as part of a garage rock band. His "Tour Diary: Excerpts" is an exceptionally written and always captivating piece of work that draws from his experiences, and details the travails of a band that's not quite famous, or "Almost Famous," but perhaps almost almost famous. Think Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady chasing rock star dreams.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Ziggy Played Guitar

Ever wake with the granddaddy of hangovers and begin to philosophize on David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust and all those spiders from mars?

Me neither... but in "David Bowie Against the Enemy" Adam Moorad's protagonist Lamb undergoes a surreal morning in his little apartment and finds himself essentially communing with Ziggy.

So, with that, I say, "Pass me the bottle...and make me an alligator."

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Now the Seats Are All Empty...

Let the roadies take the stage...

No rock lit anthology is complete without a story about the crew behind the scenes: the roadies, those manning  the soundboard, etc.. In EXPERIENCED, Brian Goetz pays homage to such folks whose work--like sports officials--goes largely unnoticed unless something goes wrong.

"Heavy Lifting Days" recounts Brian's decades of experience in setting up live performances, including a few of the mishaps along the way. With the advent of digital technology a lot has changed over time, but there's something to be said for all the tricks and trials employed back in the day that might provide the perfect sound, visual or effects.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

EXPERIENCED Review in The Nervous Breakdown

Caleb Powell has reviewed the book for The Nervous Breakdown and has many kind things to say. As a bass player who played in a band that struggled but had its moments, Caleb really gets it. He writes: "Anyone who loves music can understand the pull of this world of fantasy and reality; Experienced revisits and expands this dream."

Go check out the entire review at The Nervous Breakdown