LX Commentary #13c: Girl In The Tower (Part III)

Let’s pick up where we left off with the doors. SAL + MON = Salmon. The CD version of the album Songs in the Key of Animals assigns these names to each disc. The LP version subtitles the sides. L Extreme the novel pays tribute with little signs on two opposing doors Heartman finds in…

LX Commentary #13b: Girl In The Tower (Part II)

One epic chapter allowed me to squeeze in a few more musical references via section breaks—either a song title from a different Benji Hughes album or a lyrical snippet, with the precedent set in previous longer chapters to give the reader a reasonable breakpoint every 10ish pages if needed. Specific to “Girl In The Tower,”…

LX Commentary #13a: Girl in the Tower (Part I)

Once I decided the Heartman & Songstress fairytale would carry Side B, I knew it needed an epic conclusion. This 40 page chapter is by far the longest in the L Extreme book—essentially a standalone novella when combined with the four 4-page shorties that precede it. My original idea was to continue the silent-film nature…

LX Commentary #12: Mmmmmmm

Confession: I cheated a little. On A Love Extreme the album, “Mmmmmmm” comes before “Even If” sequence wise, not after. It’s the last song on the first CD, or a little instrumental bridge between two songs on the vinyl / streaming versions. In the first draft I honored the spirit of the 37 second interlude…

LX Commentary #11: Even If

“There ain’t no way you’re ever gonna find another lover like me…” Imagining Benji Hughes as Heartman crooning the loungy opening line here only yielded one possible rival: Cupid. Two mythical beings armed with bows and tasked with making mere mortals fall in love. I wanted a reason to dive a little more into Heartman’s…

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…