Category: Music (page 2 of 2)

Why 2112 Inspires Me

Sunday morning, 72°F and sunny
Listening to The Allman Brothers, Jessica

I take my writing inspiration from a lot of different places, but mainly from music and musicians. While I’ve talked about Pearl Jam quite a bit because my first published novel was inspired by their music, I think it’s time I mention Rush and how their album 2112 inspires me.

It’s a story any Rush fan knows, so here’s the short version. Rush’s first, self-titled album was a brilliant work of accessible hard rock that went gold. Their second album,  the more progressive Fly By Night, went platinum.  Caress of Steel, their third album effort, contained a 12-minute progressive piece, The Necromancer, on side A and the entire B-side was a conceptual suite called Fountain of Lamneth. That album “only” went gold, disappointing Rush’s label.

The label instructed Rush to head back to the studio and produce a rock album more like their first.  No more of this 12-minute long progressive experimentation. We’re in this to make money, boys. Now step in line. But Rush believed in their progressive direction and hit back hard with 2112, a concept album that begins with a 20-minute, 7-song suite based on an Ayn Rand novella. (Oh look, novelists inspiring musicians. I love it!) Continue reading

Ellie’s Pearl Jam Religion

Tuesday evening, 75°F and mostly sunny
Listening to Pearl Jam Unplugged, Rockin’ in the Free World

Pearl Jam Religion

Ellie Rafferty’s story in State of Love & Trust was predicated in part on the question, What would happen if a character took Pearl Jam as seriously as a religion? I thought a Pearl Jam religion was a fun concept. What does it look like? What are the tenants? How would a worshipper of Pearl Jam practice her faith?

A Pearl Jam religion is even something Eddie Vedder once joked about. Continue reading

A Novel Playlist

Sunday afternoon, 75°F and cloudy
Listening to Steppenwolf, The Pusher

One of my most treasured writing tools is the novel playlist I build specifically for each story I’m working on. It helps me get back into the characterizations, moods, situations, and settings for a particular book. Because I worked on State of Love & Trust off and on over the course of several years, its novel playlist grew, changed and shifted significantly over that time. Continue reading

Saint’s Whipping Tattoo

Wednesday afternoon, 81°F and partly sunny
Listening to CSNY The Loner/Cinnamon Girl/Down by the River

Some thoughts on using copyrighted lyrics

[UPDATE: When I wrote this post on using copyrighted lyrics, I was doubtful that I’d be able to obtain the proper permissions. Happily, Pearl Jam and music publisher Hal Leonard came through, granting me permission to include these lyrics in my novel. Lesson: If you want something, it’s worth asking for.]

In the first chapter of my novel State of Love & Trust, the character Saint Wozniak peels up his Mother Love Bone tank shirt to reveal the entire first stanza of Whipping inked in a neat typewriter font on his shoulder blade. Those lyrics, which he says are his favorite, matter to the novel. Yet they are not included anywhere in the text, and for good reason. Continue reading

Not for Everyone

Thursday night, 88°F
Listening to Nice as Fuck, Angel

My love for Pearl Jam led me to write a novel that’s unapologetically not for everyone. The first time I saw the Eddie Vedder swinging from the rafters (3:41) in the Even Flow video on MTV was the moment I became sold on this band. I’d spent the entire ’80s retreating into Led Zeppelin, Hendrix and The Who because I just couldn’t get with the whole hair metal/Spandex vibe. My reaction to this video was “that sounds like … real rock ‘n’ roll. They’ve brought it back from the dead.”

From that moment on, I was hooked on Pearl Jam. I’ve seen them live multiple times and their shows are incredible. I have a Ten Club membership, a Yield vanity plate, some framed show posters, all of their studio albums (except Riot Act, oops), too many bootlegs to count, and I don’t know how many T-shirts or pairs of Docs. Which means, as Pearl Jam fans go, I’m a total lightweight. (I’ve even shamelessly posted a popular video just now instead trying to polish my creds with something stunning, like Wash.) Gosh you guys, I don’t even have a Pearl Jam tattoo like Saint Wozniak or Ellie. Continue reading

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