I love mixing reality with fantasy, smudging the line between, keeping the reader on their mental toes. (Mental Toes? Oh, John, please!) Since I often deal with music in my work, one of the most amusing ways to incorporate this is with band names, histories, and spontaneous lyrics. Go with the flow, maaaaaan. All stories have flow, just catch the rhythm and ride it. Okay, that almost sounds pornographic: next!
Fictional bands such as Pus Siphon (my fave) and Incest Rodeo (suggested by a friend, actually) play alongside real bands like Tool and Swans. I often think, I wonder if listing the real bands with the fictional might lead a reader to Google a band such as Pus Siphon, only to find out they don’t exist. It’s a tricky and fun balance for me.
My latest completed novel, the namesake for this blog, includes a couple of musicians amongst the five…or six (it depends on how you perceive one of the characters…) primary characters. The female character, Alethea, relates in a sideways manner to former Swans’ chanteuse, Jarboe; let’s say she was a starting point, one of a few females and imaginative nuances, and left the deepest impression. The male half of the band Alethea was formerly in, Black Angel Asylum, is Aleister Blut, a force of nature personality so strong he couldn’t take the world on its own terms and ended up in an insane asylum (ironic cruelty: from one asylum to another). He was more a totally fictional creation. The novel even includes some choice lyrics.
Looking over my short stories, I’ve got a lot of heavy metal or industrial/noise bands as major parts of them, as well as one story (“Have Guitar, Will Travel”) in which a guitarist uses particularly agile guitar playing to time travel back in time and ends up jamming with a T-Rex, while in another (“Dark Ambient Metamorphosis”), a CD by a mysterious band triggers a transformation in the listener.
Some of the influences, besides the music, must include some great ‘80s Rock ‘N’ Roll novels like David J. Schow’s psychological, revenge driven, “The Kill Riff,” and John Skipp and Craig Spector’s more supernaturally aligned, “The Scream.” I’ll read anything with music as a foundation, it appeals to my Rock ‘N’ Roll Soul.
Here’s a cool example of a story about a fictional band by Brian Hodge, a writer of depth and talent and knowledge of music that is evident in spades here. The story’s called, “Requiem,” featured in the re-vamped version of Chizine online magazine, one of the real quality mags out there.
Enjoy…and crank it up to 11!