[00:00:01] Phil: “It’s difficult to overestimate the significance of the Kiss makeup without the grease paint. They would have probably made only three albums that would have sold horribly. As it is, Kiss made, a few million kids want to pick up guitars and pretend to be someone they’re not. And that is rock and roll. Ninety nine percent of the time.“
[00:00:34] Jay: Welcome to Dog-eared and Crack the podcast, where we each recommend a book for the other and engage in a conversation about the book. Phil and I have been friends for years, and on each podcast we test that friendship, exposing each other to our wildly different tastes in books and writing style. Fortunately for you, the podcast listener no reading is required. I’m Jay and I’m Phil. And this week we’re discussing Fargo Rock City, written in 2001 by Chuck Klosterman.
[00:01:04] Phil: It was published in 2001 actually. He started writing it in 1998. Wow. OK. I stand corrected. Before we get into the book. If you like the podcast, please rate and review us on Apple podcast or wherever you listen. And that’s important because ratings and reviews make the podcast easier to find and they allow us to reach more people. So, if you do that, when people search, they find us more easily. You can also leave us feedback at dogearedandcracked.ca or on Facebook. And who knows, we might read it on the next podcast.
[00:01:42] Jay: So, Phil, I wasn’t really sure if you’ve read any of Chuck Klosterman books before I suggested this particular one. But I’ve been really looking forward to this podcast because I thought the subject material might interest you. I want to say that our friendship began with a shared love of heavy metal in high school. I would say that’s probably true. A lot of the bands and a lot of the content of this book, references that period in our lives. But before we get into reviewing it, can you tell us a little bit about Chuck?
[00:02:13] Phil: Well, I I’ve learned over the last few weeks that I am probably the only guy or one of the only guys my age who had never heard of Chuck Klosterman before. Maybe it’s because he’s part of that Bill Simmons orbit, which I’ve never really paid too much attention to. Klosterman was one of the founders of Grantland, along with Bill Simmons, which was kind of a cool, smart sports web site. And by the time I got around to pitching them some story ideas, it was just before they went out of business. So, bad timing on my part. Klosterman has written 11 books. A couple of them are novels, but the essay is his primary form and, you know, as a music critic, culture critic and Fargo, Rock City was his first book. And it came out of that great writing impulse, which is somebody ought to do a book about this and then realizing like, hey, I’m the one to do it.
[00:03:10] Jay: So what’s the book about them?
[00:03:13] Phil: So the book is really a love letter to 1980s Pop Metal Its slugged as a memoir. And, you know, I read in the epilogue that Klosterman hates the title of the book. And I don’t blame him because really the book is very different from what I expected. It’s a series of essays that, of course, do have a memoir component, and each chapter takes one event as a starting point for something that was happening in the world of music at the time or in Klosterman’s personal life, or sometimes both. So, let me give you an example. One of the chapters is called “The 1988 Class B State Speech and Debate Tournament is held in Mandan, North Dakota. Meanwhile, Lita Ford’s Kiss Me Deadly crawls up to number 59 in the pop charts”. So that’s a chapter where, you know, he takes what’s going on in his life, with what’s going on in music and uses the starting point of Lita Ford as like the one example of the woman in heavy metal to talk about, you know, women, heavy metal, sexism and his love of Lita Ford and kind of what an idiot he is, too, which is one of the undercurrents of the book. So, I think the impetus of the book is that nobody cares about this music. And remember, he’s writing in 2000 kind of on the cusp of people starting to care about it again. But when he’s writing, really his impetus is either people don’t care about this music or they think it’s garbage. And I want to set the record straight. And so, yeah, Klosterman walks us through all these different aspects of 80s pop metal. And because of you in this book, I’ve listened to more Poison, Bon Jovi and Cinderella in the last two weeks, probably more than ever before in my life.
[00:04:55] Jay: Yeah, I mean, that’s one of the reasons why I kind of wanted you to read it was because of that shared content that we had nostalgia wise. There’s a lot of content in there that I thought would be kind of interesting to talk about. I enjoyed his ability to make me think about the routine and mundane aspects with a new perspective. So like what? Like just the way he characterizes things. He’s very opinionated, though, that’s one thing that that’s both stimulating and at the same time kind of frustrating, annoying because he doesn’t pretend to substantiate his opinions. He loves or hates something, which I think is a weakness we all fall to. But he’s kind of a he’s kind of a sample size of one. And he does tend to try to write that way.
[00:05:43] Very unapologetic, though. He is.
[00:05:46] Makes for an interesting read, though, because he takes a position. And when you’re reading it, you may not agree with him, but you kind of respect that the way he’s constructed his arguments.
[00:05:57] What do you think of his writing? Yeah, I was going to say, you know, I don’t think I’ve laughed this hard in years at a book. I mean, I was literally feeling like I was collapsing in laughter a few times. It’s funny, it’s kind of raw. I did get kind of tired of it by the end, I felt like if this book was maybe 80, 90, 100 pages shorter, maybe not 100, maybe like 80 pages shorter, it would have left me on a high instead of me getting a little tired. But he does definitely have a way with kind of undercutting pompousness, which is really funny and celebrating the stuff he loves and capturing that sense of this stuff matters. Right. I don’t know if you remember it, but he’s comparing Eric Clapton to Van Halen. All right. So here’s what he says. He talks about how, you know, critics go on about how great Eric Clapton is. And he says “listening to Clapton is like getting a sensual massage from a woman you’ve loved for the past 10 years. Listening to Van Halen is like having the best sex of your life with the three foxy nursing students you met at a Tasty Freeze. This is why rock historians and intellectuals feel comfortable lionizing Eric Clapton, even though every credible guy in the world will play Van Halen tapes when his wife isn’t around.”
[00:07:17] Yeah, he gets at the heart of music and it’s pretty obvious he loves music, isn’t it? And he loves exploring what music means to him and what it what it does for people. He lost me, though, Phil, at one point when he states that the B 52 were a great underrated band and then he continues and brings Bon Jovi into the conversation.
[00:07:42] And no one’s would say they’re a metal band.
[00:07:44] It’s only finally like midway through the book. Towards the end he actually specifies that he’s talking about something termed ‘pop metal’. And then I was like, okay, I get it. Now, as opinionated as he is to read, I found as a reader I was expressing my own opinions and I kind of went into that book with my predisposed opinion about certain types of music. What I liked, what I didn’t like. And I had to kind of set that aside. So just to kind of embrace his own opinions.
[00:08:13] Yeah, I think I think I did the same thing. Like he would mention a band and I would think like, oh, come on. Like, how could you have a conversation about metal and make the case that Bon Jovi is metal in any way. It’s ridiculous. And then add Poison like Poison would have been a band I completely dismissed. And yet, you know, having listened to the Fargo Rock City playlist, it’s on Spotify. There’s a couple of them. One is like twenty two hours long or something. But there’s another that’s more selective. And, you know, the Poison songs are the ones that kept running through my head for a few hours after I’d finished listening. And I thought, huh, that’s kind of interesting.
[00:08:52] I kind of think that’s like eating at McDonald’s, though, right? It’s just something where, you know, it’s not great on any level. But you’ve been conditioned to accept that. because I think these Poison songs have been running through our heads unconsciously over the last, whatever, gazillion years.
[00:09:09] You have to give him credit, too, for taking a band that seems to me is like poppy and bland as poison, Poison! Elevating it to this like kind of pop metal. I guess we’ll get into this later maybe too, but if you listen to the music and didn’t look at them, there is no way in hell you would class them as metal in any way.
[00:09:32] He’s not even doing it ironically, though, Phil. He honestly believes that every metal and I guarantee you that was one of his favourite bands because there’s a certain level of admiration and adoration when he writes about them.
[00:09:47] Do you recall in the beginning of the book, he’s actually got a very accurate description of a car crash. And I’m hoping that you haven’t been in one.
[00:09:54] But trust me, it’s very vivid and it’s a great capture of what it would be like to be in a car crash. And it’s really for the context of a discussion about Rick Allen of Def Leppard, who was a drummer and tragically lost an arm in a car crash and subsequently used electronic drums. So was that ok or not? That’s right, because it’s this debate about hard versus heavy metal and these synthesizers which will get into the later. But this idea of definitions, about what makes hard rock versus heavy metal. What’s your thoughts on that? I don’t want to prolong the debate, but just for fun, let’s just have a five-minute discussion about it.
[00:10:43] Well, let me start by digressing and saying that I’ve been in several car crashes, and it’s true. It was a very accurate description. I was in one that landed me in jail overnight. It was not good. So, yeah, it was a very vivid description, like, he is a good writer. My question of the debate, though, of hard rock versus heavy metal is, does the debate continue? I mean, he was writing in 1998. Is this something people are still arguing?
[00:11:12] Possibly. This is just me then.
[00:11:15] So, for example, if someone came to you or you’re in a conversation with someone at a cocktail party and they would say something like to the effect of “oh ACDC, I don’t like heavy metal,” would not some small part you want to say to them, ACDC is not heavy metal, it’s more of a hard rock.
[00:11:35] Yes, I would, although I think high school Phil would have been kind of course they’re heavy metal. Right.
[00:11:43] I felt they were never, they were never heavy metal in high school. You thought they’re heavy metal. How did we ever become friends? Yeah.
[00:11:51] Yeah. I mean I think the image making obviously has a lot to do with it beyond the music. Right. Like whether you’re a metal band. A lot of it has to do with what? What affectation you have? I mean, I think he says something about how Black Sabbath, they’re basically just a heavy blues band. Right?
[00:12:09] I thought maybe it’s more of a heresy that, like, it’s a categorization that people do. It’s the way to simplify it. And that way you can just dismiss entire genres like pop metal, for example, and just call it something different. And you don’t have to go listen to Ratt or Poison or Dokken or any of those bands. I don’t know, I agree with you abou his dismissing groups like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, which were to me at that point in time, that was heavy metal.
[00:12:41] It’s a bit, if the writing analogy, I think, would be science fiction. Right. Like, there was a reason a lot of writers didn’t want to be known as science fiction writers because they felt, I think Kurt Vonnegut said something like in the desk of literature, critics mistake the science fiction drawer for a urinal. So, you know, there’s always writers who want to be like not science fiction writers. So, at the same time, I think there’s a lot of bands that wanted to be seen as not metal bands because that would just get them dismissed.
[00:13:08] Well, he’s obsessed with appearance and it’s an interesting chapter because he’s talking about the importance of physical appearance and, you know.
[00:13:18] Conceivably, Hair Metal was termed for that reason, and he doesn’t like the term hair metal right now, and I don’t understand why not to debate this, but I’m not sure I understand the difference in hair, metal and glam. I thought they’re the same thing. And so when he says glam metal, I just assumed that was that hair metal age. This idea of physical appearance, which clearly was quite important back then. I was wondering in terms of, is it still important in today’s music listening environment? So I’ll clarify that question.
[00:13:52] So you had mentioned streaming music, I stream music and we stream that music from players.
[00:13:59] There’s no liner notes, and the album cover is rarely bigger than two square inches. So, is it still relevant, appearances, in today’s world of streaming music, what a band looks like?
[00:14:12] I think it’s relevant, it’s just maybe not connected to the streaming service. Like, you just go to Instagram instead. Right?
[00:14:18] Well, but do you? So I I’ve been listening, for example, to Indie music over the last 10 years. Grown to really love it, but I could not tell you what one band looks like.
[00:14:29] Is that just me, or is it because I didn’t grow to appreciate a band enough to care about who was in that band? Or am I just fickle and I just enjoy the music and then move on to the next band?
[00:14:46] Or is it because we’re not in high school and don’t have five hours a day to devote to our bands that we listen to?
[00:14:52] Also, no one will let me put up posters on my wall anymore. So, there’s no point.
[00:15:02] So one of the things about Klosterman is he comes up with theories and there is one interesting theory, I don’t know if you recall this, but he’s compares Constructive Glamour against Altruistic. So his definition is that Altruistic Glamour is something possessed only by those performers who are naturals. Like Jim Morrison.
[00:15:23] It’s a funny term, ‘altruistic glamour’.
[00:15:26] It is. It almost implies that it’s better than the average.
[00:15:32] I think Jim Morrison is the Dalai Lama. That’s right and that’s probably why I think he coined the term Altruistic because it really doesn’t even work.
[00:15:40] And then, of course, the band Poison, he considers the platonic ideal of constructive glamour. And I thought what he was trying to convey is this, is the concept of perceived authenticity. And I thought it was an interesting idea, like what makes one band authentic and yet another is derided for being considered manufactured?
[00:16:02] This is like one of the key obsessions for me when I was younger for sure. I don’t know about you, but that, who is authentic and who isn’t. And, you know, sometimes there’s a kind of obvious something to some performers. Right? Like, I know you love Alice Cooper. And when Callum, my oldest son, when he was 13, we went to see Alice Cooper when he was in Halifax and he and Helix was opening like, who knew Helix were still around, right? Yeah. So, you know, Callum’s watching the show intensely. And at the end of the show, he says to me, you know, Alice Cooper is really cool. The singer for that opening band thinks he’s cool, but he’s not.
[00:16:57] So did you explore that with him? Like why would he say that? Is this just that was his impression obviously and it didn’t go further than that?
[00:17:06] Yeah, I think we just then started talking more about the Alice Cooper show.
[00:17:09] You know, in terms of authenticity, you know, some bands just look like they’re trying too hard and some bands just seem to effortlessly fit into that musical space. And I think that has something to do with it as well. Because you can it’s almost like a fan can smell weakness, like an animal can smell fear on a human being.
[00:17:32] And if the band is comfortable and they have that confidence, then they look cool. Yes. Helix looked like they were trying too hard. I would say at that point in time, Helix was probably very close to playing a casino.
[00:17:48] One of the ones I did want to talk to you about on this podcast.
[00:17:52] And because this is key and we kind of started to talk a bit a little bit when we’re talking about Def Leppard, it’s this use of keyboards and synthesizers in heavy metal. And Klosterman uses an extreme comparison and refers to the Roe vs. Wade debate, which is where it’s comparing a woman’s right to abortion. Comparing that to have a metal band using synthesizers as being legitimate. Yes, controversial debates. I’m pretty sure one was a little more controversial and politically important than the other.
[00:18:24] But that’s how he writes. He uses extreme analogies to prove a point. And the keyboard debate is referred to in the book as a secret handshake.
[00:18:36] That this is a conversation.
[00:18:37] about the fans taking a side of the argument as a sign of credibility for someone in that subculture and that it separates metal fans into those who are in it for the long run and those that are more of the fickle audiences who are just listening to heavy metal because it’s popular.
[00:18:55] Phil: Sorry, he uses the line, the vile depravity of keyboard metal.
[00:18:59] Jay: Where do you stand on these use of synthesizers?
[00:19:03] Phil: I used to have very strong opinions. It’s another aspect of the authenticity debate, right?
[00:19:12] Jay: So electric guitars and drums, do synthesizers belong?
[00:19:16] Phil: And there were band that were clearly using them. And he says in the book that Warrant hid the keyboard player offstage. And, you know, there were bands where you could hear them, but you kind of pretended you didn’t I think. I can’t think of a good example and also, you know, some keyboard players were clearly bad ass and OK, like Jon Lord from Deep Purple. Right? No one was going to dismiss him.
[00:19:36] Jay: I think there was a need back in the 80s to differentiate. And part of that was because of the use of synthesizers in 80s pop music. I would have thought it’s an argument less about musicianship and it’s more of a desire to ensure a clear separation between we’ll call it glam metal. And there’s a regular new-wave pop music that was saturating the airwaves.
[00:20:00] Phil: Yeah, I think that’s a good point.
[00:20:02] Jay: Listening to music, developing your own taste, you can’t help avoid an elitism in what you listen to. You love what you listen to and everything else is just terrible.
[00:20:16] Phil: Although but it’s true when you’re in high school. Right. It’s what you’re differentiating yourself and you’re figuring out who you are. And music is one of the ways to do that. And the keyboard is a clear demarcation of something. Right. You’re on this side or you’re on that side.
[00:20:31] Jay: That’s right. And you’re leading up to a question which we’ll get into. But it’s this idea of music defining us. And that’s a great point Phil. And when we are in high school, we’re developing that identity. And part of that is we define ourselves. And I want to suggest that there may have been a handful of us in high school and that’s how we not necessarily defined ourselves. But I will say that was a way for people to describe us. But that was one of the groups I was in, as I was known as someone who listened to heavy metal.
[00:21:14] Jay: I have no idea if videos are as popular today as they were back then.
[00:21:17] But he suggested they had a huge impact on a band success.
[00:21:24] And he goes in to discuss in detail different formats, the different videos, those that incorporated a storyline and some of those that were just strictly shots of the band performing for the camera. Often in black and white.
[00:21:37] That’s right. Why is that? Why are they always, always to denote nostalgia? I don’t know. I don’t know. Authenticity? Authenticity. That’s right. I suppose if it’s black and white as well, it creates that sense of classic?. Yeah. Timeless. Timeless. You’re right.
[00:21:56] Phil: You know, I guess it goes back to what you were saying earlier to the impact of image. You know, the first time I heard of AC DC was when Tim Smith had his locker door open and he had a Back in Black sticker in the locker. And so I would have been in like grade eight and I saw this sticker, it just said AC DC Back in Black. The rest black. There’s no image. And there was something about that. Like the thought, the lightning bolt, the black that I just kind of went like, Whoa. Yeah. What is that? Yeah. I want to know more about that. So, you know, a video is like that on steroids, right?
[00:22:38] Jay: So imagery is is everything. So I kind of understand what you’re what you’re saying about the sticker on the locker. Klosterman does kind of speak to that a little bit.
[00:22:50] He keeps talking about platonic ideas, and I think that’s part of it. We talked before about altruistic versus manufactured. But he does reflect on this imagery and not necessarily with black and black, but imagery of a booze swilling, drug enhanced party animal who’s knee deep in bought debauchery.
[00:23:09] And it’s not a real thing.
[00:23:11] It’s one of Plato’s ideals, it’s no different than all chairs are representations of the ideal form of a chair.
[00:23:18] The mental imagery that cloaks rock stars like Nikki Sixx or Axl Rose is just a manifestation of this ideal of the definitive rock star.
[00:23:26] Right. Which is why you’re like oh, Nikki Sixx writes country songs.
[00:23:30] One of the things Klosterman does is talk about it imagery. And then, of course, as part of that is this idea where whether heavy metal is sexist or why does it continue to. Why are some, a lot of its imagery almost sex obsessed. And he quotes, I quote, “First of all, the relationship between sex and hard rock is an idea, not a tactile reality. Heavy metal is clearly not a conduit for actual intercourse.”
[00:24:01] while no studies were conducted at the time. It’s safe to say that most guys listening to Iron Maiden in the 1980s were not getting laid all that often. It’s not like Metal was the soundtrack of rapid teenage sex. It was actually the soundtrack from rampant teenage abstinence.”
[00:24:23] It was aspirational, though. I mean, I think he skates over the whole question of sexism. But I was interested when he talked about Lita Ford and kind of being fascinated by Lita Ford without even having listened to her music. I don’t know if you remember this, but a few years ago, I remember saying that I had noticed Lita Ford had started following me on Twitter. And you said, like, what? Why is she following you? I bought more of her albums.
[00:24:52] Jay: That’s’ funny. Lita Ford is following you on Twitter? I checked and she still does. Well, you’ve got some street cred there.
[00:25:06] Let’s talk a little bit about Satanism and heavy metal. I like his sense of humour about the whole thing.
[00:25:13] He goes, to paraphrase the insightful sock puppet stars of the Sifl and Olly show, all the really cool rock bands are from hell. Ever since Lucifer and chain smoking bluesman Robert Johnson made a deal down at the crossroads. Satan has been the finest A & R rep who ever existed. The Rolling Stones had Sympathy for the Devil.
[00:25:33] The Eagles stayed at his hotel and Van Halen went jogging with him. Now, Phil, I’ve always had a fondness for sock puppets. So my question is a two part query. And I did actually look up the Sifl and Olly show on YouTube, and it’s a couple of sock puppets who are very intellectual, surprisingly. So my question is two parts. What’s your opinion on why devil worship and the occult became such a prevalent theme in heavy metal and probably more essential to today’s discourse? Why are sock puppets so more popular?
[00:26:09] Phil: I’m going to have to leave the sock puppet question aside. Well, I thought his conversation about Marilyn Manson was interesting, too, and how, you know, he just shifted from kind of satanic to drugs because that was the next thing I recall.
[00:26:23] But I think he was trying to say that drugs were the new thing. Yeah.
[00:26:30] And Marilyn Manson was just chasing after themes. I say ‘chasing’ because I don’t like Marilyn Manson that much.
[00:26:36] Phil: Well, he says that the first time he interviewed Marilyn Manson, he was one of the most thoughtful and introspective musicians he’d ever spoken to. And then once he got famous, it was clear he was just in character.
[00:26:47] Jay: Right. OK. Let’s talk a little bit about compact discs, which is seems out of place, but he goes through a great deal of effort to explain why this idea of a desert island. So this is picking the five albums that you would like to have if you’re stranded on a desert island. And he does make an interesting point about compact discs. He goes, “the single biggest force driving the compact disc revolution was not sound quality, nor was it durability. It was the convenience of being able to hear a specific track instantaneously and then being able to move to another track as soon as the previous one got boring.”
[00:27:28] But what I was interested in hearing, Phil, is were there any albums on that list? (because it goes on to describe each one) that you listened to after the fact. Just based on how he described them?
[00:27:38] Phil: Yeah, there were a couple. I have to say, this is the point. It was after this chapter that the book started to lose me, that I started to fade a little bit. What I’ll say is, you know, clearly it’s no surprise that he puts Appetite for Destruction as number one. And I liked how he doesn’t offer ratings or stars. What he does is I can’t remember what he calls it. But he says how much money you would have to pay him to never listen to a particular album again. You know, I’ll never listen to this again for five hundred dollars. You’d have to pay me a lot more than ninety eight dollars to never listen to Back in Black again.
[00:28:18] But what I was really struck by was this idea that these albums that at the time would have seemed really important to me, aren’t now. And I’m wondering if nostalgia comes into play a little bit. Like which ones?
[00:28:31] So you mentioned Guns N Roses and Guns and Roses is all over the book that essentially that kind of first album they had. And I wondered if that’s because that was one of the first out. That was his gateway album. That always was a pivotal album for him. And we all had them. Like for myself.
[00:28:49] It might have been Black Sabbath first album, which I actually had on LP and. That was that would have been kind of my Guns and Roses, and so I was just curious as to how much nostalgia comes into play.
[00:29:05] Have you ever given any thought to (in terms of artists) that you’ve listened to who you love and you listen to them now and you’re like, I don’t really understand the appeal. April Wine, OK?
[00:29:17] Yeah. Yeah. Although I’ll still listen to them sometimes. Look, I think Klosterman is five years younger than I am, which for a lot of the book doesn’t really matter, but for certain things does. Right?. So when Appetite for Destruction comes out. He’s 15. I’m 20. That’s a big difference, right? Yeah. No, I remember. So I saw Guns and Roses opened for the Cult. I’d never heard of them before. And I, I did have that sense of like, holy hell. I don’t know who these guys are, but they are really good. And then I actually couldn’t even remember their name. I remembered the performance, but not the name. And then I remember seeing the poster in a record store for Appetite for Destruction. Right. With the cross and the cartoony skulls. And it did have that kind of like feeling, like, what is this? And I can really understand how that would be like his sort of band, because there was something different and exciting there. Right. And swaggering. And because I was 20, I never really stuck around to see what they were doing. I mean, I heard about them, but, you know, I haven’t spent a lot of time listening to their music after that. Whereas, you know, like for me, Back in Black, Back in Black for me is what Appetite for Destruction is for Klosterman.
[00:30:37] Jay: Exactly. Well said. That’s exactly what I was going with.
[00:30:41] It’s when we’re fifteen. We haven’t listened to a lot of music at that point when we’re 20. We’ve been listening to music for five years. Right. And it’s that that’s why I think appetite for destruction was so permeated his book so much. And for us, if we wrote the same book, do you think it might have been Back in Black or something? Right.
[00:31:03] Phil: Well, and Appetite for Destruction comes after all these years of kind of insipid new wave music and glam metal. Which, I guess, which is sort of its part of but also it’s like it throws down the gauntlet and it’s like, you know, here, fuck, drink, party.
[00:31:24] Jay: Yeah. Yeah. No, that’s right. All right, we’ve come to the part of the podcast where we offer a personal rating for the book. Regular listeners will recognize our scale of one to five. Where a five means the book blows everything else away like Motorhead, and a one means it sucks like Poison.
[00:31:47] Phil: You know, I was thinking about this cause I thought our rating, my approach to the rating scale is that it has to do with the book itself and its intentions as opposed to versus other books, because I’m going to rate Chuck Klosterman’s Fargo Rock City higher than I rated Bertrand Russell’s Conquest of Happiness. But that’s not necessarily because Klosterman is a better writer than Russell. I’m going to give it a solid 4 because it really swept me away at the start. I laughed so hard and I found myself going kind of like, yes! a lot of the time because it really captured that sense of this stuff matters to people. Like maybe it’s just stupid hair metal but it matters. And so for that, I will give it a four. I did grow tired of it in the last hundred pages or so.
[00:32:42] I feel that’s a Dog-eared and Cracked classic for you. You always get tired of books after.
[00:32:46] A hundred pages. Everyone needs a better editor. I find it harder to engage with it near the end, especially when he starts getting into. When he starts getting into, like, what he thinks is going to be important in music in the future. I mean, he talks a bit about Kid Rock’s Devil Without a Cause, but I felt like this kind of prognosticating is just usually ill advised, like he goes on about the Donna’s.
[00:33:19] If you ever listen to the Donnas, I did after he after reading about them, I did listen to them.
[00:33:25] Yes. Were they not truly awful?
[00:33:29] Jay: No. I actually didn’t mind them. I actually didn’t mind.
[00:33:33] I only listened to the top five on the playlist Spotify, but maybe I picked the wrong album to start with.
[00:33:40] Phil: How do you rate it?
[00:33:42] Jay: I’d rate it probably four out of five. I found it quite funny.
[00:33:49] I didn’t like some of the chapters like yourself and they tended to be towards the end as well. As almost like filler. Do you remember that he does a huge discussion of the Guns N Roses trilogy of videos. And I’m like, I get it Chuck, you didn’t like watching the videos. You don’t need to go on and on about it.
[00:34:07] Then he devotes an entire chapter to his drinking, and he’s got this premise. It’s tough to accept because it’s almost like an alcoholics rationalization. This premise that heavy metal and heavy drinking go hand-in-hand and it just became really boring to read.
[00:34:23] But the reason I’m giving it a four or five is because it the book gave me an excuse to apply an intellectual lens to something that I’d normally just listen to. And I actually was able to now think about it. And I appreciated that. And again, there’s humour in this book. So I’m with you. 4 out of 5 on this.
[00:34:43] Phil: Well, that’s two in a row that we’ve agreed on.
[00:34:45] Jay: I know our opinions are starting to diverge. This is maybe a good experiment.
[00:34:51] Jay: So final thoughts on Fargo Rock City.
[00:34:54] Phil: Yeah. Overall, I enjoyed it. I’m glad you recommended it. I guess I was surprised that somehow. Klosterman has completely passed me by. I’m not sure I would go out of my way to read any more of his books. When I’ve mentioned him to a few people, they’ve said to me. Yeah, I really like those early Klosterman books, which they didn’t say anything about his more recent ones. So I don’t know. I was happy to read it. It really is. Like you said, I think I like the same kind of thing as you, that it allowed you to apply an intellectual lens to something that you normally don’t. And but in an opinionated and funny way, too. So pretty good package, really.
[00:35:34] Jay: Yeah. Oh, I’m glad you enjoyed it. I mean, I am going to sum it up this way. I’m going to quote from him. He goes, “It’s always been my theory that criticism is really just veiled autobiography. Whenever someone writes about a piece of art, they’re really just writing about themselves”. So Phil, on that note. I would say Fargo Rock City is a finely written work of art one part intellect, one part adventure. And we’ve got some listener feedback from a previous episode. Phil, do you want to share?
[00:36:02] Yes, sure. So we’ve got somebody who goes by Peter Y. who says, “I’ve listened to and enjoyed a couple of dogeared and cracked episodes. Congrats. You and Phil definitely have a great rapport. I think an occasional guest/interloper/ provocateur could be interesting on topics that venture into specialized areas or markets. For example, baseball trivia or movie adaptations. Just the one cent thought, great fun”. And that is something we have actually talked about doing at some point.
[00:36:32] Phil: I think what we’ll do is have a huge a very extensive application process from our listeners if they want to appear on Dog-eared and Cracked. I really enjoyed this episode with you, Phil, and it’s been fun talking about heavy metal.
[00:36:45] Jay: Do you want to say a few words about our next book?
[00:36:48] Phil: So we’re switching gears a little bit. Next time we’re doing, we’ve done a few books that might be considered classics, but our like kind of big C classic we’re doing is Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. That’s my pick for you. It turns out, you know, you hadn’t read it before and I only read it for the first time a couple of years ago. So I’m curious to hear what you have to say about it.
[00:37:11] I’m looking forward to it. I mean, I’ve read one of her sister’s book, Wuthering Heights. So we’ll see how she does with this Jane Eyre.
[00:37:19] Well, that’s it. There might be something to her, you know. She might be a writer to watch for.
[00:37:26] Jay: I’m looking forward to seeing how she does this. And I promise I just won’t watch the movie instead of reading the book this time. I am looking forward to that.
[00:37:36] Well, that’s it for this episode of Dog-eared and Cracked. We’ll see you next time. All right. See you then.