LX Commentary #20: Ladies On Parade

Way back in chapter 5, “Waiting For An Invitation” starts with the lyric “Ladies roll by…” I’ve always considered the ladies rolling by as a precursor/sister song to this parade (“there is a theme there”), so I knew we’d be headed back to the cemetery. But how would we get there? Taking the baton from…

LX Commentary #19: Coyotes

Another instrumental closes out Side C before we flip the record for the final time. I always knew I wanted to mirror the opening of the “I Am You, You Are Me, We Are One” sequence here, but doing the fuller suited celebrity déjà  vu took awhile to figure out. Replacing the two men with…

LX Commentary #18: I Went With Some Friends To See The Flaming Lips

Benji Hughes rarely discusses the stories behind songs in interviews, but when he does this one is frequently cited as “a play by play.” Writing the L Extreme version as a play by play did not work at all. I probably struggled with this chapter most of all. The song chronicles a real-life Flaming Lips concert…

LX Commentary #17: Love Is A Razor

“Love is a razor. It’s cold, and it’s sharp. It’s cutting out hearts that glow in the dark. And it’s selling wine…” The core of this chapter is your basic lyrically inspired play by play: C has a glow in the dark razor and challenges Benji to a shaving contest. Absurd shenanigans the eventually turn…

LX Commentary #16: The Mummy

One of my favorite things about Chuck Klosterman—besides this coincidence—is his glowing judgment of an album by its cover review of A Love Extreme for Esquire. One of my favorite parts of his novel The Visible Man is a scene where he’s clearly talking about a certain television show, but dances around the specifics just enough to let…

LX Commentary #15: So Well

The setup for this chapter came to me with the clarity of a message from my future self: Benji & L, on a date at a hardware store, chaperoned by Frank, coveting an unidentified handcrafted object for mysterious reasons. “You’ve got it made, because you’re made so well.” Early on the hardware store was called…

LX Commentary #14: Vibe So Hot

Onto side C, where we kick off the second record with a mondegreen. One of my favorite lyrics in “Vibe So Hot” is when Benji Hughes sings “I’m standing in a cape on your lawn.” Only that’s not the line. It’s “I’m singing in a camp on your lawn.” It took Priscilla Ahn’s cover version…

LX Origin Story, Part III

This part of the story is best told in emails. But I’ll do it out of order the way L Extreme the novel plays with sequence. April 22, 2020 From: Benji Hughes To: JL Civi Subject: Re: Never Like I Read In Books & Magazines… I’m still checking this out. It’s really good. 173 days earlier……

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,”…