In a pay-it-forward interview meme-scheme, our goo…

In a pay-it-forward interview meme-scheme, our good friend Leonard asks:

1. Who’s your favorite historian, and why?

C. Vann Woodward is my favorite, by a nose. The guy wrote history like a good novelist, with an eye for detail, ear for narrative, and tasty turn of phrase always at the ready. He took the South seriously, and thought hard about what great sweeping historical movements like populism and Jim Crow meant for little guys at the bottom, and that’s what it means to be a good historian. Lawrence Goodwyn, who would probably not balk much (but definitely a smidgen) to be called a follower of Woodward, is my second favorite, because he took Woodward’s humanism and curiosity (along with his own experiences as a left-wing journalist involved in the Civil Rights Movement) and applied them to mass movements like the Farmer’s Alliance (from whence the Populists sprang) and Solidarity. Smart, smart guy.

2. How in God’s name do you support a huge state like Texas with no income tax?

It’s impossible. I’m not just being flippant. The state is constantly struggling to figure out how to finance some of the sloppiest social service offerings and lousiest public schools in the country. And basically, what happens is that standards fall and Texas’s huge population (check out how many of our cities are in the Top 25 most populous cities in the country, keeping in mind that the Dallas Metroplex is represented twice) struggles to get by more or less with minimal or no state support. It’s a ridiculous situation.

3. What’s the hardest thing about parenting? What’s the most fun?

The hardest thing is not losing my temper, especially when my son is being extra-stubborn about something at 2 am. I’m not very good at this, and it shames me. The most fun thing is hearing his sounds of joy when he’s playing (by himself or with one of us) or singing or some other something that he’s just discovered is really, really fun.

4. What have you learned from the process of writing a book?

That I’m a slack motherfucker. I’ve let minor setbacks set me off my work for major swaths of time. I’ve gotten derailed on a chapter and not revisited for months, at which point I want to start over with a new focus instead of finishing it in current form. I’ve second-guessed myself into reflexivity. I’ve chosen to let some leads lie fallow rather than admitting that I’m a terrible interviewer. Fiction is easier.

5. When are we gonna play some damn poker? Or failing that, Catan?

To Leonard: You wanna come up this weekend or next? I’m not a poker fan, but I love me some Catan. If it’s the following weekend, I might go ahead & buy the Cities & Knights expansion set. Wait, that’s the weekend I’m going to see Richard Thompson. Maybe the weekend after would be better.

To everyone else: leave me a comment and I’ll post 5 questions for you to answer at your own little corner of the world.

IT’S DETAILED TWANG’S BIRTHDAY!

That’s right, four months and two days ago I started this site with no goal in mind other than for it to be a repository for things I wanted to write about, and maybe the odd mp3 or two. Mission accomplished, I guess. (We haven’t completely morphed into a free mp3 site, I promise – that’s just the kick I’m on right now). Though we haven’t seen the lofty heights of web trafficking achieved by my previous all-music-based site Agony Shorthand, there are about 170 of you that see fit to click this way on a given day to see what I’m blathering on about. And that makes me proud. Here are a few items you might have missed during the last 122 days:

WHAT IS THIS TWANG?
AMERICAN HARDCORE

SAM HARRIS: “THE END OF FAITH” book review
NOTHING PEOPLE
WHY I’D BACK GIULIANI (our most well-received post ever!)
SIX FEET UNDER & THE SECOND GOLDEN AGE
HEARING AND ME
THOSE EXTRA STOOGES DISCS YOU WERE WONDERING ABOUT
THE CRAMPS “ALL TORE UP” 1979 DEMOS

8 SIMPLE RULES FOR THE POLLING PLACE

Shameless Self-Promotion

 

My recent efforts to expand my offerings in the publicity arena have resulted in a new website. Designed with the individual in mind, Mere Words Media Relations offers affordable publicity services to writers, actors, musicians, and artists of all disciplines, as well as the small-business owner. Famous people and large corporations aren’t the only ones who benefit from — or can afford — the services of a publicist. 

If you know someone who might be interested, please point them in the direction of the website or put them in touch with me. 

Thanks.

THREE SLEAZOID ZONKERS FROM L.A. DRUGS

I missed the one and only LP from Los Angeles’ L.A. DRUGS when it came out in 2003 (update: I am told in the comments below that they were from Boston, whoops) – it existed first as a CD-R and later was put out as a one-sided affair on Twisted Village. It has the potential to both anger and dazzle all comers, given that it’s simultaneously one of the most annoying and yet most crazed and unhinged, dirty, noisy, lo-fidelity records I’ve ever heard. I think they were around for less than a year, tops. Obviously they found a lot of comedic value in early 80s LA punk (as we all do), given that the album is bookended with verbal clips from “The Decline of Western Civilization” (“I swear, I hate cops to the MAX”) and the Germs’ final show (“We’ll see you all at Oki Dog”). The singer has a bratty, whining tweener voice that she uses to fine effect on tracks like the ones I’m posting for you today – sorta like what one might have called a quote-unquote “riot girl” fifteen years ago, but even more annoying. The band exudes learning-to-play confidence, utilizing cheapo keyboards, fucked-up guitars, and all manner of crashing & bashing to get their point across. It sounds like a goddamn lights-out teenage pajama party with peanut butter smeared all over the floor and pharmaceuticals piled high in punchbowls. See what you think by clicking the links below.

Download LA DRUGS – “High School”
Download LA DRUGS – “Casual Sex”
Download LA DRUGS – “Sinful Youth”

1. Introduction

This journal is dedicated to the life and writings of the critic Paul Nelson. Intended as a resource center, providing links to online material written both about Paul and by him, this site will also provide provide regular updates about my upcoming book, tentatively titled Everything Is an Afterthought: The Life and Writings of Paul Nelson

For years I’d carried around the idea of collecting Paul’s writings under one cover. The book was still intended as an anthology when, over a year ago, I wrote to Paul and proposed that we work together to collect his best work. It had long been my belief that having his work relegated largely to back issues of sundry music magazines was a disservice not only to his fine writing but to his potential readers. Paul was touched by my proposal (as much an unabashed fan letter as it was a business proposition) and wanted to do the project when he got feeling better. 

Since his death last June, the book has taken on an added biographical dimension. Focusing on — but not limited to — those dozen or so artists whose work Paul returned to regularly during his career, Everything Is an Afterthought will also include little known background information about the pieces presented, including commentary by Paul’s friends, family, and many of the artists about whom he wrote.

If you’re not familiar with Paul Nelson or you want to learn more about this fascinating man’s history, follow the links under the heading About Paul Nelson. There you’ll find tales of his days both inside and outside the recording industry: including his Minnesota years, where he co-founded The Little Sandy Review and became friends with Bob Dylan; his five-year tenure at Mercury Records, where, among other things, he signed the New York Dolls to their first record contract, befriended Rod Stewart, promoted a young David Bowie, and wrangled Jerry Lee Lewis; and his five-year stint as record reviews editor at Rolling Stone

As well, I’ll periodically add links under Paul Nelson’s Writings, samples of the work for which he’ll be most remembered.

But even that’s debatable. Because, despite all the varying versions of incidents and timelines that I’ve encountered in interviewing over 70 of his friends, family, and colleagues, one thing remains constant: Paul Nelson the man. He’s remembered almost universally as someone who, despite his idiosyncrasies, was kind and gentle and a loyal friend. That he spent the last twenty years of his life withdrawing from almost everyone is accepted by those who knew him best. There is understanding in their not understanding.

I’ll regularly post here as the book progresses and alert you as new links are added. Comments and questions are encouraged. My hope is that, in addition to creating an ongoing dialogue about the man, his work, and his legacy, Paul Nelson’s writing will finally receive the recognition and the wider audience it deserves.

Copyright 2007 by Kevin Avery. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction

This journal is dedicated to the life and writings of the critic Paul Nelson. Intended as a resource center, providing links to online material written both about Paul and by him, this site will also provide provide regular updates about my upcoming book, tentatively titled Everything Is an Afterthought: The Life and Writings of Paul Nelson

For years I’d carried around the idea of collecting Paul’s writings under one cover. The book was still intended as an anthology when, over a year ago, I wrote to Paul and proposed that we work together to collect his best work. It had long been my belief that having his work relegated largely to back issues of sundry music magazines was a disservice not only to his fine writing but to his potential readers. Paul was touched by my proposal (as much an unabashed fan letter as it was a business proposition) and wanted to do the project when he got feeling better. 

Since his death last June, the book has taken on an added biographical dimension. Focusing on — but not limited to — those dozen or so artists whose work Paul returned to regularly during his career, Everything Is an Afterthought will also include little known background information about the pieces presented, including commentary by Paul’s friends, family, and many of the artists about whom he wrote.

If you’re not familiar with Paul Nelson or you want to learn more about this fascinating man’s history, follow the links under the heading About Paul Nelson. There you’ll find tales of his days both inside and outside the recording industry: including his Minnesota years, where he co-founded The Little Sandy Review and became friends with Bob Dylan; his five-year tenure at Mercury Records, where, among other things, he signed the New York Dolls to their first record contract, befriended Rod Stewart, promoted a young David Bowie, and wrangled Jerry Lee Lewis; and his five-year stint as record reviews editor at Rolling Stone

As well, I’ll periodically add links under Paul Nelson’s Writings, samples of the work for which he’ll be most remembered.

But even that’s debatable. Because, despite all the varying versions of incidents and timelines that I’ve encountered in interviewing over 70 of his friends, family, and colleagues, one thing remains constant: Paul Nelson the man. He’s remembered almost universally as someone who, despite his idiosyncrasies, was kind and gentle and a loyal friend. That he spent the last twenty years of his life withdrawing from almost everyone is accepted by those who knew him best. There is understanding in their not understanding.

I’ll regularly post here as the book progresses and alert you as new links are added. Comments and questions are encouraged. My hope is that, in addition to creating an ongoing dialogue about the man, his work, and his legacy, Paul Nelson’s writing will finally receive the recognition and the wider audience it deserves.

Copyright 2007 by Kevin Avery. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction

This journal is dedicated to the life and writings of the critic Paul Nelson. Intended as a resource center, providing links to online material written both about Paul and by him, this site will also provide provide regular updates about my upcoming book, tentatively titled Everything Is an Afterthought: The Life and Writings of Paul Nelson

For years I’d carried around the idea of collecting Paul’s writings under one cover. The book was still intended as an anthology when, over a year ago, I wrote to Paul and proposed that we work together to collect his best work. It had long been my belief that having his work relegated largely to back issues of sundry music magazines was a disservice not only to his fine writing but to his potential readers. Paul was touched by my proposal (as much an unabashed fan letter as it was a business proposition) and wanted to do the project when he got feeling better. 

Since his death last June, the book has taken on an added biographical dimension. Focusing on — but not limited to — those dozen or so artists whose work Paul returned to regularly during his career, Everything Is an Afterthought will also include little known background information about the pieces presented, including commentary by Paul’s friends, family, and many of the artists about whom he wrote.

If you’re not familiar with Paul Nelson or you want to learn more about this fascinating man’s history, follow the links under the heading About Paul Nelson. There you’ll find tales of his days both inside and outside the recording industry: including his Minnesota years, where he co-founded The Little Sandy Review and became friends with Bob Dylan; his five-year tenure at Mercury Records, where, among other things, he signed the New York Dolls to their first record contract, befriended Rod Stewart, promoted a young David Bowie, and wrangled Jerry Lee Lewis; and his five-year stint as record reviews editor at Rolling Stone

As well, I’ll periodically add links under Paul Nelson’s Writings, samples of the work for which he’ll be most remembered.

But even that’s debatable. Because, despite all the varying versions of incidents and timelines that I’ve encountered in interviewing over 70 of his friends, family, and colleagues, one thing remains constant: Paul Nelson the man. He’s remembered almost universally as someone who, despite his idiosyncrasies, was kind and gentle and a loyal friend. That he spent the last twenty years of his life withdrawing from almost everyone is accepted by those who knew him best. There is understanding in their not understanding.

I’ll regularly post here as the book progresses and alert you as new links are added. Comments and questions are encouraged. My hope is that, in addition to creating an ongoing dialogue about the man, his work, and his legacy, Paul Nelson’s writing will finally receive the recognition and the wider audience it deserves.

Copyright 2007 by Kevin Avery. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction

This journal is dedicated to the life and writings of the critic Paul Nelson. Intended as a resource center, providing links to online material written both about Paul and by him, this site will also provide provide regular updates about my upcoming book, tentatively titled Everything Is an Afterthought: The Life and Writings of Paul Nelson

For years I’d carried around the idea of collecting Paul’s writings under one cover. The book was still intended as an anthology when, over a year ago, I wrote to Paul and proposed that we work together to collect his best work. It had long been my belief that having his work relegated largely to back issues of sundry music magazines was a disservice not only to his fine writing but to his potential readers. Paul was touched by my proposal (as much an unabashed fan letter as it was a business proposition) and wanted to do the project when he got feeling better. 

Since his death last June, the book has taken on an added biographical dimension. Focusing on — but not limited to — those dozen or so artists whose work Paul returned to regularly during his career, Everything Is an Afterthought will also include little known background information about the pieces presented, including commentary by Paul’s friends, family, and many of the artists about whom he wrote.

If you’re not familiar with Paul Nelson or you want to learn more about this fascinating man’s history, follow the links under the heading About Paul Nelson. There you’ll find tales of his days both inside and outside the recording industry: including his Minnesota years, where he co-founded The Little Sandy Review and became friends with Bob Dylan; his five-year tenure at Mercury Records, where, among other things, he signed the New York Dolls to their first record contract, befriended Rod Stewart, promoted a young David Bowie, and wrangled Jerry Lee Lewis; and his five-year stint as record reviews editor at Rolling Stone

As well, I’ll periodically add links under Paul Nelson’s Writings, samples of the work for which he’ll be most remembered.

But even that’s debatable. Because, despite all the varying versions of incidents and timelines that I’ve encountered in interviewing over 70 of his friends, family, and colleagues, one thing remains constant: Paul Nelson the man. He’s remembered almost universally as someone who, despite his idiosyncrasies, was kind and gentle and a loyal friend. That he spent the last twenty years of his life withdrawing from almost everyone is accepted by those who knew him best. There is understanding in their not understanding.

I’ll regularly post here as the book progresses and alert you as new links are added. Comments and questions are encouraged. My hope is that, in addition to creating an ongoing dialogue about the man, his work, and his legacy, Paul Nelson’s writing will finally receive the recognition and the wider audience it deserves.

Copyright 2007 by Kevin Avery. All rights reserved.