I started playing drums in my early teens and pretty much didn’t stop for twenty-five years. Picking up that first pair of sticks radically changed the course of my life. Not only did I make great friends, but I got to record and tour a little along the way.
Once drumming took a back seat, I was fortunate to find another passion in writing crime and mystery fiction. It’s been a real thrill getting to know that community as well, which—as luck would have it—includes several musicians. A few of us even tried to launch an ill-fated band featuring five crime authors. That project, like countless bands before it, was sunk by infighting over REO Speedwagon.
These days I still get the occasional chance to play. Most recently it’s with my good friend and former band mate, Jeff Whalen, who just announced his first solo record, 10 More Rock Super Hits. I was stoked to play drums for two songs on this stellar collection (pen name, S.W. Lauden; drum name, Steve Coulter). Having made two albums and a couple E.P.’s with him in the rock group Tsar, I can honestly say that the songs on 10 More Rock Super Hits are among Jeff’s best—but don’t take my word for it:
Rock and reading have long been two of my biggest obsessions, but I’ve discovered a third in the last few years—podcasts. A combination of all those influences led me to create 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. I originally posted them over the course of a week in January, but have collected all five episodes here. Enjoy.
I’m thrilled to share the first episode of the Books on the Bus podcast. I’m kicking things off with Jeff Whalen, lead singer of the Los Angeles rock group Tsar, and soon to be a solo artist with the release of “10 More Rock Super Hits.”
Jeff’s a rocker by night and librarian by day, so I couldn’t think of a better way to launch this five-part podcast mini-series about rock and reading.
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