The Last Rock Star Book, or Liz Phair: A Rant
(1998, 2015, Verse Chorus Press)
This is the story of someone attempting to profile a celebrity. It began with a song I heard on the radio, “Dance of the Seven Veils” by Liz Phair. I was listening to KCRW while working as a legal secretary in downtown Los Angeles. It was morning-time, early 1993. A certain quality in Phair’s voice grabbed my attention, leading me to compose a response. This grew and grew until it became a novel. It featured three time-lines (each with its own font) caught up in a tornado of memories, fantasies, History. I was reading Boris Pasternak’s Safe Conduct at the time, and consciously modeling Slaughterhouse Five.
A fair amount of the book was created while attending Dorland Mountain Arts Colony in Temecula CA. There is no electricity at Dorland. Much of the first draft was written by hand or on a manual typewriter. On one occasion I did bring a laptop to Dorland, because my friend George Grider had a way to power it off a car battery that was charged by a single solar panel, but it clearly didn’t belong.
I showed friends of mine what I’d written, and two of them, Steve Connell and Katherine Spielmann of Puncture magazine, offered to publish it. They were starting a publishing company called Verse Chorus Press and decided to debut with my Liz Phair novel. (I owe Steve and Katherine tremendous thanks.)
You can hear me talk with Canada’s Patti Schmidt about The Last Rock Star Book, or Liz Phair: A Rant in this excerpt from a CBC-2 interview recorded in 2003.