5 Musicians-Turned-Authors You Have to Check Out
On March 7, Tom DeLonge’s (Angels & Airwaves, Blink 182) foray into UFO phenomena non-fiction hits the public when his book, Sekret Machines: Gods, co-authored with Peter Levenda, drops March 7. Thankfully for us, as the old adage goes, “creative adults are children who lived,” so he’s not the only notable mainstream musician to switch from music to writing.
There’s a whole treasure trove of books and topics covered by our following musicians-turned-authors. Get your hands dirty and your minds filled with these nonsense fiction, UK Britpop-inspired novels, poetry, and memoirs.
1. John Lennon, another notable musician-turned-novelist classic, published two major books within the realm of “nonsense fiction” and experimental fiction. Lennon, who penned In His Own Write and A Spaniard in the Works in 1964 and 1965, respectively, first broke into writing at a young age after being encouraged by a family member. In His Own Write came after Lennon showed some of his short stories and poetry to a journalist tailing the Beatles. “They said, ‘write a book’ and that’s how the first one came about,” said Bill Harry, a Beatles biographer.
Reception for Lennon’s novels were wholly positive, with critics taking to Lennon’s penchant for “gratuitous wordplay” better than even he expected, as far as legend has it.
2. Unless you're well-versed in the 90s UK Britpop scene, you probably aren't too familiar with Sleeper frontwoman Louise Wener. Regardless, you should check out her debut novel Goodnight Steve McQueen (2002). As art often imitates life, the book's seemingly loosely-based on Wener's life as it follows the "hardscrabble life of a struggling musician."
According to the Village Voice,
There's definitely some Nick Hornbyness to this funny, kinda sentimental, not overly schmaltzy tale of Danny (born Steve) McQueen, a loveable loser-ish video store clerk who still thinks he can make it huge with his band, Dakota. He's also got the requisite girlfriend, Alison, who's fed up with supporting his rock star dreams both emotionally and financially and wants him to give it up, grow up and get a real job so the pair can have a real life.
Brush up on your Britpop bops and check out a new novel. Two birds with one stone.
3. Bruce Springsteen’s aptly-named autobiography Born to Run dropped this past September, exciting Bruce “Tramps” around the world. According to Amazon, Springsteen became inspired to write the story of his life following his Super Bowl halftime performance with E Street Band in 2009. He dedicated seven years to perfecting the story of a young Catholic boy from Freehold, New Jersey, using "poetry, danger, and darkness" to fuel his imagination.
Even if you're not a "Bruce Tramp," you'll still most likely dig Born to Run. From Amazon:
Born to Run will be revelatory for anyone who has ever enjoyed Bruce Springsteen, but this book is much more than a legendary rock star’s memoir. This is a book for workers and dreamers, parents and children, lovers and loners, artists, freaks, or anyone who has ever wanted to be baptized in the holy river of rock and roll.
Adding to our ever-growing “to-read” list now.
4. Punk poet laureate and activist Patti Smith truly needs no introduction. Of the Patti Smith Group, Smith's a singer who’s also performed spoken word poetry and published her memoir Just Kids in 2010.
Just Kids largely follows the lives of herself and Robert Mapplethorpe, as well as their tumultuous relationship. It's bound to be chock-ful of activism and eccentric goodness if Smith's career is any indication. Fun fact: In 2015, Showtime announced it would develop a limited series based on the memoir. Exciting times.
5. We’re excited to read singer-songwriter Josh Ritter’s debut novel Bright’s Passage. It’s knock-out, bizarrely-wonderful prose that’ll stick with you long after you close the pages shut. Coming highly-recommended by The Village Voice, Bright’s Passage is a "compact, moving, imaginative novel" centering around a WWI veteran returning home with an angel in the form of a horse, buring his wife who dies in childbirth, setting their house on fire, and ultimately going on the run with the angel and a goat after his wife's “cray-cray” father and brother chase him in hot pursuit. Phew.
Stephen King raved about the novel in his New York Times review, noting Ritter’s “tasty language:”
"At its best, Bright's Passage shines with a compressed lyricism that recalls Ray Bradbury in his prime...given such tasty language, it might be mean-spirited to wish for a little more texture and depth, villains a little more villainous and many fewer adverbs, which are the beginning writer's plaintive way of asking, Am I getting through to you?"
Let us know which one is your favorite in the comments!