Defending Your Influences

We recently had award-winning author Michael Kardos as a guest on the Writer Types crime and mystery podcast. We started out by asking Michael—who is also a drummer—about his musical influences instead of his writing influences. Michael was a good sport about it, admitting that Billy Joel and his long-time drummer, Liberty DeVitto, were two of his heroes growing up.

My co-host and I both come from mostly punk/Indie rock backgrounds, so his response gave us a (hopefully) funny bit that ran throughout our discussion. At some point we even got around to Michael’s excellent books, including BLUFF, BEFORE HE FINDS HER, and THE THREE-DAY AFFAIR.

Continue reading

“Dü You Remember?” Podcast Review

I was stoked when I heard about The Current’s Husker Dü documentary podcast—and then totally forgot about it. Ironic considering the title of the series. Although, it might be more accurate to say that I wasn’t ready to listen.

“Dü You Remember?” includes 5 episodes that originally coincided with the release of the excellent Savage Young Dü box set from Numero Group. Unfortunately, it also served as a heart-felt farewell to talented songwriter/drummer/artist Grant Hart who died in September of last year—a month before the release. So as excited as I was about listening to the podcast, I just couldn’t get myself to dive in. That all changed when the algorithm gods gave me a much-needed kick in the ass last week. The timing was perfect.

I recently played on two songs for a friend’s new album, the first recordings I’ve done in a few years. It got me thinking about my long relationship with drumming and the people who inspired me along the way. The long list includes everybody from John Bonham, Charlie Watts and Keith Moon to Bun E. Carlos, D.J. Bonebrake and Alan Myers. And, of course, Grant Hart. I’ve long found it hard to describe Hart’s drumming, but I’ve never heard another drummer play with the same combination of intensity, style and outright musicality. He was also one of the most gifted songwriters of his generation, right up there with his bandmate Bob Mould.

Continue reading

Some Songs Make Great Short Stories

I’m a writer and a music fan, so I often think of the lyrics to my favorite songs as short stories. A couple of the best elements are usually there—from isolation, desperation and validation to heartbreak, betrayal and revenge. Some songwriters create easy to follow narratives, while others make you tease the story out. Great songs can make us imagine exactly what the songwriter envisioned, but it’s more fun to create our own version of the story as we listen.

Lately I’ve been digging deeper with daily posts that re-imagine lyrics through the lens of short fiction. I can’t promise that I’ll keep up this pace, but I’m having fun for now. I call the series “Short Story in a Song.” Here are the first twenty:

S.W. Lauden is the author of the Greg Salem punk rock P.I. series includes BAD CITIZEN CORPORATIONGRIZZLY SEASON and HANG TIME (Rare Bird Books). He is also the co-host of the Writer Types podcast. Steve lives in LA.

Some Songs Make Great Short Stories

I’m a writer and a music fan, so I often think of the lyrics to my favorite songs as short stories. A couple of the best elements are usually there—from isolation, desperation and validation to heartbreak, betrayal and revenge. Some songwriters create easy to follow narratives, while others make you tease the story out. Great songs can make us imagine exactly what the songwriter envisioned, but it’s more fun to create our own version of the story as we listen.

Lately I’ve been digging deeper with daily posts that re-imagine lyrics through the lens of short fiction. I can’t promise that I’ll keep up this pace, but I’m having fun for now. I call the series “Short Story in a Song.” Here are the first fifteen:

S.W. Lauden is the author of the Greg Salem punk rock P.I. series includes BAD CITIZEN CORPORATIONGRIZZLY SEASON and HANG TIME (Rare Bird Books). He is also the co-host of the Writer Types podcast. Steve lives in LA.

Some Songs Make Great Short Stories

I’m a writer and a music fan, so I often think of the lyrics to my favorite songs as short stories. A couple of the best elements are usually there—from isolation, desperation and validation to heartbreak, betrayal and revenge. Some songwriters create easy to follow narratives, while others make you tease the story out. Great songs can make us imagine exactly what the songwriter envisioned, but it’s more fun to create our own version of the story as we listen.

Lately I’ve been digging deeper with daily posts that re-imagine lyrics through the lens of short fiction. I can’t promise that I’ll keep up this pace, but I’m having fun for now. I’m calling the series “Short Story in a Song.” Here are the first ten:

S.W. Lauden is the author of the Greg Salem punk rock P.I. series includes BAD CITIZEN CORPORATIONGRIZZLY SEASON and HANG TIME (Rare Bird Books). He is also the co-host of the Writer Types podcast. Steve lives in LA.

Short Story in a Song — “Books About UFOs”

I never really stopped listening to Husker Du after I discovered the album “Metal Circus” in the 80s, but there were songs from their catalogue that I hadn’t paid close attention to for a few years. One of them was “Books About UFOs” from New Day Rising. I re-engaged with this track after watching the excellent Grant Hart documentary Every Everything a couple of years ago. It’s a tragedy that we lost Hart in 2017, but the existence of a movie that so perfectly captures his tremendous talent and unique worldview eases the sting a tiny bit. And, of course, his amazing music lives on.

“Books About UFOs” might be one of the best examples of how Hart managed to create such great punk and hardcore music by using a broader palette than many of his contemporaries. The narrator is obsessed with a girl whose eyes are always on the sky. It gives him the opportunity to study her the way that she does the planets. It’s the perfect celebration of long-distance crushes, but also pays homage to freaks who proudly wave their flags. I’d say that it might be the perfect Grant Hart song, but there are too many to choose from.

Read the full lyrics to “Books About UFOs” HERE.

More “Short Story in a Song” posts:

S.W. Lauden is the author of the Greg Salem punk rock P.I. series includes BAD CITIZEN CORPORATIONGRIZZLY SEASON and HANG TIME (Rare Bird Books). He is also the co-host of the Writer Types podcast. Steve lives in LA.

Sometimes The Best Short Story Is A Song (#14)

I decided I wanted to write about a Husker Du song this week. So I pulled up their catalogue and started diving in. A lot of it felt like a trip down memory lane, but there were a few songs that I hadn’t heard in a couple of years—or at least I hadn’t paid close attention to the lyrics. One of them in particular was “Books About UFOs” from “New Day Rising.” It’s fitting that this one was written by drummer Grant Hart because I have been so obsessed by the excellent documentary about him, “Every Everything.”

When I was younger, I think I connected with Bob Mould’s songs because of the angry heart-on-your-sleeve lyrics, and straight-ahead driving energy. These days I tend to prefer Hart’s bouncier instrumentation, whimsical observations and sometimes downright psychedelic lyrics. And “Books About UFOs” might be one of the best examples of how he managed to create such great punk and hardcore music by using a broader palette than many of his contemporaries.

The song’s narrator is obsessed with a girl whose eyes are always on the sky. It gives him the opportunity to study her the way that she does the planets. It’s the perfect celebration of long-distance crushes, but also pays homage to freaks who proudly plant their flags. I’d say that it might be the perfect Grant Hart song, but there are too many to choose from.

Read the lyrics to “Books About UFOs” HERE.

Previous installments in this series:

S.W. Lauden’s short fiction has been accepted for publication by Out of the Gutter, Criminal Element, Dark Corners, Dead Guns Magazine, Akashic Books, WeirdBook, Spelk Fiction, Shotgun Honey and Crimespree Magazine. His debut novel, BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION, will be published in October 2015. His novella, CROSSWISE, will be published by Down & Out Books in 2016.