September 17, 2014
I don't read as much as I would like, but here are some thoughts on 4 books that I was reading while working on the new album...
On The Suffering Of The World - Arthur Schopenhauer
This book ruined my life. It also saved it. I'm a big fan of Penguin Books, so when this was published as part of their Great Ideas series, I snapped it up immediately, as the title grabbed my attention, and having recently moved to Berlin, it seemed appropriate for both my location and state of mind. This was the first time that all of my fears and anxieties concerning the human condition were confirmed as realistic. Reading this made me feel depressed yet hopeful, because here was a highly regarded scholar eloquently addressing and examining many of the feelings and beliefs I had about my own life and humanity in general. My crazy thoughts were shared by a renowned philosopher, I WAS NOT ALONE! I read and reread this book so much, that the working title of the new album was originally On The Vanity Of Existence, the title of the second essay in this collection.
The Art Of War - Sun-Tzu
Like any normal person, I detest war, but this book is full of wisdom that can be applied to everyday life. There is so much common sense within these pages, so many practical observations. I often feel like life itself is a battle, and am happy to be able to apply these tactics daily.
Waging Heavy Peace - Neil Young
I am a sucker for biographies of musicians. So when one of my earliest and biggest influences finally wrote his autobiography, I was very happy to have an intimate look into his world. It is so inspiring to learn that he is ruled by his muse. He needs to make the music he creates, it's not his choice. Neil long ago made the decision to honor that muse, no matter what consequences it would have on his personal and business relationships. Respect.
Lost Joy - Camden Joy
The last 12 years, this is the one book that I always take on tour. This book seems more like an ongoing conversation than a collection of stories. Camden can not be defined simply as a music critic or a novelist. He is a friend who, in the context of a great story, is always turning you on to good music. I don't know why, but like Swearing At Motorists, he kind of disappeared in the mid '00s. So when the new album was finally in the can, I reached out to him, in hopes that maybe he would connect with my music in the same way that I had with his writing. Much to my amazement, he not only responded, but wrote this:
"Like Iggy Pop’s great lost Nashville record or the legendary demos for the Strokes masterpiece that never was, this recording is full of catchy courage, significant low notes, bedroom rhythms, hooks, and so on, all of which make for an impossible amount of pleasure. This Swearing At effort towers heads and squirrels above whatever that was you were just listening to. I see why Rolling Stone gave it five stars." --Camden Joy
Swearing at Motorists links
also at Largehearted Boy:
Previous Note Books submissions (musicians discuss literature)
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (highlights of the week's comics & graphic novel releases)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
daily mp3 downloads
guest book reviews
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (highlights of the week's book releases)
Soundtracked (directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
weekly music release lists