I am always surprised at writers who say they don't listen to music when they write, or won't listen to music with vocals, as they don't want it to influence or distract them. Me, I won't write without music. Songs often express what we can't, or won't, put into words. We allow songs to be unabashedly sentimental in ways we do not allow to ourselves. The music I listen to when I write defines the internal worlds that characters don't get to express.
Lucas Zane had a career as a war photographer, and threw it away. Now he hopes to redeem himself through a documentary on Melissa, a stripper and porn performer looking for a redemption of her own.Combat Camerais a story about violence and its aftermath, about journalism, flim-flam, pornography, loneliness, the lies we convince ourselves to believe just so we can carry on, and the greatest sentimental lie of all, that you can somehow get a do-over on your life. These are some of the songs I had on heavy rotation while I wrote it.
A wail on the high register of the harp, and the voice says "light it up." Gordie Johnson's guitar tone is a match meeting gasoline, the guitar riff crunching over a steady drum line, an insistent pulsing beat. The summer this song was released, I blew the factory speakers clear out of my cheap red hatchback. Loud, sexy, and brash, one hundred and twenty-five decibels of unabashed desire. You can hear Melissa dancing, strutting down that spotlit runway, topless. I'm her silver dollar, she's my, my slot machine.
There is a clueless aspect to this song, an air of bewilderment. The singer has know idea what, if anything, he might do to fix things; he just wants it all not to be. And beneath it is resignation: things can't be fixed. Zane looks on Melissa with mixed feelings, a not untypical masculine reaction to the "fallen woman." I know that I can find you in somebody's room, howls Dylan. It's the price I have to pay; you're a big girl all the way.
For the rest of his Book Notes playlist please go here.