Today I am playing a trick on you. Ha! Good one. The next Guided By Voices album is finished, and it’s (obviously) great, and you can’t hear it until I believe May. It’s called Class Clown Spots A UFO. Which is an old song made new again through the magic of R. Pollard. And despite the fact the the band is getting ready to finish recording the next next GBV record (either my ears are going bad or Bob told me the working title is Bears For Lunch, or both, or neither), you STILL HAVE TO WAIT. Sorry. I just work here.
What I can and will do for you is re-present another example of an old song made new again, in the form of “Walls And Windows,” a very early (1983) Guided By Voices song that Bob would later re-write and recontextualize and appropriate and whatever all else words you want to use for when he goes back to an old song and turns it into a new song, in this case called “Hardcore UFOs,” appearing on the album Bee Thousand.
The catch to the latter re-presentation is that I am not only going to post that song, but another song, called “Streets and the City,” by my new band Detective. Or, if you prefer, Détective, because it’s named after the Godard film of that name. Upon being told which a certain film director of my acquaintance called me “pretentious.” To which I replied, “Yeah, next thing you know I’ll remake a Tarkovsky film.” Because he actually did that! See? I threw it back in his face! Burn. He replied “No one would be stupid enough to do that,” which at least shows that he can joke about himself, unlike me. I have no sense of humor about myself. I take everything very seriously and carry grudges forever and… oh, wait, that’s Steve Albini. Never mind.
Anyway. So. Alors. At least I didn’t write this whole post in French, which I could have done. I just sold my novel The Failure to the French publisher Gallimard for like a billion dollars in my own translation (I had help). It’s called L’Echec in French. (Okay, I had a lot of help. Still.)
As a result, I am in a festive mood. Click here to hear the result of my festive mood.
The link will take you to a page where you can hear “Walls And Windows,” probably for like the thirty-thousand and one third time, as well as “Streets and the City,” should you so wish. God gave you free will and so do I. That’s basically what God and I have in common. That and perfection. We have those things in common. We’re both perfect. Other than that… oh yeah, omnipresence. I have that. So, just the granting of free will to every human being, perfection of body and spirit, and omnipresence. Feels like I’m forgetting something. Whatever.
Also, I would like to present:
And finally, because I’m pretty sure you like to click on things, a very special surprise awaits you if you click here.
It’s been a pleasure. No, really. If you are at all inclined to “like” things or “tweet” about them or “share” them on any of the popular social media platforms, that would make me happy enough to consider posting more unreleased Guided By Voices rarities and maybe even someday tell you the story about why the hell I started another band and furthermore why we are playing the Empty Bottle in Chicago on February 29th or Atwater Crossing in Los Angeles on March 8th and wherever elese we decide to play in the future. THANKS FOR LISTENING.
I’ve told the story of writing and recording this song for the album-length EP Sunfish Holy Breakfast (Matador, 1996) before, but I’m going to tell it again now, for reasons that will become clear sometime early next year.
I take inordinate pride in being one of only a handful—not even an adult handful, more like [...]
I’ve told the story of writing and recording this song for the album-length EP Sunfish Holy Breakfast (Matador, 1996) before, but I’m going to tell it again now, for reasons that will become clear sometime early next year.
I take inordinate pride in being one of only a handful—not even an adult handful, more like a little baby handful—of people to have a solo writing credit on a Guided By Voices record. But it’s not my fault. The way it happened was this: we were in Refraze Studios in Dayton sometime in 1995, after the Albini session in Chicago and the aborted Memphis session that was meant to produce The Power of Suck concept album.
At Refraze we remixed a couple of the songs that Bob Pollard knew he wanted to keep for what would become Under The Bushes, Under The Stars, including “Don’t Stop Now” and “Official Ironmen Rally Song.” I say “we” remixed the songs, but in actual fact Gary King the studio owner/engineer and I remixed them. Took a lot of convincing on my part even to get Bob to agree to remix, or more properly, to mix the songs, since no actual mix other than a hasty board version existed after Bob abruptly pulled the plug on the Memphis sessions. His official excuse for cutting the session short—delivered with eyes downcast and feet shifting uneasily in the parking lot outside Easley—was that his son Bryan was playing in a basketball game in a couple of days and he didn’t want to miss it. He said that straight to Kim Deal’s face, or would have had he been able to look her in the face. She laughed, which was the only appropriate response. It was a dick move, but then Bob can be an asshole. Or, as he likes to say, “a nice asshole” There’s no way in hell Kim was going to have anything to do with the record after that <digression> she’d agreed to produce The Power of Suck for free, in exchange for 1) a portable DAT player, estimated cost approximately $700, and 2) permission to mash together two GBV songs she liked, “I Am Decided” and “Are You Faster,” into one new royalty-free song which she later put on The Amps album Pacer. Part of which was recorded in the studio time left over at Easley Studios after we bailed. </digression> so it was incumbent upon me to try to salvage what could be salvaged. One reason why this was difficult is because Bob does not hear music the way most people hear music. He literally doesn’t understand what the words “drum sound” (to be fair, an open-ended subject) mean. He doesn’t really believe there needs to be any bass guitar on a rock song, unless the bass is the main riff (e.g. “A Salty Salute,” “Large-Hearted Boy”). He only ever listens to the melody and sometimes the lyrics. When he listened to Glen Campbell’s version of “Hold On Hope,” he could not hear the thick coat of autotune the producer had for some reason chosen to apply to Glen’s voice. One way to describe this would be to say that Bob is colorblind, but in his ears. He has an uncanny ear for melody, obviously, but cannot or will not hear things that strike even casual listeners but especially musicians as bloody obvious. I think this is one of the keys to his songwriting genius. I’m just not entirely sure in what way.
The songs we did at Memphis showed up on a graphic EQ as a big lump of mid-range, dropping off on either end of the spectrum to nil. This was pretty much always the case with the recorded version of the band in those days, under whatever circumstances. Where a “properly” EQ’d song’s graphical representation usually looks like an undulant wave, our rough mixes looked like a big rock in the middle of the road. This effectively squashes all the instruments together into a kind of mush, over which Bob sang, well, like Bob, which is to say with impeccable timing and phrasing. That process worked well with the four-track stuff, because the natural compression occasioned by recording direct to a cassette (i.e. 1/4 inch of tape) doesn’t allow for a lot of subtlety, and Bob’s vocals stood out even better against the clattery, over-compressed background (i.e. music). On 24-track 2-inch tape, it doesn’t work so well. Bob’s vocals can get lost in the resultant murk, which is unfortunate unless that’s what he’s aiming for, which to be fair is sometimes the case. Over the years he’s gained a lot of experience and expertise w/r/t how recording works, but he would still likely only understand about half of what I’ve written here.
Thus, my main goal for the Refraze remixes was to elicit a little clarity and separation from the tracks. It took about two hours total, which was I think two hours longer than Bob wanted to spend, but he was mollified by a) the result, and b) by immediately thereafter recording a couple of new songs, at least one of which would end up on Sunfish Holy Breakfast (“Heavy Metal Country.”) We took a string section part from the middle of “Don’t Stop Now,” where it didn’t quite work, and put it at the beginning of the track, where it sort of did (I still think it’s kind of cheesy, even though it was my idea), and applied a lot of reverb/delay to the strings in the break (which Mitch Mitchell has ever since attempted without much success to replicate live on guitar. To be fair, it’s an eight-note riff, which is seven more notes than he likes to play.) “Official Ironmen” was a more difficult mix, because I had gone back into the studio the day after recording the basic track and spent the morning punching in my bass part to match each mistake Kevin Fennell had made on drums (mostly very small errors of timing coming back to the beat after a fill, which happens a lot even with the best drummers), which meant that I had to play in a few places deliberately bad, which is not fun. I had to do this because Bob did not want to spend any more time recording basic tracks. The errors were imperceptible to inexperienced ears. It sounded fine to him. The result was also not exactly the most awesome rhythm track ever, but it needed as much clarity and punch as we could give it, because it was the song’s engine. <digression> Almost all of the guitar on “Official Ironmen” and “Don’t Stop Now” is played by Bob. He’s severely underrated as a guitarist, in my opinion. </digression>
“Cocksoldiers And Their Postwar Stubble” was a Memphis track that ended up on SHB, too, but we didn’t bother to remix that (I had tried the last reserves of Bob’s patience), which is a shame, although if you want to hear what “Official Ironmen” and “Don’t Stop Now” would have sounded like had we not remixed them,”Cocksoldiers” is a pretty good example. On a personal note, I mourn the loss of my bass line, which was the melody from the Kinks’ “Waterloo Sunset” for the most part, but which fit the chord progression nicely, or at least I thought it did.
As we were leaving Refraze that evening, Bob gave me a homework assignment. “I want you to write a song,” he said. I don’t know why he wanted me to write a song. I think part of him always wished that we were the Beatles, with three good songwriters, but where he was obviously John, his favorite. At most we were never more than the Who, with one predominant songwriter and two or maybe three songs allotted Toby Sprout, who wrote more than showed up on the records, partly because Bob wrote so many great songs, and mostly because it was Bob’s band, and he chose which songs made the cut. I didn’t have a problem with that, and I don’t think Toby did either. Many would-be Toby songs ended up as Bob songs after Toby presented completed instrumentals to Bob, who then put vocals over the top. “Hot Freaks” is a good example of that. Actual songwriting collaboration happened to my knowledge only once in Guided By Voices, on “14 Cheerleader Coldfront” from Propeller, where Toby had an unfinished song and Bob sat down with him and they finished it together.
<digression>The revived version of Guided By Voices is actually more collaborative in that respect than it was in the past. Toby got five or six (depending on what you count a “song”) on the new record, which has twenty-one songs. That never would have happened in 1995. There are also more co-writes than back in the day, a result of informal sessions at Greg Demos’ house and Mitch Mitchell’s garage (the same one where we used to practice!) that Bob sifted through to find pieces of gold with which to work. </digression>
Anyway. I took my homework assignment seriously. I went home and wrote a song, and the same day recorded it in Kim’s basement on my own Tascam PortaStudio 4-Track. It’s a bit murky (the mix, I mean), because I was over-ambitious, double-tracking an acoustic and electric guitar on rhythm, a bass, a guitar solo, and both lead and “harmony” vocals. Also, see above for inevitable result of cassette tape compression. I would have put drums on there but I can’t play drums. I can only imagine how bad it would have sounded if I had gotten someone to put down drums. I don’t have Toby’s magic touch with the four-track, and the whole thing is too mid-rangy and squashed (hey, that sounds familiar), but the result, I thought, was good enough to put on a cassette and give to Bob. I wanted to show him that I had, at least, made a good faith effort. To my great relief, he did not sit and listen to the cassette in front of everyone, which was my biggest fear.
I guess he liked the song, because he put it on Sunfish Holy Breakfast, and left it on there even after I quit the band a few months later, for a complicated set of reasons that I have neither time nor inclination to explore just now. I don’t remember Bob saying anything one way or another about my homework assignment except that he liked the lyrics (because at one point we were going to put the lyrics to all the songs on the EP, so I had to write them out and give them to him). Of course, he sequenced the record so that my paltry effort came right after “If We Wait,” one of Bob’s best songs ever. I mentioned this to Toby, who just rolled his eyes and said “Get used to it. He does that to me all the time.” Toby also told me “Trendspotter Acrobat” had a kind of Kinks sensibility, which I understood as a polite way of saying that I can’t sing. But I already knew that. If I could sing, I might have been a songwriter. Which I am emphatically not: though I have written a fair number of songs over the years, I prefer not to inflict them on the world. There’s enough of that sort of thing going on already.
Here are the lyrics to “Trendspotter Acrobat.” The song is a little bit about my then-current disgust at the state of whatever you want to call music journalism (now dissipated in a salt-water bath of nostalgia), and a lot about my still-current self-loathing.
Trendspotter acrobat, got no falling room
Choking on an ego the size of one of Jupiter’s moons
Slowly shrugs on his coat, walks out in the rain
Dismayed to see it hasn’t rained in days
I will buy the drinks, if you promise not to ask me what I think
Pop culture diplomat throws up on his shoes
Burping up an epigram while blood flows from his wounds
Slowly shrugs on his coat, staggers through the shine
A million bedtime stories on his mind
I will buy the drinks, if you promise not to ask me what I think
Trendspotter acrobat, broken-hearted clown
Falling apart is as easy as sitting down
Slowly shrugs off his coat, throws it on the floor
Nothing really matters anymore
I will buy the drinks if you promise not to tell me what you think
And here’s the song itself if you haven’t heard it. Please go easy on me.
I apologize if the air of secrecy around what some people are given to call “Greer’s blog deal” has caused anyone breathing problems, but certain things are worth waiting for. I hope you’ll agree. According to MOJO magazine, [...]
I apologize if the air of secrecy around what some people are given to call “Greer’s blog deal” has caused anyone breathing problems, but certain things are worth waiting for. I hope you’ll agree. According to MOJO magazine, Guided By Voices has recorded a new album of 21 songs called Let’s Go Eat The Factory. I’m sure the announcement will appear in several other outlets, too, in the next several days, but it will be more or less the same announcement. It will say nothing about plans for future touring because there are no plans for future touring. As with all things Pollard-related, that could of course change. But it’s not the likeliest outcome, frankly.
I’m not going to add much to what you can read in the announcement on the MOJO site, but I can say that I’ve had the honor and privilege of listening to the album for a few weeks now, and that it can best be described as… uh… hold on… let me think… okay: flipping genius. I understand that January 2012 seems like a long time from now (partly because it is), but it will arrive, and sooner than you think, so you should probably pre-order the thing as soon as it’s available for pre-order from Rockathon. I don’t know when that happy day will arrive but I presume soon.
Further details will be revealed in due course, but for now, if you’re any kind of fan of Guided By Voices in any of its many incarnations, I’d say this is cause for celebration.
I posted this a while back, around the time the novel was published, but I thought I’d re-post it here today because a) I’m really busy and don’t have time to find anything more interesting to post, much less actually write about something, and b) upon re-watching it, I remembered that it’s really good, due [...]
I posted this a while back, around the time the novel was published, but I thought I’d re-post it here today because a) I’m really busy and don’t have time to find anything more interesting to post, much less actually write about something, and b) upon re-watching it, I remembered that it’s really good, due mostly to the inclusion of a sonic death ray from Robert Pollard’s solo album We All Got Out of The Army that used to be called “Knapsack Buying Blues” but I can’t remember what it eventually ended up being called.
You’ll note that the website address to which the video directs you at the end is out of date and no longer in operation (my website address, that is; Akashic Books is still there and doing just fine.) But if you are watching the trailer then you already know the correct address, so there’s no point in me going all the way back into Final Cut Pro just to change some stupid text. Right?
[Editor's note: In honor of the publication of Experienced: Rock Music Tales of Fact and Fiction, I am going to re-post an excerpt from the Hunting Accidents anecdote I contributed to that fine compendium of rock ünd roll arcana. This is part one of what was originally a two-part post about the [...]
[Editor's note: In honor of the publication of Experienced: Rock Music Tales of Fact and Fiction, I am going to re-post an excerpt from the Hunting Accidents anecdote I contributed to that fine compendium of rock ünd roll arcana. This is part one of what was originally a two-part post about the time Guided By Voices were courted by Warner Bros., who flew (some of) us to Los Angeles to meet various executives of that record company.]
By late August of 1994 Guided By Voices had determined that there were really only two serious contenders for our future record label: Matador Records, in New York City, and Warner Bros., all over the world but based, at that time, when major labels were not shriveled, powerless husks and record stores dotted the landscape like baseball diamonds or Starbucks, in Los Angeles.
This story is about the time Warner Bros. flew us to Los Angeles to try to convince us that they would be the better choice. I forget the legal technicalities, but because Matador at that time had a deal with Atlantic Records, and Atlantic was shaded by the same WEA umbrella as Warner Bros., it was not, unfortunately, possible for Warner to simply throw a bunch of money at us. You laugh, especially you in the third row, but this was a time when major labels were throwing a lot of money at unlikely prospects, because some band named Nirvana had made a very successful record and… well, you know the rest. If you don’t, go read one of the many helpful books on the subject, including but not limited to Artificial Light, which is kind of an alternative universe view of the alternative universe.
Upshot: there was some weird kind of non-compete clause between Matador and Warner Bros., so the latter could not woo us with money. What, then? Booze, cocaine, hookers? Please. There is not enough booze in the world to bribe Guided By Voices, we have mostly drunk it all already, and the rest is for pussies.
Food? That must have been the oblique strategy of Warner Bros., because I have never eaten so much food in my life as during that brief trip, and I have eaten a lot of food. The problem with this strategy is that when you bring Jimmy Pollard along, as we did, and you try to offer him anything other than cheeseburgers or pizza, you will have made (unknowingly, but still) an egregious error.
Whatever the case, we flew to Los Angeles — Robert Pollard, Jimmy Pollard, Tobin Sprout, James Greer — on an airplane, which despite Bob writing and singing so many airplane-related songs, and despite the fact that the Wright Bros, from Dayton, OH, invented the airplane (or possibly because of this fact) Bob hates to fly. He will do it only in extreme circumstances and then very reluctantly. We had to leave Mitch Mitchell and Kevin Fennell at home because Bob was wary of briar-related mayhem if he brought the whole band. That may or may not be the real reason. He then made us all drink Jack and cokes during the flight, because he had read that the Beatles had drunk Jack and cokes on their first American tour. None of us enjoyed Jack and cokes, especially Bob, but we were just following Beatles protocol, so, you know.
As a brief aside, you should probably know if you don’t already that it had been a life-long dream of Bob’s to be on Warner Bros. Records. He had hand-drawn the Warner Bros. logo on fictitious albums by fictitious bands in the fever dreams of his youth, so although they didn’t know it, WB had a big advantage simply by virtue of the fact that they were who they were. They had an equally big disadvantage for the same reason — because they were a major label, representing potential major change, Bob worried that they would in various unknown (but for that reason all the more terrifying) ways mess with us, screw up our sound, force us to do all kinds of unseemly promotion, and even more serious, screw with our money.
We were greeted at the airport by the A&R guy from Warner Bros., a not unsmall person I will call Beowulf to protect his identity, because he may still be alive somewhere despite his really impressive eating habits, which included but were not limited to roasting and devouring babies. Beowulf was affable, intelligent, possessed a giant record collection and the obsessive record geek knowledge that generally comes from owning a giant record collection, and a Warner Bros. credit card. He also drove like a maniac, because everyone in LA drives like a maniac, but also maniacs drive like maniacs, and how are you supposed to know the difference?
We were taken first to the Hollywood Hills house of one of the people who ran Warner Bros. I am to this day confused as to which one of these people, generally named Mo, or Lenny, or Curly, was our host, but I guess that’s not important. I think we then went on a guided-by-Beowulf star maps tour, tearing around the narrow and bendy Hollywood Hills roads like Sacha Baron Cohen in Talladega Nights. We would stop briefly at an overlook: “There’s Madonna’s house.” “There’s the house where the Manson murders took place.” We were a little confused by the tour, and more than a little thirsty, when we were finally deposited at the Roosevelt Hotel, which I have always consistently mispronounced as the Rews-a-velt, when everyone knows it’s pronounced Rose-a-velt, and which at the time was the standard rock hotel for those bands not rich enough to afford the Sunset Marquis. I don’t know if this is still the case, but I must have stayed at that place one hundred million times in the 90s. I don’t remember what happened next, except that the Roosevelt has a bar, and we woke up the next morning.
Bob was in a foul mood because Jimmy had ordered a pot of coffee from room service, which cost something like eighteen dollars, and Bob was not yet aware that Warner Bros. was paying for our incidentals as well as our rooms. We then went out to visit Lollapalooza, a kind of floating circus in vogue at the time, and said hello to a few bands we knew, and saw Drew Barrymore, which is only one of several times we saw Drew Barrymore throughout the course of our career, though I was never really sure if she was aware of that fact. Beowulf then came and fetched us to the Warner Bros. corporate offices in Burbank, where we were given another bewildering tour, and glad-handed a few more executives. One of the selling points that Beowulf stressed was that Warner Bros. was very faithful to its artists, and almost never dropped anyone, case in point our friends the Flaming Lips, who despite (at that point) never having sold a single record in ten years were still on the label. This selling point was almost immediately undercut when we sat down with the head of publicity, another very nice and knowledgeable rock fan, who played us a song from Nick Lowe’s new album, which he declared “genius” before telling us that unfortunately the record would not be coming out on WB, as Nick had just been dropped by the label.
The publicity executive then made the mistake that resulted in Bob deciding not to sign with Warner Bros. There were other factors, sure, but this was to Bob’s mind the finishing blow. Bob had insisted to everyone, from the start, that Alien Lanes be released as is, with no re-recording, no re-sequencing, no fussing with of any kind. The publicity guy made some kind of joke about how the cassette he first got was defective, because it sounded just like mud. “I know this is supposed to be lo-fi, but this is ridiculous,” is what he said, referring to the defective tape. Bob didn’t hear it that way, though. Bob thought the publicity guy was referring to the actual recording, and though he laughed and nodded at the guy’s joke, I could sense a certain temperature change in the room.
After this gaffe-tastic meet-and-greet came the grand round of eating, and more eating, including one particularly disastrous trip to some kind of gourmet Chinese restaurant where the menu was in Chinese, and which took (it seemed like) four hours to drive to, and eight hours back, and then stuff with me and Jimmy in a hot tub afraid to take our shirts off and Bob convinced that we were all going to Hell, for reasons which will have to be explained tomorrow, because this story is already too long, and I have other things to do. [Note: none of this will be explained tomorrow — that was then and this is now the time for you to buy the book wherein this anecdote is told in full, along with a fine assortment of wonderful stories, some fact, some fiction, all true, by writers who are not me. It's available both as a physical artifact and in the popular e-book format by clicking on the link above.]
[Editor's Note: Something from the archives for your Sunday viewing pleasure.]
I believe that to be true. I also believe it to be the title of one of Robert Pollard’s best songs ever, certainly of his solo output, maybe even just… ever. So what I did, a few years back when it came out… I [...]
[Editor's Note: Something from the archives for your Sunday viewing pleasure.]
I believe that to be true. I also believe it to be the title of one of Robert Pollard’s best songs ever, certainly of his solo output, maybe even just… ever. So what I did, a few years back when it came out… I made a video for it. The footage is a combination of shaky camcorder video from: Guided by Voices’ Last Show Ever in Chicago on New Year’s Eve 2004; a couple of nights’ worth of drinking in and around Dayton before Bob and I went on a very short book tour to promote Guided By Voices: A Brief History in Fall 2006. And some random HD camera tests I did around Los Angeles in preparation for a short film I was planning to make (and in fact made, but we’ll get to that some other time).
My editor — the supremely talented Stacy Goldate — and I decided that the footage could be structured into a generalized song-related theme that meant we would have to feature Bob’s then-girlfriend and now wife, Sarah. I was a little apprehensive about doing this because not everyone enjoys seeing himself in a rock video. But I guess Sarah, who is one of the nicest human beings on earth, either didn’t mind or got over it because I believe parts of this one as well as another one I cut together for “Bughouse” (from the Albini sessions for the aborted Power of Suck project) are both included on the upcoming The Devil Went Home and Puked DVD. I’m not entirely sure because I haven’t actually watched it yet, or maybe I did and my memory is very bad, but I think I remember Bob telling me he was going to put them on there. Of course, the quality of the video on the DVD versus what I have posted here is much better, meaning that you should buy the DVD, because in addition to my clumsy cinematographic efforts it also contains a lot of actually entertaining stuff.
Trivia: the cover of Bob’s second “comedy” album, Meet The King: Asshole 2 is taken from this video.
Oh, and if anyone’s interested, the opening credit sequence is just a close-up of a blue lava-lamp. And Fiat Lux is a pseudonym, which will be familiar to anyone who read Artificial Light. I use it sometimes because I’m usually more than a little embarrassed to see my name in public. Whatever.
Specifically, the magic of disappearing posts. The more obssessive fans among you will perhaps have noticed that I have taken down most, but not all, of the Hunting Accidents posts. I’m not sure why this would matter to you, since you doubtless have already read them. According to [...]
Specifically, the magic of disappearing posts. The more obssessive fans among you will perhaps have noticed that I have taken down most, but not all, of the Hunting Accidents posts. I’m not sure why this would matter to you, since you doubtless have already read them. According to Google Analytics, you’ve read them about 70,000 times. I think that’s enough, don’t you?
I’ve taken this step not just because I enjoy frustrating people, but in preparation for the thing that I have previously hinted at but am still not in a position to officially discuss.
I’m sorry I can’t say more, but hope to be able to do so soon. In the meantime, a few recent episodes remain available for those who have not yet had the chance to read them.
I leave you with a morsel of late-period GBV for your enjoyment. Stay tuned.
Why to choose www.match.com?
I always hate using that phrase because it’s not really Latin, but a corruption of fama volat, which is something that Virgil (sort of) wrote in his Aeneid. Over the years it changed to rumor volat because people got confused by “fama” and thought it meant “fame.” Thus when someone said fama volat it began [...]
I always hate using that phrase because it’s not really Latin, but a corruption of fama volat, which is something that Virgil (sort of) wrote in his Aeneid. Over the years it changed to rumor volat because people got confused by “fama” and thought it meant “fame.” Thus when someone said fama volat it began to be mistranslated as “fame is fleeting,” which is also true, but not what fama volat means. Then some bright kid came up with rumor, which in Latin has a meaning related to but not exactly the same as fama, to make sure everyone understood: “Rumor flies.” (Or I guess more literally, “rumor has wings,” although how that’s more literal escapes my understanding. But that’s what the internet is telling me this morning.) Fascinating, I know.
All this is by way of saying that certain whispers and hints that I have let drop concerning a potential book-length compilation of my Hunting Accidents episodes from this site are true, or rather possibly true, but that nothing has been concluded yet. First, I will need to flesh out the episodes already collected here, and to translate them into readable English rather than the caffeinated hypertext (that is not the usual meaning of hypertext, thank you for noticing) in which they are usually written. Second, I will also need to add a fair amount of new material. While I have been talking to a/some publisher(s), and this/these publisher(s) have expressed interest, I have not made any kind of deal, and I likely will not for some weeks at least. I promise to keep you posted.
There’s also the question of bonus material, such as a CD or a DVD or a link to a download of… stuff. This is being discussed, but involves questions of logistics and rights and licensing and I don’t even know what else, so that may take a while, too.
In the meantime, please rest assured I will continue to churn out episodes of Hunting Accidents at an alarming rate to feed your insatiable appetite for stories about my public humiliation.
- It's a long climb up the rock face at the wrong time to the right place
- James Greer's books on GoodreadsGuided by Voices: A Brief History: Twenty-One Years of Hunting Accidents in the Forests of Rock and Rollreviews: 24
ratings: 195 (avg rating 3.70)Artificial Light (Little House on the Bowery)reviews: 6
ratings: 71 (avg rating 3.66)The Failurereviews: 9
ratings: 59 (avg rating 3.65)EXPERIENCED: Rock Music Tales of Fact & Fictionreviews: 4
ratings: 6 (avg rating 4.60)Two Letters Collection, Volume 2ratings: 5 (avg rating 4.60)
OCDabsolution abstract rendition of a definite condition a contest featuring human beings advertising A la recherche du temps perdu anecdotage Artificial Light a yellow coincidence book reading Book Review books caffeinated rambling Curbside Splendor Détective Everything Flows experiments do not always work which is why they are called experiments fiction fictionaut film France great rock bands of the united states Guided By Voices interview James Greer Jean-Luc Godard literary magazines movies music parody photography proselet reading reading in public is scary Robert Pollard self-promotion short fiction short film short story Slake The Failure The Power of Suck The Rattling Wall this is the modern world W.I.P. we are all immortal now
Friendly Fire"James Greer, one of the nimblest and most multilayered American fiction writers, has, with his latest novel The Failure, pulled off a sublime and shivery-smooth literary hat-trick-cum-emotional-gotcha. I defy anyone to come up with an equation to explain how this book's first impression as a ridiculously clever, funny crime story can gradually disclose a metanovel built from far more encyclopedic scratch only to reveal upon its conclusion a central, overriding thought so heartfelt literally it trembles your lower lip. This is one stunning piece of work."—Dennis Cooper"James Greer's The Failure is such an unqualified success, both in conception and execution, that I have grave doubts he actually wrote it."—Steven Soderbergh"Greer has done it again: a big-city, techno-jargon-filled thrill-ride with slick medium-brow drop references to our (once-shared) mythological hometown. What could be more poignant?"—Robert Pollard"How do you assess if your life has been a success? For starters, take time and turn it on its head. You'll first need to find its head. Luckily, James Greer's novel The Failure will help--it's a brainy, boisterous, unsettling, and unsettled look at a group of people thrust into the most confounding of existences, complete with petty crime, high science, love, sex, and cars. The narrative winds and darts, gleefully uncooperative. The characters have funny names and sometimes funny existences. Still, you will recognize them. They are us."—Ben Greenman
- The Believer
- Ben Loory
- Ben Tanzer
- The Breeders
- Caeli Fax
- The Cinefamily
- Curbside Splendor
- David Roth
- Death to Kenny Rogers
- Dennis Cooper
- False Binary
- Her Jazz
- Joseph Mattson
- Kate Zambreno
- Large-Hearted Boy
- Marathon Packs
- Mark Gluth
- Matthew Simmons
- Nathan Larson
- Nick Eddy Relents
- The Nervous Breakdown
- The Paris Review
- Project Gutenberg
- Shane Jones
- SmokeLong Quarterly
- Some Came Running
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