Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Cyber Launch Party Day 22: The Ballad of Daniel Kraus

Welcome to Day 22 of the Ballads of Suburbia Cyber Launch Party! For all of the details on the party including guests, the daily contests and the grand prize drawing be sure to read the information at the beginning of Day 1's blog. However since this is the last week, there is one slight change to the rules... WINNER FOR ALL PRIZES THIS WEEK AND THE GRAND PRIZE WILL BE DRAWN ON MONDAY AUGUST 17!

More Interviews and Guest Blogs:

In addition to posting these blogs, I've been doing interviews and guest blogs around the web. Here are some more of them if you are interested in checking them out. As usual, commenting on them/linking to them will lead to extra contest entries here.

Interview with me on April Henry's blog
Interview with me on Stacy DeKeyser's blog
Guest blog about the inspiration behind my characters on Reading Keeps You Sane
And if you missed the interview yesterday's guest Danielle Joseph did with me on her blog, you can read that here.

Today's Winner:
Each day I am announcing the winner of the contest that was posted one week earlier. Today's winner gets Alibi Junior High from Greg Logsted! And that winner is... lovelessangel93 from LiveJournal! I will email you for your address shortly! Remember to enter last week's contests!

Now, today's guest blogger is author Daniel Kraus
DANIEL KRAUS is a Chicago-based writer and filmmaker. He is the director of six feature films, including Sheriff (2006 season premiere of PBS's Emmy-winning "Independent Lens") and Musician (2007 New York Times Critics' Pick). His first novel, The Monster Variations, comes out in August from Random House/Delacorte. His second novel, Rotters, will come out from Random House/Delacorte in 2011. He has written regularly for such magazines as Cosmopolitan, Playboy, Maxim, and Salon.com. Visit him at www.danielkraus.com and www.workseries.com.

Note: The Monster Variations came out today, so go get it!!!

Here's Daniel's ballad:
When Guns 'n' Roses' first album hit the small Iowa town where I grew up, it completely took over. Guys drew the logo on their arms and even girls wore concert shirts featuring images of robot rape. Despite the unsavory nature of much that surrounded GnR, they were, oddly, something everyone could agree on: jocks, dorks, cheerleaders, burnouts, geeks. GnR literally ruled.

But this isn't about GnR. Appetite for Destruction came out in 1987, when I was 12 years old, and to fill up the years before that glorious bomb dropped, I listened to metal. Quality was not a concern. As long as the lyrics made frequent use of imagery like "bullets," "bone," and "nights on the run," that was good enough for me and my friends. Our poison of choice was Dokken, a mostly forgotten hair metal foursome who reached their pinnacle of popularity after recording the title track to Nightmare on Elm Street 3: the Dream Warriors. I was also obsessed with that movie, but that's another, even longer story.

Then, the strangest thing. It was 1986 and MTV started airing a video by a mild, dad-like fellow named Paul Simon called "You Can Call Me Al." Certainly I mocked this song. We were merciless when anything remotely sensitive came on. Motley Crue and Skid Row were ace. U2 and REM were shit. But this Simon guy, I couldn't discount him. I began to dig the tune. I sang it when I was alone. Finally I surreptitiously bought the cassette. It was called Graceland.

I had to hide it when friends came over. There were incidents where I fumbled for the stereo's "stop" button when someone barged in unexpected. But I kept listening. Even as GnR took over and then all the way through grunge and post-grunge and whatever it is I dutifully listened to after that, I have still not quit Graceland. A few years back I bought it on vinyl. Last year I bought it again online.

These days my music taste stretches to everything from avant-garde jazz to black metal to the latest pop trifle, but in a way it all comes back to "You Can Call me Al." Most people's first illicit album was something raw and dirty. Mine was something squeaky clean and G-rated. But it was still rebellion. And every time I embrace something that isolates me, I still feel it: the urge to hide, the sense not to.

Today's Contest:
I think those discoveries of music that is outside your usual realm are some of the best discoveries. In hopes of helping a few people discover new music today, I will choose 3--- yes 3!-- winners to get a copy of a comp of San Francisco bands, called The Bay Bridged. My friend Mike, who is in one of the bands, the brilliant Social Studies donated these CDs to me. So comment away about your musical discoveries to enter.
As usual there are ways to rack up a bunch of entries:
+1 for commenting
+1 for blogging/tweeting/etc about this blog
+1 for leaving comments on the interviews and guest blog I told you about above
+1 for blogging/tweeting about those
+1 for spreading the word about Shooting Stars Mag's HUGE Ballads of Suburbia contest
Just note your additional entries in your comment. Winner will be chosen at random on Monday August 17.

Tomorrow's Guest:

Tomorrow, we're doing things a little differently since I want those of you who are new to my blog via this party to have the opportunity to check out one of my regular features: Women Who Rock Wednesday. So Gwendolyn Glover, author of Cast The First Stone, will be here to do a WWRW interview. Of course there will still be prizes, so please come back to see what she has to say!


little miss gnomide said...

Congrats, Daniel! I love Paul Simon. Have you seen the old SNL sketch with him? Hilarious.

Oh, btw, this is Gwen Glover.
gwendolyn dot derosa at gmail dot com. I would love to enter the contest.


marina said...

i gotta say this. i'm sorry but, i hate guns and roses. haha. that's all i really wanted to say today.


Ellz said...

OH no, that song is going to burn a hole in my brain before the night is through. It is one of those songs that just sticks. Like you, some of my music choices have changed and I've sworn to never reveal to my children my love of big hair bands (shudder). I think I am permamently damaged from the residue of Aqua Net.

Michael said...

Not a big fan of GnR, but i can definitely appreciate the idea of having to hide music you like from friends.

Diana Dang said...

I discovered fantastic Asian music from Japan and Korea after being exposed to the world of Japanese animation and comics. Music haven't been the same since. I listen to Korean music constantly now and is very addicted!

Linked about bash on sidebar! :)

Ashley said...

I like this contest! Without music my life wouldn't be complete. I listened to all the songs from Social Studies, and I really like them! I haven't heard of the Bay Bridged but I bet they are great, also.


+1 I posted this on my sidebar at http://booksobsession.blogspot.com

+1 I posted the Shooting Stars Mag Contest on my right sidebar at http://booksobsession.blogspot.com

Thanks. :)

Ashley said...

I actually just got the book The Monster Variations in the mail from paperbackswap.com yesterday. (:
I haven't started it yet, but the cover is great and is the reason why I even wanted it!

Ashley said...

I really like The Bay Bridged! I've been listening to some of their songs on their official website along with some of the music they listen to, also. I like the indie / rock feel to it, it's different than the rap crap and overplayed pop songs on the radio.

L said...

I used to hide some of my music from my friends, but now I just listen to what ever I want and I don't care what they think.

+1 I posted a link on my sidebar about this blog
+1 link to Shooting Stars Mag's HUGE Ballads of Suburbia contest on my sidebar:


Paradox said...

I've never heard of The Bay Bridged, but it sounds interesting.

I don't really know much about music, but one of my musical discoveries is that I like music in anime. I can't understand most of it, but I love the way it sounds!

paradoxrevealed (at) aim (dot) com