LX Origin Story, Part II

Like I said towards the end of Part I, after chipping away on a novelization of A Love Extreme on and off (mostly off) for a few years I had a song by song storyline that (amazingly) worked so much better than I imagined given the circumstances. I’d also come to appreciate the non-linear structure…

LX Commentary #10: All You’ve Got To Do Is Fall In Love

Upon deciding to run with this fairytale interlude for the rest of side B, my storytelling goal became connecting the dots from Benji & Jessica to Benji & L while moving things towards a confrontation in “The Tower”—whatever that might turn out to be. So easy to do, right? 🙂 My favorite part of this…

LX Commentary #9: Do You Think They Would Tell You?

This wasn’t supposed to happen, but ultimately it became the embodiment of the epigraph at the front of L Extreme: “Oh definitely. There is a theme there. I don’t want to say anything about it. Maybe it’s love. There is something that the whole thing’s all about.” —Benji Hughes, Artist Direct Interview, October 2008 Little did…

LX Commentary #8: Where Do Old Lovers Go?

The song may be about going away, but ironically it helped pull the musical concept of the book together. It was also one of my favorite chapters to write. The lyrical breadcrumbs showed me connections to other Benji Hughes songs so clearly it made me start seeking them elsewhere. Benji & Jessica are at a…

LX Chapter Commentary #7: Why Do These Parties Always End The Same Way?

“We need to call the cops somebody killed the DJ!” is the lyric from A Love Extreme at the core of this chapter. Striking the right balance of goofy and sincere for L Extreme proved challenging. Benji & C’s comedic banter worked during the initial setup where Benji has no recollection of the party (“a…

LX Chapter Commentary #6: Cornfields

When I hear the word “cornfield” I immediately think of Quantum Leap‘s third season premiere episode “The Leap Home” from 1990 (or 1969 if we go by the leap date). Sam Beckett leaps into himself as a 16 year old, and running through the cornfield on his family’s farm features prominently in two different scenes….

LX Chapter Commentary #5: Waiting For An Invitation

Our lyrical raw materials: Cemetery –> Stars/Planets –> Band –> Apology Letter –> Unsent Invitations. Musically it’s a pretty song that takes things down a notch compared to the tunes that preceded it. And that’s the slalom course I tried to ski here. Other connections were also in play. The opening line “Ladies roll by…”…

LX Chapter Commentary #4: Neighbor Down The Hall

Many of the songs on A Love Extreme have phrases I adore so much they became non-negotiable blueprints for L Extreme chapters from the earliest drafts. Here the magic words were “jambox” and “Halloween.” Inserting a jambox as a recurring prop was relatively easy. Working Halloween into the book’s timeline proved more difficult… Why was…

LX Chapter Commentary #3: You Stood Me Up

A dream, a frame story, and a flashback walk into a novel based on lyrics from a double album by Benji Hughes—who also stars as the protagonist. Kidding aside, the thrill of working on L Extreme was the kitchen-sink zaniness of the structure. As I began to identify the throughline of the plot, songs naturally…

LX Chapter Commentary #2: Tight Tee Shirt

Chapter 1 of L Extreme ends the dreamy non-dream with “and then I fall asleep,” so we naturally kick off the main action with Benji waking up. After making the switch to fiction, my original concept for the book was a set of loosely connected short stories. Take the same characters and settings and let them…