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Thursday, June 30, 2005

Writers Who Rock

What is it with authors wanting to make music? Rick Moody -- whose memoir, The Black Veil, was savaged by Dale Peck and Jonathan Franzen, among others, and who has a new novel out -- has started a band called, unpromisingly, The Wingdale Community Singers. According to this report, their CD "applies the folk aesthetic to modern urban life, but it also seems to go so far out of its way to be earnest that it almost begets an strain of Brooklynian super-irony." Uh...right.

Stephen King and Dave Barry, of course, are also known for touring with an outfit entitled The Rock Bottom Remainders, a "band of authors" whose line-up has included Barbara Kingsolver and Amy Tan. And thwarted musician Kazuo Ishiguro confesses: "[F]rom the age of sixteen and perhaps till as late as twenty-four, my ambition was to be a songwriter...I play guitar and piano, and I wrote over a hundred songs, made demo tapes and did the whole thing of going to see A&R men at the various recording companies."

(Music is also an important influence on Hanif Kureishi, who edited The Faber Book of Pop. And Hari Kunzru, till recently music editor of Wallpaper, has collaborated with British musicians Coldcut on Sound Mirrors, an experimental radio play.)

Closer home, Amit Chaudhuri has been known to perform at Hindustani classical music concerts. And though he had nothing to do with the music per se, a set of lyrics from Salman Rushdie's The Ground Beneath Her Feet was picked up and turned into a single by U2. Leading the writer to proclaim, with typical panache, that this was "the first book with a theme song".

Coming soon to a stadium near you: Vikram Seth And His Suitable Boys. Featuring Siddharth ‘Mr Soul’ Shanghvi, crooning his last song of dusk. With a special guest appearance by V.S. Naipaul And The Magic Seeds.


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