June 14, 2016
In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.
Dave Hill's second essay collection Dave Hill Doesn't Live Here Anymore is filled with stories that manage to be funny, insightful, and touching, often at the same time.
Vulture wrote of the book:
"Don’t write off Dave Hill’s Dave Hill Doesn’t Live Here as just part of a trend. The comedian and rocker delves deeper than the usual anecdotes about odd jobs and backstage shenanigans to deliver thoughtful observations about his close relationship with his father."
Writing playlists is one of my favorite things to do. But it's also kind of like cooking a lasagna- by the time you've finished, you usually can't bring yourself to have any for at least a few hours. That's fine though because this playlist is timeless and perfect for cranking up immediately, twenty years from now, or whenever basically. I have come up with one scorching hot jam to go with each essay of my new book Dave Hill Doesn't Live Here Anymore. I hope you enjoy the book and this playlist so, so much.
Preface - "Dead” by Napalm Death
The preface to my book is very short and to the point, just like this song by Napalm Death, clocking in at an impressive five seconds.
A Brief Introduction, or Hi, I'm Dave - "Hello There” by Cheap Trick
As hinted at in the title, this section of the book introduces the reader to me and what my new book is all about (HINT: A lot of it is about me and my dad since my mother died but I also wind up in a Mexican prison at one point). Likewise, this song by Cheap Trick lets the listener know that the pride of Rockford, Illinois is about to kick you in the taint with rock, kind of like how my new book kicks you in the taint with literature. Or something like that anyway.
My Old Man and the Sea - "Supertzar” by Black Sabbath
This essay is about the first and last time my dad took me fishing. For whatever reason "Supertzar” always reminds me of heading out into an angry sea to do battle against Vikings, irritable beasts, rain, wind, and whatever else might come along. It's admittedly different than fishing for walleye at the banks of Lake Erie, but hopefully you see my point.
Traveling Men - "Chinese Firedrill” by Mike Watt
After my mom died, I got it into my head that I would take my dad on a trip around the world. We ended going to Panera instead. Panera isn't mentioned once in this song by Mike Watt (sung by Frank Black), but I still like to think it's about me and dad ordering stuff served in edible bread bowls at a price that won't break the bank.
With Bells On - "Sunday Morning” by Margo Guryan
Way back in the 2000s, I used to stay at an illegal bed and breakfast on the Upper West Side run by my friend Fran, who was in her late seventies at the time. Staying at her place felt kind of like this great song by Margo Guryan, another wonderful New York gal, now that I think about it.
Quality Time - "Dinner at Eight” by Rufus Wainwright
Going back to Cleveland (the Paris of Northeastern Ohio) means lots of quality time hanging out with my dad, which usually involves going out to dinner somewhere near his retirement community or- if he gets things his way- in the dining room at his retirement community. My dad and I get along great, which is pretty much the opposite of what Rufus is singing about hear, but I love it anyway. Dads- am I right?
A Meeting of the Minds - "Jack the Idiot Dunce” by the Kinks
Way back in 2004, a simpler time, I weirdly got hired to write ringtones for Donald Trump, which, among other things, involved going to his office in Trump Tower to sit with the Donald himself for a couple hours. Somehow it made me think of this song. It's not my favorite Kinks song, but it's right on the money in this case.
The Joy of Cooking - "Killed by Death” by Motorhead
This is a story about love, cooking, and an accidental near-poisoning. In this case, it wasn't death that almost killed me, it was cleanser.
Cleveland Noir - "Theme for Lester Young” by Charles Mingus
This essay is about a not-so-wild night out on the mean streets of Cleveland. This song by Charles Mingus would have been the perfect jam for it if my dad's car stereo had been working at the time. It would have been cool if my dad didn't lock me out of the house that night either.
Power for Living - "Hold My Life” by the Replacements
Years ago, my mother suggested I get a life coach. I agreed, but mostly just so someone else could tell my mom how I'm mostly unemployable. The whole thing reminded me of this song by the greatest/most unemployable band in the world.
The Bachelor Pad - "(I'm) Stranded” by the Saints
Shortly after my mom died, my dad moved out of the family home and into a small apartment in a retirement community to be on his own for the first time in almost fifty years. Until I showed up. His place is in the middle of the woods and a lot of time he's got a bunch of errands to run so I can't borrow the car. It's hard not to think of this jam by the Saints whenever that happens.
Mexcellent - "Hotel California” by the Eagles
My buddy Bob from college became a priest and now works as a chaplain at a men's prison in Northern Mexico, a job that got even less fun than it sounds after the cartel guys murdered the warden. Jerks. Anyway, shortly after, I decided to pay Bob a visit. One thing led to another, and I ended up playing guitar with the inmates in the yard, including this song, which is how I learned it's good times all the time when you're jamming on Eagles tunes in a Mexican prison. I pretty much ruled that place and can't wait to go back.
Dave Hill Doesn't Live Here Anymore - "Ghost on the Canvas” by Glen Campbell
I had hoped my dad would let me keep all my crap in the attic of the family home forever. Then one day he sold the place. This song written by Paul Westerberg and performed by Glen Campbell reminds me of the feeling of packing up everything once and for all.
A Bustle in My Hedgerow - "Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin
I learned how to play "Stairway to Heaven” on the guitar at the age of twelve. My dad learned how to play it on the piano at the age of 82. This essay is about how we unexpectedly bonded over that song. Not exactly a deep cut, but the version we play together will completely blow your mind. (Our version: https://youtu.be/tZXYrr_d3Jw)
Rolling Thunder - "Swarth” by Portal
I've snored like a bear most of my life and have the sleep apnea machine to prove it. Without it, I'd keep you up all night in horror if we shared the same room, kind of like this song by Australian death metallers Portal, who truly scare the crap out of me. I met the singer once and even he admitted it's not meant to be listened to more than a couple times maybe. I absolutely love that.
Giving Something Back - "Here Comes A Regular” by the Replacements
A few years back I was asked to be on a panel of "entertainment professionals” giving advice to others looking to get into showbiz (Yeah, I know- I thought it was weird they asked me, too). I realized I said yes because I wanted to feel special, but soon after realized it's sometimes better to be nothing special at all. And yes, I realize this is the third Paul Westerberg-penned song to make the list, but- c'mon- he's the king.
The Greatest - "Sick as a Dog” by Aerosmith
When I was still a single digit age, my dad reluctantly agreed to buy me a pair boxing gloves after I begged him nonstop. I didn't win a single round with them and quickly learned one of life's hard lessons, which I'll tell you as you as soon as I remember it. Anyway, I've long said (albeit mostly to myself) that Aerosmith's Rocks is pretty much the official soundtrack to kicking ass, especially this song. If only someone had played it for me back then- I could have saved myself some trouble.
Message in a Bottle - "Certain Kinds of Trash” by Chain and the Gang
A few years ago, a homeless guy doused me with an entire Gatorade bottle filled with his own urine (at least I assume it was his) while I was waiting for the subway. It served as a reminder of how much New York has changed over the years, but sometimes a bit of old New York comes back to wrap you in its loving arms. This song by one of my favorite bands Chain and the Gang, while not about hobo pee at all really, explores similar themes.
All Things Must Pass - "Get Yourself Together” by the Small Faces
The dietician at my dad's retirement community told him had a gluten allergy, just like all the young kids today. I told him to ignore her but he's into self-improvement so he cut it out anyway. I couldn't help but think of this song by one of the greatest and most underrated bands of all-time.
Some People Were Kung Fu Fighting - "Chinatown” by Thin Lizzy
A couple years ago, I decided to give in to my childhood dream of becoming a kung fu killing machine by enrolling in a class with an exiled Shaolin monk in Chinatown. It turned out I wasn't as steely a grasshopper as I'd hoped, but I did rip a few pairs of underwear during my brief (no pun intended!) training.
The Worst Roommate Ever - "Jessie” by Paw
Last year, I made the horrible mistake of getting a puppy (a boxer/pit/whatever else mix) and I love that girl so much it my heart breaks to be apart from her for even a second. Not to drag the post-grunge era into this, but this song by Lawrence, Kansas' Paw is one of the best dog-based songs I have ever known. Paul McCartney likes it too and that shit is documented.
Like a Rocket Sled on Rails - "Convoy” by C.W. McCall
A couple years ago, my 83 year-old dad, despite having been a lawyer for his entire career, revealed a secret lifelong obsession with 18-wheelers, culminating in the two of us going for an extremely long ride together in a big rig driven by some guy in jean shorts. There is only one song that could provide the soundtrack for that magical moment.
Dave Hill and Dave Hill Doesn't Live Here Anymore links:
Boston Globe profile of the author
CBC Radio interview with the author
Cleveland Plain Dealer profile of the author
Cleveland Scene interview with the author
Canton Repository profile of the author
Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for Tasteful Nudes
The Leonard Lopate Show interview with the author
The Roundtable interview with the author
also at Largehearted Boy:
Book Notes (2015 - ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2012 - 2014) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2005 - 2011) (authors create music playlists for their book)
my 11 favorite Book Notes playlist essays
100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
guest book reviews
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
weekly music release lists
Word Bookstores Books of the Week (weekly new book highlights)