I got the chance to speak with author Rex Weiner about his new book, “The (Original) Adventures of Ford Fairlane.” Fairlane was a rock n’ roll detective that emerged from the late 70s underground music scene and his adventures were originally serialized in the New York Rocker and LA Weekly. These days, people who remember Fairlane mostly associate him with Andrew Dice Clay’s performance in the 1990 movie, The Adventures of Ford Fairlane.
The truth is, that movie had little or nothing to do with Weiner’s original creation. So this new book is not only a chance to get (re)acquainted with Fairlane, but also an interesting tale about what happens to fictional characters after a decade spent banging around Hollywood.
Here’s one of my favorite quotes from the interview:
“What I liked about punk rock and New Wave in the 1970s was how it gave a middle finger to the corporate takeover of the music business. It felt like rock n’ roll—born out of young white middle class rebellion combined with black American culture—was making a last stand at CBGBs and the downtown New York clubs on the east coast, and at the Starwood and south bay clubs, and the Mabuhay in San Francisco on the west coast. It was dangerous and threatening to many of the musicians themselves, unfortunately, as much as to the society they confronted. But economics had a lot to do with its success, as the interviews in my book with Andy Schwartz and Jay Levin testify (publishers of the alternative papers that first serialized the Ford Fairlane stories). The cheaper cost of living in that era allowed those clubs to exist and gave artists freedom to create the music and culture that now seem so radical. I believe the same indie spirit is still alive and well in cities and town across the country and around the world—especially Hip Hop on a grass-roots level—but it’s more DIY than ever, and you have to look for it. If you’re in that mood. On my end, I’m listening to early Be Bop these days, mostly.”
You can read the whole interview right HERE at Crimespree Magazine.
My Greg Salem punk rock PI series revolves around a fictional SoCal band called BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION, but the music and musicians that inspired these books are very real.
The playlist includes songs from the 70s to the 2000s, ranging from Black Flag, The Runaways, Lagwagon and Minutemen to The Gun Club, Pennywise, The Bags and Face To Face. There are thousands of other songs I could have included, but 30 seems right for now.
I’m loosely defining SoCal as the region between San Diego and Santa Barbara. Likewise, the definition of “punk” is also pretty loose because it’s one of those words that means something different to everybody.
So…save your aggression for the pit, bro. As Descendents would say—Enjoy!
Very excited to be over at Story and Grit today. Jessie Rawlins asked some great questions. I talk about my Greg Salem series, music (everything from Johnny Cash to REO Speedwagon), and podcasting—among many other things.
Hope you enjoy reading the interview as much as I enjoyed doing it.
Rock and reading have long been two of my biggest obsessions, but I have discovered a third in the last few years—podcasts. Radio shows like Somewhere Out There with Joe Frank, This American Life, and Radiolab were my gateway drugs. Once in the podcast universe, I quickly expanded to WTF with Marc Maron, Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History, Cracked, Re:sound, Freakonomics, and Snap Judgement. Lately, I’ve been digging Desert Oracle Radio, Kurt Vonneguys, and The Hilarious World of Depression.
It was a discussion about our favorite podcasts that compelled Eric Beetner and me to create the monthly crime and mystery podcast, Writer Types. And now my podcast fascination has led me to a new solo project that I’m calling Books on the Bus—a five-part podcast mini-series about the intersection of rock and reading. Each episode features a musician sharing about their favorite books and authors, how books inspire their lyrics, the best rock biographies, and what they like to read on the road—in addition to some unexpected tangents. A new episode will be posted daily between January 29 and Friday, February 2 over on the Rare Bird Radio podcast platform.
To say that this project brings together all of my favorite things would be a huge understatement. My guests include:
Jan. 29: Jeff Whalen—Tsar
Jan. 30: Joey Cape—Lagwagon, Me First & The Gimme Gimmes
Jan. 31: Todd Pasternack—Ominous Seapods, author of LESSONS FROM THE ROAD: MUSICIANS AS BUSINESS LEADER
Feb. 1: Marko DeSantis—Sugarcult, Bad Astronaut
Feb. 2: Jim Lindberg—Pennywise, author of PUNK ROCK DAD
Thrilled to share the cover for “Hang Time,” the third book in the Greg Salem punk rock P.I. trilogy. The two previous books, “Bad Citizen Corporation” and “Grizzly Season,” also got new ebook covers to match this one.
I’m THRILLED to chat with excellent crime author, Will Viharo, about the Indie crime scene, the importance and pitfalls of using social media for book promotion, and what I’ve got coming down the line. You can check out the short interview RIGHT HERE.
What: Author of CRIMINAL ZOO, a disturbing look into a dystopian near future where criminals pay for their crimes in torture and blood. His second book is scheduled for release fall of 2017.
Interview conducted by email. Some questions and answers have been edited.
CRIMINAL ZOO is a fresh take on the crime novel. Tell us a little about the inspiration to write this story.
May, 2005, an article in the Billings Gazette: Man Killed Two Girls Out of Rage. I sat in my office with a client of mine and discussed this article (by day I’m a mild-mannered personal trainer, by night I write stories that cost you sleep). According to the article, an ex-convict stabbed his 8-year-old daughter and her 9-year-old friend to death with a steak knife. He alleged he did so in self-defense. “I wish I could be locked in a room with this monster,” I told my client. “I would say, ‘I’m not an eight year old girl. What can you do to me?’ Come back an hour later and let out whoever is still standing. I guarantee it will be me.”
Two years later, I sat down and let the story out. In all fairness, however, I must give credit where credit is due. Dante Alighieri beat me to the punch by 700 years. In his DIVINE COMEDY, Dante explained his hell. “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” What you did to land in hell is done to you for an eternity.
“GRIZZLY SEASONisn’t a novel about the drug trade. It is a novel about American drug paranoia. Magnus Ursus is a boogeyman hellbent on either indoctrinating young minds or destroying them with his new, demented, hypertoxic drug. He inspires the kind of terror that keeps concerned mothers up at night. He’s a cult leader, a slave-owner and a smut dealer all at once. How many times have I told you a novel can only be as great as its antagonist? Grizzly Seasonis another example. Magnus Ursus and the suspended, nightmare reality he seems to live in make the novel successful.” FULL REVIEW.