Todd and RBW, circa 1979 pic by Susanna Hernandez-Gray
Hello there, dear Solitude & Good Company Followers,
I hope you’ve all been well. These last 15 months (!!) I’ve been busy with a project I’m excited about: Redheaded Friend: A Coming-of-Age Song Cycle. It’s a tribute to my friendship with Todd Butler, one of the most important relationships of my life. It encompasses everything I do: writing, acting, singing, songwriting, and playing guitar and bass. I debuted it as a theater piece in April. If you’re a social media contact, you know about this. For those of you who are holdouts and/or have left social media in disgust (I get it), Redheaded Friend is a one-man show with music – i.e. musical memoir – and a forthcoming album, which I’m hoping you can help me finish.
I’ll cut to the chase. Please check out my Indiegogo campaign HERE. It explains everything. It ends in FOUR DAYS (i.e. Saturday, Nov. 23rd). If you can pre-buy the music, fantastic. If you can give more, even better. You’ll see I am SO CLOSE. (96% at this writing.) ANY AMOUNT is much appreciated. One person gave $1,000. Another gave me $5. Several total strangers donated $50, one from Sweden, another from South Korea. All good.
Curious about the music? I’ve posted a couple mixes-in-progress on my Soundcloud page – At the Rocky Horror Picture Show and Defy Gravity – and I made a video of Painting a Vast Blue Sky.
I’m performing the show again at my local theater the Phoenicia Playhouse this week, so I’ve been doing press and radio. You can listen to an interview I did on our local NPR affiliate WAMC HERE.
This is the first time I’ve put RBW music into the world in 15 years. I’m eager to share it all. Please help if you can.
Thanks so much!
sound as ever
Posted in 80s, Crazy, Essay, georgia, lgbtq, memoir, memoir, Music, new wave, R.E.M. Bow Wow Wow Athens Fleshtones Biltmore 688, Robert Burke Warren, Uncategorized, Wow
Tagged 70s, 80s, ATL, coming of age, family, funk, latchkey kids, lgbtq, new wave, punk, Punk rock, Queer, RuPaul, RuPaul & the U-Hauls
Hello and Happy June!
I am prepping for my Perfectly Broken mini-tour through the South. Very excited to be doing events at Malaprops in Asheville (Thursday June 16th at 7 pm) Parnassus Books in Nashville, (Friday, June 17th at 6:30) and A Cappella Books in my old stompin’ grounds, Atlanta (Sunday, June 19th, 6 pm). I’ll also be dropping in on an Atlanta book club called “Reading Between the Wines.” They’re reading Perfectly Broken, and we’ll discuss it.
I’ll be posting all press clips. Watch this space. (And/or my Facebook page.)
More reviews have been coming in. You can read a great one from The Nervous Breakdown HERE.
Remember: if you’ve read the book and want to help out, you can (and please do) write reviews on amazon and Goodreads. Or just give stars. And of course actual word of mouth is still the best. Thank you.
Wonderful North Carolina public radio station WNCW asked me to send them a one minute audio file of me reading from the book, which they will use to promote the Malaprops event. Here ’tis:
On Tuesday the 14th, I’ll be renting a car and hitting the road for my first jaunt – 14 hours, give or take, to Asheville, where my brother and his family live. I’ll be staying with friends and family in every town. I expect Atlanta to be particularly interesting, as I’ll be seeing some folks I’ve not laid eyes on in 30 years – a combo of schoolmates from Christ the King Catholic School and Northside High School, members of what I have dubbed the New Wave Queer Underground, my family and friends, plus curious strangers attracted by the press.
I intend to blog as much as I can. Stay tuned!
Indie stores with signed copies of Perfectly Broken to ship to you:
LITTLE CITY BOOKS
OBLONG BOOKS & MUSIC
Posted in Books, East Village, Fatherhood, Fiction, georgia, lgbt, memoir, Music, Robert Burke Warren, Uncategorized
Tagged new wave, perfectly broken, Queer, robert burke warren, RuPaul
It happened again! An episode from my youth as part of the New Wave Queer Underground of Atlanta popped up online, thanks to YouTuber rottingtapes, who once managed the Marietta, Georgia-based band Guadalcanal Diary. My band Wee Wee Pole – featuring RuPaul – shared stages with Guadalcanal Diary several times, and I think this was one of them. It’s June of 1983, and my friend Todd (on guitar) and I are about to graduate high school. We’ve just acquired our new drum machine and percussionist David Klimchak. Back up singers/dancers the U-Hauls have quit in a huff. But we are in good form.
The venue is “new wave” club The Strand in Marietta. Marietta’s about 15 miles from where I grew up in Atlanta; it was more country then, but it’s now an Atlanta suburb. RuPaul is ON, and as you can see, the audience loves him. The song we’re playing is “Hips.” Most of the lyrics are indecipherable, but the tag line is, “her hips were made to kill!!!” Please enjoy. More to come.
More about my time in the New Wave Queer Underground HERE.
More about Todd and me HERE
More about My Life in Music HERE.
Posted in Crazy, memoir, Music, Robert Burke Warren, Wow
Tagged 80s, Eighties, Fleshtones, funky, guadalcanal diary, marietta, new wave, Queer, RuPaul, RuPaul & the U-Hauls, RuPaul's Drag Race, the strand, Wee Wee Pole
RBW in Rocky Horror. Pic by Dennis Oclair
I’m happy to report on my new gig as music editor for The Weeklings. I’ve written for this fine publication before, weighing in on post-apocalyptic novels, rock and roll movies, and the Syria Crisis (see here) but now I will be writing and editing regularly on music and music-oriented topics. My first post is a getting-to-know you essay entitled Rock On, in which I condense highlights of my life in music, including, but not limited to, RuPaul, the Fleshtones, Buddy Holly, Electric Lady Studio, The Roots, the Big Apple Circus, and kindie rock.
Please click HERE and enjoy. And thanks.
Posted in apocalypse, Crazy, Essay, Fatherhood, Fathermucker, memoir, Mr. Mom, Olear, R.E.M. Bow Wow Wow Athens Fleshtones Biltmore 688, Robert Burke Warren, St. Mark's Place, Wow
Tagged big apple circus, Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story, Heart, little house on the prairie, new wave, Pat Benatar, Punk rock, robert burke warren, RuPaul, siouxsie, the cramps, the fleshtones, The Weeklings, Todd Butler
Once in a while, my past pops up on YouTube. So far, it’s been very pleasurable, and this clip, circa early 1983, is no exception. (Thanks to Julie House for bringing it to my attention.) This is footage of Wee Wee Pole featuring RuPaul and the U-Hauls gigging at the 688 Club in Atlanta. That’s me on bass in the loud sweater. This was one of our first performances. I was seventeen, a senior at Northside School of the Performing Arts, majoring in drama, minoring in music. (I’ve written a good bit about this here and here.) My best friend Todd Butler is on guitar. “Pizza” is the first song Todd, Ru and I wrote together, in the front room of Todd’s house, before Todd’s mom kicked us out. We never recorded it, and prior to this, I thought it was lost to the ether. (More about Todd and me here.)
Like a lot of Wee Wee Pole video (maybe all), this is courtesy of Dick Richards, of Atlanta’s American Music Show. The American Music Show was a public access variety program that chronicled a glorious time in Atlanta’s New Wave Queer Underground. Did Dick and his cohorts know they were creating invaluable documents? I suspect they did. It didn’t cross my mind, though. I was quite in the moment, and not taking time to do much but live, live, live. These clips, a few photos, some boxed-up letters, and the music that survives are as close as I have to a diary of a seismic, charmed time. My gratitude to The American Music Show runs deep.
This video captures the golden age of Wee Wee Pole, when the blush was still very much on the rose. Soon Gina and Chrissy, the U-Hauls, would get fed up and quit, but in this video, it’s all about love and excitement (and Krogering). The interaction between Ru and the gals is priceless. I cannot explain the sweater I am wearing.
Posted in Crazy, Essay, georgia, Music, Robert Burke Warren, Uncategorized, Wow
Tagged 1983, 688 club, American Music Show, Atlanta, new wave, not a misspent youth, pizza, punk, robert burke warren, RuPaul, RuPaul & the U-Hauls, RuPaul's Drag Race, Wee Wee Pole