Monday, April 19, 2010

Ike Reilly does not "magic rat" it at Largehearted Boy.

We are most grateful that the ever on it Pete Anderson let us know about writer Steve Almond's recent interview with TBWCYL, Inc's favorite local musician Ike Reilly at the always fantastic Largehearted Boy. There are endlessly great exchanges in this piece, but we especially enjoyed Reilly's riff on "magic ratting" it when it comes to his songwriting and we have pasted that part of the interview below for your viewing pleasure. We would add, that TBWCYL, Inc. spokesperson Ben Tanzer was invited to write a Book Notes essay for Largehearted Boy when Most Likely You Go Your Way and I'll Go Mine was released and as you will also see below we just happened to namedrop none other than Ike Reilly as one of the musicians we were listening to during the writing of the book.

The Almond/Reilly Interview:

SA: Your songs nearly always tell stories, often about characters making bad decisions and bad deals. My sense is this comes from being a native bullshitter yourself, a spinner of yarns. But maybe I'm making dumb assumptions. Are there writers (or other artists) who have influenced your songwriting?

IR: Steve, once again you've made an incredibly dumb assumption. Please don't do it again. Songs about good decisions don't seem that interesting...I can't even think of one. Actually, most all of the people that appear in my songs are based on people that I know or knew or have seen or heard about. I really try not to mythologize much. Within my braintrust of drunks and lay-abouts we have a phrase and it is "magic rat." As in, don't "magic rat" it. "Magic Ratting" in our camp is a flaw in story telling that surely makes for a good story but doesn't really ring true. It's drama in a show biz kind of a way. It sounds nice but it sounds like it comes from a writer not someone who has inhabited the space in the story or song. It comes from the song "Jungleland." I have been guilty of it, I have purposefully done it, but I hate it when I hear it from me or anybody...but especially from me. I've certainly been inspired by writers and artists.

The Most Likely You Go Your Way and I'll Go Mine Book Notes:

The Hold Steady, Your Little Hoodrat Friend/The Ike Reilly Assassination, When Irish Eyes are Burning/Other World, Automatic/Jay-Z, 99 Problems/Avail, Simple Song/Be Your Own Pet, Fill My Pill

And so where are we? I thought I should finish highlighting the stuff I was listening to as I wrote the book, well, besides Dylan of course. First, I fell in love with The Hold Steady and Ike Reilly while working on the book. Both are great storytellers, and while I hope The Hold Steady doesn’t get much more popular, I can’t figure out how Ike Reilly isn’t huge, seriously, huge. I would add here that it was watching The Hold Steady perform at the Metro here in Chicago last fall that the idea for my next book started to jell in my head. So right now it’s tentatively titled You Can Make Him Like You and The Hold Steady is all over it. I also stumbled into Other World which is a band that’s led by a guy out here named Mark Hendryx who I met at junior kindergarten function after his son and my older son became friendly. He played at the release party for “Most Likely You Go Your Way and I’ll Go Mine” and was just awesome. Meanwhile, The Grey Album by Danger Mouse is a real favorite of mine, and while I had always really been into the White Album as a kid, especially Rocky Raccoon, which was my dad’s favorite, it occurred to me that I should probably finally listen to the Black Album as well. Now I’m hooked on that too and 99 Problems just puts a big smile on my face every time I hear it. Same with just about anything by Avail and Be Your Own Pet, both of whom I got exposed to while writing the book, both of whom I listened to incessantly while working on it, and both of whom are especially fun to listen to when editing, because there are times when editing calls for a jackhammer, and not a Ginsu, and at those times I want to be body-slammed in to a wall by the music I am listening to.


ę„ŠDodieSeaver0202 said...

I love readding, and thanks for your artical.........................................

Pete said...

As for being "ever on it", all credit for that goes to my employer and its chronic inability to provide meaningful and interesting work, which might otherwise divert me from reading hundreds of blog posts every day.

Ben Tanzer said...

We will thank him, or her, as well then. Thank you.