News / Blog

January 28, 2008

a message from Joe

Greetings Everyone,

I have not been this far out of the loop since before I was ever in any loop. I beg your pardon. For an overwhelming majority of the last twelve years, I’ve thought about little more than writing, recording and playing music. As most people reading this already know, I signed a book deal with Riverhead/Penguin Books last summer. Since then, I’ve been chipping away at a novel and an album. It goes without saying, in addition to the aforementioned artistic endeavors, I have also been an exemplary father, a model husband, a co-captain of industry and the possessor of a Cal Ripkenesque, unblemished driving record.

I’ll begin by talking about the book. There’s isn’t much I can say, except that it’s written in the first person, is set in the mid 1990s on Cape Cod in the off-season. And my narrator doesn’t have a name. I might name him Joe just to beat to the punch anyone who thinks (incorrectly) he’s me. Or I might name him Bob and let my brother mop up for once.

I’ve been enjoying writing the book a lot. I have never worked ostensibly alone on a project of this size. Making a record involves – thankfully – a good number of people busting their humps. As for the book, it’s just me, the odd sounding board friend, and my editor. (The latter, outside of being a woman less than half his age and not Italian, reminds me of my father and his approach to my adolescent love life: If you want my advice, I’ll gladly give it. Otherwise, I’ll be over here watching Wild World of Animals until the shit hits the fan.) 

When will the book be done? Though my deadline is a handful of months away, I like to think of that deadline not so much as a soft one, but as one on wheels.

Speaking of I-don’t-know-when-it-will-be-finished-or-when-it’s-coming-out-or-what-it’s-called, a record inches its way toward completion. All kidding aside, vocals, mixing and mastering are all that remain. After that, it becomes more Joyce’s problem than mine.

When Chappaquiddick Skyline and Big Tobacco came out, I answered a ton of questions—way more than I had figured—about why they were called what they were. Fair enough. Some people wanted to know. That doesn’t mean I feel like going through that again. I’m going to think long and hard before I put a band name on this little honey.

With the exception of a track here and there, Ric Menck, James Walbourne and I played the instruments. My brother recorded it. It’s my most spare album since Chappaquiddick. I like the songs a lot, especially: “I Can’t be around People,” “Easy to Leave,” “She Should of Came,” and “The Adulterer’s Moustache.” I’m sure you can tell by the titles, we’re shooting for stardom with this one. I’m tired of making a living releasing my own records and being respected by a coterie of people I respect. I want to be adored. I gave up reading while I’m writing my book, just so I don’t steal by mistake. (The same way I don’t listen to The Beatles or Dylan while I’m making a record.) So, I got into TV more, just to unwind, The Next Great American Band in particular. Loved it. I realized more than ever, the music I make has more in common with the reconditioned auto parts industry than it does with mainstream music. And thank God for that. I live for rebuilt alternators.

I guess that’s about it. I’ve said too much already. Joyce gets nervous when I talk about stuff that isn’t finished yet. Nervousness leads to irritability which leads to poor physical health which leads to…you see where I’m going with this? 


Toronto 1/28/08

Joyce @ 3:03 pm