Emily Dickinson - Jew Punk?

I'm giving a reading and talk Thursday, April 29 at Mount Holyoke College. As you may know, MHC is the alma mater of the late, great poet Emily Dickinson. Though neither Jewish nor punk, here's hoping her ghost is in da house.

Info on talk:

A bit of Emily in pre-haunting mode:


Top Ten Time

I just posted something along these lines as a comment to a reader, but since I'd be interested in what others might put on their lists, I'm re-posting (that sounds a little like composing, doesn't it?) here for everyone else.

Basically, I'm interested in what your top ten rock 'n' roll reads might be. Here are mine in no particular order:

1. "Rock & Roll Will Save Your Life" -- Steve Almond (the MAN!)

2. "No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs" -- Johnny Rotten (the other man!)

3."Lipstick Traces" -- Greil Marcus (ok, ok, he's the man too)

4. "Please Kill Me" -- Legs McNeil & Gillian McCain (the man AND the woman)

5. "Elvis" -- Albert Goldman (hate him if you want, but it's a damn fun read and at least as regards Elvis' early recordings, SMART!)

6. "Revolution in the Head" -- Ian MacDonald (an amazing Beatles book)

7. "The Day John Met Paul" -- James O'Donnell (the imagined first meeting of the two based entirely on the factual record)

8. "The True Adventures of the Rolling Stones" -- Stanley Booth (cool and scary)

9. "Beneath the Underdog" -- Charles Mingus (not strictly rock 'n' roll, but the great jazz bassist's autobiography reads like a "Behind the Music" episode as written by Shakespeare.)

10. "Powerhouse" -- Eudora Welty (again, not strictly rock, but this short story about a blues organ player has one of the best evocations of music in words I've read anywhere. Great stuff!)

Oh, and one more has to be squeezed in:

11. "Chronicles" -- Bob Dylan (you've heard of him, right?)

Ok, I'm sure there are others, but these are the first that leap to mind.

Your turn!


Rock And Roll DID Save My Life!

It's been over a week since my reading with Steve Almond and I still feel the power of his feedback-filled testament.

Steve's Rock And Roll Will Save Your Life is a stage dive into the mosh pit of hysteria, a hysterical version of A Fan's Notes written for the Teenage Fan Club set. Like the sports-lover in Exley's novel, Steve identifies with the drooling, desperate fans, realizing that despite their nasty skin conditions and even worse social skills, they still get closer to the music than the distant stars they watch.

Let me explain.

One of the greatest things about rock and roll is that it offers a Backstage Pass to bliss. Those same grease monkeys who perform lube jobs can also crank out garage rock, giving us all a spiritual oil change and firing our pistons before we head out on the highway. They may end up one-hit wonders not leading lives of inspiration, but they provide us with moments, their confabs with the spirits in the sky pushing us to move our hips and bite our lips and mouth words silently under our ear-buds till we perhaps scream Satis-FAK-tion!

Add up those moments and you start to get something damn important. A big heaping slab of the people’s words made as eloquent as a lover’s cry when the senses go guitar-crazy and reach for the stars and the high frets.

Do it, do it, do it till you're satisfied, whatever it is...

But wait, that's disco! Maybe I need another rock and roll injection. Join me in the shooting gallery of shooting the shit with the rawk writers like Almond, that fanatical fan's fan and the current fave on my literary play list.


Reading with Steve Almond

I'll be reading with the super-funny, super-cool, all round super-duper Steve Almond this Thursday. The occasion is the release of Almond's book, Rock And Roll Will Save Your Life. I, as the opening act, will be doing my Heebie-Jeebies at CBGB's thang. In other words, it will be a literary battle of the bands with the two Steves going line to line, comma to comma to see who will be King of the Rawk Writers.

The event begins at 7:00 P.M. at the New England Institute of Art in Brookline Village (see poster). More info on Steve's book at: http://www.stevenalmond.com/index.html?utm_source=Masthead


More on film

I realized in my previous post that I didn't actually tell you about the folks trying to make the "The Heebie-Jeebies at CBGB's" film.

You can get all the info you need right here:


A Call to Arms

Hi Everyone,

A while back I mentioned that "The Heebie-Jeebies at CBGB's" was going to be turned into a film. Well, here's an update -- and a call to arms.

The idea for this film is to make it more than a straight-ahead documentary. The frame for the picture will be my own quest to put together a Jewish-Punk reunion, and in doing so to relate the story of my own behind the scenes adventures in creating the original book. There will of course be lots of info about and great music clips of the Jew-Punks in action, but there will also be the outrageous and up to this point unrevealed stories from my own misadventures with the legends I wrote about. For instance, I will reveal how Richard Hell promised to "kill me" -- a fact that has led to my current book in the works, a faux mystery titled, "Please Don't Kill Me, Richard Hell."

Now, here's the awkward part. While the folks creating the film itself are super-enthusiastic and even more super-talented, they are--like the rest of us--not exactly rolling in bucks. So, I've decided to send out an appeal here to all of you in JewPunk land. If you're interested in seeing this film made and think that you or someone you know might be interested in helping make it financially possible, just say. Doesn't have to be a major donation, since every little bit helps. But if it's significant enough, we can talk about including you as one of the producers and hence one of those who actually sees some windfall from the project. If nothing else, you'll definitely be name-checked in celluloid and able to write off a chunk of your taxes as well.

Ok, enough about that. I don't want to feel as if I'm pressuring anyone. Just letting you know where things currently stand.

Oh yes, if you want to contact me directly rather than through the comments page, you can write me at slbeeber@comcast.net

Gabba gabba chey,



Online & On the Air

If you're anywhere in the Santa Cruz area tonight at 7 p.m. (10 p.m. EST), tune into The Great Leap Forward on Santa Cruz Free Radio. I'll be talking about spirituality and punk.

Or if you're more in the mood to read, check out the following review on barnesandnoble.com. An interesting take on the Catholic contributions to punk -- and it name checks "Heebie-Jeebies".