Thursday, March 23, 2006

Tour update and book recommendations

We went to a castle today in Nagoya and it was very impressive...though the insides were all modernized and kind of took a lot of the effect away. Last night and today we opened for CAVE IN. Playing to small crowds in very nice mid-size clubs...the door prices have been really really high and there are no locals on either is it suprising that the club isn't even half full?? All bitching aside we are still having a fucking blast. Last night after the show we ate a shitload of chicken wings and drank beer and saki and then went to our hotel where we took THE BEST picture of this band that will ever be taken. I don't have the technology to post it now but i will when i get back home. We have 3 shows left and I am looking forward to playing shows again after two nights of rock concerts. From time to time people ask me for book recommendations since i've apparently got the reputation of being a book here are some recommendations since i have some time on my hands and nothing to do and nowhere to go right now...

Saturday Night and Sunday Morning
by Alan Sillitoe
The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner
by Alan Sillitoe
The press tagged sillitoe as well as john osborne and others "angry young men." They are tales of young men from the working class families in england. I love this author because he writes intelligent books with great perspective but uses language that any common person can understand. I try to do this with my lyrics and these books influenced my writing for Witness greatly.

The Stranger
albert camus
A true and enduring classic. The only way i can really describe this is that you get sucked into the character so far that you are seeing things through him and only through him. Disturbing. The cure song "killing an arab" is written about this book.

Everything: A Book about Manic Street Preachers
I'm going to say that even if you've never heard this band and never do...this will make for a great read. One of the most fascinating bands and rock and roll stories I know of. They were a very literary and visionary band. WHile i'm on this i'll recommend some songs to download and check them out. "motorcycle emptiness" "la tristese durerra" "from despair to where" "a design for life" "everything must go" "faster" and "if you tolerate this then your children will be next" I will most likely be doing a big manics post one of these days endlessly talking about them.

Feel like Going Home: portraits in blues and rock and roll
by Peter Guralnick
Guralnick is one of the best music journalists out there...anything and everything he has written is worth reading but some of it is very very his massive volumes on Elvis. Feel like Going Home is conversations with Jerry Lee Lewis, Skip James and old men in their living rooms. I always wonder how some musicians who helped shape the course of history look back on everything that happened and the way it went down and this book tells those stories in a casual conversation style. Some huge names...some relatively unkown.

by Ayn Rand
A massive philosophical mystery/thriller/noir used as a vehicle for Rand's vision of the ideal existence. She grew up in communist russia and came to America to write. This should be recommended reading to all punk rock and hardcore kids because it challenges many of the perspectives that find their way inside your head when growing up on this music. ....the virtue of selfishness... laissez faire capitalism...productive acheivement and reason. I am reading and re-reading this it continues to blow my mind.

American Skin
by Don Degrazia
A story about an american skinhead...but so so so much more than that. A coming of age tale...but still so much more than that. References russian philosophy, buddhism, Ayn Rand, youth, racism, violence, class, sex, friendship, military...everything. Forget all cliches you might have in your mind and go get this book immediately.

jd salinger
just go buy these right now. every book store has cheap copies.

Henry Miller
This book is impossible to describe. A vomit in the face of literature, morality, storytelling and everything else...but also entirely relevant and beautiful. Challenging. This is the best starting point for Henry Miller.

D.A. Levy
the unknown genius of the "beat generation" from Cleveland. Got arrested and jailed for obscenity. I can't recall the name of the book off-hand but there is a collection of his works.

The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry
The Outlaw Bible of American Literature
Everyone from Lenny Bruce to Richard Pryor to Patti Smith to DA Levy to Kerouac to Ginsberg to Tom Waits to Bob Dylan to Walt Whitman to Sapphire to Bucky Sinister. THese collections are great for finding out what is up your alley and what isn't and exposure to lots of stuff your schoolteachers won't show or don't know about.

Lexicon Devil: The Life and Times of Darby Crash
Story about the germ's madman and lyrical genius. Informative and entertaining. An essential chapter in the history of punk.

City of Spades/Absolute Beginners/Mr. Love and Justice
Colin Macinnes
The London Trilogy...absolute beginners is about swinging london and the most famous of the trilogy. City of spades is my favorite and chronicles life for black immigrants to London. If you are interested in this time period these books are accurate and highly entertaining.

Brighton Rock
Graham Greene
Vividly descriptive. He started writing a book as an "entertainment" to sell copies and make money...but soon his personal life and troubled mind became tangled up in the story he was trying to tell and it became his best work. The ending is killer.

I gotta go...i will continue this list at a later date as there is a lot more to add. Comment if you want to discuss any of these or shoot questions at me...I didn't want to do massive boring book reviews but i'm always up for discussion.


Anonymous johan prenger said...

Jeffrey... you're the living proof that punkrock and books DO match. Great to see there's still people out there who appreciate the written word!. Hell, if Modern Life Is War is larger than 'our' lives, I'll start a book publishing company! ;-)

7:25 AM  
Anonymous Mez said...

I am a schoolteacher in a desolate town and on those mornings I can't face the kids and their lazy, uncaring attitudes; when I feel I should quit my job or quit caring altogether, I listen to "Young Man Blues" and re-read the best parts of Atlas Shrugged and feel righteous anger at the death of reason. Sometimes it's all that gets me by.

I totally agree that hardcore kids should take that book at least, as a primer. Knowing that happiness should be seized from the faculties of your own mind, and that self-reliance is a fucking blessing if it gets you what you need to survive - that's what a punk spirit is all about.

A constant, confusing struggle to justify one's own ego.

Thanks for the other book reviews. Don't be afraid to put us onto new stuff; I totally respect and agree with what you said about most of them.

9:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

if you haven't read the buddhist third class junkmail oracle by levy, you really should. to me, it's much better than a lot of the more famous works from the beat generation and it's a damn shame that he didn't end up as much of an icon as kerouac, ginsberg, synder, and burroughs. also, i didn't know that "killing an arab" was written about the stranger, but it makes a lot of sense. anyway, see you guys in memphis this summer.

- allison

4:11 PM  
Blogger adam ryan said...

thanks for the recomendations. im excited to hit up borders this evening armed with this list.

adam in atlanta

1:45 PM  
Blogger Ellis said...

Just wanted to tell you that Modern Life is War is one of the most inspiring bands I've heard in years. I am floored at the havoc of your live show, but it's also easy to listen to "My Love. My Way." and "Witness" on a quiet walk at night reflecting on life and where it's all going. Thanks.


6:51 PM  
Blogger Sarde said...

I'm definitely going to check out some of these books. I've been looking for good recomendations for quite some time now.

8:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm surprised you don't mention any Charles Bukowski or Robert A. Heinlein. I'm reading Hot Water Music (Bukowski) right now and it's fucking fabulous. I'll check out some of these books you recommend. Atlas Shrugged has been on my list to read for a long time anyhow...

Keith - Minneapolis, MN (come back and play!)

5:40 PM  
Anonymous brownedoffwaffle said...

Looks good, I went out and found some or Hamsun's work and enjoyed it, so I'll check out some titles from this list.

Do you ever read any philosophy?


11:55 AM  
Anonymous brownedoffwaffle said...

I'll go and find some of this stuff. Sounds good! Do you ever read any philosophy?


11:56 AM  
Blogger Etienne said...

I haven't posted here in forever. I just realized that everytime I checked this page I kept on going to the entry you did after your birthday (I had bookmarked it to that accident). In any case, I'm glad I found the new posts. I'll check out that Atlas Shrugged book. It sounds interesting.

2:58 PM  
Blogger Cesare said...

You have interesting taste in literature. I just picked up "Saturday Night and Sunday Morning" and I really like it so far. "Altas Shrugged" is a great read regardless of the fact that I don't necessarily agree with some of her views and ideas.

From the books you've listed here are a few you might like to check out:

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse (if you haven't read this already..)

The End of the Affair by Graham Greene (This next to Brighten Rock is probably my favorite Greene novel, they both share themes of betrayal and treachery and both have conflicting views towards god and belief which I find quite interesting.)

White Noise by Don Delillo- It's about a professor of Hitler Studies who suffers from a perpetual fear of death, which is manifested in the white noise of technology, consumerism and waste that is all around him. It's a pretty fucked novel, but strangely very effective.

Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo- The entire content of this book is in the main character's head. It's the story of a young man, barely in his twenties, who lost everything but his brain in battle during WWI. He is sentenced to spend the rest of his life in a hospital bed, helpless to communicate with an outside world that he cannot see, hear, or smell. It's probably one of the most power books I've ever read and it brings to light the tragedy of war and is very thought provoking in its attempt to speak of death from the point of view of someone who is basically dead.

6:27 PM  

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