What is the soundtrack of a novel? Or a novelist’s dream life? Rorschach Jukebox attempts to answer these questions with a unique interview format: we ask a contemporary writer 15 questions; they can answer only with artists and track titles. The resulting mix can be heard by hitting any of the mp4 buttons on this page.
Our subject today is D.R. Haney, author of Banned for Life (And/OR, Vancouver, 2009), a punk and post-punk epic that follows the adventures of Jason Maddox. Maddox’s bumpy quest for romantic and artistic fulfillment take him from the halls of a North Carolina high school to the punk clubs of New York to the world of Hollywood’s also-rans, creating some unforgettable characters and a lot of resonance with any reader who came of age with punk rock. maximumrocknroll vetted Haney’s writing as “spot on” and filled with characters that are “…super realistic. They’re nuanced and interesting and you actually care about what happens to them.”
D.R. Haney has actively participated in underground music, film, and literary circles for more than two decades. His writing has appeared in numerous journals, both in the United States and in Europe. He regularly writes for Brad Listi’s The Nervous Breakdown. Banned for Life is his first published novel.
1. Jason Maddox, the protagonist of Banned for Life, undergoes a punk rock conversion when he falls from grace after banging his girlfriend’s mom and beating the piss out of a preppy confidant who broke the story around his North Carolina high school. We all have a conversion song — that single that not only opens you up to a new genre, but alters the course of your life. Play a conversion song from D.R. Haney’s life.
“Dissect” The John Spencer Blues Explosion
2. If Banned for Life were to be optioned for film and actually produced, and you had to pick a Wire song to play during the opening credits, which single would you choose?
“Point of Collapse” Wire
3. Okay, now we’d like you to score your own montage from the second passage of Banned for Life. Maddox is hanging out with PeeWee — the diminutive, high-strung New York exile who is biding time in North Carolina until he can get back to NY and start a band. We see them hanging out in PeeWee’s apartment at all hours, smoking weed and talking while listening to records; Jason is at his painting job, getting razzed by the crew for dyeing his hair; they’re getting into a parking lot brawl and hurriedly packing afterwards for New York. What is playing?
“Drink Deep” Rites of Spring
4. Play some fucking hardcore.
“I Remember” Millions of Dead Cops
5. I’ve always maintained that Public Enemy’s Yo! Bum Rush the Show is one of the greatest punk rock albums of all time. Exhibit A: the buzz that runs the length of “Public Enemy No. 1,” broken only by Terminator X’s chunky scratches. Play a song that you think is punk as fuck, although technically not in the genre.
“Agile, Mobile & Hostile” Andre Williams
6. In Banned for Life, our hero ends up in LA as a struggling screenwriter after years of playing in the New York punk and post-punk scene. In LA, he meets Irina, the enigmatic Serbian beauty. What single do you think best captures the first time he sees her?
“Keechie” No Age
7. At Coors Field, each Rockies batter gets to pick a song snippet that plays on the PA right before his at-bat. It’s the usual butt rock, pop rap and new country garbage that you can well imagine. What plays before D.R. Haney takes the plate?
“13 Monsters” Lightning Bolt
8. During college, I drove trucks for The Denver Post during summers home. Graveyard shift, coming home at 4 a.m. with hands smeared with newsprint and feeling kind of elated. “Gimme All Your Lovin’” by ZZ Top came on the radio, and I heard the song for the first time devoid of the need for music as social identity. I realized the production of the guitars and drums (and the anchoring synth) on that song were straight-up fucking genius. Do you have one like that?
“God Only Knows” The Beach Boys
9. In L.A. Jason Maddox finally tracks down Jim Cassady, the former frontman from the fictionalized band Rule of Thumb, who was a huge musical influence on the novel’s characters. Cassady — agoraphobic, alcoholic, slovenly, overweight and living with his mom — still has a knack for a hook. What does it sound like when Maddox gets to play guitar with his former idol?
“Bible Silver Corner” Rodan
10. You live in the Echo Park area, the same neighborhood where Jason Maddox lives during his L.A. stint. If you were on the city council steering committee that had to pick a theme song for your ‘hood, what would it be?
“Film Noir” Savage Republic
11. What’s the last song you were pleasantly surprised to hear being played in a retail location?
“We Live Again” Beck
12. Play a song that’s guaranteed to give somebody diarrhea.
“Stag Party” Cherubs
13. Play a song that you thought you were sick of but recently rediscovered, late at night, alone and drunk in your apartment.
“Dine Alone” Quicksand
14. You’re at your favorite spot in L.A. They have an iPod “DJ” playing some self-indulgent crap and nobody’s paying attention. You know what it takes to make this room jump. You push him down and unplug his iPod and throw it at him. Then you plug in your iPod and play…
“They Live By Night” The Make-Up
15. Mr. Haney, please take us home with a little pre-1950s blues.
“Down Baby” Lightnin’ Hopkins