Music and crime fiction are two of my greatest passions. So, I created a series of books about a desperate rock band that turns to a life of crime.
The action revolves around the Sharp brothers and their quest to steal a rare Beatles record from a wealthy collector. Jack is fresh out of the Oklahoma State Penitentiary; Jamie runs a struggling record shop in Tulsa. The road trip that follows is the violent family/band reunion that neither of them wanted.
Here’s what a few talented crime authors had to say about That’ll Be The Day:
“Rock and roll, rare…
There’s a stack of records in the living room that’s mostly mine. Globe of Frogs by Robyn Hitchcock and The Egyptians is currently spinning on the turntable. Before that it was New Day Rising by Husker Du, Under the Bushes, Under the Stars by Guided by Voices, and The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us by Beach Slang.
There’s a smaller stack of records in my teenage daughter’s bedroom that mostly belong to her. The portable turntable in there sometimes sees more action than the one in the living room these days. …
Spend some time exploring power pop fan pages on Facebook and three things become quickly apparent:
1. This is a passionate and opinionated community of music-lovers.
2. There are a lot of super obscure bands you’ve likely never heard.
3. Almost nobody can agree on the definition of “power pop.”
This third point, the lack of fundamental clarity about what defines the genre, underscores a lot of discussions these days; delivering endless joy and bottomless frustration to fans who will happily spend hours extolling and debating bands like Shoes, 20/20, the Producers, the Shivvers, the Nerves, Phil Seymour and other…
I was weened on heavy metal and classic rock, but took most of my drumming inspiration from punk/post-punk bands. Some of my all-time favorite bashers include Paul Cook (Sex Pistols), Grant Hart (Hüsker Dü), Bill Stevenson (Descendents/Black Flag/ALL), Brendan Canty (Fugazi), and Dave Grohl (Nirvana/Queens of the Stone Age)—among many others.
Another punk drummer who continues to blow my mind is D.J. Bonebrake of X. I’ve loved the band since I first heard their 1980 debut album, Los Angeles, a few years after it was released. …
John M. Borack is a veteran music journalist, currently serving as a contributing editor at Goldmine Magazine. He’s the author of three previous books, including Shake Some Action: The Ultimate Power Pop Guide, John Lennon: Life Is What Happens and Shake Some Action 2.0: A Guide to the 200 Greatest Power Pop Albums, 1970–2017. He also contributed essays to Go All The Way: Literary Appreciations of Power Pop and the sequel, Go Further. His new book is The Beatles 100: One Hundred Pivotal Moments in Beatles History.
Congrats on the new book. How did you come up with the concept…
The phone started ringing before 8am—too early for it to be good news.
This was in 1995, the pre mobile phone era. I was in my mid-20s and working as the arts editor for a free weekly paper in my SoCal hometown, while moonlighting as a rock drummer at night.
I was hung over and getting ready for work—definitely in no mood to deal with telemarketers or bill collectors—but my roommates were still asleep, so I picked up the phone to spare them. …
Listening to Robyn Hitchcock’s music can be like stepping into a surrealist painting. The sonic landscapes he creates lure you in for a pop thrill, but just beyond the familiar 60s-influenced framework lies a hallucinatory realm populated by dead spouses, menacing creatures, and men with lightbulb heads.
Hitchcock’s songwriting has been compared to everybody from Bob Dylan and John Lennon to Syd Barrett and Captain Beefheart. It says a lot about his kaleidoscopic vision and unique talents that the only fitting comparisons are the legendary iconoclasts who directly influenced him.
The opening guitar line for “American Girl” by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers is easily one of the most anthemic rock riffs ever. Whether you’re at a half-empty bar or a sold-out arena, those first three strums are sure to get you onto your feet and screaming.
Which is probably why the song has been covered so many times since it was first released in 1976 on the band’s self-titled debut album. …
Congrats on your new book, Music in a Word: Volume 1. What inspired you to compile this comprehensive anthology and memoir?
My day job ended at the beginning of 2020, two months before lockdown. While my second novel was being shopped to publishers (to no avail, as it happened), I’d begun diddling with some archival projects: organizing and digitizing interviews, going through some old files, putting my clippings in order, sorting photos, that type of thing. Someone who had contributed to Trouser Press wrote me seeking approval to repurpose that work in an anthology of his work (of course!) …
It all started with 32 of our favorite power pop songs.
Even getting that original list together seemed like an impossible task when John Borack, Paul Myers, and I first came up with the idea for a Power Pop Bracket Contest. We easily could have started with 64 songs…or even 128.
But we wanted to keep the contest tight, just like our favorite power pop songs. In the end—after five rounds of incredibly close voting—it came down to one song: Badfinger’s “No Matter What.”
LA-based writer and drummer. I publish crime novels, and non-fiction essay collections about music. Medium focus: Music, Books, Culture. Twitter: @swlauden