In a scenario reminiscent of My Dinner With Andre, only with way less creepy background music and little or no Wallace Shawn, two Nervous Breakdown newcomers utilize the cold war-era concept of the “face to face chat” in a likely misguided effort to push beyond the personal essay format. Daly, already a TNB darling due to his heavily reported dust-up with Wally Lamb, and Beaudoin, still reeling from the announcement of David Coverdale’s defamation lawsuit, come together for a wide-ranging discussion on a number of subjects. They each arrived armed with three pre-prepared questions in case things hopelessly flagged, but the idea was to wing it as much as possible. No topics were off limits and no feelings were spared. So here it is: unedited, unexpurgated, and without a single national security redaction:

Sean Beaudoin: (sliding into a booth in which Joe Daly is already comfortably ensconced. An awkward male-bonding slap-five handshake-y thing follows) So, this diner is a little on the sleazy side. Just the way I like it. But I’m guessing you took a pass on the eggs benedict.

Joe Daly: Food poisoning changes your perspective on everything.

SB: Our waitress looks exactly like Endora from Bewitched. If you don’t get that reference, I’m even older than I thought.

JD: You’re barking up the right tree, brother. I remember both Darrins. And they were both Dicks.

SB: They were, weren’t they? Dick Sargent and…

JD: Dick York.

SB: There used to be a bar in San Francisco called Doctor Bombay’s.

JD: Nice!

SB: Actually, it was good place to get punched in the neck by some guy who decided you stole his bar change.

JD: Yanno, the last time I was in San Francisco, some guy tried to pick a fight with me.  Has it always been a big fighting town, or was it just me?

SB: I think there are just certain places where it’s unwise to stare at the expensive vodkas, mostly because they’re full of people who see your back as an opportunity.

JD: Have you ever been in the mafia?

SB: Lipstick or Trenchcoat?

JD: Either.  Your comment about sitting with your back facing people made me wonder. That’s the thing about TNB- we really don’t know much about each other. That’s the royal “we” by the way.

SB: It’s true. I sort of feel like I know you through post-osmosis. But in reality, I know absolutely nothing about you. I guess that’s why we’re sitting here. I’m going to take out my folded piece of paper with three questions on it now.

JD: I’m keeping mine in my pocket until the last possible second. My list of questions, that is.

SB: Okay, here’s the first one: let’s talk about the ubiquity of Joe. It seems like every post I read, you’ve already commented on it. Which I mostly take to mean you’re really conscientious about participating in the TNB model, as opposed to just slinging your own work up and basking in the glory. Do you feel an obligation to make the rounds, or do you just really dig the give and take?

JD: (pulling fake pencil from behind ear and leaning over napkin) Hold on-I need to write down “The Ubiquity of Joe.” If I ever record a folk album, I now have a title. I just need the Irish sweater and kinky hair.

SB: I can see the cover. You’re on a stool in a pirate’s jacket with a banjo, doing tunes from David Crosby’s solo album. Which I’ve actually listened to, by the way. Every single song is called something like Ecology, Ecology, Mustache, Drugs. Or Morocco, Booze, Mustache, Freedom.

JD: Classics.

SB: Anyway, I know “ubiquity” might sound sort of negative, but I’m trying to say I think it’s kind of an excellent thing.

JD: How so?

SB: Just that there’s a certain sort of “writerly cool” that requires being all enigmatic and not putting yourself out too much, trading ironic for earnest, not being willing to say things if they’re not always “brilliant”…  I see you out there sort of just being supportive and I like it. It’s anti-cool. It’s zero-hipster.

JD: (chuckling) I’m like the Hootie of TNB. No, I mean, I realize some people might think it’s sort of a yahoo thing to do-to consistently comment. But I really appreciate the feedback when I publish something, so I want make sure I’m supporting other writers in the same way. Personally, I find virtually all comments on my pieces to be enormously helpful-at the very least it brings my attention to what caught their eye, good or bad, and what they related to on some level. And you?

SB: At first I felt weird commenting beneath my own pieces, like I was fluffing the totals. But I got over it. And I really like the dialogue. It forced me to think about the entire process in a different way. That whole dynamic of “I am the writer, you are the reader, there will remain a wall of silent genius between us.” Totally subverting that.

JD: I hear you. My first thought on commenting on my pieces was that it was a pretty slavish way of pimping yourself out. Then some other writers suggested to me that actively commenting on your pieces was a good thing because it drives discussion and brings readers deeper into the piece, as well as the TNB community. Let’s face it-the Bible is online, the complete works of Shakespeare, most of the Garfield cartoon strips. There are some pretty good options for readers looking to kill time on the internet. I think that for people to spend their time reading a piece on TNB is deserving of some grateful acknowledgment, in my opinion. Oh, and yes-I just implied that I’m bigger than Jesus.

SB: You are. My oatmeal is bathed in loving light.

JD: I wish I ordered oatmeal. Maybe I’ll try to multiply yours.

SB: Can you multiply me a coffee refill, too? Okay, here’s my second prepared question: Writing about music is easy in a way, because almost all of us have spent our lives immersed in it, and also pretty impossible, since almost all of us have spent our lives immersed in it.

JD: Exactly.

SB: So there’s pretty much not a single thing you can say-“I love Rush, I hate Rush”-that won’t be considered by someone to be not only ill-informed, but actively offensive. So why take that whole package on?

JD: (briefly considering) Writing about music isn’t the most original endeavor. We music obsessives all suffer from the delusion that our passion is unique in intensity and/or variety. In reality, the only thing unique is probably our album collections, which are like snowflakes-no two are exactly the same. When I crawl into an album or a band’s catalog, sometimes a theme pops up, or I find myself struggling with the question of “what it is about THIS music that makes me feel this way, when this other music doesn’t?” And next thing I know, I’m writing about it. Know what I mean?

SB: I do. Except I tend to ignore that compulsion. To write about it. To me it’s like covering a Pro Choice rally. There’s two groups of people with signs and bullhorns, a bunch of nervous cops, and no possibility of convincing anyone of anything.

JD: Speaking of convincing, you used to write for The Onion. How in the world did that happen?

SB: I pitched the SF city editor an idea and he liked it. Never thought I’d hear back from him. They were desperate, obviously.

JD: Did you just come up with an individual story idea and send it to him, or was your idea to write a regular column?

SB: I pitched him “How to Spend Christmas Day Alone” which was essentially about being that guy who doesn’t have the cash to fly back to his parents’ in Cleveland like the rest of his roommates. The idea being, okay, here’s a list of places you can go to stag in hopes of warding off the crippling depression.

JD: So what’s open?

SB: Um, not much. The Avis rental car counter. Walgreens. I advised stealing lots of candy, getting caught, and spending the day with friends in jail. Also, David Brenner does a comedy night at this Chinese restaurant in North Beach every year. Which sounds almost like jail. After that I kept pitching the idea that SF really needed a sarcastic weekly sports column. And they finally agreed. As it turns out, it wasn’t at all what SF needed.

JD: What happened?

SB: I got canned.

JD: Sexual harassment?

SB: I wish. No, like two days after Lehman Brothers ate it, the SF and LA offices were shuttered. I’d just finished my column and the editor calls and says “don’t bother to send it in this week.” That’s more or less the last I heard from them.

JD: (reaching into pocket for notebook) I guess this brings me to my first pre-prepared question: In the cultural juggernaut Road House, Patrick Swayze’s character Dalton imparts nuggets of wisdom to friends and enemies like “Pain don’t hurt,” and “Go fuck yourself,” to name a few. Ok, in one of Buddhism-lite lectures, he tells the battle-weary staff of the Double Deuce, “I want you to remember that it’s a job. It’s nothing personal.” Is it possible for a writer to follow this advice?

SB: (Crossing fingers over chin in a Zen manner) Well, you probably remember that just before the climactic fight scene, the bad guy tells Swayze “I used to fuck guys like you for breakfast in prison. That’s pretty much my writing motto.

JD: It’s all starting to fall into place.

SB: Not to mention the 26-point Helvetica banner I have tattooed across my back…

JD: I’m sorry, but I’m going to need to see that.

SB: Obviously you’ve done a little research, and I appreciate you slyly bringing up Road House. Yeah, the lead character in my next book is named “Dalton.” And, yes, it’s an homage to Swayze.

JD: People are going to think you’re kidding. But you’re not, are you?

SB: Nope. It’s called You Killed Wesley Payne. But let’s talk about how Brad Listi called you and me onto the carpet of his mahogany-lined Fifth Avenue office last week.

JD: Good idea. We haven’t had a chance to break it down yet.

SB: So, after the usual niceties, he essentially told us-

JD: -to shape the fuck up.

SB: Yes, but also, if we did get our act together, we had the potential to be the Doc Gooden and Darryl Strawberry of this year’s TNB freshman class.

JD: Right.

SB: You seemed to think he was warning us not to stay up all night doing coke with Lenny Dykstra/Greg Olear anymore. I sort of thought he was trying to tell us to enjoy this time of innocence, because it doesn’t last.

JD: Seriously? I’ve been having a blast at TNB. It’s like a literary Lollapalooza. But without the eight dollar bottles of water and overflowing port-a-potties.

SB: You’ve mentioned you’re working on a book.

JD: (tenses up) Wait, is it bad luck to talk about a book that you’re still writing?

SB: Yes, and now the thing is doomed. Even so, what’s it about? What are your wildest expectations for it?

JD: The book is a direct consequence of TNB. I know it sounds trite, but the author community really inspired me to give it a shot. Being outside the literary world, I always had the idea that all novelists were pretentious and unapproachable-

SB: Aren’t they?

JD:-and riddled with fear and sarcasm. But most of the authors at TNB seem down to earth, passionate about the writing process, and sincere in participating in a community vibe. I realized I could either keep doing the one-off pieces and being a hired gun for other artists, or I could take on the challenge and see what I’m all about…the book will deal with music, which means that any expectations I have for it are hellaciously modest. In a genre populated with Nick Hornby, Chuck Klosterman, and Michael Azerrad, I have no pretensions that I’m going to burst onto the scene.

SB: The scene could use some bursting. You could be the new Klosterchuck.

JD: I’ll just be happy to get it published and read by a few people whose opinions I respect….(suddenly laughing) um, excuse me, Miss? Yes, waitress? Did we really order all these cliches?

SB: She’s like, “fuck off and tip me already, you guys are camping at my best table.

JD: Here’s my next written question, while we’re on the subject: You’re quite a music aficionado, seemingly across a number of genres. One of which is apparently jazz, which is sort of like the absinthe of music-few dare to sample it for fear that they won’t understand the experience. Even established musicians can be intimidated by the unfamiliar scales and chord progressions. What does jazz do for you and is it possible to discuss it without sounding pretentious?

SB: It’s unfortunate but true that you pretty much can’t talk about jazz without sounding like an asshole. Unless I meet someone who’s as much of a twitchy stalker about it as I am, I usually play dumb. There’s definitely this sense that, if you’re into Charles Mingus or Sun Ra, it must just be a bid for hipster credibility. It’s like, “there’s no way you actually listen to that for pleasure!”

JD: Right, right.

SB: But, you know, I will cop to the fact that there have been times in my life when I claimed to like things that I was actually not that into-Foucault comes to mind-because I thought it might impress people. One of the great things about getting older is completely not giving a shit anymore. I mean, if I want to waltz into Starbucks and order a triple caramel whipped cream enema, I’m going to do it and not worry what the cute barista thinks, you know?

JD: It depends how cute.

SB: And I would say that the “intimidation” aspect of jazz is probably more about the fear of looking dumb at a party than the complexity of chord changes. Even the name is sort of meaningless, because it encompasses so many different styles of music. You mean your grandma’s Artie Shaw collection? Cake walks? Hard bop? The fifteen incarnations of Miles Davis? Machito? Free Jazz? B-3 funk? Fusion-y shit?

JD: So then what’s the appeal? Does it relax you, inspire you, make you want to lay with a woman?

SB: A long time ago, and this was back in the cassette days, I worked the overnight desk shift at a hotel, and I had this one TDK of Coltrane’s Ascension which is, you know, a challenging piece of music. Seriously dissonant. People would walk into the lobby, hear it, pick up their suitcases and walk right back out again. I wore that tape down to the felt.

JD: It’s like you’re a conundrum, inside of a mystery, served next to some potato croquettes.

SB: I get bored easy. Verse, verse, chorus, solo. Turn on the radio, here’s another song about a girl you like. Here’s another song about how it sucks to be twenty and have no idea how your life will turn out. Here’s an ironic song about a toy we all grew up with. Did you really order the croquettes?

JD: I did. Out of all the world’s vegetarians, I have the worst diet by far. (gripping non-existent tofu gut). And I’m ok with that.

SB: A bunch of people I know got into a massive pixellated conflagration about Lady Gaga on Facebook last week. One side loves her, mostly for campy reasons, but still some true acolytes. The other loathes her, mostly because she doesn’t sound anything like ZZ Top. And the middle thinks arguments about musical preference need to be left in the dorm room, so grow the fuck up already. But I thought it was interesting that the main sticking point seemed to be that while some people admitted to finding her entertaining, they weren’t willing to concede she had any actual talent. Well, Joe Daly, does she?

JD: Wow. I do have a theory on Lady Gaga, which may or may not impact this question. The theory is that there are at least five Lady Gagas.

SB: Good, I like it….keep going…

JD: If you look at any series of pictures of her, she looks wildly different across all of them. Basically, you’ll see that her body and facial structure aren’t particularly unique-just the outfits, makeup, and hair. It occurred to me that if she got really blown out at a party, and was too hungover to make an appearance the next morning, she could easily send a similarly-shaped friend to do the gig, and no one would ever be the wiser. Plus, the way she sings has been auto tuned up to the max, so really there’s probably a legion of women who could pass themselves off as LGG in the studio. You see where I’m heading?

SB: Completely. And I do think she’s incredibly talented. It may just be that her incredible talent does not lay in the musical arena. I mean, she and some very smart people got together, came up with a character to inflame the pop fires, and every day they deposit truckloads of cash into various accounts. They’re just really bald about it, which I sort of admire more than bands or singers who pretend they’re not all about business.

JD: Dead on! You do have to respect an artist who plays it straight like that. So it’s my own personal conspiracy theory that Lady Gaga is like Lassie in that she’s played by a number of different actors/singers.

SB: And also that she can bark and claw the dirt in a way that tells you there’s a little boy who’s been kidnapped by Apaches and it’s time to run and get the sheriff?

JD: She would also probably be really handy if someone got caught in a bear trap. “What’s that Lady Gaga? It’s Timmy? Timmy needs help?”

SB: Seems like a good time to introduce a pretty clichéd scenario that was asked of me last week, mostly cause I got no more good material on Gaga…

JD: Bring it on.

SB: Okay, you’re going to the typical theoretical deserted island and can bring the entire recordings of only one artist to play on your coconut-fueled iPod. The caveat is, you don’t get any bootlegs or re-issues, just the studio albums. To listen to over and over, for the rest of your life. So, even if Working for the Weekend is your favorite song ever, choosing Loverboy limits you to a tiny pool of recordings. Who do you pick and why?

JD: Well, if it were one album, I was going to go with the Best of the Stone Roses, but as they only have two studio albums of original stuff, they don’t make the island.

SB: The smart move would probably be to snag Mozart, not only for the volume of material, but because you could while away the years studying him. If only to keep yourself from talking to a volleyball. Unfortunately I’m not that smart, so I’m going with Slayer.

JD: Because…

SB: Because only Slayer will keep me and my new monkey-wife sane.

JD: I’m going to have to go with The Who then.

SB: Really?

JD: I’ve just always related to them on a very deep level. I got into them in high school, when I was starting to feel my oats, and that was the same general age that Townshend was when he began writing some of his best stuff. I’ve always thought Daltrey was money. Great rage. Plus, end to end, they have a great legacy that includes anthems, punk, heavy riffing, and very melodic, stripped-down stuff.

SB: Supposedly Hendrix hated Pete Townshend. So, by extension, I am obliged to hate Pete Townshend, too. But I dig Live at Leeds. Total early punk.

JD: And one of the best motherfucking live albums ever! (waitress walks by, glares, shakes head.) Whoops-sorry for the profanity, miss. (In a quieter voice) Didn’t realize she was right behind us.

SB: We’re totally getting 86’d. I better do my final question.

JD: Good idea.

SB: (composing mentally, taking deep breath) Okay, so yesterday I was thinking about how, as a society, we process things in tiny increments-

JD: I agree. Next.

SB: (laughs)…we spend all our time like, what do I have to get done by noon? Who am I hanging out with this weekend? It’s pretty amazing how much has changed just in the last year alone, but we don’t really acknowledge it. For instance, Tiger Woods. He’s a punch-line. His iconography is permanently shot. But eight months ago he was a walking brand, one of the most revered, most reliable money-machines of the last century. Pretty much a god, at least to people who find their gods in someone else’s backswing. Okay, so….sorry this is so long-winded….so I was just reading that David Shields self-interview where for the third time he more or less said “literature is dead” and I was thinking how that was like saying “Tiger fucks waitresses at Waffle House.” Bang! Hit the defibrillator, lock your kids in the rec room, start selling off all those valuable first editions. But golf goes on. Tiger’s still playing. People still watch and care. It’s just different now. It seems to me that saying “literature is dead” is really “here’s a contentious generalized statement with which to drum up interest in my $25.95 hardback.” You know what I mean?

JD: I think I do. I mean, does anyone really think literature is dead? In fact, it’s more alive than ever-look at the growing list of contributors to the TNB, many of whom have their own books out. Maybe print is dying, but the fact that it’s easier than ever to get people to read your thoughts, via book, blog, or social networking site, shows that literature is very much alive, it’s just diluted. But for the record, I think the “contentious generalization” tool is about as original as the serial killer not being dead at the end of the movie.

SB: Right. You gutshot Michael Meyers. He gets up. Light him on fire. He gets up. But I do like that Shields is really confident about staking out his position. He’s like, “here’s what I think, here’s what my book is about, buy it or don’t, I’m not trying to make any friends.” He’s obviously spent years thinking through this stuff while the rest of us were running with scissors. I guess in the end I just feel protective of the old model. Which is dumb, since I mostly get screwed in the old model.

JD: Speaking of which, you just posted this thing called Read My Finger: How Not to Get Published

SB: I did. Which will probably guarantee I never get published again…

JD: All the TNB literary critics, editors, and very serious writers knocked each other over to effusively praise the thing. It felt like it was Christmas Eve and someone said there was only one Cabbage Patch Kid left, and it was in your article. Being an outsider in the literary world, I found the piece to be thoroughly entertaining, and at the same time, quite humbling. Not only did you name check a legion of authors I’ve never heard of, but you revealed the submission and acceptance process to be tired, saturated, and impersonal.

SB: Actually, once it was done I considered scrapping the thing. Even though most of it was intended to be comical, in the end I don’t want to genuinely discourage anybody. Writing is just too hard as it is. But, you know, it was all true. The truth cannot be denied. On the other hand, my mother called me up and was like, “that’s the last time I write anything but XXOO on your birthday card.”

JD: Nice one, mom.

SB: Since we’re at the end here, it does seem like I should mention that, even on a telepathic level, we seem to have agreed not to speak of the Steve Almond contretemps. Maybe if for no other reason than that we’re both bored to tears by ever single facet of it. But it occurred to me to ask you one thing, and maybe with this question put it all to bed, permanently, next to Hoffa in a layer of quicklime…

JD: (nodding warily)

SB: Did that experience give you, in even the most fractional way, a glimpse of what it’s like to be pinned down in the public eye like a Lindsay Lohan? By which I mean, caught up in some “spat” that was probably bullshit to begin with, but for whatever reason becomes a cultural snowball, conducted through headlines and discussed by third parties and generally taking on a life of its own, so that it goes way past really being about you, and you sort of end up standing by watching it happen?

JD: Yeah, it was really strange to watch things spin out so quickly. My thinking is that Steve had every right to say what he wanted to say, and I responded to him accordingly as a comment to his piece. My involvement ended there. I wasn’t going to get baited into some internet feud. As the saying goes, “never pass up an opportunity to keep your mouth shut.” But next thing I knew, people began weighing in and a very different debate arose. Greg Olear’s piece, Something Nice,” was awesome because it set off a very thoughtful and sometimes animated discussion about what the TNB culture means to different people and what their expectations are for the site. Apparently it was time for that discussion to happen at TNB.  But as you say, the debate had little to do with me or my writing.

SB: I feel compelled to mention that I do admire pretty much any willingness to leap into the fray brandishing unpopular sentences. To not worry if your opinion is going to keep people from being gentle with your own pieces. To toss it out there like a raw steak and deal with how it effects your Amazon ranking later. I mean, essentially, the internet is nothing but a massive binary excuse to be righteously pissed about stuff. So the guy with the pointy stick, in the long run, is sort of doing everyone a favor.

JD: When the TNB dust up was still pretty new, one of the more veteran authors told me that when you put something out there, some people will like it and some won’t, and to realize that none of them are right. The important thing is to just keep writing because that’s all I can control. I’m not going to say that I don’t care what people think about my writing, but I think that as long as I’m writing about topics that mean something to me, and not for other people’s approval or feedback, I can be happy with my process.

SB: Listen, people who say ‘I don’t care what anyone thinks about my work’ are either lying or Thomas Pynchon. I mean, everyone cares. Deeply. The locus of writing is showing off. It’s narcissistic just by definition to imply “my deepest thoughts are worth your investment in time.” So I think it’s how much of that ego you can deflate, you know, that makes certain writing rise above. How much can you ignore your nature and access your true feelings without censoring them, or tailoring them to a specific audience. No matter what the genre, guns and spies or Jane Austen, that’s the kind of writing that, to me, never feels disposable. So, you know, I guess I’m trying to say, if you feel like you’ve written something artfully, but with a minimum percentage of bullshit, you can pretty much get away with anything. You can call anyone out, or reveal things that are totally ugly and not be condemned for it. But if you’re going to attack someone for the intellectual rigor of their distaste for Dave Matthews, man, you better have a pretty solid handle on your own failings.

JD: Ok, they’re turning the lights out in here. I need to ask one more question though, if that’s cool. When I was researching your works, I found out that your first book, Going Nowhere Faster, was just translated into Polish. Polish!

SB: I know, right? Now it’s called Donikad Byle Szybciej. I’m embarrassed to admit how pleased I am with how entirely random that is.

JD: Why Poland over say, France? Is there a big Young Adult market in Krakow?

SB: No clue. But I intend for my empire to span from Budapest to Helsinki by 2012. And by 2112, I intend for it to span from Spirit in The Radio to Tom Sawyer.

JD: Ha! In a perfect world, where would you like to see your writing take you? If you could decide your own fate, what does the future look like?

SB: Totally honestly? If I can sell just enough to not worry about checks or agents or self-promotion, to be able to sit in my little office with my laptop and concentrate on whatever project I’ve got going that day, I would be extremely happy. Anything beyond that is frosting.

JD: Amen.

SB: Selah.

JD: What does that mean?

SB: I’m not entirely sure. Hunter Thompson used to say it all the time. Something like let those with eyes see, and those with ears hear.

JD: It doesn’t get any more profound than that.

SB: No, sir. It really doesn’t.

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JOE DALY writes for a number of publications, including the UK's Metal Hammer and Classic Rock magazines, Outburn, Bass Guitar Magazine and several other print and online outlets. He is the music and cultural observer for Chuck Palahniuk's LitReactor site and his works have been published in several languages. When he is not drafting wild-eyed manifestos, Joe enjoys life in San Diego's groovy North County, teaching music journalism, doing yoga, running, playing guitar and spending tireless hours in deep and meaningful conversations with his beloved dogs, Cabo and Lola. You can check out his rants at http://joedaly.net and follow him on Twitter: @JoeD_SanDiego

153 responses to “No One Gets Out Of Here Alive: An Intellectual Cage Match, Pt. 1”

  1. Becky Palapala says:

    Pete Townshend is/was hated by a lot of people. He was and is, as far as I can tell, a sort of brooding intellectual type with a sardonic sense of humor and a manically destructive alter-ego; neither of which was altogether compatible with the go-easy 60s/70s zeitgeist he was living in.

    Never mind that he and Hendrix have two of the most oft-mimicked (whether in content or appearance) playing styles in rock-n-roll.

    At least that’s my impression. So was it hatred or competition?

    I’m not an authority on either man. I could be way off. But I do like Townshend, and I couldn’t care less about Hendrix. So I am obligated to side with Pete.

    • Joe Daly says:

      >>Pete Townshend is/was hated by a lot of people… [he was] a sort of brooding intellectual type with a sardonic sense of humor and a manically destructive alter-ego<<

      I think that added a lot of the tension to his music. That kind of tension is what made Quadrophenia so great- pissy intellectual kid acts the thug in front of his friends, but is scared of his parents and wants to just run away with his girlfriend and be himself. All the while taking drugs and making bad decisions. Which young guys still relate to all these years later.

      I love Hendrix’ style, I love that he upstaged the Beatles by playing Sgt. Pepper when he opened up for them, and I love that he reminded music fans about the blues roots of rock. But like you, I’m a Townshendian.

      • Becky Palapala says:

        Wasn’t he sort of involuntarily thrust into the role of songwriter for the band, too? Sort of frontman-by-accident? I don’t remember exactly what I heard or where, but something about Pete being the only one who had actual musical training, and after the Beatles, they were told they had to start writing their own songs…maybe they just drew lots.

        He does strike me as exactly what you describe. Probably a bit of an introvert and understated by nature, but forced to be a frontman and a leader and spectacle by circumstance. If you’re gonna go, go big.

        • Dana says:

          Not to mention, pedophile.

        • Joe Daly says:

          Yeah, Pete’s parents were musicians, so he had the chops getting into the band. But he was very happy to be the lyricist- Daltrey just didn’t have it. He was a sheet metal worker who couldn’t even take up an instrument because his fingers were all shredded from work.

          I think that Townshend’s love/hate relationship with Daltrey stemmed from his envy of Daltrey’s manly brawler image, while he himself was skinny, shy, and confused. So he sort of held his intellect over Daltrey’s head.

          He did want the band to take up the songwriting process though, after they got started. Maybe to take the pressure off himself. “Boris the Spider” was Entwistle’s submission to the band as a response to Pete’s pressure that they contribute songs.

        • Becky Palapala says:


        • Becky Palapala says:

          Dana is incorrect, I mean.

          All that pedophile stuff might as well be “A Witch! A Witch!” After a 4-month investigation and a search of all of his computers, the police didn’t even press charges.

        • Dana says:

          I’m kidding Becky. I love Pete.

        • Joe Daly says:

          Totally agree with Becky. With all the publicity surrounding the scandal, there’s no way the cops would have let him walk without unless they were thoroughly convinced of his innocence.

          While I agree that the allegations made him a logical suspect, they were pretty summarily dismissed. Plus, I’ve read a few books on the band and I think that if Pete really did swing that way, someone would have uncovered evidence of that proclivity long ago.

          Pete was/is many things, but I don’t believe he’s a pedophile.

        • Becky Palapala says:

          Sorry Dana. I think I still have a sore spot since the revival of the mess leading up to their Superbowl performance.

          Some gaggle of ignoramuses with nothing better to do, clucking and fluffing and trying to ruin the only halftime show I’ve ever looked forward to in my life.

          Sadly, the show could have been better for all the shouting I expended on the ill-informed.

          But nevertheless!

          Yeah, Joe. Broody and cynical as he may be, “malicious” is not something that suits him.

        • Dana says:

          Dude– we disScussed this at length when it happened. I was KIDDING. Of course he’s not a pedophile.

        • Dana says:

          heh — My computer is suffering from slow-postitis today. That comment was for Joe.
          Sorry Becky — I had my panties all in a bunch when everyone was coming down on Pete too.

          I shouldn’t have poked you.

        • Becky Palapala says:

          My memory is awful. Especially here. So many people and avatars and whatnot. I forget who said what. Sometimes in a matter of days.

        • Becky Palapala says:

          Ah! But your discussion was with JOE. Okay. Phew. So I didn’t forget having it.

      • My feeling on this whole Pete Townshend thing can be summed up in one sentence: Why is this interview so goddamn long? What egoists thought THAT was a good idea?

        Actually, my comment about Pete came from a vague memory of some article I read somewhere describing the backstage concert scene at Monterrey or Isle of Wight or whatever, where Jimi was supposed to open for the Who, but Pete threw a tantrum and was screaming and breaking stuff since he (wisely) intuited that going on after Hendrix would make even Quiet Riot look anemic. Jimi is supposedly standing on a chair in the middle of the room practicing scales with his eyes closed and finally says, fine, dude, you go first. So the Who play their usual set, clap, clap clap, and then Jimi goes on and absolutely crushes the place, Voodoo Chile, Strat on fire, acid in headband, etc. Apparently the tension forever remained between them. Some people even think it was Pete that put the vomit in Jimi’s throat. If only Marge Helgenberger and CSI had existed back then.

        • Becky Palapala says:

          The standing on a chair with his eyes closed practicing scales is a nice touch. I wonder if he was levitating, too…

          He only died because the universe could no longer contain him, man!!!!

          I was just watching an interview with Townshend, and he was talking about what a godawful miserable time he had at Woodstock, and how he remembers being the only one there who abso-fucking-lutely hated it.

          Are we sure it wasn’t Woodstock? Apparently he was in some kind of mood when he was there. I know nothing about the lineup or who went when.

          Maybe Townshend was just always in a shit mood. Which kind of makes me like him even more.

        • It probably was Woodstock. My general working method is to distribute facts first, Google them for veracity later.

          I do remember reading that Pete decided he was already done with drugs back then, which must have been an incredibly difficult stance to take at that time. Straight edge at Woodstock? Put a black X on that windmilling strum-hand. Makes me like him more. But it also probably made him “that” guy to everyone else, the square uncle amongst a throng with a flower in their hair and half a lid of uncut Turkish hash sewn in the lining of their prairie skirt. So if he was difficult, in a shit mood, and unpopular the entire time, it stands to reason.

        • Joe Daly says:

          And he took it all out on Abbie Hoffman.

        • Becky Palapala says:

          Well, what the fuck, Abbie???

          That’s what you get for being so annoying you’re the only guy to get his ass kicked at a peace festival.

          Kanye Hoffman.


        • Becky Palapala says:

          That didn’t make a ton of sense…

          But you know…I’m thinking about it, and Pete is kinda punk.

          Violent rage, strange pants. Roughing up hippies.

        • Matt says:

          if I remember correctly (no guarantees on that account) Townshend had a shitload of issues with Woodstock’s production, stagehands etc., so he was really in a bad mood by the time they hit the stage.

        • Becky Palapala says:

          In the interview I was watching he said something like, “There I was, comfortably ensconced waist-deep in mud, watching Moonie and John in the back of a station wagon with some girl and no hope at all of wading there in time to take part.”

          I think his relative sobriety was a general factor. Whether it be because he was able to actually comprehend the bad behavior of the producers and staff and the general absurdity going on around him, or because he didn’t feel he could really take part, or because he was actually AWARE that he was waist-deep in mud….

          That’s just no kind of of place, as Sean said, to be the only sober guy.

        • dwoz says:

          I think there were a couple things going on. First off, Hendrix got offered double what everyone else was offered, and also the promoters didn’t pay them. Add to that, starting your set about 7 hours late, in the wee hours of the morning…

        • Becky says:


          Come on. Let’s face it. Any of those things could have been tolerable with enough drugs. And Pete didn’t have them.

          He was SO square. Poor asshole.

  2. Dana says:

    Okay – I can’t count the number of laughs and hoots and snorts let loose while reading this bodacious interview. You guys are quite the nimble conversationalists, and the tags are hilarious.

    The Ubiquity of Joe.. perhaps my favorite words written this year.

  3. Erika Rae says:

    Lady Gaga is like Lassie. Heh.

    If I were stranded on an island with only two people to listen to, um, yeah. Except now my brain is sort of smarting. Which could be a good or a bad thing, depending on how you interpret that.

  4. Don Mitchell says:

    About halfway through this 4995-word piece I went and made myself a bowl of cashews and wasabi peas, 50:50, and grabbed a No Fear energy drink to wash it down.

    Then I read the rest.

    Life is good, that way, and so is your piece. Not sure who’s the cashew and who’s the pea, though.

    • Joe Daly says:

      Thanks, Don! When we finished the transcription and saw how long it was, we joked about offering t-shirts to anyone who could sit down and read the whole thing, beginning-to-end. Like one of those Man vs. Food eating contests where they give a guy a bumper sticker for putting away a ten pound pizza.

      Thanks for reading. I’m off to find some wasabi peas now…

      • Don Mitchell says:

        Seriously! Wasabi peas and peanuts make a good combo, too.

        I glad to read “we finished the transcription . . . ” because I was thinking whichever of you was the faster typist got stuck transcribing and thus had an excellent opportunity to, ah, modify the other guy’s words.

        Of course maybe you guys just shot the shit about the waitress, couldn’t answer the questions in any interesting way and, as the saying goes, “fixed it in post.”

        Podcast or it didn’t happen.

        • Joe ghosted just about everything I said. Or didn’t say. Except the thing about my monkey wife. No way I’m not owning that.

        • Joe Daly says:

          I think you need to own the use of the word “contretemps” as well.

          No way does a word like that ever come from the mouth of an Irish kid from Massachusetts.

        • Art Edwards says:

          Speaking of words to use, why not “coquettish”? I think the waitress could’ve cast a coquettish look at some point, or could’ve just been acting the coquette.

          Off to interview Wally Lamb,


        • Joe Daly says:

          Art, that’s a great point. Maybe it’s time to bring back “coquettish” back. We could use it in a complimentary fashion, for someone like a cute waitress, or in a pejorative sense, to confuse an adversary during a confrontation (“you’re just being coquettish!”). We’ll know it took when P-Diddy starts using it.

        • Art Edwards says:

          Hey, it rhymes with “fetish.” What more could he possibly want?

          That’s it. No more spoon feeding, Diddy. Get his own damn thesaurus.


        • dwoz says:

          The only reason I’m hanging around here is to try to get something happening with a coquettish librettist.

          or limericks:

          There was a coquettish librettist
          who’s operas tended toward fetish
          she teased and she taunted
          and flirted and flaunted
          and the audience was turgid and wetish

        • Art Edwards says:

          “Wetish!” Ha!

          Any excuse to use “turgid” is a good excuse.


        • dwoz says:

          There is truly no such thing as a bad invocation of turgid.

  5. Hmm, fair point. It doesn’t really drip off the tongue, does it? I was just trying to impress the people in the booth behind us, because for a while I thought one of them might be Yann Martel’s agent. Of course, if I’d said “bitch-slap” instead, he probably would have signed me.

  6. Matt says:

    Wait. I get a t-shirt for reading this all the way to the end? Awesome. Though it really could have used a little Wallace Shawn.

    Nice back-and-forth, guys. Funny shit. And I totally believe the theory about Gaga. I’ve been saying for a while now that her music is the least interesting thing about her. Her talents lie in promotion and spectacle.

    • Joe Daly says:

      But the near-maddening thing about Gaga for me is that musically, she can most certainly hold her own. She’s studied music composition and she gets co-production credits on a lot of her stuff- most notably her collaborations with Akon. So at the very least, she has an ear for pop/commercial hits.

      I remember reading an article in a British music mag where the interviewer assumed, because she is very open about using Auto Tune on her recordings, that she wasn’t all that good of a singer. But in their interview, he reported that she actually sang for him, hitting all the right notes and sounding entirely legit. When he asked the inevitable question (“you can already sing well- why the Auto Tune?”), she said it was for digital compression.

      So there’s more to Lady Gaga(s) than meets the eye.

      • dwoz says:

        we are trapped in a terrible dead doldrums in the music industry, the autotune latitudes.

        I saw it coming years ago (because I’m so special). Not long after Sher’s breakout hit, I started hearing it being used deliberately on the “Disney Divas.” Not because they necessarily needed it, but because it would raise a whole generation of tweens that were acclimated to the sound and wouldn’t consider it jarring. At that point, the relative ability of a singer to manage pitch and phrasing on their own would be a variable removed from the pop diva equation.

        And sadly, that is indeed the case. I am also of the opinion that GAGA does not need to be tuned, but that a pop-dance production cannot be contemporary if it doesn’t gratuitously employ autotune.

        What’s bizarre, is hearing young girls these days singing, and they’re mimicking the autotune characteristic.

        Buy why you all ragging on autotune! without it, we’d lose about 90% of the melissmas. Holy Christ, how awful would that be?

        • dwoz says:

          that is, of course, “Cher.”

        • Joe Daly says:

          >>Buy why you all ragging on autotune!<<

          I’m no longer going to complain about Auto Tune. To show my newfound enthusiasm for it, I’m going to record an album of operatic ballads and I’m going to sound just like Josh Groban. That’s just how I roll. Now, at least.

        • dwoz says:

          it could be worse. You could look like Josh Groban too.

          Then again, I’m notoriously inaccurate in predicting what women will find attractive.

        • “The Autotune Latitudes” is without question The Doors’ best song, Morrison in his finest poetic hour:

          Awkward electronic instant
          And the first vocal animal is jettisoned
          Tonsils furiously pumping
          Their stiff green gallops tuned
          And heads bob up in miraculous pitch
          In mute nostril agony
          Carefully refined, carefully run through the program a second time
          And sealed over
          Into perfection
          Like a vocal equestrian Cher

          Just call me the Lizard King.

  7. Brandy says:

    I think what I’ve always appreciated about TNB is that it’s a small slice of culture–funny, witty, sad, strange. That’s what life is. That’s what literature is and indeed all art is; a reflection of society norms. Perhaps no one considers today’s writing ‘literature’, but I’m sure Henry James was just considered a magazine writer–popular low brow reading serialized week after week. Fast forward almost a hundred years, and voila, literature.

    Great interview.

    • Joe Daly says:

      Thanks, Brandy! It felt sort of dirty talking about literature, much less publishing it.

      Interesting point about Henry James. It will be interesting to see how the current explosions in self publishing, blogs, and online lit are viewed in fifty years.

  8. Cynthia Hawkins says:

    Little to no Wallace Shawn? Incontheivable! (Sorry. It’s like a tick I have. Interjecting random pop-culture references.) So, the Lady Gaga theory is actually not far from mine. My theory is that Lady Gaga is really Marilyn Manson. Fun interview! I anxiously await your folk album …

    • Brandy says:

      Haha!! Cynthia I think that too!! I’m secretly hoping it’s not true—but that they’ll hook up and have androgynous babies.

    • dwoz says:

      as you wish.

    • Joe Daly says:

      >>Lady Gaga is really Marilyn Manson<<

      Oh. My. God.

      This is staggering in its implications. Maybe I can have Marilyn Gaga guest on my folk album. We can do a video for a song called “Flesh Faire,” where I do the folkie thing while he rides a tricycle behind me, covered in seal blood, making his weird faces into the camera. I’m all over that…

      • You could do an acoustic cover of Fear’s “Fresh Flesh”….you do sorta remind me of Lee Ving…just toss in a mandolin and get Nathalie Merchant to do guest harmonies….

  9. That sounds like quite a dinner… I’m exhausted. Did you guys even eat anything or just talk?

    I like the “selah” bit… HST used to sign off with a bunch of things. You can practically date his work by the random word at the end of his letters.

    Oh, and I still don’t really know anything about Lady Gaga. That kinda went over my head. I only put the name to that Poker song about a month ago.

    • Joe Daly says:

      >>Did you guys even eat anything or just talk? <>Oh, and I still don’t really know anything about Lady Gaga.<<

      My knowledge of Lady Gaga is limited only to what I’ve read in magazines and the odd paparazzi shot. I’ve heard a clip or two of her songs, so I’m aware of her style and that (auto tuned) she can sing, but I wouldn’t be able to pick out one of her tunes next to someone else’s. Maybe if she gets sassy and goes unplugged I’ll dig a little deeper.

      Thanks for the read. I’ll get your t-shirt ready.

  10. At the risk of disturbing any wall of silent genius, I have to say that this was a pleasure to read. Maybe I’m just dazzled by the sounds of the Swayze roundhouse kicks playing on the next tab over as I write, but conversating like this is at least a minor revelation. I could almost smell the croquettes.

    • Joe Daly says:

      >>At the risk of disturbing any wall of silent genius<<

      I think that in our case, said “wall of genius” was actually more like a bead curtain. Kind of like the one Greg Brady put up when he took over his father’s office for a little privacy.

      I chuckled at your comment about the fight scene going on in another tab. I hadn’t seen it for years, and watching it again I was surprised at how choreographed it was. At the time, I remember thinking it was the most brutal fight ever! If (when) they remake Road House (starring Shia Labeouf as “Dalton!”), I have a feeling they’ll jazz it up with all that fancy schmancy quick cut editing.

      Thanks for taking the time to go through it. I owe you a plate of croquettes.

      • Casting for “Road House 2011”: I figure Labeouf in the Ben Gazzara role…Josh Brolin will play Sam Elliot…Ben Affleck will get the Kelly Lynch role, Wolfmother will be the house band/Jeff Healy, and holographic/CGI Swayze will play Swayze.

      • Dana says:

        “I think that in our case, said “wall of genius” was actually more like a bead curtain. Kind of like the one Greg Brady put up when he took over his father’s office for a little privacy.”

        Niiiiice! What happened after that didn’t work out?

  11. Zara Potts says:

    Wow. I wish I could be as funny and quick witted as you guys when I’m talking in a cafe or ordering croquettes.

    • Joe Daly says:

      Z- it’s super easy. You’ll just need to wear an ironic t-shirt, name drop a couple obscure European authors, and then make an 80s reference sound meaningful.

      So you could: walk into a diner wearing a t-shirt with some hammy geographical metaphor (“Everything’s Bigger in TEXAS,” or “Welcome to Milwaukee- it’s a sausage party!”). Then when you place your order, tell the waiter that you’re going with the sausage scramble because you’re feeling like Andre Prudhommeaux, and as you sip your coffee, wax nostalgically to your companion(s) that you can’t get enough of Harry Dean Stanton’s wisdom in “Pretty in Pink.”

  12. Dana says:

    Pt. 1? Seriously?

    • Haven’t we mentioned that the subtitle is called “The Decalogue” and the whole thing comes in ten installments, Dana?

      • Dana says:

        Oh. Yeah. Well that’ll be great.

        Be seeing you!

        • Joe Daly says:

          Pt. 7 is where we really take the gloves off and start getting into it. Sean finally reveals his top three General Hospital episodes (pre-1990) and I confront some of the patent inconsistencies in Plato’s Republic.

          It’s going to be eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee-pic…

        • Well, I’ll give you my top one episode, anyway: Luke and Robert rescue Laura from Stavros’ harem, which meant they all wore scarves for a couple weeks, except Emma Samms, who was rocking an even pointer bra than usual. In the end, a few henchmen get the karate chop to the neck, collapse like haddock on a dock, and they all make it back to the burn ward in time for Rick Springfield’s next shift.

  13. JM Blaine says:

    As a kid I saw the video for
    My Dinner with Andre
    & thought maybe
    it was dinner with Andre the Giant
    Billy Crystal did make a movie
    about Andre.

    There was a remixer
    named Dr Bombay
    in the 90s
    that did some decent stuff.

    My favorite Loverboy
    song is “Lucky Ones”

    I did hear Manson & Gaga
    had a connection
    & I know they did that duet
    quite the interesting theory.
    Manson (or whomever is playing his part)
    did get fat and admit he was
    the kid from Wonder Years.
    So maybe so.

    I’m a guitar player
    & I never liked
    or Pete
    or Eddie
    or Stevie Ray much
    I do like Randy Rhodes
    & Buddy Guy a lot though.

    & Kerry King!

    in the Psalms
    is thought to signify
    where the singers should take a breath
    & let the instruments play
    but it also means
    to pause and reflect
    (per Vanderbilt Divinity School)

    I don’t know why it struck
    me to comment
    like this
    I love dialogue

    • Joe Daly says:

      >>I’m a guitar player
      & I never liked
      or Pete
      or Eddie
      or Stevie Ray much
      I do like Randy Rhodes
      & Buddy Guy a lot though.<<

      I like Hendrix as a blues man better than as a rock star, Pete as a songwriter more than a guitar player, I don’t care for Eddie, and I like Stevie Ray because he hit each string like his life depended on it. Buddy Guy is class from top to bottom and living in Chicago, I was spoiled getting to see him so often. Magic Slim was my other favorite Chicago bluesman.

      Kerry King rocks, but I’m partial to Jeff Hanneman. I also really like Glen Tipton and John Squire.

      Did Billy Crystal make a movie about Andre? I know they were in “The Princess Bride” together. I used to love watching Andre on Saturday morning wrestling.

      • I got to say I’m amazed by the near universal indifference to Jimi displayed by TNB so far. Um, without saying anything as tenth grade recess as “he’s the greatest guitar player that ever lived”, I’m going to have to swing the controversy stick and say “he is so far and away the most talented rock guitar player that ever lived, it’s like he’s out orbiting Saturn while everyone else is back on Earth just being merely very good.”


        • Joe Daly says:

          Sean- I would agree with everything you said here:

          “he is so far and away the most talented rock guitar player that ever lived, it’s like he’s out orbiting Saturn while everyone else is back on Earth just being merely very good,”

          so long as we insert the phrase “from Seattle.”

        • Gentlemen: as a public service, here’s a fail safe Hendrix test I have used to great effect in the past. Listen to this all the way through, at top volume, one time:


          Know of anyone who could come even close to playing this? (live in the BBC studios, by the way, all in one take, no overdubs) Officially converted now? Excellent. I will send you your official purple hooded robes and Axis:Bold As Love headbands in the mail. Feel free to toss all those Eminence Front 12″ remixes in the trash. And welcome aboard!

  14. Richard Cox says:

    You had me at “Bewitched.” Although where in the hell do you go to find a waitress that looks like Endora?

    And Sean, how could you use TDK? I thought anyone in the know always recorded on Maxell tapes. What gives?

    I think if I had only one band’s work to take to an island it would be Godspeed You! Black Emperor. But they only recorded four studio albums, so on second thought maybe it would be Radiohead.

    Nice work, guys.

    • Dana says:

      So funny Rich! Not too long ago I did some purging of some bootlegs. There were like two TDK’s mixed in with the hundreds of Maxell’s. Fuckin’ TDK’s.

      • Richard Cox says:

        TDK’s packaging sucked. I remember drooling every time I’d go to the store and buy a new shiny package of Maxell tapes. Ah, the heady days of cassette recording.

    • Joe Daly says:

      >> I thought anyone in the know always recorded on Maxell tapes.<<

      Well, it’s out there now. It’s good that you got this out, Richard. Last I checked, people didn’t sit in chairs in front of their speakers getting their hair blown back to all hell while listening to TDKs.

      No more dancing around this rather uncomfortable question, Sean.

      And thanks for the Endora love, Rich- she was a national treasure.

      • dwoz says:

        I can’t comment, because I did all my recording on Ampex 456, biased at +4 to 238 nanoWebers.

        That was of course before Quantegy came out.

        • Richard Cox says:

          Reel-to-reel equipment was hard to come by for a 20-year old kid, not to mention those machines were hard to squeeze into the dashboard of your car. But Maxell Type IV tapes and Dolby noise reduction made the recording quality somehow bearable.

        • dwoz says:

          yeah, never mind putting it in the dashboard…in fact it had it’s OWN dashboard!

          I looked kind of silly carting it around the street-corners and playgrounds on a hand-truck.

        • Don Mitchell says:

          Hah. I was recording on audio tape before Dolby! I had a nice but very unreliable Tandberg portable with 7″ reels on a sort of outrigger thing (5″ in normal position). It kept crapping out in the rainforest. As backup I had a cheap Sony reel-to-reel that stayed alive through everything. Obviously the Tandberg was going to make far better recordings, but the Sony worked and the Tandberg didn’t. You can’t imagine the hassle of trying to get new circuit boards from Norway and have them shipped to me when my working address was “via Boku Patrol Post.”

          Everybody else took Uher recorders to the field but no, I had to have the Tandberg. I should have made the grant buy me a Nagra.


    • Becky says:

      Shit. I forgot about that question. The island question.

      I’m taking Neil Diamond.

      HUGE discography, breadth of style. Yup. Neil Diamond. Something for every mood.

      Don’t even bother making fun of me; I am immune.

      • Joe Daly says:

        I must ask a question which has vexed me for some time- is it safe to assume that a fan of Neil Diamond would also be a fan of Barry Manilow? If not, why?

        But no way am I going to make fun of a girl for liking Neil Diamond. Mama didn’t raise no fool.

        • Becky says:

          Fuck no, I am not a fan of Barry Manilow. And if you don’t know why, I can’t tell you.

          How much Neil Diamond have you listened to in your life? Are you an ignoramus?

        • Becky says:

          Jewish Elvis, man. Writes better gospel than any Christian I’ve heard. Just saying. The man is sorely underrated. Bet against Diamond, and you’re on the wrong side of history.

        • If you can fess to Neil Diamond, I will come clean with my ownership of two (2) different Lee Hazlewood albums.

    • Just because that particular tape happened to be on a TDK does not mean I officially endorse them. In fact, I totally agree with you, Richard, a 12-pack of ultra high bias Maxell XL II’s was a thing of beauty and cause for celebration.

  15. JB says:

    False advertising. This is a man-date. The beginnings, obviously, of a bromance.

    As far as allusions to cage matches go, I’d say SB is Hulk Hogan and JD is Paul Orndorff.

    • Joe Daly says:

      >>I’d say SB is Hulk Hogan and JD is Paul Orndorff.<<

      Wow. I’m completely satisfied with this. Although, back in the day, my absolute fave wrestler, bar none, was Bob Backlund.

      We’ll find out if it turns into a bromance as soon as one of us needs a ride to the airport. I think that’s one of the indicators, anyway.

      • Gentleman, I must say I’m disappointed with your casual Hulk Hogan analogy. Did you not carefully read the interview? Clearly, I am Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka. Failing that, I will accept being called the Iron Sheik.

  16. angela says:

    ten parts, really? holy crap.

    but this nearly 5K words didn’t feel like it. it went really fast and hilariously, so much so the people next to me thought i was laughing at their very boring conversation and kept looking at me. yes, it’s you and you’re so boring, i have to laugh!

    my favorite line:

    “Because only Slayer will keep me and my new monkey-wife sane.”

    it was, shall we say, unexpected.

    • Joe Daly says:

      Thanks, Angela! Believe me, the Slayer/monkey-wife disclosure caught me by surprise as well. Had Sean offered that up thirty seconds before, I would have needed the Heimlich maneuver for the mouth full of waffle.

      I’m dying to know- what were the people next to you talking about? It would have been really funny if they were talking about financial reform and you were seemingly laughing right at them.

      Thanks for the read!

  17. Greg Olear says:


    Will go through the board later, but first: I enjoyed this tremendously. Very well done. And thanks, of course, for the props.

    I am flattered to be compared with Dykstra, my favorite player on a team I otherwise loathed (I’m a Yankee fan, or used to be). I have never done coke, though, but I have done absinthe. Real absinthe, with a spoon and the sugar cube and the water, the whole nine yards.

    I’m going to do a post that includes this at some point, but re: Lady Gaga: she’s not a musician, per se; she’s a performance artist of the highest order, whose act involves a lot of music. An important distinction, I think, to figuring her out.

    More later, but this was great!

    • Hey man, Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta is a classically trained pianist. She writes songs fulla nasty hooks. She can sing. So, per se?

      (I look forward to reading your essay.)

      • Greg Olear says:

        She’s also a terrific singer, or at least better than most.

        I’m not dissing her musical abilities. I just think she’s doing something more ambitious than what, say, Madonna did. Her videos, “Bad Romance” especially, is Warholian in its artistic brilliance (and my daughter lives LG, so I’ve watched that thing about 124,654,546 times). I think she’s tops, in other words.

        That said, RedOne is responsible for the song hooks, I think…he’s from Morocco; you can sort of here the Arabesque influence in some of the tunes.

        • dwoz says:


          Her ability and skill at playing the role she plays is impeccable.

          My eldest daughter was heard today saying that GaGa is a piss-poor excuse for a musician, and I think she simply misses the point.

          I have also taken a lot of shit before, for saying that I thought Brittany Spears was (before her hiatus) a consummate entertainer. Not a musician/artist…an entertainer. As the tip of the arrow of a huge entertainment organization, with many arrangers, producers, choreographers, publicists…and her out in front of it. Again, It’s nothing about music, it’s about being a very effective entertainer.

        • Joe Daly says:

          Interesting debate about entertaining v. performing. Music fans/snobs/purists/whateverists demand that the artist showcase their full chops, and then grow from there. But it’s undeniable that she has earned massive worldwide commercial appeal without seemingly flexing her full musicianship.

        • dwoz says:

          “flexing her full musicianship.”

          There’s worlds to discuss in that phrase.

          I would submit that a “musician” flexes her full musicianship with every single note. EACH note.

          When we paint ourselves into these kinds of semantic corners (as you’ve done), then the concept devolves to the point of the absurd, and the words “Yngwie Malmsteen” are invoked.

          Shredding chops like no-one else. Arguably his musicianship is not unimpeachable.

          A Capital-M Musician can play Mary Had A Little Lamb and make you cry real tears.

        • Joe Daly says:

          >>When we paint ourselves into these kinds of semantic corners (as you’ve done)<<

          I don’t think I painted myself into a semantic corner at all- I’m not debating the definition of the word “musician” or its derivatives.

          My point is that she’s clearly got musical abilities beyond singing that she has yet to showcase that I, for one, and others by the comments here, would like to see.

        • dwoz says:

          The sense that I got from your statement was that we’d somehow gain a different understanding of her musicianship if she shed her genre and did something more “serious.”

          I think that goes into very shaky ground, where somehow the calibre of musicianship is bound to genre.

          Perhaps that was not what you meant, but that’s how I read it.

        • All you got to do is bring up Yngwie, and I’m sold. Let’s start a Stevie Vai, Malmsteen, Buckethead, Joe Satriani, and Michael Schenker discussion group. Although I submit that it all has to be conducted in German.

        • Joe Daly says:

          I’m in, so long as we can listen to this before every meeting.


        • Greg Olear says:

          I’m sure you’ve seen this already, but it’s worth revisiting:


          Also, as an aside, have you heard of Steel Panther? You must, MUST check out Steel Panther.

        • dwoz says:

          The official language is Scandinavian. I will entertain debate on that, but the Germans are dabblers.

          The Gods of Metal grimace approvingly on Finland and Norway and certain neighborhoods in Sweden.

          I will immediately design a logo, it will use Opeth’s logo as a baseline inspiration.

        • Joe Daly says:

          Steel Panther play here in San Diego every now and then, and I have yet to catch them live. That’s the reminder I need to go check them out. The vocalist did time in L.A. Guns and the guitar player was with Halford’s outfit “Fight.” So they have good undercover glam metal credentials!

          I’d never seen that Onion article. Way to rub Sean’s face in it, Greg.

        • Greg Olear says:

          That’s the radio edit. Replace “dong” with a dirtier word in the real song…simply brilliant.

          (I just heard this for the first time two days ago).

        • Yeah, that was sort of a low blow…I pitched them at least one Malmsteen joke per week, and they’d never bite on it. They did pay me $300 for this headline, though: “Clapton Shoots Sheriff, Deputizes Middle Age Housewife Demographic.”

        • Greg Olear says:

          Well worth three C-notes. Ha!

        • Joe Daly says:

          Steel Panther rules!

          A little more current, but no less brilliant, this is the greatest takedown of David Lee Roth I’ve ever seen. The guys from Metalocalypse unleashed a painfully dead on parody of DLR/Van Halen with Dr. Rockzo.

          Dr. Rockzo, The Rock ‘n Roll Clown

        • Irene Zion says:

          Greg, you are such a show-off!
          Only you and Brad know the secret for putting pictures up in the comments section, let along videos!

  18. Lisa Rae Cunningham says:

    “I’m like the Hootie of TNB.” — You said this out loud, Joe. I will believe all of what you say from now on because you’ve humbled yourself irreversibly. You’re a true man. And on behalf of TNB, we love your feedback. I wish I could keep up with some of you champions. My day job doesn’t exactly lend itself to blogging. (Beyond the landmine of stories it brings. You want somebody to tell the truth? Get ’em naked and make ’em pay for it.)

    This whole exchange is hysterical. I was highlighting things I wanted to mention until it became, like, everything. I am definitely looking forward to your folk album, though. And in defense of the one man who makes folk-rock sexy, go at it Chris Robinson-style. (I’ve been watching the Brothers of a Feather dvd. This is my idea of a dirty movie.)

    I think we should invite Sean to dinner tomorrow night. We could can our laughter and sell it to Hollywood. Also, I’ll be needing major details about your music writing.

    • Joe Daly says:

      Lisa, my folk album is going to be awesome. I’m so happy you’re ready for it. I’m currently collaborating with a Canadian mining family to develop a suite of songs about the history of North American currency. I think it will be a real hit on the coffee shop circuit.

      I’d be all over the Chris Robinson thing, but I can’t grow a beard. I have that thing just at the sides of my mouth where I can’t really grow enough hair to connect the mustache to the beard, and it really looks crappy. I can’t believe I just admitted that. Sigh…

      You need to start dipping into this land mine of stories from work! The things you must see…

      I invited Sean tomorrow night but he said no way- he just got his 5 DVD set of the History of Cuban/Icelandic Jazz and apparently Hot Pocket runs and bathroom breaks are the only energy he’ll be exerting for the next two days.

  19. Wait, Joe, you comment on everything? I thought you just loved me!

    No, I comment on enough too (like Sean’s How Not to Get Published!) that I already knew this–that’s part of what’s so great about you.

    This is good stuff, guys. And yeah, I think Olear nailed it, and that the Almond debate wasn’t really about Steve but about something else–though I think we’re all still pretty kissy-face around here, which is kind of how I like it.

  20. Greg Olear says:

    Oh, and: the paneling in Listi’s Manhattan office is oak, not mahogany.

  21. Joe Daly says:

    Thanks, Gina! I only comment on other things while I wait for your next submission. Just a way to kill time between Gina fixes!

    I like the good vibes around here, too. I’ve seen so many literary/music message boards where it’s like Sean described in the interview- everyone has to be negative, jaded, ironic, and confrontational. There’s always a place for criticism and opportunities for writers to develop, and the nice thing about TNB is that it provides a space for this process to occur without a lot of ego and attitude.

    Come back out here soon!

  22. This is good stuff. I try to write about fellow TNBers when I can. There needs to be more of it on the sight. And I love the natural crazy discussion this takes. And the fact that there is at least one serious line in here is awesome. I thought for sure it would all be comedy!

    • Joe Daly says:

      Thanks, Nick- half the fun is watching the direction of the conversation as it spins hopelessly out of control. I love that Sean made one throwaway reference to an old TDK that he had, and it’s spawned a legit thread on old recording techniques. I’m also partial to old school wrestling discussions.

      But yeah, we wanted to hit some practical themes as well- glad you enjoyed both the serious and the off-the-wall. Thanks for the read!

      • I just wish I could have been there and wrote about you all from another TNB perspective! Haven’t heard “TDK” in quite a while. But then, I’m so old school I remember listening to 8-track tapes.

        • You’re definitely invited to the next roundtable, Nick, and not only because it’s going to take place in Vegas. Three random 8-track titles I used to own:

          1. Ten Wheel Drive-Construction #1
          2. Brick-Good High
          3. Foghat-Fool For The City

          I can practically smell your jealousy from here…

        • Two 8-tracks that come to mind that my dad used to own:

          Man of La Mancha
          Kenny Rogers and the First Edition-Ruby Don’t Take Your Love To Town

          Faves I owned:

          Foreigner-Foreigner 4
          The Police-Ghost In The Machine

        • Joe Daly says:

          Full Disclosure:

          The Best of Bread
          Steppenwolf’s Greatest Hits

          Don’t get me started with cassingles…

        • This might be my fave You Tube clip ever:


          I guess the pre-recorded keyboard part was accidentally played slightly faster than usual, consequently changing the pitch, and so everyone flails and flubs, especially Eddie, who searches desperately to find a key to play the solo in, then just gives up and hammers through this total train wreck, the whole thing is such a hilarious mess…

          But the best part is the audience doesn’t seem to even know it….check it out at the end…WHOOOO… as long as you know the song in your head, and Diamond Dave is humping that giant mic, you got your money’s worth..

        • Joe Daly says:

          The beginning of the clip is hilarious- you can see them all looking at each other with pure confusion. DLR can’t find the pitch, you can see him saying something to Eddie about it, then you can see Wolfgang run over to Uncle Alex and say something to him…

          It’s fun to see VH fall apart.

  23. Judy Prince says:

    Grand co-interview, you ripostey guys. I know nada about music, so had to munch on carrot sticks for those few bits, but I thoroly loved you two’s ever-wit. Your characters settled rather nicely in the discussion/debate, with Joe the thoughtful nice guy brainiac word-ripper, and Sean the fast flying flarfy ego-bombast challenger. This is a pairing that I hope will skip around in other topics as well as music. Keep TNB main page busy, you two.

    • Thanks, Judy. “flarfy?” I like it and accept the description humbly. And no doubt if your knowledge of music was increased any by reading the above, it was completely by accident. I think next on our agenda is about 9k words on Paranormal Romance. Seriously, I was in a bookstore this weekend and there’s a whole section devoted to that sub-genre, hundreds of titles. I found it odd and weirdly liberating.

      • Judy Prince says:

        Sean, all of my romances have been paranormal—–how about yours?

        I enjoyed describing you and Joe almost as much as reading your awesome post.

        Some Wiki on “flarf” and its 3 senses:

        ‘ 1) . . . The term was coined by [Gary] Sullivan in late 2000, when he submitted deliberately bad poems to Poetry.com’s poetry “contest” (actually a marketing scheme) as a way of testing Poetry.com’s supposed standards for excellence.

        The title of one of these early poems of Sullivan’s is “Flarf Balonacy Swingle,” hence the origin of the term. Early or “old-school” flarf is marked by a certain distinctive tonal “dialect”: it is often peppered with phrases like “aw YEEEAHH,” intentional typos, mildly offensive language (e.g., childish references to bodily functions), oblique political “statements,” and incongruous animal imagery. Sullivan at one point described the dominant tenor of flarf as “A kind of corrosive, cute, or cloying awfulness. Wrong. Un-P.C. Out of control. ‘Not okay.'” At a fairly early point, some flarfists began using the Google internet search engine as a generative device for their poems.

        A fair amount of critical attention was given to Mohammad’s use of the Google-search procedure in Deer Head Nation (Tougher Disguises Press, 2003), which may have been partly responsible for a general misconception that “flarf” means any and all poetry written via such a method. It is true that Google-derived text plays a considerable part in many flarfists’ works. Drew Gardner’s Petroleum Hat (Roof Books, 2005), for example, combines collaged Google search results with word-substitutions and other procedures.

        2) “Flarf” has, as just mentioned, also become a catch-all term for any poetic composition that makes use of Google or other search engines. This implies a retroactive application of the term to authors who were using such devices well before the Flarf Collective, such as Robert Fitterman, Alan Sondheim, and others. Some of these writers, naturally, may resist such connections, as their work deserves to be considered on its own terms without the imposition of anachronistic categories.

        It is probably too late, however, to object to the increasingly widespread use of “flarf” to refer to a wide variety of research-software-based modes of composition. Sometimes the word is used as a verb in this sense to describe any procedural deformation of a preexisting text via the use of a search-engine or other internet mechanism (such as the BabelFish translation engine): Gardner, for instance, flarfs Dana Gioia’s poem “Money” in Petroleum Hat.

        3) Another, perhaps even more widespread general definition of “flarf”: any intentionally bad, frivolous, or wacky poetry; any textual or verbal doodling or nonsense of any sort. “What’s this gibberish?” “Oh, just something I flarfed during my lunch break.” “What did that guy say?” “I don’t know. Sounded like flarf to me.” ‘

        • Hmmm…not sure I’m so thrilled about flarf, as it turns out….I prefer to now think of it as a marshmallow-based product intended to go in peanut butter sandwiches….

        • Judy Prince says:

          oh now, Sean, you’ve ruined flarf for me forever. Marshmallow has to be the worst edible substance ever unless of course it’s in a ‘Smore.

          Get me past the flarfmallow image, please. please.

    • Joe Daly says:

      Judy, you are a Queen among Queens (Bwian May included)!

      I love being called “ripostey” and I might well require my family to apply that salutation to me at any and all future holiday gatherings.

      “The ripostey son would like the butternut squash, please.”

      “Honey, can you please pass the butternut squash to ripostey Uncle Joe?”

      “Mommy, why do we call him ripos…”


      “Thou shalt not question my riposteyness, child!”

      OK, I’m losing it a bit…

      As always, Judy- thanks for taking the time to read and leave such zesty comments!

      • Judy Prince says:

        And I had thought I was a Prince, Joe! No matter, royalty is royalty.

        Any descriptive tag that has you slapping your little nephew can’t be all bad.

        Keep howling, you ripostey boy!

        No reason you and Sean can’t do another co-interview—-on paranormal romance. I’d forsake my carrot munchies for it, ya know.

  24. Irene Zion says:

    I’ve been away being chased by anarchists and watching the Mounties and I’m WAY too far behind to catch up. Plus I have guests and then we’re off again on another adventure.
    I’m sorry, I just don’t have time to read this now.
    Please forgive me.

    • Joe Daly says:

      No apologies necessary, Irene! Maybe for your next birthday, Sean and I can come and act it out for you. 🙂

      Until then, have fun, safe travels, and watch out for anarchists and guests!

  25. Greg Hansen says:

    Would have liked to sit at a table close by, incognitio, listening in on this insightful conversation! JD, I loved your analysis of our “Lady” Gaga, that there could be five of them, portending to be the real one, like Lassie, that’s just funny! I myself think she is a bona fide freak, who knows she is on top of the world, and is going to do what ever she wants, for as long as she wants, or least until 2012.

    Sean, after careful analysis, much discussion with my hippo therapist, and mediating on top of Mt. Tamalpais, for 30 days without eating, drinking, or sleeping, I think i have finally figured you out, but I’m not going to divulge my wisdom, until you give Red Dawn as much homage as Road House! or at least get a tattoo like I do that says Woverines! along side my other tat, Pain Don’t Hurt.

    Another good read Sean, seriously keep up the good work! Looks like you have found your intellectual equal in JD, and will hopefully collaborate more with!

    • Joe Daly says:

      Thanks Greg! I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who sees the Lady Gaga ruse so clearly!

      Your 2012 prediction is interesting. Do you mean that her reign will only end at the Apocalypse, or do you mean that Lady Gaga remaining relevant for 3 years is the final sign of the End of Times?

      Thanks for the read!

  26. Thanks, Greg. It’s nice to be figured. And you’re right, I definitely have to work more Red Dawn into my routine. And a few more references to the underrated C. Thomas Howell!

    • Dana says:

      C. Thomas Howell references are so edgy.

    • Greg Hansen says:

      I’m glad to see you found RD to be as culturally relevant as Road House, I will be analyzing your work carefully now, to look for RD references! I like Thomas in the Hitcher, that’s the only movie I can remember him, besides the Outsiders.

  27. Greg Hansen says:

    Joe – after consulting with my oracle, who was startled by the way about your revelation, that Lady Gaga is actually Ladies Gaga, she came to the conclusion, that the final sign of the impending apocalypse will be a performance, not by Lady Gaga, as everyone was suspecting, but by all of the Ladies Gaga. Search your feelings on this, & you will know it’s true, when it comes to our Lady Gaga, resistance is futile~

  28. […] went toe-to-toe with Sean Beaudoin, and copped to being “the Hootie of TNB” (we don’t agree; he’s much more Angus […]

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