The pace is definitely picking up. Amazon started shipping books two weeks early, and already I’ve had the pleasure of seeing a picture on my friend Jan’s FB page of her reading the book. Now that’s satisfying.
The folks at a very cool website called All About Jazz asked for a sample from the book, and you can see it at All About Jazz: On Highway 61: Music, Race, And The Evolution Of Cultural Freedom.
Earlier this week I went out to Ohio to give a lecture on the book at Ohio Wesleyan University – my friend Sean Kay is on the faculty there – and I must say it got a great response. Of course, I’ve been known to say that any talk where no one in the audience falls asleep or leaves early is a triumph, but this one included a whole lot of people who gave every sign of being engaged.
And the day of the talk I had the pleasure of finally meeting one of my radio friends, another of those good buddies that I’d never met, Maggie Brennan of WCBE in Columbus, Ohio. In addition, I had a nice hour’s on-air chat with music with DJ Mike Taylor there – a very nice new acquaintance.
Flew home on Wednesday and pretty much right away went over to Berkeley to have a similar session with my old pal Larry Kelp at KPFA. Actually, I was a little surprised to have Larry say, “I’m your host, but I’m turning over duties to my guest…”, so with Larry feeding the player, I picked out a sampling of songs from Jelly Roll Morton & the New Orleans Rhythm Kings, Charlie Patton, Robert Johnson, Bix Beiderbecke, Muddy Waters, Bob Dylan, and lots more… a very good time.
I’m going to repeat something Larry said to me that is not only a compliment, but that I think is quite true. Keep in mind that Larry was the music critic for the Oakland Tribune for many years, has been on KPFA for I don’t know how long, works at Downhome Music, teaches music in the Berkeley schools… he’s been doing music for a while and knows his stuff.
Larry: “You didn’t do original research for this, right?”
Me: “Right, it was out of books – too late to find out anything new about most of this stuff. That, and my own ears listening to music.”
Larry: “Yeah, but what’s really original and different is the context you’re putting things in. I know some of this material, but I’ve been getting all kinds of new points of view from the way you put it together. Very different.”
Got home well after midnight, woke up at 5:30 and did a 6 a.m. phoner with Jo Reed of “On the Margin,” at WPFW in Washington, DC. Very smart lady and a real pleasure to talk with.
I was thinking it was a pretty good day when, later in the morning, I found out that The Daily Beast, a big news website (connected with Newsweek) had published an essay I’d written a few months ago as an op-ed type piece, a little story about re-reading my Kerouac book after 30 years… you can find it here: The Daily Beast: Kerouac Biographer Gets Back on the Road.
Very nice to see that out and about in the world – it’d been a while, and I’d just about forgotten about it.
And especially for you Bay Area friends, you can hear me spout off on KNBR, the big local sports station (Go Giants!) on Wednesday morning, 8:20 a.m. (pacific), October 8th. My friend Paulie Mack is one of the two morning hosts – thanks, Paulie!
My publisher says we’re doing well with our advance sales, but remember, if you haven’t bought – or can’t – you can always call your local library and get them to order it so you can get it that way.
Blessings on all book stores and libraries!