Thursday, April 15, 2010

Because I adore this guy, I'm posting this. The Foo Fighters was one of the few bands from the nineties that I could get into, and Joshua does an amazing rendition of their song, "Everlong."

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Dan Kennedy's book, Loser Goes First: My Thirty-something Years of Dumb Luck and Minor Humiliation is tied with Paul Feig's Superstud as the funniest book I've ever read. I first came across a copy of Loser Goes First in 2005, read it three times in a row, and recommended it to everyone who didn't run away screaming. Kennedy's second book, Rock On: An Office Power Ballad is a hilarious account of his brief stint as the Director of Creative Development for Atlantic Records; a scathing report from the trenches of the dying record industry. Now he writes for GQ and McSweeney's and is a regular performer at Stories at the Moth.

Another awesome thing about Dan Kennedy? He let me interview him for Praxis.

AR: Can you give us little background on Stories at the Moth, and how you came to be involved with the project?

DK: George Dawes Green started The Moth in 1997, in his living room here in New York , and it grew from there to what it is today. I got involved with them in 2000. I called the office, I think I was just that sort of simple or na├»ve – I had heard about it and just thought: “Hmm…I guess…I'll just dial them up and tell them I want to try it?” Basically, I was just some guy who was unemployed, I had stopped partying, I was trying to figure out what the hell I could do with my time, I needed to make new friends, I was just…probably a little mental. So like some giant child I just called them up and left a message with someone: “Hi, yeah, um, I'd like to do the story thing, please?”And then weeks went by and it became painfully apparent that this is not the way to go about it. But then, still weeks and weeks later, oddly enough, I got a call back from Joey Xanders. She was the Creative Director back then. Anyway, I had this story about my days spent learning by trial and error on the 90's music scene that I'm really not good at trying to be a musician. They put me on the bill for this mainstage show and I told that story. The Moth didn't feel like a scene to me. It was just this overwhelming feeling of finding a place where you finally felt like you fit in; like you could actually kind of do the thing that everyone there was doing – it might have been the first time in my life to have felt like that. Joey told me much later on that the reason she had returned my call back then was completely random; she had been talking to her therapist about how guilty she felt for not having the time to return all of the calls from the phone messages that were piling up -- and her therapist told her to just take baby steps and return one phone call; just close your eyes, pick one message off the stack, dial the number. So my phone rang in this little tiny apartment I was living in without any furniture, I picked it up, and ten years raced by.

AR: In your memoir you talk about being a kid and getting a journal for Christmas (instead of the coveted black Gibson Les Paul guitar). What was the first thing you remember writing?

DK: The first thing I ever remember writing was when I was twelve. It was a punishment for talking in class or something and I…it's a long story, but basically I wasn't talking in class, I made a look, just to myself, at something the teacher said. But everyone started laughing, and this teacher, Mr. Kisner, totally had it in for me, and so he punished me for something I didn't do – and he said I had to write a one thousand word essay about why I shouldn't talk in class. So I wrote this satire of him and his broad, simple rules, handed it in to him the next day. He read the first few sentences and threw his stapler across the room at the wall and it opened and all the staples went flying everywhere. I just kind of thought: Jesus, writing is pretty powerful -- he read, like, three sentences, turned bright red, and starting throwing shit. I didn't write anything humorous again until I was twenty-six...To read the rest of the interview, go here.