Posts Tagged ‘Merch’

Got Live…Do You Want It?

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

The Crusin’ gig at Wilton Founder’s Day (Friday night Aug. 27) went well – we had a nice big Friday night crowd (though not rivaling the Saturday night mob hometown boys the XL’S drew). The night was cool and pleasant, but humid, with lyric sheets and guitar/keyboard cases getting soaked; and playing on a long/narrow flatbed truck was daunting – we were lined up like the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, and I couldn’t even see guitarist Jim Van Winkle down there somewhere past bassist Chuck Bunn and drummer Steve Kundel.

We needed a professional sound company for the gig, which the fee didn’t really cover, but my pal Mark Johnson of Rock Island’s Brass Sail Recording (he did the sound and co-wrote the music for Eliot Ness: An Untouchable Life) cut us an amazing deal. In addition, Mark made a sound-board recording, and the result was positive enough that I’m thinking about putting together a live CD. This would primarily be a promotional tool for getting Midwest bookings, but I may offer it here on the site, as well.

I am in frequent touch with Charles Ardai, who is being courted by a number of publishers in the search for a new home for Hard Case Crime (and QUARRY’S EX). I can’t be specific, but I will say I’m optimistic. And one of my first projects for a new Hard Case may be finishing THE CONSUMMATA, Mickey Spillane’s sequel to THE DELTA FACTOR with modernday pirate, Morgan the Raider. Speaking of Hard Case, here’s a fun write-up on Hard Case Crime.

And check out this a nice little review of ROAD TO PERDITION (the graphic novel).

BombshellNate and I are discussing starting up an e-book company to get my backlist back in print. We may do Heller, although I probably will make at least some effort to get the series back into traditional print first. I fear e-book publishing may doom titles to never seeing “real” book format again.

With BYE BYE, BABY coming out next July – Nate Heller solving Marilyn’s murder – I am considering putting out an e-book of BOMBSHELL, the Marilyn book Barb and I wrote (we may use the popular “Barbara Allan” byline). I’ll probably include some bonus features – possibly the original short story that the novel was expanded from and a Marilyn “vampire” story, both written solo by Barb. Maybe I’ll include the Heller novella, KISSES OF DEATH. We’ll see.

Opinions welcome….


Still Offensive After All These Years

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

Before I talk about my band Crusin’ appearing at the Riverside (Iowa) Casino last Saturday night – and offending delicate sensibilities – I need to take care of some writing business.

Crimes By Moonlight

Recently I completed “Encore for Murder,” the second Mike Hammer audio novel, and got a lovely phone call about it yesterday from Stacy Keach, who said it contained “the best voiceover ever written for Mike Hammer.” When I stopped crying, I thanked him.

I am working on NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU, the second J.C. Harrow novel right now. Work goes well, not quickly, but steadily. It’s a big book.

Two new short-story anthologies are worthy of your attention.

First, CRIMES BY MOONLIGHT, edited by the rich and famous Charlaine Harris (as Steppenwolf once nonsensically said, “Sookie, Sookie, Sookie, Sookie, Sookie, Sookie, Sue!”), is a supernatural-themed collection from the Mystery Writers of America. It includes the story “Grave Matter” by me and Mickey Spillane. Mickey gets second billing, which has never happened before, but the story has an unusual history.

“Grave Matter” was originally a Mike Danger short story that was written at the request of the comic book company who were then publishing the DANGER comic book. They never did anything with it, for reasons unknown. A few years later, I used the plot for a third-person novella; but the original story went off to live in limbo. Now it has been turned into a Hammer story (which essentially meant doing a universal search-and-replace, Danger into Hammer) for this anthology. Back when it was a Danger story, Mickey’s contribution was a few notes and his approval, so for once I took top billing.

BLOOD, GUTS & WHISKEY from Kensington is a collection of short stories from Thuglit, noir stories from new writers, edited by Todd Robinson. I have provided an introduction that traces the history of the hardboiled short story from Black Mask to the internet. Check it out!

A very nice overview of MS. TREE, with a focus on the trade paperbacks of yore, has popped up on the web. Terry Beatty and I get questioned on this all the time, and we admit to being frustrated that it’s taking so long to get new reprints of the MS. TREE material out there in book form. I can only say that we are again in very serious talks with a reputable publisher.

Blood, Guts, & Whiskey

Probably a good number of the visitors to this site could care less about my rock ‘n’ roll endeavors. Nonetheless, “Psychedelic Siren” – the 1967 Dial Records (an Atlantic subsidiary) by the Daybreakers, written by yours truly – continues to attract cultish attention. Check out this blog entry from musician Bill Kopp.

At our recent Riverside gig, we were announced as having had the “hit single” “Psychedelic Siren” – though the song was only a regional hit, and appearing was the latest version of the band known as Crusin’, not the Daybreakers. So the first thing I did was tell the audience we wouldn’t be playing “Psychedelic Siren.” No riots broke out.

We had determined to do an eclectic bunch of songs, though we led with a pandering “Mony, Mony” (catnip to Midwestern baby boomers) before doing stuff like “She’s Not There” by the Zombies, “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me” by Dusty Springfield, “No Matter What” by Badfinger, “Easy to Be Hard” by Three Dog Night, and “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” by Vanilla Fudge (my favorite heavy band). Not too many bands have ever played both Vanilla Fudge and Bobby Rydell (we also did a blistering “Wild One”).

We were part of a Iowa Rock ‘n’ Roll Music Association “Hall of Fame” show – our one-hour set was one of four. The other bands were solid, but our song choice set us apart (the Wise Guys of Chicago did soul stuff, very well, and the other two bands did solid ‘50s rockabilly).

As with the appearance of the original Daybreakers at the 2008 Iowa Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame induction concert at Arnold’s Park, we differed from the other acts by doing a certain amount of original material. We have always taken pride in being a “real” band. This included a song by the late, great Bruce Peters (“I Need Somebody”), and another by Rob Gal (“I Feel Better”), who is alive and well and I assume still cheerfully deranged. The band began in 1966 and has gone through many changes and members (beginning as the Daybreakers, briefly called Rox, then Crusin’, then the Ones, then Crusin’ again); and along the way some very good songs were written and recorded. Here’s where you can buy a CD collecting a lot of that material. [Prices are post-paid for the continental US. – Nate]

[2013 EDIT: All options temporarily sold out! We’ll recheck our remaining stock and make a new post soon!]

One of the songs we did was a shirt-tail hit of ours. It’s an infamous number called “Pussy Whipped,” which is the story of a henpicked husband. We didn’t write it – it was a Barnes & Barnes tune that Bill Mumy (its co-author) contributed to the band Seduction of the Innocent, which became a crowd pleaser (and stirrer) at various comic cons in the ‘80s and ‘90s, and was featured on our CD GOLDEN AGE. (Band member Steve Leialoha’s relationship with the great artist/writer Trina Robbins somehow survived her feminist-fueled hatred of the song.) It’s sung on the original album by the incredible Miguel Ferrer, and a fine live version is available here.

[2013 EDIT: All options temporarily sold out! We’ll recheck our remaining stock and make a new post soon!]

When THE GOLDEN AGE came out (it’s out of print, unfortunately), KFMH, a very popular eastern Iowa radio station, with a notorious and controversial dj (Steve Bridges – whose antics earned him a TOMORROW SHOW appearance with Tom Snyder) began to play the Seduction of the Innocent version of “Pussy Whipped.” It became a regional hit. I played keyboards and sang harmony on the cut, and this was played up by Bridges. Crusin’ was very active in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, and we began to get requests for the song, and wound up learning it, with me filling in for Miguel as best I could. We even played it live on KFMH on three or four occasions.

The current version of Crusin’ has been paying a lot of attention to our history, doing songs from the Daybreakers to the Rox era (Bruce’s originals were done then) to the Ones version (when Gal was dominant songwriter, with me absent for a year or two), on to the present. Since “Pussy Whipped” was the band’s biggest hit (in its shirttail way) since “Psychedelic Siren,” we have put it back on the list.

We don’t always play it. You don’t want to play the song at a wedding (even as a warning). Nor to you want to make it part of a Valentine’s Day dance. But at a casino – where I understand people are gambling, and children aren’t allowed, and where even smoking is sanctioned – I figured we had an adult audience.

Of course this is the Heartland, and it’s America, where you can get yourself a reality show by having a big butt or sleeping with Hugh Hefner or having way too many kids, where you can form an unintentionally obscenely-titled movement protesting the taxes that have been lowered by the president you despise. So it’s always up for grabs.

Anyway, as for “Pussy Whipped” at Riverside, well, the crowd loved it – we got cheers and applause and there were lots of smiling faces, if mostly male. I made sure my diction was good so that the entire tale got heard, as the emasculated narrator tells his sad story in an amusingly ballsy fashion. Sure enough, while we were quickly tearing down to make room for the next band, a middle-aged woman with glasses and a stony expression approached the stage.

She said, “I want to make a statement. If you have to apologize for doing a song, you shouldn’t do that song. Some people were offended!” She seemed on the verge of tears.

I said, “I wasn’t really apologizing when I introduced the song. That was a joke. It was all meant in good fun.”

She didn’t know what to say, and disappeared off into the crowd.

What can I say? I am 62 years old, still playing “Pussy Whipped,” and offending older women who are probably younger than me.

I must be doing something right.


Seduction Live @ San Diego / Daybreakers CDs

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

This has been a week of catch-up and recovery — the San Diego Comic Con is an intense experience, this time for Nate, Barb and me heightened by one of those nightmarish trips home you hear about. Weather delays and the need to go to an airport where our car and luggage would not be waiting had us enlisting my collaborator Matt Clemens for a ride from Cedar Rapids to the Quad Cities, and us not getting our luggage for another 24 hours.

So for the almost-a-week of the con, there seems to be almost-a-week of aftermath, writing e-mails to follow-up on meetings, sorting purchases, and just waiting for the world to stop reeling under your feet.

From the con I returned with a small stack (around ten) of signed SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT — LIVE AT SAN DIEGO 1999 CD’s. The signatures are mine, Bill Mumy’s, Steve Leialoha’s and Chris Christensen’s. (Miguel Ferrer was filming, though we hope to have the full band back together for whatever our next gig is.) Anyway, I can offer a few of these for $25 postpaid. Or you can get an unsigned copy for $15 postpaid. This was a limited edition of 200 and less than 75 remain.

We have about a dozen of the DAYBREAKERS — HALL OF FAME COLLECTION CD’s that are signed by all five original members (Collins, Bunn, Busch, Bridges and Maxwell). Those are $25 postpaid for signed ones, and $15 postpaid for unsigned (about 25 of the DAYBREAKERS CD’s are all that are left). The CD charts the history of the band from 1966 to date, and includes the songs heard in the two MOMMY films, as well as the infamous “Psychedelic Siren.”

Anyone who would like signed copies of both CD’s can get the pair for $40 postpaid.

Oh — all international orders must add an additional $5.

You can pay via PAYPAL…right, Nate?


[2013 EDIT: Actually….wrong!! All options temporarily sold out! We’ll recheck our remaining stock and make a new post soon!]

Some very nice reviews have appeared lately on the web. Here is a great write-up on my CSI work — books that are among my all-time bestsellers and yet have rarely been reviewed. Reading this made me wish Matt and I were still doing the CSI series:

One of the really sweet things about the con this year was the surprising number of fans who sought me out to say how much they liked the Jack and Maggie Starr mysteries. I only got to do two of those (though I do hope, one day, to do at least one more), and those books didn’t get a lot of reviews, either, so the following was much appreciated:

Quarry, however, has attracted a lot of incredible reviews — and THE FIRST QUARRY in particular has received some stellar ones. I think this one was particularly insightful, though:

See you next week.


The Last Lullaby: Showings and Reviews

Monday, June 1st, 2009

The Last Lullaby showings: Des Moines (June 5 – 11), Brooklyn (June 7 – 8), San Jose (June 12 – 18)

THE LAST LULLABY — the film based on the Quarry short story “A Matter of Principal,” and co-written by me — will be showing at the Fleur Cinema in Des Moines from June 5 till June 11. Director Jeffrey Goodman and I will be there for the two evening showings on Friday June 5, and probably on Saturday June 6, as well, doing intros before and Q and A after. This is our last scheduled appearance together in support of the film, and marks the final of the three Iowa bookings.

Jeffrey continues to roll it out slowly and carefully. The film will show at the 6/5-6/14 Brooklyn International Film Festival. Tickets are now on sale at this link. We screen Sunday, June 7th at 9PM and Monday, June 8th at 8PM. Jeffrey will be there for both of our screenings.

The film also plays 6/12-6/18 in San Jose, CA at the Camera Cinemas 3.

The film continues to rack up great reviews. Here’s two of them:

Stark Silvercreek: “A movie that gives the movie industry hope.” (Includes an interview with Jeffrey.)
Steve Rhodes: “New filmmakers should look at it as a paradigm on how movies should be made.”

There’s been some confusion about where the novel THE LAST QUARRY fits in. It was based on my draft of the screenplay and written prior to the shooting of the film, which reflects a draft by another writer plus a polish by me. Call it the Writer’s Cut.

Quarry is continuing to make a remarkable comeback for a character who appeared in an obscure four-paperback series in the mid-’70s. I was always proud of this character, and he remains one of my two favorite characters (Nate Heller being the other).

THE FIRST QUARRY has been nominated for the Best Paperback Novel “Anthony,” presented at the Bouchercon. It’s voted on by con attendees, so go to the con and remember what Al Capone said: vote early and vote often.

Also, THE LAST QUARRY’s magnificent Robert McGinnis cover has been chosen as one of the handful of images adorning a new group of Hard Case Crime t-shirts.


And later this year, look for a new Quarry novel, QUARRY IN THE MIDDLE.