What a great ride it’s been! If you are just tuning in now, make sure you catch up via the links. The comments are every bit as good a read. We started with self proclaimed unprofound, but in actuality very profound, M.E. Girard as she tripped nostalgic on the music of her youth, and how the different generations see Canadian music. Then we tried on some 80′s headgear with Loverboy, stomped the scene with Stomping Tom Connors, and finally we were anything but sedated with the Ramones as Tobin Elliot ran us through the gamut of Canadian Music and it’s impact.
And here we are, at facilitator number three… me, Dale Long, literary thriller, comedic prat fall artist and general Jack-of-all-trades. Eloquent, Tobin? I don’t think so, but then being on the inside looking out is a whole different veiw than being on the outside, trying to see in.
Recently I read a telling post about the 7 bad habits of successful authors and it struck me – you don’t have to be successful as a writer to have the bad habits attributed to one. Go figure. That said, I think it clearly speaks volumes about the writerly types that we all are…
This will be my last post before I hand it over to the much more eloquent Dale Long next week.
Today, just opening the book at random, I found I’d completely forgotten Dave recounting seeing the Ramones. How, unlike all the other bands that wanted to be anti-establishment, yet still fashionable, the Ramones were the real thing. Crap clothes, crap equipment and ugly as sin. And how, without even the benefit of the full sound system, still managed to sound better than the other bands.
He also talked about how striking it was that the massively negative reaction of the audience, who threw garbage and insults to such an extent that the band eventually unplugged and left the stage, was much more of a reaction than they had for the bands they actually liked. They expended more energy in trying to get the Ramones to leave, then to beat the crap out of their few supporters in the audience than they did in getting any of the other bands to do an encore.
The Ramones, of course, have since been slotted into the category of seminal band. They, through just wanting to make some noise and having very little skill, money and opportunities, turned the music back to a simpler, more primitive format and paved the way for so many after them. This was a band that had so little confidence in themselves that most of their songs don’t even have a solo.
So, again, turning it around to writing, tell me about the writers you enjoy. There’s the slick James Pattersons and Danielle Steeles. There’s the Stephen Kings (the self-proclaimed Big Mac and fries of the literary world). There’s the mid-list writers who do well, but never seem to reach superstar status. Then there’s the smaller writers, who may actually be the better, more visceral writers and may never get any recognition, not even after they die. Of course, there’s also the ones that should simply unplug the word processors and leave the writing utensils in the mug and find something else to do with their time.
For me, I admire Stephen King because he was a megaseller from the get-go, just continued to get bigger despite Hollywood butchering the bulk of the movies they made from his books, lost some relevancy in the 90s, then came back with a series of books, both fiction and non-fiction that reestablished his talent.
I admire Jack Ketchum because he’s a mid-list author who likely will never break that tag, yet writes some of the most hard-hitting, unflinching stories I’ve ever read.
I used to admire Chuck Palahniuk. Never the greatest writer, but always one that got a reaction from me. Then he started trying to write like some fictional, over-the-top Chuck Palahniuk and effectively parodied himself and left me with nothing but ambivalence to his writing.
I admire many different authors for many different reasons.
Who, as a writer, do you admire? And why?
I’m a little fascinated with Bidini’s fascination of Stompin’ Tom Connors.
I will completely concede the fact that Stompin’ Tom is a Canadian icon, but I’ve gotta throw a question out there. Considering the musical and lyrical ability of the man… and in case you aren’t aware, here’s his ubiquitous Hockey Song
Hello out there, we’re on the air, it’s ‘Hockey Night’ tonight.
Tension grows, the whistle blows, and the puck goes down the ice.
The goalie jumps, and the players bump, and the fans all go insane.
Someone roars, “Bobby Scores!”, at the good ol’ Hockey Game.
Or his Cross Canada song
Tell me, what’s a Douglas Fur?
Bet you never heard a Bobcat purr
Have you ever seen a Lobster crawl?
In Canada we get to see them all
And then, in a column entitled Stompin’ Tom Connors is an Embarrassment to All Canadians, Bruce Penton states:
The most recent embarrassment to go continent-wide? Stompin’ Tom Connors.
This is an old guy who can’t sing, who brings out a piece of plywood and keeps time with his guitar-playin’ by stompin’ on the wood, singin’ lyrics that don’t rhymn (sic), and rarely makin’ sense.
So, here’s my question. Stompin’ Tom: national treasure or national embarrassment?
As my week as moderator, I figured I’d start a new thread. Not sure if that’s cool or not, but it’s my week, so…nyah.
Now, I’m coming at this book a little different than everyone else. I read On a Cold Road years ago and immensely enjoyed it. So I’ve been flipping through various passages to reacquaint myself with it. I’d like to start with a couple of things. The first was a comment Dave threw out in Chapter 7, Toronto, Part 1. He talks about several different Canadian bands, some known, most not. But I had to laugh at the shot at Loverboy, arguably one of Canada’s biggest bands of the past 30 years. He mentioned the lead singer, Mike Reno when he said,
Teenage Head, Goddo, Rough Trade, the Government, L’Etranger, Martha and the Muffins, and the Diodes were doing okay, but I still thought that if making it big in Canada meant that I had to dress and sound like Mike Reno, I would just as soon move away.
No question, the Rheostatics were never in any danger of sounding like Loverboy, but, on the other hand, they’ve also never reached the heights Loverboy hit, either. So, here’s my question, and I think it applies to writing as well as rock:
When it comes right down to it, would you rather be commercial enough to sell big numbers and do the thing you love, or would you prefer to remain completely true to yourself and possibly never achieve that same level of success?
Hello everyone–all of you who might have read this book and want to join in this discussion.
First thing: I have nothing profound or literary to say. About anything, really. I’m just a girl who read a book and I have some thoughts on it.
An intro: So, as a writer, I feel really strong about the “Canadian” thing. I don’t go out of my way to make them sound super Canadian, but I do think it’s important to show where we live, how we live. If I was told, “Your book’s awesome. We wanna publish it…except, could you change it to like, Colorado? Or Maine?”, I’d be all like, “No!”
So, first thing that struck me, reading On A Cold Road: Man, I don’t know nothing about Canadian music. In fact, I think I kinda hate it. Except, this book makes it sound so good. Have I been missing out?! Has all this hardcore rockin’ out been happening here? Like, all around me?
Granted, I was still playing with my Barbies when most of the stuff talked about in the book was happening (I feel so young and I like it), but I do remember The Tragically Hip. I was too busy listening to The Backsteet Boys.
Did the rocking Canadian music scene take anyone else by surprise???
The written word is so powerful – especially when those words are secrets. Frank Warren is the creator of the PostSecret Project, a blog full of secrets anonymously shared via postcard.. “Secrets can remind us of the countless human dramas, of frailty and heroism playing out silently in the lives of people all around us.” (Frank Warren)
Dave Bidini caused quite a stir when he came into the WCDR breakfast. He took us on a wild ride - dropping the f-bomb, then discussing a section in his book where a musician plays the guitar with with John Henry (ouch!), but after all – Bidini’s a rocker, so we got what we came for. He was a great speaker and I picked up a copy of his book hoping it would be more of the same. It’s safe to say I’m not disappointed. I’m loving On a Cold Road – how about you?
Discussions are about to start, and RAW has three shiny new faces that are stepping up to facilitate online chats on Bidini’s book about life on the road as a hardworking Canadian Band. I’m excited to get started – so let’s begin with introductions shall we? In order of their facilitating appearance, please meet:
M.E.Girard is a fiction writer and a YA Fiction buff, with a penchant for short fiction as well. You can check out her blog at: http://www.megirard.com/
Tobin Elliott writes horror, and says he writes ugly stories about bad people doing horrible things. Check him out (if you dare) at: http://tobinelliott.wordpress.com/about/
Dale Long, a fiction writer, also likes to scare the living daylights out of readers and is currently writing a gothic horror. You can go visit him at: http://drlong67.wordpress.com/about/
So discussions will start sometime this week…but feel free to start ranting now. No really…do it now. On a Cold Road by Dave Bidini…what did you think RAW readers?