Couldn’t you just stare at this photo of Coppola all day? His beard looks like the goddamn black hole at the center of the universe. Seems like Frank can somehow sense it as well. It ain’t no concern, though. He’s got bigger fish to fry (i.e. gettin’ Hackman to act good). “There’s a black hole on my chin? Whatever. Magic hour’s almost over.”
Something to ponder: If Return of the Jedi had never been made, the highest grossing film of 1983 would have been Terms of Endearment. Terms was the only other film that year to hit the nine figure mark, whalloping Flashdance, Trading Places, and even Tom Cruise’s breakout hooker comedy Risky Business. People in ’83 really wanted to watch Debra Winger die (SPOILER ALERT).
Of course, the concept of Return of the Jedi never being made is ludicrous. I recently read an interview where George Lucas was asked what he would have done if Mark Hamill had died in that famous car accident just before Star Wars came out, and King George said something to the effect of, “Oh, I would have introduced another young mystical Jedi person and centered Empire and Jedi around them.” Piss off with your dying, Luke Skywalker. You think you can stop this fucking Star Wars juggernaut? You think being the “main character” means anything? Try again.
I’m sure not even the combined deaths of Mark Hamill, George Lucas, the rest of the cast, and every unnamed talent at Skywalker Ranch would have prevented a franchise. The original SW made too much money—”fuck you” money, as my father would call it. 20th Century Fox would have given us something, even if it was pure z-level schlock that followed Doug McClure around Tunisia as he searched for C-3PO’s evil clone with Chewbacca’s “force sensitive” second cousin at his side. Star Wars was a license to print money. Hell, it still is. How else do you explain those prequels?
Still, I’m fascinated by an alternate universe where, for whatever ungodly reason, Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back exist yet Return of the Jedi doesn’t, leaving fantasy film’s greatest cliffhangers forever unresolved. It would have to be the result of some complicated legal thing, right? Some Day The Clown Cried situation? Imagine if our rigid American copyright laws prevented anyone from ever seeing Darth Vader without his mask, from ever meeting and/or complaining about an Ewok, from ever hearing Admiral Ackbar bellow, “It’s a trap!” If you think Star Wars nerds are fussy now…
An even crazier scenario: George Lucas, burnt out from Empire, vows to never complete the trilogy and has it written into his contract somehow that no one else can ever make Star Wars III. I mean, he’d be assassinated like two days later, right? None of Boba Fett’s helmet polishers would put up with that.
The real question is: in a world without Jedi, does Kenner switch their focus to produce Terms of Endearment action figures? I’d buy a Debra Winger toy in a heartbeat. Like a twelve inch doll of her smiling like she is on the poster? Oh, that’s going right next to my Gremlins bubble gum machine.
A: Lotsa this, coz I’m a young adult on the dole in Thatcher’s England:
Wish I knew what was going on with the guitarist’s wispy bullshit mustache. He looks like Schneider from “One Day At A Time.”
Wednesday night I recorded a guest appearance on “Schlock Treatment,” a podcast about bad movies hosted in part by my friend Kirk H. The cinematic selection this week was The Prophecy II and since I wrote a book about the Misfits these guys figured I could offer some interesting insights into Glenn Danzig’s small role in the film as this renegade hell angel. Did I do a good job? That’s for you to decide:
Big thanks to the “Schlock” crew for having me on their show. I had a blast, even when I was reading that viewer mail about the weird dinosaur movie. Apologies to Park Overall, whose name I mispronounce in the episode as “Pork” (assuming they left that gaffe in).
Let’s all get wasted and throw up next to the taco truck, WOOO HOO.
A reader by the name of Inzo pointed out that in the first paragraph of the sixth chapter of the current hardcover edition of This Music Leaves Stains I mistakenly identify Eerie Von as Samhain’s drummer in the original lineup and Steve Zing as the band’s bassist. It’s actually the other way around. I sincerely apologize for this embarrassing boner, a boner I read hundreds of times and didn’t notice but a boner that thankfully will be un-bonerized in October’s trade paperback version. Thanks, Inzo.
The music world is mourning the loss of Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman, who died yesterday from liver failure
brought on by apparently not related to the rare skin disease called necrotizing fasciitis that Hanneman developed following a 2011 spider bite. He was 49.
I don’t think it’s a stretch to call Jeff Hanneman the heart of Slayer, as much as any member of that band can have an individual persona outside their collective window-battering sonic monsoon. Jeff was a guy who seemed to love what he loved unabashedly. Case in point: he plastered Oakland Raiders stickers on his guitars next to emblems from punk bands who wouldn’t be caught dead outside a football stadium. Of course, that’s the kind of move Slayer is famous for, blending the raw fury of punk with even angrier outposts (Jack Tatum was colder than anyone in D.R.I. and you know it).
More importantly, Jeff Hanneman played with such heat and ferocity you just knew he was putting in his all. I’m not trying to make this about me but when I look back at some of the ways I’ve described the basic sound of Slayer in the past—”turgid cascade of sadism,” “[sounds like someone] being ripped apart by a pack of wild dogs”—who else could evoke such responses but Slayer? Jeff Hanneman was obviously a huge part of that. He helped define speed/thrash metal, he did it with a tremendous amount of passion, and for that we’ll always miss him.
EDIT: After checking out various obits for Jeff online I think this open letter from Slayer, posted a year and some change after the initial spider bite, is the best item to read to get a sense of what his illness was like.
I don’t know, I can’t even comprehend it, but that’s where I found it and it’s mine now. I think this safely seals 2013 as a great year.
A compilation of queries from all the previous F.A.Q.s that people keep asking.
Q: The fudge yo’ book so expensive?
A: The hardcover of This Music Leaves Stains is something of a “limited edition” meant to be purchased in bulk by libraries and educators. As such, it boasts a rather steep price tag of $40-55 (don’t ask me why the Kindle price is also that high; it just is and I’m sorry, I had absolutely no say). I think I wrote a really great book, but certainly not one worth fifty bones to the average reader and/or Misfits fan. If you’re bursting at the seams to read this thing and wanna go to Amazon right now to pick a copy up, hey, I appreciate your enthusiasm, but please be aware a softcover version comes out in October via Taylor Trade that’ll retail for around $14-25. I encourage the majority of you to wait for what (if I were a record store in the 1980s) I’d call “the nice price.”
Q: The fudge are all the pictures?
A: Here. A budget was not in place to license all the photos I wanted to include (photographers like to get paid when you put their stuff in a book).
Q: But didn’t you get an advance or something with this book deal? Why didn’t you use that money, you greedy dollar-grubbing turd?
A: Don’t believe everything you see on all those glamorous prime time writer dramas. Scarecrow Press is an academic publisher; in lieu of some fat check upfront I got creative autonomy and later on I’ll get a piece of those sweet sweet royalties.
Q: If I buy the hardcover will you sign it?
A: If you see me somewhere, of course. I never ever thought I’d make something as cool as this book and I’m overjoyed that anyone would sink any kind of interest into it. If you buy it in any kinda format I’ll sign it! I’ll sign your e-reader, I don’t even care!
Q: When’s your book tour?
A: October-ish, when the softcover version is released. That’s the versh that’ll be in various fine book retailers for a regular book sum. Between now and then I’ll probably make sporadic appearances at libraries and colleges (if they’ll have me) to thump the hardcover, but the real “book tour” where I go to book stores, coffee shops, and Wal-Mart parking lots will happen in the fall.
Q: WHERE’S your book tour?
A: Definitely up and/or down the east coast. Further west to any major metropolitan area I can afford to reach.
Q: Can I find your book at my local library?
A: You might be able to find it at your local college/university library. According to all-knowing Internet biblioteca sources, This Music Leaves Stains is currently on the shelves at UMass Amherst’s W.E.B. Du Bois Library, U of Maryland’s Theodore R. McKeldin Library, NYU’s Elmer Holmes Bobst Library, Notre Dame’s Hesburgh Library, Georgetown’s Lauinger Memorial Library, the library at the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame in beautiful downtown Cleveland, U of Texas’s Fine Arts Library, U of Iowa Libraries, and libraries at Pierce, Cornell, Columbia, U of Pennsylvania, Bowling Green State, Duke, UNC, and U of California Riverside. Book dumps at Brown, Trinity, Indiana U, and Texas A&M have all allegedly ordered it.
Internationally, I’m told TMLS has made it to three libraries in Australia: Melbourne’s Box Hill, Sydney’s Canterbury City Council, and New South Wales’s Sutherland Shire. York and McGill U in Canada also claim they’ve ordered it. Sorry, Europe. No penetration yet.
I’m sure more institutions of academia are requesting my awesome Misfits book every day. Check with your local college/uni lie-berry. If they don’t have it, ask them to order it. If they won’t order it, well, I don’t know. Rent your Dustin Hoffman VHS tapes somewhere else!
Q: James R. Greene Jr? What does the “R” stand for?
A: It stands for someone made an oopsie inputting my name into a database somewhere. I don’t use my middle initial on the professional tip. Keep that in mind, though, when you’re asking around about This Music Leaves Stains; some listings have the “R.” For the record, my middle initial is D, and it stands for DEFFEST EMCEE IN THE GAME (HOOOOOO!!!). No, it stands for Dennis.
Q: Will it be available as an audio book?
A: Only if I can get someone really cool to read it, like Bernie Casey. Bernie Casey’s into the Misfits, right?