In no particular order, here are the songs containing my top 10 favorite guitar riffs:
- Day Tripper (The Beatles)
- I Feel Fine (The Beatles)
- Can’t Explain (The Who)
- Paperback Writer (The Beatles)
- Rebel Rebel (David Bowie)
- Couldn’t I Just Tell You (Todd Rundgren)
- Purple Haze (Jimi Hendrix)
- Ticket to Ride (The Beatles)
- Last Train to Clarksville (The Monkees)
- Johnny B. Goode (Chuck Berry)
So many books, so little time.
Video: Bigger Than Oprah
I wrote this one for my family. “Bigger Than Oprah" is the first song on The Jerrys’ album, Let’s Groove, released in 2011. Enjoy!
A few years ago my family and I visited the Thomas Wolfe Memorial, one of the settings of Look Homeward, Angel, Wolfe’s first novel and one of my favorite novels. The following is from the pamphlet:
Thomas Wolfe was perhaps the most overtly autobiographical of this nation’s major novelists. His boyhood in the boardinghouse at 48 Spruce Street colored his work and influenced the rest of his life. His reminiscences were so frank and realistic that Look Homeward, Angel was banned from Asheville’s public library for more than seven years. Today Wolfe is celebrated as one of Asheville’s most famous citizens, and his boyhood home has become a part of the nation’s literary history.
The many exhibits at the visitor center included Wolfe’s hat and Majestic Cabinet Radio (shown below), the folding sofa bed on which slept Julia Wolfe slept while visiting Wolfe in New York City, a ceiling medallion cast by W. O. Wolfe (Wolfe’s father owned a tombstone shop)—even artifacts obtained on excavating the large house’s cistern.
Also on display are items that Fred Wolfe recovered from the Chelsea Hotel at Wolfe’s death in 1938. These include Wolfe’s suit and the typewriter used by his typist as they worked on The Web and the Rock and You Can’t Go Home Again.
After our tour of the Wolfe home, we stopped briefly at the historic Riverside Cemetery, where Wolfe and his family are buried. William Sydney Porter, also known as O. Henry, is also buried there. On a separate literary note, it was also in Asheville that Zelda Fitzgerald (who once stayed at Julia Wolfe’s boardinghouse) perished in a fire at a mental hospital.
This is an unenhanced audio sample from my novel, Pixels of Young Mueller, as read by the Kindle’s default male voice at normal speed (you can read along). As you can hear, the feature needs improving, but it would suffice if I preferred listening to books over reading them.
I’m hooked on Beyond the Beat Generation, the coolest audio stream of them all, a veritable museum containing “long forgotten ‘wild’ musical gems out of the great years of the sixties (1965-1969).” Ninety-five percent of the music on the site was recorded right from the original discs, and the sheer amount of musical gems alone is astonishing.
The site itself is more than a little old, but if you’re into great music, you owe it to yourself to check it out (I prefer to listen at TuneIn, while using another link to see who I’m listening to). Happy listening!
I finally finished comping vocals for “I’m a Reader,” the upcoming single by The Jerrys—boy am I glad that’s over! For the uninitiated, comping vocals involves listening to numerous (in this case, eight) takes of a vocal, pulling the best takes of each line or lines, and compiling them into a “best of” vocal track.
I love holiday weekends! Here’s a video from a rocking holiday weekend a few years ago at a family reunion. That’s my brother Todd behind me on guitar, and my brother Troy is playing drums. Also playing but not shown are my sister Kasha Phillips (keyboards), her husband Mike (bass guitar), and Todd’s wife Holly (tambourine).
Sarah Crown posted an interesting bit in The Guardian’s books blog, “Is auto-fiction strictly a boys’ game?" The subject was the phenomenon of authors who insert a character bearing their name into their work. It turns out that a number of books—both new and not so new—have used this device, a fact that interested me greatly, as I used it in my novel, Pixels of Young Mueller. I have compiled this list of books from the article:
- Jonathan Coe (The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim)
- Damon Galgut (In a Strange Room)
- Geoff Dyer (Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi)
- Will Self (Will Self Walking to Hollywood)
- Michel Houellebecq (La Carte et le Territoire)
- Alberto Manguel (All Men Are Liars)
- Philip Roth (Operation Shylock)
- Jonathan Safran Foer (Everything is Illuminated)
- E. L. Doctorow (World’s Fair)
- Frederick Exley (A Fan’s Notes)
- Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
- Amelie Nothomb (Une forme de vie)
- Gertrude Stein (Autobiography of Alice B Toklas)
Readers familiar with my novel know that its main character, Klaus Mueller, creates a fictional character named Jerry Schwartz. I knew that I could not have been the first to do this, but I was not aware of any specific instances in which it had been done. Fortunately, Sarah Crown has come to the rescue, and while I don’t agree with her use of “auto-fiction” to describe the literary device itself, I applaud her efforts.
When I recently discovered that I had more than a few stickers lying around, I decided that my Fender CD60CE dreadnought guitar was fair game for a few of them and proceeded to give it a new look. I’m guessing this is only the start, but for now, this is what my guitar looks like. The stickers I used were The Who (3), Propellerhead Reason (3), WZRD’s 40th Anniversary, and Batman. Long live rock.