Mar 1, 2015

"Adam Wolf and the Cook Brothers" Joe Schwartz (Virtual Tour)




Title: Adam Wolf and the Cook Brothers
Author: Joe Schwartz

Genre: Rock Fiction
Length: 340 pages
Release Date: March 1st, 2015
ISBN-13: 978-1507845110

SYNOPSIS:
 
Ever dreamed of joining a rock band, getting rich, getting famous, and seeing the world through a private jet plane’s window?

Ladies and Gentleman: Adam Wolf and the Cook Brothers – A Tale of Sex, Drugs, and Rock&Roll is your personal invitation to tune in, turn on, and drop out as you ride the tour bus through the night and into the next town with Paul, Ronnie, Adam and Mark.

Paul is old school rock ‘n’ roll but he knows a hit song when he hears one. When he gets a demo from a St. Louis metal band, he is not impressed until he hears a track unlike all the others. He may have to make a deal with the devil to find the kid for his last chance ticket to rock glory.

Ronnie is a brutal, delusional alcoholic and prescription fiend. In spite of his amazing technical guitar style, he has no talent. He can never be an original like Adam. For vengeance, Ronnie will follow a dark path of violence and destruction to the bitter end.

Adam is a musical prodigy. He simply hears music in his mind while the notes naturally come through his guitar. Young and utterly naïve, music will change his life but his regret is a wound that will never heal. Mark couldn’t play a piano if it had only one key, but he doesn’t need to. Unlike Ronnie and Adam, Mark is hoping he can find the balance between his brothers though a musical bridge connecting them all forever. Paul, Ronnie, Adam, and Mark all have one thing in common – they would rather die than give up on their rock ‘n’ roll dreams. Walking down this wicked, twisted road each man will realize one important thing – this music can save them all.

Ladies and Gentlemen: Adam Wolf and the Cook Brothers – A Tale of Sex, Drugs, and Rock&Roll will leave your ears ringing long after you’ve read it for the first time!

AUTHOR INFORMATION & LINKS

My name is Joe and I write stories for men. Of course, some of my biggest fans seem to be women who seem to find my writing insightful, even a bit shocking, as to how men really think. I assure you no matter how awful a thing I’ve written about, worse things have been done by you friendly, next-door neighbor.

Two of my biggest influences are John Steinbeck and Ernest Hemingway. I simply love the way those guys never softened the blow for readers, but more so how they simply and significantly captured the times they were writing about. I believe if you really wanted to know how life was for the disenfranchised in those bleak days or wanted to discover the utter futility that is war, these men are the keepers of this particular flame. There is, however, one other writer for me that is the modern gold standard in fiction: Stephen King aka Richard Bachman. The books he wrote under his 70’s rock inspired pseudonym opened a window in my mind for a kind of storytelling that excited me and I wanted to find more. The problem is writers telling stories which don’t end pleasantly or have the bad guys not getting their comeuppance in the end simply aren’t very popular. Great writers like Donald Goines, George V. Higgins, or Cormac McCarthy are hardly recognizable names until someone makes a great movie out of one of their infamous books.

As a native to the Gateway City, I’m compelled to write stories that happen here and the unique attitude of the residents that also happen to call it home. Take a stroll through St. Louis randomly in any direction for eight blocks and you will suddenly be immersed in radically different social and economic conditions. The rich and the poor, the violent and the benevolent, the gang bangers and the Bible thumpers are separated merely by choice, loyalists to neighborhoods that have been abandoned, revitalized, and abandoned again. Dialects as well as attitudes change by the zip code. These are the people of St. Louis that intrigue me, who have set my imagination on fire more than once wondering how it is we can all co-exist and yet, we rarely cross our imaginary borders.

My favorite piece of advice I often give to aspiring writers is to write what you know. I have spent the majority of my life in St. Louis. It has habitually been the place where my stories come from as wherever I go it is impossible for me not to see the world through its Midwestern filters. I’m particularly keen to the way those whom I’ve lived with, worked, and occasionally fought, speak. I think language is the most important aspect any writer should explore in storytelling. A writer can describe an apple so well you can practically hear the ripe skin crunch as the main character bites through its rind but if when he talks you can’t believe a word he says, nothing is worse.

As a writer I have an expectation of writing to be read. I believe that it is as important, if not more so, that you as a reader should have the expectation of being entertained as you read. Anything less is such a disappointment.

Life is short. Stories are forever.
Joe Schwartz
 
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A Tale of Sex, Drugs, and Storytelling?
Being in a band is no different than being in a marriage except instead of having to take just one person’s crap, you’re taking BS from three other people. But so what? The downsides are no more awful than if you are a lawyer or construction worker. You do it either because you love it or the money is great, but every day you get up and give it your best hoping today will be better.

Musicians, by nature, are anti-social. And if they are successful, then they are real egomaniacs to boot (see: asshole). I spent years chasing a music dream that was less likely to come true than winning the Powerball… twice. But money isn’t everything. Sometimes having a cool story to tell while passing the old peace pipe around with your buddies is worth it. Cool never goes out of style and is rarely forgotten among dudes. You can be sixty years-old, attending your kid’s college graduation or your mother’s funeral, and goddamn if one of your friends doesn’t ask you to tell that story again about that time you served breakfast to Journey and then went to Illinois on a beer run for them at 4am. The currency of such things is impossible to forget, unless, of course, they happened to you.

Think about this, even if you work for a famous musician, like Elvis or Michael Jackson, you can be famous by proxy. Cashing in when a star dies is almost as American as apple pie, baseball, and Chevrolet. The morbid curiosity, the re-examination of every miniscule moment no matter how irrelevant, seems not only morbid but disturbing.

But what if you were the star, the object of affection, or derision, then what?

That was a jumping off point for me to write Ladies and Gentlemen: Adam Wolf and the Cook Brothers – A Tale of Sex, Drugs and Rock&Roll. I personally have been in a few good bands, tons of awful ones, and roadied for a few guys along the way. You think its all champagne and blow-jobs when you have a number one record, that is until you find yourself pushing road cases for a guy whose brother drives the bus, mother sells the t-shirts, and big sister books the gigs. That he has to do 200+ gigs a year to break even; everything from State Fairs, theaters, and auditoriums to bars and private parties. And yet, those terrible details are the things fans want to hear about as much as what it was like to win a Grammy for Album of The Year, or to have been in a movie, literally in a background scene as the band, for which the dudes got a thousand dollars, minus 15% for their useless manager, and the production company gets the right to use the band’s name in perpetuity on every movie poster like a drunk whore uses lipstick.

As someone who has had to split a Happy Meal between three other guys, who has had to sell his car to get music gear and weed only to later having to sell said gear when the band broke up, I wanted to give readers possibly the most intimate experience they could hope to have without having to learn how to keep time or string guitars.

The thing I think the non-musician will find most unappealing about running with a rock band is that it’s just work. Sometimes it can be fun to do, but at the end of the day, whether you’re paid in grass, ass, or cash, like Huey Lewis and The News said, “I’m taking what they’re giving ‘cause I’m working for a living.”

As for all the real McCoys out there, the guys hustling in bars playing covers and rehearsing in their basements, I hope they will see that I took the same care in writing this book as any of them ever have a song. I told the truth as I understood it, a story that will be as much an invitation as a warning to the next generation of wide eyed dreamers and ridiculous stoners just brave enough to think that they can make it in this insane business of music despite the overwhelming odds of never getting out alive.
Ladies and Gentlemen: Joe Schwartz
When I sat down and first decided to write about ten years ago, I had almost a hundred pages single-spaced in about six weeks’ time. The idea that I couldn’t just pound out The Great American Novel never really occurred to me. A friend of mine hired me around page 89 as a blog reporter and eventually I figured I’d to get back around to it. Two years later, a half-dozen blog postings and one screen sold play later, I remembered the novel I was going to write about a famous and long-dead musician (see: Jimi Hendrix) becoming reincarnated to finish a song, possibly the greatest rock song ever written. My first editor read it and rightly declared it crap. That, however, didn’t dissuade her from taking me under her wing, lending me her MFA as we used to joke, and teaching me how to write – hold the ego. The idea of writing about being in a rock band, though, never left me.

Like Stephen King says, you can’t expect to be a good writer if you aren’t first a good reader. I had read Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying and Chad Kultgen’s The Lie. I loved the compound points of view telling the same story but from each characters perspective and decided to try my hand at the same kind of multiple-narrator style myself.

The story is actually quite simple. Brothers in competing rock bands will do anything it takes to make it in the music industry. The key for me to write the story was not to try and pretend that, in some alternate universe, exists a band bigger than The Beatles or Bob Dylan, but rather try to give readers a voyeuristic adventure of what it’s really like to be in a working rock and roll band.

I spent every day from the time I was sixteen to thirty-two years old playing music. In that time I roadied for other bands, played music in more bars than I can remember, met a few famous musicians and lots of struggling nobodies like myself, and basically wasted fifteen years of my life pouring every spare moment into a dream almost guaranteed to fail. The common thing I found, sitting in some car or in an anonymous basement, smoking weed with others like myself, was that everyone had these great stories about the business.

The idea of some guy sitting in an office somewhere and discovering the next big thing was inspired by actual submission services who promote themselves as helping musicians, for a nominal fee, of course, get their music to the next level. I often wondered if something really great did come in, why in the hell wouldn’t you just steal the demo and go sign the band yourself? Thus, a story was born.

I have been in a few great bands, a bunch of terrible bands, and never made any money. That was the story I wanted to tell, of just how goddamn awful it can be when you can’t afford to buy a hamburger and how fricking awesome, too, like when you headline a show to a packed house for the first time. About the hours invested in rehearsal and the tons of money it takes just to be mediocre. The misery of being in a band with guys you hate and the joy of making music with people you love like family.

If you ever thought being in a band is cool, well, it is, but it sure as hell ain’t easy. At any time the whole thing could implode and everyone is screwed, forced to start over again. And yet, that’s the great thing - there’s always a chance that this time could be it, this band could get signed, famous, rich and all our troubles are over… but that is another story.
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