@

TNB Contributor Art Edwards is best known around these parts for his top-notch interviews with some of writing’s most noted voices, as well as with people who aren’t associated with music at all. He, too, contributes interesting and thoughtful original essays to TNB, many of which focus on (and reveal his love for) music, though others reveal his love for more pedestrian interests. In any case, until recently, Art was known to the TNB community as a writer – and most assuredly one with a particular aptitude for music. Art’s three novels – Ghost Notes, Stuck Outside of Phoenix, and Badge, his newest (and as of yet unpublished) – each integrate music in its own way.

 

However, it wasn’t until recently that Art revealed to our community that he was co-founder, co-songwriter, and bass player with The Refreshments. Best known for the song “Banditos” from their 1996 album Fizzy Fuzzy Big & Buzzy, and for “Yahoos and Triangles,” the theme music to the animated series King of the Hill, The Refreshments, as Art puts it, “were kind of a big deal.”

 

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Art in person on several occasions and once even read out loud to a room full of people with him. The Art I met is a shy, affable, even-keeled man – one who doesn’t present at all as a Rock Star. I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Art and once and for all clearing up the question, “Who is Art Edwards really?”

Gloria Harrison:Hey, Art! You ready or do you need a few minutes?

Art Edwards: Ready, Santa.

I can’t help but notice that you’ve shown up to this interview a bit late. Is it safe to assume you’re drunk?

Ha! I wish. I was busy with vitally important matters, I assure you.

Just giving you a hard time. In the comment section of your DeWitt interview, Joe Daly had advised you to show up late and drunk and demand that the interview still proceed.

That’s right! He’s right! I’m the one running this friggin’ show. Get me a cup of tea!

And only the green M & Ms?

No God damn green M & M’s!    *Throws table over*

See, now, this brings up an interesting question and one that I wanted to start out with anyway, which is this: am I interviewing Art Edwards, the erstwhile musician of the band The Refreshments? Or am I interviewing Art Edwards the quiet, somewhat shy, somewhat prolific author? Which Art are you?

Ha! You tell me.

Dude… if you don’t know…

It’s interesting. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure that out. It seems like the only healthy approach is to admit both, so that’s what I’ll do and hope for the best. As much as I’m shy, I was a shy rocker too.

I’ll bet – which is weird ’cause you, like, headlined shows and stuff. That must have caused pit sweat and the need to rock yourself in the corner.

It’s funny, but it was sort of a Pandora’s Box. Once I was out, oh boy.

How is it that you became a rocker, who is shy?

Music to me was always kind of intensely private. Its spell on me seemed so particular to me as a high school student and such. Sure, I could look at my friends and sort of nod and smile while Van Halen was playing, but the way it cooked inside of me…it never seemed like a contradiction to me to be a rock music fan and to myself. This love of music eventually combined with the need to make music, which meant the need to make music with and for people, so I sort of had to get used to letting it out. After a while, I got better and better at it, and by the time I was in the Refreshments, I’d learned to love performing. It was therapeutic. How far out there can I get? I think folks like Michael Stipe go through the same thing every show.

I was just reading your article over on The Writer magazine where you talk about memoirand writing memoir and how you sort of lament that when you were a rock star, you never really quote-unquote partied like a rock star. I guess what I’m wondering is what about you or the lifestyle or whatever kept you from tipping over to the dark side? Was it your natural shyness? Did you have particularly well adjusted band mates? Is it just not a part of your character? Did you not have the opportunity?

Right. Well, I was quite the partier early on, but I went cold-turkey about eight months into gigging with The Refreshments. By the time we were signed, I was the guy in the bus always with a novel under my arm, stowing away in my bunk. I guess I was aware that the band wasn’t some kind of long term answer for me. I was focused on my own creative vision by the time the band making its second record.

How so?

Basically, I saw the guy in Aerosmith, who were still doing it, and I saw those spandex pants and said, “No, I don’t think so.”

Hahahahaha.

Good for Aerosmith, not good for me.

I just found the part in the article I was thinking of. You wrote: And can I honestly claim innocence to the crime of manipulating one’s life for the sake of one’s work? Didn’t I live my life in rock ’n’ roll with one eye toward my future writing life? Of course I did. I always knew that those goings-on might make good material someday, and I kept my eyes open. I can even remember one of my band mates asking, “Well, if you’re going to be a writer, are you going to write about us?” I responded, only half-jokingly, “Hey, anything you guys say or do from here on out is fair game.” So, you are a writer that plays music, then,it seems.

See, even that early on, I had my eye set on what I’m doing now. Yes, definitely a writer who plays music.

Do you miss it? The band – the road – the life – the whatever? Because, you know, being a writer isn’t exactly sitting on a tour bus and psyching yourself up to rock hard in front of seven thousand fans. It’s more like psyching yourself up to religiously sit down and write in a quiet space with few distractions.

I once made a spreadsheet of every job I’ve ever had. There were 26 of them, and I gave each job a grade. (Keeping jobs has been an ongoing problem for me, one that at times has required spreadsheets.) When I came to The Refreshments, I had no idea what to put. So I put A+/F-.

And what do you give to writing?

Aaaaay!

Like Fonzie? Excellent. Can you turn a jukebox on just by hitting it?

Yes! And I can turn the world on with my smile.

Do you live in a garage above a family and only hang out with high school boys?You don’t have to answer that.

Sure do, Miss. H.

Heh.

But yes, I miss the band, and no, I don’t miss it.

So, I see on artedwards.com that you keep yourself busy with writing.

Very.

You’ve written three novels and have a memoir in the works is that accurate?

Yes! The third novel is unpublished and looking for a home. It’s a finalist in the 2011 literary contest at the PNWA conference, which is in August.

Oh, man good luck.

I’m going to the “Awards Celebration.” I keep telling people about the “Awards Celebration.”

Is that where you find out if you’ve won?

Yes.

Do you do air quotes when you tell people face to face?

I do! “Do.”

“Excellent.”You also teach a writing about music class, correct?

I have taught, yes. I love teaching writing. I taught with fellow TNB compatriot James Bernard Frost at the Basement Writing Workshop, and I jabber about self-publishing whenever someone wants me to.

Also, you wrote songs for Ghost Notes, right? What I think is interesting is that you tend to merge music with your writing as if the two are married together somehow. Do you think that’s true?

I don’t know. They’re married together in me, and I like to make them marry each other in the outside world sometimes. I feel like there are people who can relate to both loving rock music and loving reading and writing, and having grown up with “your chocolate in my peanut butter” commercials, I figure it’s worth a go. I keep trying to find ways they can complement each other, and hopefully create something that did not exist before. My wife and I did this “musical rendering” of one of my novels. I read and played solo acoustic, she triggered sound effects. I think this kind of stuff is fun, and perhaps qualifies as some sort of “litertainment.”

Your wife, Raquel, correct? Is she a musician, too?

Yes, Raquel. Not a musician, but an artist. We’re sort of each other’s assistants. I made her do it, but she loved it and was great.

How long have you been married?

16 Years. Just celebrated number 16 a week or two ago.

Wow! Congratulations! So you two were together during your not so wild days as a rock star?

Yes, and before.

Interesting. Do you think that affected your choices about excess and celebrity? About not over indulging and going wild?

Absolutely. I wanted and want to be a good husband. And a band at that level is a marriage. I heard that all the guys in Metallica divorced their wives in the same year. No idea if that’s true, but I can’t help but see the subtext in that. If it is fiction, it’s fiction that speaks to the truth that being in a band at that level…big commitment.

No way! Wow. Right. You’re a super decent dude. But wait – - how the hell old are you?

42!

Art in Kindergarten. And in bellbottoms.

I’d better get us back on track. Part of this, for me, is just getting to chit chat with Art from TNB. But I’m a professional! I’m doing an interview!

No, you were talking about how thoroughly decent and what a great guy I am.

I really want to hear about Badge, your third novel, especially because it doesn’t have a publisher yet.

Bless you.

Maybe you should say stuff about it. What’s it about? Music?Life on the road? Being a good husband? Alberta VO5 shampoo?

All three, yes! I’m billing Badge as A Visit from the Goon Squad meets Crazy Heart. Badge is 38, a whiz at guitar but an alcoholic who can’t seem to keep the music separate from the more destructive temptations of rock life. A stroke of luck finds him in a practice room in L.A. with Betty, a 21-year-old punk diva in training who’s going to rock the world come hell or high water. The novel is set in the year 2000, when Lars Ulrich was freaking out about Napster and the industry was just starting to change into what it is today. Badge essentially asks the question, “When is it time to hang up the dream?”

What are your thoughts on that? On hanging up the dream?

NEVER!Ha! But many do, and for all the right reasons. It’s a conflict that runs through anybody’s life who aspires to any kind of creative endeavor, and there seems to be no right answer for those afflicted.

Do you see yourself in a band again someday?

I tried to quit being a musician right after The Refreshments.Six years off.Didn’t work.

How so?

Oh, I just tried to forget it’s part of me. It was also necessary to try and put The Refreshments behind me. I eventually got the idea to promote my first novel by playing solo acoustic shows, and I was off to the races again!

Do you play daily still?

Nope. But it’s there. Someone once asked me what “rock lit” was–or maybe they didn’t and I imagined someone asking me–and I came up with this response: Rock lit is about any character who once owned a guitar. That guitar can be in the closet. It can be at the pawn shop. It can be in the character’s mom’s basement, but it’s always there. It comes to symbolize the dream, forever hiding in the cracks and crevices of our psyches, making itself known at the weirdest times. So many at TNB seem to have that dream, which is one of the reasons I relate to the folks on this site so much.

I sort of give the same answer when people ask me what chick lit is. Only, instead of guitars, it’s a strong central female character.

And she can have a guitar too!

But, I mean, there’s a theme for a lot of writers, I think. Richard Cox publishes mostly science fiction novels, for instance. Rock lit is genre fiction, right?And you just write what you know. And of course she can have a guitar!

I think so. There are a set of rock lit conventions that I think are forming right now, which is why it’s so exciting to be part of these days. Tyler McMahon’s How the Mistakes were Made is coming out this October. There’s the whole Goon Squad phenomenon. Eleanor Henderson and Dana Spiotta, two literary writers, both just released rock lit-type novels this summer. Sean Beaudoin has a rock novel coming out in 2012, I believe.

Oh man.

I know.

I have an idea: you, Sean, and Joe write a book together. It would make my nerdy head explode

I’m in!

Excellent! Let’s see what we can get done.

I think we’d make a pretty good band, too.

I know! Do you have any idea how many fake TNB bands have formed?

I can only imagine.

Tawni (Freeland) and I have formed about two dozen over the years. Oh! Oh! Oh! You, Joe, Sean, and TAWNI! Oh my gosh! I’ll be the band manager! I can’t play an instrument and you don’t want to hear me sing, but I can manage the shit out of things!

What would we be called?

Well, I’ve always been partial to John Candy is Deadbecause I think that’s an excellent band name.

But what about when we (inevitably) break up for “creative differences” (drug addiction)? “John Candy is Dead is dead.”

Well, Tawni is a stay at home mom who is asleep before 8:00 every night, you’re super shy and obviously the poster child for Perfect Husband, and Sean and Joe don’t drink (I don’t think…) it’s foolproof!

We’ll do afternoon gigs!

At the VFW!

At the church!

Or the local buffet!

At Chevy’s!

Denny’s! We’ll cover all of the senior discount joints.

We’ll be bigger than Hedwig, and we won’t be transvestites!

Not that there’s anything wrong with that… Okay this interview has devolved; I think we can be done. Is there anything you’d like to add?

Yes, I just told my wife you think I’m the poster child for the perfect husband. Now she can’t stop laughing.

Well, everything looks perfect in two dimensions… Okay, then. It’s been great. Thank you so, so much.

Very good, thanks. I had much fun. ‘Night!

TAGS: , , , , , , ,

Gloria Harrison GLORIA HARRISON is a writer whose work has been featured on The Nervous Breakdown, Fictionaut, and This American Life. Gloria was the lead editor for The Portland Red Guide: Sites & Stories of Our Radical Past by Michael Munk, which was published through Ooligan Press in 2007. She was also a contributing editor to Pete Anthony's book, Immaculate, for which she received a high five and a ten dollar gift card to Stumptown Coffee. Gloria graduated from Portland State University with her B.A. in English in 2006 and now focuses on her own writing. She had a work of flash fiction published in The Bear Deluxe Magazine (No. 26). You can follow her on Twitter here.

Gloria lives in Portland, Oregon with her school-age twin boys. She is currently working on both a memoir and her first novel. You can contact Gloria via her Facebook page.

66 Responses to “Can I Offer You a Refreshment? An Interview With Art Edwards”

  1. amanda says:

    Yay! for happy writer people being happy together and talking about writing. This was a fun interview G (you know how hard it is not to type the “hyphen-next word” after that “G,” right?!). I know your writing in short form, Art, and now i wanna check out some of this bookery you’ve been up to. Thanks to you both!

  2. Mary Richert says:

    I love it! Thanks, Gloria and Art, for doing this. It was so much fun to read. I, too, have long harbored a distant dream of being a rock star, except the idea of the “rock’n'roll lifestyle” is so far from my nature. I just have always loved singing and making music or art of any kind. This is why I write instead. I do fantasize about doing some kind of public reading in which I sing certain parts of my work, but I’m afraid it would come off as pretentious. I can imagine people thinking, “Why the hell is she singing? I came here for poetry, not… whatever this is…”

    • Art Edwards says:

      I think anyone would be a rock star for a week or two. After a while, you start looking at your watch and searching for the least conspicuous way to duck out of the party.

      And I love it when readings take off in those kinds of directions. It can be done so well.

  3. D.R. Haney says:

    Art, I mean this in the kindest way possible, but it’s difficult in the extreme for me to understand why you would see the solidification of “rock lit” into the “conventions” of a genre as a good thing. I would rather that my work be completely overlooked and/or forgotten, as for all intents and purposes it has been, than that it become just another title alongside others by writers allegedly covering the same turf. To be narrowly defined in any way, as a writer or as a human being, is a horror to me, and “genre,” as I define it, is a very narrow slot. Possibly I’m addled by semantics here. If so, maybe you can help me into the light.

    • Art Edwards says:

      In the world of writing, sustaining my habit means finding a sizable audience for your work, and in my experience over three rock lit titles, two self-published, finding that means finding someone in the industry to help you. As Rebecca mentioned below, I’ve had very little success in that regard.

      I was talking to a friend the other week, who mentioned he knew of an editor who was “looking for a rock novel.” In almost a decade of submitting my rock novels, hundreds of queries to agents and publishers, I have never heard of anyone high or low in the industry “looking for a rock novel.” I admit this excites me.

      And Duke, with your talent and personality and uniqueness, I’m afraid you’re going to have to deal with being remembered for a long time.

    • Art Edwards says:

      And conventions are fine, as conventions go. I can’t help but think of The Naked and the Dead by Mailer, which as I understand it established the conventions of the World War II novel. Then, Vonnegut and Heller came along and completely defied those conventions, writing original works that will be remembered forever. I don’t think conventions stand in the way of artists. If anything, they can ensure that certain types of original work have an audience.

      • D.R. Haney says:

        Thanks for what you say about me. I don’t think it’s true, but maybe it’s ungracious of me to say so. Apologies if that’s the case. You’re a class act.

        I’ll have to return to address the rest of what you say later. I’m too exhausted at the moment to phrase myself well. Insomnia. I knew I was about due for a bout, and it has unfortunately arrived.

        • Gloria says:

          I’m largely staying out of the discussion, Duke, but did want to say I hope you feel better. Insomnia is a form of torture. I’m sorry to hear. XO

        • D.R. Haney says:

          Thanks, Gloria. I slept, and now I’m back to insomnia again. Hopefully this cycle will soon play out.

          I’m not so unperceptive — close, but not quite — that I didn’t and don’t understand that the success of other books can help a book of one’s own to succeed, Art. In my original comment, I had included a remark to that effect, though I phrased it so poorly that I struck it.

          I’ve had, to say the least, a difficult time getting my work noticed. It’s caused me a lot of agony, and I’m sympathetic to anyone else suffering for a similar reason. My hangup had, or has, to do with the definition of “genre.” If I write about love, I don’t necessarily want to be grouped with other writers who’ve written about love. Their concerns may be very different than mine.

          I’ve written about rock & roll. When, over eleven years ago, I started writing a novel about rock & roll, I wasn’t aware of many others, and I’d certainly never read one. But there are more and more of them all the time, and I frankly fear the idea that people may begin to shrug off rock & roll novels as a set of conventions, so that a reader could conceivably think, “Well, I read this one, and this new one is probably more of the same. No thanks.”

          It can work the other way, of course. There are readers who decide they like a given genre and stick with it, but I’m not sure I like that, either. It’s hard for me to understand a person who reads, say, fantasy novel after fantasy novel, and evaluates them — how? That the reader prefers this shade of orange, which is slightly reddish, to the next shade, which is more on the yellow side?

          Obviously, I don’t read genre fiction; and I don’t believe that The Naked and the Dead is a “war novel” just because it’s a novel about war. But I’ll certainly, and readily, admit that the question of genre is a tricky one, as is the question of convention. Convention is difficult to avoid, even when enormous effort goes into avoiding it. Its presence is felt by its absence — that is, if the avoidance has been a complete success; but I don’t believe that’s ever happened. Every sentence, simply because it’s a sentence, is a convention. Grammar and punctuation can be disregarded here and there, but a novel comprised, from start to finish, of ungrammatical phrases would be a crashing, unreadable bore. I’m sure it’s been attempted — deliberately, I mean; not accidentally. Many times, in fact.

          I would fare much better in conversation than I would, or am, in writing at the moment. I’m going to try to sleep again.

        • Art Edwards says:

          I’ve read exactly two genre books in my life. I was in a horror lit class at a community college in Illinois, and I read two Stephen King books. One was The Shining. The other was, I believe, Pet Cemetery. I thought both were silly, and right there I decided genre wasn’t so much for me, for all the reasons you state above. Duke, I believe you and I have found something we agree on.

          So, why would I want there to be a genre of rock lit when I don’t even read genre?

          I’ve admitted part of it is so there might be more of a market for my work.

          But I also admit I’ve always been a bit jealous of those folks who have an entire genre that appeals to their sensibilities. I don’t expect myself to be wowed by every novel in this future rock genre–anymore than I like every punk band I’ve ever heard–but I’m not at war with the idea of punk as a genre. No doubt I’d like some of these rock lit titles, and for the rest, who cares?

          “If I write about love, I don’t necessarily want to be grouped with other writers who’ve written about love.”

          This is where I disagree. As a self-published writer, I’ve had to get used to being paired with bad books and to people assuming my books are crappy because this one self-pubbed book they read back in blah blah blah. I’ve learned that other self-pubbed books are not a reflection on my books, any more than Sarah Palin’s book is a reflection on the latest Pulitzer Prize winner’s. My books’ audience is out there, and I’ll take whatever path to them is offered to me. So far, it’s a pretty disparate batch of folks, as it should be.

          And you would destroy me in a conversation about this! That we’re having this discussion in comment form is my only hope.

  4. Joe Daly says:

    A very playful interview and a fun way to get to know Art better.

    One observation and one question:

    1. Art- very cool that you pursue fiction over non-fiction, when so many (myself included), would expect you to mine the veins of rock and roll as a career. Partying (or lack thereof) aside, I think it’s gutsy that you avoid the literary layup and set the bar higher for yourself as both a fiction and a non-fiction writer, allowing you to truly pursue wherever your creative inspirations take you.

    2. I found your comment about seeing a career in the band as not a long term solution interesting. Do you think that reaching that conclusion placed an unconscious expiration date on your stint as a member of that band or as a full-time musician in general?

    Thanks for the interview, Gloria- always great to get to know our contributors better, especially one with such a rich background as Art.

    • Art Edwards says:

      So nice of you to say that, Joe. Fiction is what drew me into writing, and I never understood why there wasn’t a Rock Lit section at B&N. Think of all the other genres that appeal to people’s fantasies: Sci-Fi, Western, Erotica, etc. When I was growing up, rock music was my fantasy life, as it was for so many people I knew. Yeah, yeah, the sex and drugs, but more importantly rock music was an avenue for working class and poor folk to forge, directly from their own personalities and talents and uniqueness, a life less ordinary for themselves. That was the real dream, I think, and of course someday making something as cool as “Master of Puppets” or Double Nickels on the Dime or “Walk this Way.”

      Or as Sean Beaudoin would say, “Marcus Twain.”

      I think this is a big reason why so many our age and younger turned away from books. Writers weren’t writing about our fantasy lives, and publishers weren’t publishing it, so screw books! That seems to be changing, and I’d love to help hold the door open for that kind of change.

      And I don’t promise not to mine the veins of my music career in my writing!

    • Art Edwards says:

      And as for your second question, yes, I think I put that expiration date on it, and not unconsciously. At points, whether I stayed or left the band was all I had control of, so I embraced it.

      Someone smarter than me once said, “Bands stay together when the dissenters stay in it for the money.” Plenty make the decision to stick it out, and I don’t begrudge them that. For me, the sacrifice was too big.

  5. Rebecca says:

    I’ve been asking “Who is Art Edwards, really?” for some time now. And now I know!

    D.R. Haney, what I got out of that part of the interview was that Art has had trouble finding an audience for Badge because it was pigeon-holed as “rock lit.” Now that it has become its own genre, with recent successful examples like Welcome to the Goon Squad, people (in the publishing world and in general) may be more receptive to reading his work. This makes a lot of sense to me.

    • Gloria says:

      Weird. I wonder how many others in the world wonder that. Maybe it’s some weird internet meme or something.

      At any rate, thanks for the comment, Rebecca!

      • Rebecca says:

        I hear it asked a lot. You know, out and about. Thank you for the interview!

        Also, I got the title of the Jennifer Egan book wrong. And I just read it! Whoops.

  6. Greg Olear says:

    Great interview, guys. We were all curious, I think, about Buddy’s adventures on the road and behind the bass, and he’s too modest to tell us about it, so this is a perfect compromise.

    Some notes:

    Gloria, love the new pictures.

    The band should be called The Art Edwards Experience.

    I heard someone — and I can’t remember who — talk about Van Halen and the green M&Ms. Apparently it wasn’t them just being prima donnas…they had a relatively short list of requests for their shows, mostly related to the tech elements, and the M&M thing was on the list. They knew if the venue was serious about the list by first checking the bowl of candy, which was easier than climbing scaffolding. Green M&Ms meant they probably fucked up the important stuff, too.

    BADGE is a great fucking title for a rock lit book.

    16 years! Big congrats.

    • Gloria says:

      I’m deferring to Art for the commentary on this one (except where my smart ass interjections are [in]appropriate), but wanted to say thank you for you sweet words, Greg. :)

    • Art Edwards says:

      Oh Greg. You will get more Refreshments stuff. I’m afraid we’re all doomed to get more of it.

      The thing about talking about your past: everyone is interested in it until they’re not, and it burns me with shame to think of myself as babbling on and on about it when people are saying, “Enough already! Have you done anything else in the last fifteen years?” I promise to push that line as much as possible in the future–over half of my output this year is writing that at least mentions the Refreshments–and you’ll be seeing it pop up here and there both at TNB and elsewhere.

      The Art Edwards Experience!

      And thanks for the props on the title. Its working title was Good Night to the Rock and Roll Era, but people smarter than me suggested the simpler Badge, which is the main character’s name. I can’t wait for everyone to read it.

    • New Orleans Lady says:

      Ok, Everything Greg said.

      Love BADGE as a title.
      16 years?! Wow. Congrats.

      Thanks for the Van Halen info, Greg. Very interesting.
      I like The Art Edwards Experience as a band title but I like all the band names that have come out of TNB over the years. What can I say? I’m a TNB groupie.

      G, Great interview, as always, and love your pics. Beautiful.
      Art, keep doing you. Music, writing, whatever…if you sell it, we’ll buy it.

      <3

    • James D. Irwin says:

      There’s a fantastic website somewhere, the name of which escapes me, which has copies of various band requests. Iggy and The Stooges and the Foo Fighters are both brilliant… very entertaining.

      Wasn’t it brown M&M’s though?

  7. Quenby Moone says:

    I love you, Art, and not just because you’re my husband’s non-partying-rock-star doppelganger.

    Actually, it is. I think my husband, despite going on tour with Mr. Bungle numerous times, did not party “like a rock star” once. Korn took him to a strip club on his birthday, when he was depressed because he was in Florida on tour instead of in Olympia, Washington curled up with me and his cat. It was the first (and only) strip club he’s ever been to.

    I took care of all our partying before we met; he didn’t know it, but I partied like a rock star on his behalf.

    Sixteen years! Lars and I, SIXTEEN YEARS! WTF, Portland Rock Doppelganger?

    Great interview, you guys. Love the PDX nutters.

    • Art Edwards says:

      Aww, thanks, Q. We are a bunch of Portland nutters, aren’t we? We’re clearly not doing it right.

      I think one reaches a certain age–which is younger than most think–and it doesn’t take a genius to realize–this decades after Jimi and Janis, etc.–that life doesn’t have much to offer. I was 24 when the Refreshments played our first gig. I’d graduated from college and was in a relationship for years by that time. I mean, it’s not like I was 18 and out there looking for answers. Thank God I wasn’t.

      Being on tour at a strip club in Florida with Korn on your birthday. Yes, I totally understand why he was depressed.

      Congrats, you three, on 16 years.

  8. Smoke says:

    I like Art Edwards, but he’ll always be Buddy to me. Great article. It was fun to read and very informative.

    • Art Edwards says:

      Smoke, being called Buddy is never a bad thing. Everyone in my family calls me Buddy.

      Growing up, I was Arthur in class and Buddy on the playground. When the band broke up, I had to decide if I was going to be Buddy for the rest of my life, so I made the switch.

  9. Excellent interview, and not just because I keep getting these emails that say “check out Art and Gloria’s post…you’re so totally in it!”

    Well, I am honored to be considered for the band, and the possible book collaboration.

    And holy shit, Art, those pants! I’d wear them right now. And I think the band should be called THOSE PANTS.

    Also, my punk (not rock or punk rock) novel, Wise Young Fool, comes out 2013.

    (just finished Ten Thousand Saints….I keep forgetting so many of us had those experiences….)

    • Gloria says:

      The only thing that exceeds the awesomeness of Those Pants is That Hair. Can we call the band THAT HAIR if THOSE PANTS doesn’t work out?

    • Art Edwards says:

      I just started Saints yesterday! Much rings true therein, like the third-rate guitar in Jude’s basement. I’ve also got Spiotta’s Stone Arabia. I plan to review both, maybe in tandem.

      I’m so glad you’re applying that massive writer-head of yours to punk lit, which is just as the good Lord intended. We need all the forces of goodness and rightness pushing in the same direction.

      And I need a review copy.

      Praise Jesus, er, Jimi!

  10. James D. Irwin says:

    I remember when Art joined TNB, or at least the first post of his that I read.

    It was something to do with Nirvana. I believe I disagreed with several statements at the time (my opinions on Nirvana have changed drastically over a short period of time) but enjoyed what I think was a three part series of posts. Possibly more.

    However, it is impossible to ignore the pleasantness of character and interesting nature that come though in Art’s work here, and is abundantly apparent in this interview.

    He also appears to have at one time been the owner of the world’s sharpest bow tie, for which there will never be enough kudos.

    • Art Edwards says:

      You’re sweet, James. I’m glad to get a second chance. We don’t get many in life.

      Both the bow tie and group shot were from my kindergarten years. It’s tough to have your fashion sense peak at five years old, but it beats never having one.

      • James D. Irwin says:

        I don’t remember exactly what it was, but it must have been at a time when I considered Nirvana to be the best thing ever, and your piece didn’t back that up— and that was a bloody outrage! It’s funny how things work out… I occasionally go through intense periods of adoring one band and then twice as long without really listening to anything at all…

        Generally I don’t read about music. I feel woefully un-musical next to many people here who are either musicians themselves, or passionate writers on the subject. Possibly a little dead inside… at the very least envious that music hasn’t had the powerful affect on me it seems to have had on so many here… Unbridled enthusiasm is a fantastic thing…

        I can’t really act as judge on anyone’s fashion sense. I recently bought a brown paisely tie. I’m twenty-two years old. I should have my jeans slung low and a baseball cap or something… but no… it’s one thing to look cool, but quite another to be cool…

        • Gloria says:

          I like the cut of your jib, Irwin. That’s all that matters at the end of the day.

          Is it wrong that I laughed at your “dead inside” line?

        • James D. Irwin says:

          Not at all. It’s true, but also a joke. It’s probably the tragic kernel of truth that makes it funny…

  11. This is a great interview. Really insightful and fascinating.

    I think that rock and roll dream that Art mentions is perhaps the most important part of the literature. In America especially, it’s one of the few (if not the only) popular mythologies that’s based on art!

    A rock star sitting on the tour bus after playing to thousands of fans, reading a novel, dreaming of being an author…that’s got to be a metaphor for something…or at least an image that will stick with me for a while…

    • Art Edwards says:

      It’s a metaphor for foolishness!

      “I think that rock and roll dream that Art mentions is perhaps the most important part of the literature. In America especially, it’s one of the few (if not the only) popular mythologies that’s based on art! ”

      What an excellent point. If you’re an American kid and dreaming of a life in the arts, what do you dream of? Sure, some want to be Van Gogh, some want to be Rimbaud or Hemingway. But it’s really the rock star–or perhaps the movie star–that we grant mythological status. It’s the American friggin’ dream.

      Again, why is there not a Rock Fic section in B&N?

  12. Art! And Gloria! It’s Art and Gloria! Yay!

    Hey, now. I occasionally stay up as late as 9:00 to watch American Dad. 9:00, I tell you. (:

    I can absolutely relate to what you describe, Art, as being, “the guy in the bus always with a novel under my arm, stowing away in my bunk.” Except I’m a girl, and the biggest vehicle I ever got to tour in was a big van. Much smaller scale. But you know what I mean. I was the one sneaking out of the hotel room at 7 or 8 a.m. to walk around the city we’d stayed in that night while the rest of the band slept until the afternoon. I was the only non-smoker in the band, and the shy nerd who declined the drugs being passed around after the shows. Total snooze. Despite playing in rock and roll bands for 12 years straight, I have never truly been rock and roll.

    I love the idea of rock lit as a genre. And “litertainment.” I’m only 20,000 words into a musician’s-eye-view novel, and if I can ever actually finish the damned thing (i.e. sit on Brad Listi’s metaphorical toilet every day), I’ve already dreamed of someday selling it with an accompanying CD of my tunes. Double promotion. Two creative things for the price of one. I think it is really cool that you collaborated with your wife on songs for Ghost Notes. Congratulations on 16 years together, too. That’s awesome.

    I am sooooooooo excited about our afternoon gigs at Denny’s, you guys. You don’t even know.

    • Gloria says:

      As your band manager, I promise to try to be as much like Murray from Flight of the Conchords as possible. We’ll have band meetings and everything. I’ll see if I can wrangle you guys up a good-natured but slightly creepy obsessive fan.

      • Art Edwards says:

        Present!

        The fan is definitely my favorite part of that show. It so clearly conveys that her fan-dom has little or nothing to do with the band. It’s all her, and somehow she’s attached this weird need of hers to this band. So funny and so true.

  13. Art Edwards says:

    So glad I wasn’t alone out there, Tawni. It’s a strange life. It takes a special kind of person to love it.

    It seems like more and more of the readings I attend are some combination of reading, slideshow, music or other schtick. Steve Almond’s appearances are as much comedy show as anything else. I really think this is the way to go, entertainment that’s lit-approved. If it’s done well, how can it not bring more folks to reading?

    I, for one, would love to read your musician novel someday.

  14. Lookit two of my TNB faves here talking to each other and stuff! This is great fun. Art, Badge sounds spectacular. I’m in. And I want to be in that band two. I call triangle. I always beg to play triangles in bands. Or tambourine. Like Tracy Partridge. Speaking of Partridge, those plaid bell-bottom pants, Art! Those pants! Just when I thought the bow-tie was THE best Art fashion statement ever. Good job you two.

  15. Reno Romero says:

    Art: You rock. Great interview.

    Wait.

    We must form a TNB band. The parts are in place. The cosmos said bitchin’. I’ll lay down some chunky-ass riffs and 11 can play lead. Tawni on the vox?

  16. Tammy Allen says:

    Fun interview – rompy

    Art, were you in the Mortals? Or part of the Tempe scene prior to the Refreshments? Did you go to the Sun Club?

    Do I know you?

    P.s. Thank for last night Gloria, drunken horror story. You should interview me.

    XO

    • Art Edwards says:

      Ha! No, I wasn’t in the Mortals. I was in a band called the Solemines when the Mortals were around. My nickname was (is) Buddy, so if you knew me you’d've known me by that.

      I don’t recognize your pic!

  17. Wonderful interview, Gloria and Art. Quite informative and a fun read as well.

  18. Excellent conversation here! Yes, Art does turn the world on with him smile. He takes a nothing day and suddenly makes it all seem worthwhile!

    I had to stop and think, “IS John Candy dead?” He is, right? And, yes, that is a great band name.

    So glad you two chatted–it was fun to read.

    • Art Edwards says:

      I remember Candy’s death as one of the first sort of “Internet eulogies.” It seemed to happen around the time we were all starting to troll online. Good timing on his part, I guess.

      Thanks, J.

  19. Lisa Rae Cunningham says:

    Fucking TNB. This place is full of over-achievers. Art, I had no idea you were a rock star. Also, you are smoking me in the publication department.

    Great interview, Glo-worm.

    • Art Edwards says:

      Thanks, Lisa. After 15 years of pursuing the novel form daily, I’d better have something to show for it. My first one, Stuck Outside of Phoenix, took 6 1/2 years…and that’s not putting it aside for months at a time. That’s working on it every day. And it’s a novella. I kind of didn’t know what I was doing at first. I guess I still don’t, but now I know a little more than I did then.

      • Lisa Rae Cunningham says:

        This is precisely my struggle: time. (Or money, depending on how you look at it. Money buys time, which is essential. The day job and debt are killing me.) A writer’s life predicated on rock stardom is about as good as it gets, Art. You totally beat the system. High five.

Leave a Reply