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…

LX Chapter Commentary #1: I Am You, You Are Me, We Are One

As referenced previously, the first chapter I wrote for L Extreme was about the song “The Mummy” starring Benji, Count & Frank and referencing additional Benji Hughes songs from other albums. I did a few of those in random order and had a rough idea of how to loosely segue my way through the first…

LX Origin Story, Part I

Before I dive into chapter by chapter, song by song commentary for L Extreme I wanted to provide a little background on how this came to be. Let’s start at the beginning… July 2009: I purchased the special music issue of The Believer magazine at Skylight Books in LA. It was a total impulse purchase…

2020 Hindsight Commentary: 25 Minutes To Go, Across Twenty-Six Winters, Prologue (Reprise)

I’m revisiting Timely Persuasion 12 years after releasing it / 17 years after writing it / 6000+ days since I jokingly told Jon Mack “maybe I’ll write a book…” with a new round of fresh eyed commentary. Today’s look at yesterday’s chapters is brought to you by Shel Silverstein, Phoenix Mourning, and Katy Keene. 25 Minutes…