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Following in the footsteps of the late great Lester Bangs -- the most revered and irreverent of rock 'n' roll critics -- twenty-four celebrated writers have penned stories inspired by great songs. Just as Bangs cast new light on a Rod Stewart classic with his story "Maggie May," about a wholly unexpected connection between an impressionable young man and an aging, alcoholic hooker, the diverse, electrifying stories here use songs as a springboard for a form dubbed the lit riff.
Alongside Bangs's classic work, you'll find stories by J.T. LeRoy, who puts a recovering teenage drug abuser in a dentist's chair with nothing but the Foo Fighters's "Everlong" -- blaring through the P.A. -- to fight the pain; Jonathan Lethem, whose narrator looks back on his lost innocence just as an extramarital affair careens to an end -- this to the tune "Speeding Motorcycle" as recorded by Yo La Tengo; and Jennifer Belle, who envisions a prequel to Paul Simon's "Graceland" -- one that takes place at a children's birthday party replete with a real live kangaroo.
With original contributions from Tom Perrotta, Nelson George, Amanda Davis, Lisa Tucker, Aimee Bender, Darin Strauss, and many more -- riffing on everyone from Tom Waits and Bruce Springsteen to the White Stripes, Cat Power, and Bob Marley -- this is both an astounding collection of short stories and an extraordinary experiment in words and music.
Soundtrack available from Saturation Acres Music & Recording Co.
yipyap yelpings and piteous yowls not unreminiscent of chalk squeaking on blackboards that the whole idea was abandoned overnight and a platoon truckload of panting Fidos imported special to the Lady Bowzers for a full-scale K-9 orgy just to shut ’em the fuck up) (happened in Keokuk, Iowa, case you wondered where the locals’d be fool enough to concoct such a scheme in the first place), they were hungry, and nosh awhile they did, groinwise that is, grinding away in to-the-hilt gimme-glee sloshed
street in New York City, all that motion and franticness, where your eye pauses and begins to follow one person, one story, before it gets caught up in the bustle again. One section in “Milestones” made me think of a man falling, and another section made me think of a man rising, which is why Red is falling and John is going up in the elevator at the same time. I was interested in personal vertical movement, in comparison to the horizontal movement of the street. I also tried to follow Miles
picked it up. It read, Elgar’s Disposables. Elgar, I said. That’s a strange name. Elgar pushed up his eye pillow, revealing a solitary, dumbstruck eye. He looked at me. He looked at me. He returned the pillow to its previous position. Elgar was the name of a Swedish warrior, he said, who raped his way across the arctic tundra. Or so my mother told me. You mother is Swedish? I asked. No, but she was fondled once at a skating party. I’m sorry to hear that, I said. My name is Helen. Very
Mrs. Crailt calls “poor-ventilated.” And what are the kids up to outside that it’s so quiet? Plates raises his head all of a sudden, as if I’m the one who’s disturbed him. “Don’t worry, Mrs. McQuaid.” He works his easy-on-the-ear half-whisper. “I’ll never let them take”—checking his notes—“Dylan and Morrison from you.” That does the opposite of soothe me. I hadn’t even considered that possibility. I manage to use my librarian voice: “May I ask you to leave?” More than anything in my life I want
you enough to live and sleep with you then, part of that must still exist now. You see what I mean? I don’t know if I loved you. But I did care. And I still care, and maybe I always will. I don’t know what’s happened to you and I don’t think I want to, but do me a favor and try to pull yourself out of this downslide. You know that’s a coward’s way out, and I never would have been attracted to a coward in the first place. You’re the same person and so am I. I don’t want anything out of you now