Lists.

We all make them.

We couldn’t verily live without them.

Things we need from Rite Aid.

Demands we want met before submitting to a lie detector test.

Questions we don’t want to forget to ask our parole officer.

Back in August, with Hurricane Irene bearing down on NYC and New England, Brooklyn singer/songwriter The Reverend John DeLore tweaked the lyrics to the old Leadbelly classic, “Goodnight Irene,” to give it a timely Gotham City theme, a musical plea to spare the island metropolis. DeLore recorded a solo acoustic version around 3pm on August 28, emailed it to a number of his musician friends across the city’s five boroughs, who in turn recorded additional parts and emailed them back to him. DeLore (a part-time sound engineer with WNYC’s Studio 360) then mixed the 19 tracks (there’s even a Glockenspiel!) for the final version, all of it conceived, recorded and produced within a ten-hour span.

Hurricane Irene (NYC 2011) by The Reverend John DeLore & Friends

DeLore’s inspired 2009 debut recalls, among other things, the loneliness of the road and the oddly absurd give-and-take inherent in relationships. His latest release, Little John The Conqueror, is an extremely well-crafted take on the hero’s journey. DeLore represents the new breed of DIY artists doing all they can to put their work out there. DeLore is most definitely not the singer/songwriter Art Edwards was talking about at the Portland TNBLE. So far, DeLore’s work, in my opinion, surpasses most of, say, a band like Wilco’s efforts.

I recently spoke with John about the craft of songwriting, poetry, the resurgence of vinyl music releases, what he’d do if he ever met Leonard Cohen, the magic of train travel, and the history of Voodoo Viagra.

*”Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.”- A quip about music journalism variously attributed to Frank Zappa, Laurie Anderson, Steve Martin, and Elvis Costello.

Think of the sections at your local bookstore: romance, history, science fiction, fantasy, western, chick lit, erotica. How big are these sections? Where are they located in the store?

And how does the section on rock literature compare?

Steve Almond’s latest book of non-fiction, Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life, is written for “Drooling Fanatics,” people, like Almond himself, whose fixations with music take on an almost religious fervor. Almond’s past works include story collections My Life in Heavy Metal and The Evil B.B. Chow, the novel Which Brings Me to You (with Julianna Baggott), and the non-fiction books Candyfreak and (Not That You Asked). He is also a TNB contributor, and his submissions have ranged from a self-interview to a criticism of fellow contributor Joe Daley’s “Five Bands I Should Like, but I Don’t. At All.” The latter ruffled some feathers at TNB, and Steve accepted my offer to talk about the dust-up, Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life, and the larger concerns of his work.

Last week, I went to my first reading in a while. It was Steve Almond, at Powell’s, with the candlestick.

(Wait. Scratch the candlestick part. It was just Steve Almond at Powell’s.)

I enjoyed myself. Steve was charming and funny and irreverent. Particularly heartening was seeing probably 100 people show up for a reading by an author who was promoting something that could be described as rock lit. As a fellow tribesman of that woefully underpopulated genre, I can now fantasize that someday 100 people might show up to Powell’s to watch me goof off for an hour.

1) Show up to your first rehearsal with the cheapest, ugliest, most elaborately decorated guitar you can find. When asked about it say, “Ten bucks at a pawn shop!”

2) Stop rehearsal every time your cell phone vibrates.

3) At the announcement of a new gig, no matter the city or venue, make an exasperated noise, kick the ground and say, “Not that fucking place again.”

4) During a concert, yell “I got it” when the band slides into its first solo break. Do the same for every subsequent song.