18 September 2011

The Thing That Ate Larry Livermore

Okay, here's a quick summary of what's going on: as many of you know, I used to put out records back in the 1980s and 90s.  Some of those records were compilations, where I'd get a song or two each from a whole bunch of bands, many of whom were unheard of or barely heard of, but who I thought needed to be heard.

One of those records (and to be fair, I shouldn't be taking full credit for it; half or probably more of the work was done by my onetime partner at Lookout Records, David Hayes) was a double LP called The Thing That Ate Floyd.  If you're curious about the name, it came about because David was originally doing a single LP compilation called Floyd.  I was planning my own compilation at the same time, and when we decided to merge the two into one, effectively doubling the size of the project, it became "the thing that ate Floyd."

One of the kids listening to The Thing That Ate Floyd back in 1988 was a 16 year old named Billie Joe Armstrong, who was just starting to play shows with his new band.  Through it he got introduced to bands from all over Northern California, one of them being the Lookouts, whose 16 year old drummer Tre Cool would himself end up playing a significant role in Billie's musical future.

Fast forward to the 21st century, and now Billie's got a 16 year old kid of his own, Joey, who's playing shows with his first band.  In the summer of 2011, Joey's band goes out on tour and plays shows with a bunch of bands up and down the West and East Coasts, and Joey comes home full of excitement for all the great stuff that's happening out there.  He talks it over with his dad, and the next thing I know, I'm getting a call from Billie Joe: "Hey Larry, would you be interested in putting together a compilation of your favorite current bands for Adeline Records?"

This sounds like a really excellent thing to do, but at the same time I'm in the middle of trying to finish a book (Spy Rock Memories).  I think and I think - can I do the record and the book and do justice to both? - and finally I realize this is too much of an opportunity to pass up, not just for me, but for all the great bands out there who deserve to be heard, and I say, "Hell yes, let's do it."  

Thus was born Adeline Records Presents: The Thing That Ate Larry Livermore, featuring 16 bands from the USA and Canada, some of whom you'll have heard of, others not, but all of whom I promise you are awesome and represent some (but by no means all) of the best music being made today.  We're about halfway through picking the bands right now.  Many if not most of them will be recording brand new songs or previously unheard songs, and I've signed on the inimitable Patrick Hynes, creator of so much classic Lookout art (you might also have seen his work on the lyric booklet for Dookie) to do the cover.

We were hoping for a release at the beginning of 2012, but it might have to be pushed back a month or two to make sure we have time to get the best recordings and the best bands.  However long it takes, I promise you it will be worth the wait.  This is the first time I'll have been involved with releasing a record (oh, it'll be in vinyl LP and digital form, possibly CD if there's enough demand) since the 1990s, and I'm very excited about it.  Hope you will be too!

08 September 2011

Spy Rock Memories, Part 9

Spy Rock Memories, Part 9: Sweet Children grow up, Ben Weasel goes to the rodeo, hippies, homeschoolers, and redwoods.  http://larrylivermore.com/?p=2336

05 August 2011

Hopefully Productive Doldrums

That's what's supposed to happen in August, right? The hottest of the weather seems to be over now, and when I was taking the garbage out late last night, I could have sworn I felt a hint of autumn in the air, yet at the same time the calendar says there's more than a month and a half of summer yet to go.

Not that it's making all that much difference to me right now, as I'm mostly locked indoors, spending the day psyching myself up to write, and then, toward evening really getting down to it. I'm determined to finish Spy Rock Memories by the end of summer, and by end of summer, I personally mean by the vicinity of Labor Day, not the equinox. Will I make it? I'm getting close to halfway through Part 8 right now, which I plan on finishing before leaving for Baltimore and the Potatomen show/Insubordination Fest next weekend.

But staying focused is hard: last night I put out a call on the internet, hoping someone could help me figure out when a particular Operation Ivy/Lookouts/Isocracy/Crimpshrine show in Arcata took place, and that expanded into a full-fledged multilateral conference on the state of punk rock in Humboldt County, past and present. Well, mostly past. In the course of researching, I also dug up an old article I wrote about Laytonville for the Anderson Valley Advertiser in the spring of 1989. It's kind of rude and judgmental, but also kind of funny, so I posted it on the other blog: http://larrylivermore.com/?p=2212

Well, that's enough procrastinating for now. Onward and, um, something or other...

30 July 2011

Spy Rock Memories

Well, it's been a lengthy ordeal, er, I mean a rip-roaring good time, polishing off the latest and - for better or worse - longest episode in the Spy Rock story. I'm really starting to get optimistic about finishing by the end of this summer. Three more parts to go, but I've got to interrupt my progress for the time being to write about Greenland and Iceland, and to get ready for the Potatomen's appearance at the 6th annual Insubordination Fest in Baltimore, just two weeks from today, it looks like!

Anyway, if you're interested in checking out the latest installment, you can find it here (over at the more "serious" blog: http://larrylivermore.com/?p=2180 

27 July 2011

Staying Indoors To Write

About a third of the way through editing Spy Rock Memories, Part 7. It's the longest chapter yet, and really needs to be cut down by about 2,000 words (why, I ask myself, did I feel the need take several days to write all those words if it's going to take me several more days to throw them out again?).

But the real question is: it's a glorious sunny day in New York City. Summer is fast fading away. There are a million (well, two or three, at least) things I could or should be doing outdoors instead. To stay inside and write or to go outside and do whatever?

I guess it all depends on how important I consider this work, and how urgently I feel it needs to be done. In 2005, London enjoyed the sunniest and warmest summer in almost 30 years (if you're at all familiar with English weather, you'll be aware how remarkable this can be), and I spent all but a couple days of it sequestered in my dimly lit north-facing room frantically trying to finish a 160,000 word story of my life that at the time seemed vitally important "Why?" my friend Paul frequently challenged me, "Have you got publishers camped on your doorstep with bags of money who just can't wait to get their hands on that manuscript?"

As it happened, he was quite right; not only were there no publishers, with or without bags of money, but while I did finish the manuscript, right about the time the chilly winds of autumn began stripping the last leaves from the trees, it never went further than a box under my bed, where I believe it still rests today, unread and unmissed by anyone other than a handful of friends and a couple of agents.

So why, six years later, does it seem similarly important to turn my back on summer in order to complete a still more obscure story, one about a mountain where only a handful of people ever lived, and that only a slightly greater handful of people has ever heard of?

I have no idea, except that maybe I'm six years older, and if it doesn't get done soon, I don't know if I'll ever find the time and energy to do it. Anyway, if you were wondering where I am on this beautiful last Wednesday in July, that's where. If it's any consolation, at least my writing room is now a south-facing one, and a fair bit of sunshine manages to come streaming in.

26 July 2011

Pot Country

While doing some research for Spy Rock Memories I ran across this Emerald Triangle blog by an old-timer who's lived there since long before there was any such thing as the Emerald Triangle, and who has a lot of history and insight to share. He talks about participating in a documentary called Pot Country that's apparently already been shown on San Francisco public television, but which I hadn't heard anything about before. The excerpt looks pretty good.

A Hasty Stroll

I was rushing and rushing to get through the first draft of Spy Rock Memories, Part 7, and the story kept getting longer and longer. I mean, I knew exactly when and how it was going to end, but it was taking forever to get there.

It wasn't just that I was determined to finish the draft tonight so that I could get started on editing it tomorrow; I also wanted to get over to the city to meet Aaron for one of our patented late night wanders about town. But by the time Part 7 had finally topped out at around 8,200 words (probably 3,000 of which are going to have to be cut right back out of it), I was already supposed to be on the street corner in the West Village where we were meant to begin our walk. I tore down to the subway, knowing it would take me at least 20 minutes to get there, only to find that the ever-deteriorating MTA (you know, we're a poor country, we can't afford things like reliable public transit anymore the way modern, progressive countries like, say, Turkey can) wouldn't be sending a train my way for another 20 minutes.

So some hasty rearrangements had to be made, we met in the East Village instead, and headed more or less straight for the Williamsburg Bridge for the walk back to Brooklyn. Still a very nice walk on the first night this week with normal, almost cool temperatures, but it lacked a certain meandering quality possessed by all the best late night summer strolls. We talked about MRR, circa '77 until now, and related punk rock media, cultural and philosophical issues, and Aaron gave me a copy of his new book, which apparently includes an interview of yours truly and another interview conducted by yours truly with AVA editor Bruce Anderson. Riveting stuff, as I recall, though it's been a few years since I last perused either. Anyway, check out the new book at Last Gasp or on Amazon or any of the other usual outlets; it looks pretty good, and I'd be reading it right now if I weren't busy typing this.

25 July 2011

My Life In Black And White (And Occasionally Color)

A pile of old Lookout magazines that I'm hoping will help me reconstruct those hazy and hectic events of 1987. Memories sure can play tricks on the mind, though I have to consider that it's also possible I was confused or oblivious when I was writing (or living) the original story 24 years ago!

Hello again!

I think I'm going to resurrect this site for posting quick thoughts or commentaries that are too long for Twitter but too short or too simple for the bigger, fancier, more serious and more literary blog (my description, not anyone else's, to be fair): http://larrylivermore.com/

Having said that, I don't have much else to say today, other than that it's raining, has stopped being over 100 degrees, and I'm madly procrastinating about finishing the rough draft of Spy Rock Memories, Part 7, even though I already know exactly what I want to say, am excited about saying it, and am quite anxious to move on toward finish Parts 8 through 10 (i.e., the rest of the story) before summer's end so I can move on to my next big project, which I'm even more excited about, but which will have to remain a big secret for now!