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You Know They Got a Hell of a Band
April 3, 2011 10:15 PM   Subscribe

Stephen King and John Mellencamp will debut their long-awaited Southern gothic musical 'Ghost Brothers Of Darkland County' next year. The story concerns the deaths of three people in Atlanta in 1957 and the CD will have songs by Kris Kristofferson, Elvis Costello, Neko Case, Meg Ryan, and Matthew McConaughey. King is also working on the 8th Dark Tower book, 'The Wind Through the Keyhole', which is due next year.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn (48 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Part of me cannot wait for this musical and another part of me wishes that King was working with Springsteen. Between the constant Springsteen references in King's books to Springsteen's occasionally horrific imagery I think it would be perfect.
As for the Dark Tower book, I'll just keep repeating 'pleasebegood, pleasebegood' and maybe it will be.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:16 PM on April 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh man.. I was totally prepared to snark on this, based solely on Stephen King's output since I was thirteen, but with Kristofferson, Costello, Neko Case...

Still, I will reserve my judgment on the Under the Dome feature film adaptation featuring Tom Green, Clint Howard and Rob Schneider (as 'The Gimp').
posted by Auden at 10:26 PM on April 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is the first thing that Stephen King has done in a long time to really scare me.
posted by twoleftfeet at 10:29 PM on April 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


This is weird.
posted by stbalbach at 10:30 PM on April 3, 2011


I can't wait until I'm old and I get to explain to young children what Stephen King was all about. He will be leaving quite a wild legacy and that's sort of awesome.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:31 PM on April 3, 2011


This is weird.

how so? King has always used music, from the Dylan epigram in The Stand to the ZZ Top drums in that Dark Tower book to the 'Darkness at the Edge of Town' bits in The Body. he made a movie with an all AC/DC soundtrack. he commissioned The Ramones to write a theme song for a movie. a dark, King musical would be PERFECT. except in my head it has 'Thunder Road' in it
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:33 PM on April 3, 2011


Still, I will reserve my judgment on the Under the Dome feature film adaptation featuring Tom Green, Clint Howard and Rob Schneider (as 'The Gimp').

they already adapted it
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:33 PM on April 3, 2011


I allegedly have a soul, which I would be happy to exchange for tickets to the musical.

Sometimes I wish I wasn't the only Mefite who both doesn't read sci-fi and has fond memories of King scaring the shit outta me as a teenager.

I've just re-read You Know They Got A Hell Of A Band, and the concept still freaks me out, particularly as my favourite local band has a lead singer I have described as the reincarnation of Janis Joplin. Then I start to worry whenever I walk into a cafe in a small country town.



Wait. Can Meg Ryan sing?
posted by malibustacey9999 at 10:38 PM on April 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've just re-read You Know They Got A Hell Of A Band, and the concept still freaks me out, particularly as my favourite local band has a lead singer I have described as the reincarnation of Janis Joplin. Then I start to worry whenever I walk into a cafe in a small country town.


I'm a classic rock fan who was born 5 years after Lennon died. That story CAN'T freak me out because no matter how hard King tries he can't make the idea of all my favorite musicians jamming FOREVER creepy. It's my idea of paradise. I saw the TV adaptation, and I was surprised they didn't do a cheap Cobain scare. That would have been something, but otherwise the ending was like 'wow, you mean instead of spending my nights watching shitty gigs i'd have to spend them watching THE GREATEST GIG EVER? I'm terrified'.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:40 PM on April 3, 2011


I dunno. This thing just SCREAMS Drive By Truckers as opposed to John Mellencamp.
posted by KingEdRa at 10:53 PM on April 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


I dunno. This thing just SCREAMS Drive By Truckers as opposed to John Mellencamp.

with sets designed by Wes Freed.

why Southern Gothic anyway? King's so New England I get homesick reading his books. half the time Southerners are a punchline. guess he wants to stretch his wings a bit
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:57 PM on April 3, 2011


He's in a band with MAYA ANGELOU. An anecdote:
""I picked up one of the two guitars I'd been using, and just as we were about to start, Stephen King tapped me on the shoulder and said, 'We have a special guest.' I turned around, and there was Bruce Springsteen. I still don't know how he came to be at this convention; I don't believe he's a bookseller. All I know is, he was picking up the other guitar. My guitar. 'Bruce,' I said to him. 'Do you know the guitar part to Gloria?' This is like asking James Michener if he knows how to write his name." - Dave Barry"
posted by nile_red at 11:00 PM on April 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


That article is in my Springsteen Reader. King has this custom spikey black guitar with skulls and shit.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 11:04 PM on April 3, 2011


malibustacey9999: "Wait. Can Meg Ryan sing"

The question is can she sing with duck lips?
posted by bwg at 11:24 PM on April 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


*attempts to favorite KingEdRa's comment a million times, breaks favoriting finger*
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:43 PM on April 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


King's sometime collaborator Peter Straub had at least one of his stories adapted by Nick Cave into songs. Nick's probably a bit too pretentious for this sort of thing, but a man can dream...
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 11:49 PM on April 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wait, what? Nick Cave . . . .adapted a Peter Straub story . . .into song? OHMYGODITSTHEHARMONICCONVERGENCEOFDARK!WHYDIDINOTKNOWABOUTTHISUNTILNOW?! *runs off to the internet to find the songs*
posted by KingEdRa at 12:18 AM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wait, what? Nick Cave . . . .adapted a Peter Straub story . . .into song? OHMYGODITSTHEHARMONICCONVERGENCEOFDARK!WHYDIDINOTKNOWABOUTTHISUNTILNOW?! *runs off to the internet to find the songs*

Curse of Milhaven first Cave song i ever heard

since Cave seems to be the current go-to guy for creepy Western soundtracks maybe he'll be involved in the Dark Tower movie
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 12:24 AM on April 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


I dunno. This thing just SCREAMS Drive By Truckers as opposed to John Mellencamp.

Hell yeah. Does this musical mean I have to pay attention to Mellencamp? I wrote him off back int he 80s for his crappy hits, and that Far Aid stuff seemed like a lot of grandstanding. He seemed to be trying too hard to be Springsteen, and I cant stand Springsteen.
posted by LarryC at 12:48 AM on April 4, 2011


'wow, you mean instead of spending my nights watching shitty gigs i'd have to spend them watching THE GREATEST GIG EVER? I'm terrified'.

No, I mean "can I never ever have just one night off where I can read a book or listen to the sounds of those goddamned birds that are driving me nuts at this very moment?".

That kind of Groundhog Day - even if it involved Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Bruce Springsteen, Janis Joplin, both Elvis's, McGee (aforementioned local band), Bic Runga, Pink, Dusty Springfield and Mellencamp - would be horrific, I reckon. Your favourite music, thrust at you, night after night after night with no choice? So eventually you grew to hate them?

That's where the story got me. My favourite songs and singers ruined for me, because I can't get away. That's torture. (Although in the story, Janis seems like someone I'd want to get away from.)
posted by malibustacey9999 at 1:01 AM on April 4, 2011



No, I mean "can I never ever have just one night off where I can read a book or listen to the sounds of those goddamned birds that are driving me nuts at this very moment?".


eh i get that feeling once a month. it's annoying, and i yawned at Motorhead, but i wouldn't call gig burnout 'terrifying'.

That kind of Groundhog Day - even if it involved Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Bruce Springsteen, Janis Joplin, both Elvis's, McGee (aforementioned local band), Bic Runga, Pink, Dusty Springfield and Mellencamp - would be horrific, I reckon. Your favourite music, thrust at you, night after night after night with no choice? So eventually you grew to hate them?

But they're all jamming, so there'd be new combinations and songs. even if if they were stagnated and couldn't play new stuff, people die all the time, so there'd be new people joining the band. Jay Reatard, Kurt Cobain, amazing blues guys you never would have heard of... lots of, er, new blood. the best horror is instantly horrific and terrifying. the amount of contortions and intellectualization required to make the premise of the story work is too much. and you know King's heart isn't in it because he loves old rock and roll. the worst I could say about it would be 'eh, it might kinda suck, and eventually i guess i'd want to not be trapped forever. maybe'.

He seemed to be trying too hard to be Springsteen, and I cant stand Springsteen.
Ignore every music post I make. 'Trying too hard to be Springsteen' is my criteria for a good band these days.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 1:11 AM on April 4, 2011


Curse of Milhaven first Cave song i ever heard

How did I not know this song that I love is an adaption!

I was also ready to dismiss this with "meh, I liked King when I was 13", but with that soundtrack...
posted by _Lasar at 1:40 AM on April 4, 2011


Wow! Something might happen next year, you say? That's only 9-10 months away! I'm wetting myself with excitement. Can we get weekly updates?
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 2:04 AM on April 4, 2011


I love Roland and his ka-tet so much I'll read the next Dark Tower book, though I know it won't be good.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 2:05 AM on April 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


Wait. Can Meg Ryan sing?

When she voiced Anastasia in Anastasia, she didn't sing - singing duties were done by Liz Callaway - but that's not uncommon in Disney (and Disney-style) animations; female leads generally need a particular kind of voice for the songs, and talented session singers are cheaper to keep in a studio than Hollywood stars.

Looking at that report, though, it sounds like Case, Kristofferson, Ryan et al. were involved in recording a CD, but it's not clear whether they are acting or singing, or what (if any) involvement the have in the live show, assuming the live show actually happens. This might be best as one of those oddities that never sees the light of day, but which a hollow-eyed stranger occasionally claims to have heard at a billionaire's house in Malibu, on a scratchy reel-to-reel tape, at a party of which he or she is the sole survivor.
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:02 AM on April 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


But they're all jamming, so there'd be new combinations and songs. even if if they were stagnated and couldn't play new stuff, people die all the time, so there'd be new people joining the band.

I was ready to argue with you, asking shall we just agree to disagree, then I stopped and really thought about that. The older I get, the more of my favourites die. I concede.

But I'd still rather not live in Rock and Roll Heaven.

PS: My daughter was conceived soon after a Nick Cave concert at the Hordern Pavilion, the day of Michael Hutchence's funeral. We call him Uncle Nick.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 3:05 AM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I hereby cast Unknown Hinson.
posted by theredpen at 3:38 AM on April 4, 2011


And Brian Setzer.
posted by theredpen at 3:39 AM on April 4, 2011


Wait. Can Meg Ryan sing?
She's Mellencamp's girlfriend.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:53 AM on April 4, 2011


I hadn't really listened to Mellencamp in years but picked up his latest album last year and it's pretty darn good, depressing has hell but really sharply written.
posted by octothorpe at 4:33 AM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


"will have songs by [various real musicians], Meg Ryan, and Matthew McConaughey."

I appreciate that we're largely willing to give this thing a chance, but we're just going to let this part go?

Songs by Meg Ryan and Matthew McConaughey? Really?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 4:48 AM on April 4, 2011


Not to derail the thread, but can anyone here recommend (for or against) reading the Dark Tower series? I downloaded the sample of the first book to read on my Kindle, but that version had so many forwards that the sample ended before the actual book even started.
posted by Dr. Eigenvariable at 4:54 AM on April 4, 2011


Dr. Eigenvariable: I love, love, loved the Dark Tower books. I found the first one a bit hard to get into, and really, the 'middle' books (Drawing of the Three through Wizard and Glass) are the best and I have read them many times. But I'd say they're worth it, if only because you grow to seriously love the characters (as Lovecraft in Brooklyn observed)
posted by torisaur at 5:17 AM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


The first four are great. The last 3 are bad but yeah you'll love the gang so much that you'll read them anyway.
I think King should pass the Dark Tower series on to his son, Joe Hill. He has remembered the face of his father.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:44 AM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


PS: My daughter was conceived soon after a Nick Cave concert at the Hordern Pavilion, the day of Michael Hutchence's funeral. We call him Uncle Nick.

I'm glad Hutchence didn't make it into the TV version.


I'm so sorry.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:46 AM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love the Dark Tower books as well, but even King has noted (in one of those many forewords that you may have read) that they're not to everyone's taste. I'm sure you're aware by now of the basic plot (the last gunslinger is searching for the Dark Tower that's the linchpin of all creation, and which is in danger of falling) and the general tone (Lord of the Rings redone as a spaghetti western), but the story takes a number of twists and turns; King wrote it over more than thirty years, and the latter half of the saga is influenced strongly by the accident that nearly took his life. Some parts of it are pretty frustrating, but there's also a minimum of at least one really excellent action scene per book. Just remember that the series really picks up with the second book, where Roland gathers the members of his posse, or ka-tet in the language of the series.
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:47 AM on April 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


I can't wait until I'm old and I get to explain to young children what Stephen King was all about.

E.D.E.N. Southworth.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:08 AM on April 4, 2011


So, "gothic" as used here doesn't really mean what I had hoped.
posted by malocchio at 6:21 AM on April 4, 2011


FTA: King, of course, is no stranger to tales of heartland horror, but then neither is Mellencamp, what with the unsettling imagery of “Rain On The Scarecrow” and, of course, “Jack And Diane,” about two young lovers doomed to wander the earth immortal, long after the thrill of livin’ is gone.

Zombie Jack and Zombie Diane....that is comedy gold right there.
posted by edverb at 6:23 AM on April 4, 2011


I love the Dark Tower books as well, but even King has noted (in one of those many forewords that you may have read) that they're not to everyone's taste.

They aren't in the taste of anyone who likes good stories.

The Gunslinger was almost perfect. If Kubrick were still alive, that would be the western he could direct. It's not empty, it's full of void. The desert itself is a character, and everything that we see and everything that happens in the story is on the pivot of an impossible distant past and an infinite future.

But as the series progressed, it became increasingly laden with 60's boomer guilt and meandering pointless subplots and digressions. And it isn't that King has somehow lost his touch. "The Case of N." in Just After Sunset is awesome in the way that the best Lovecraft is awesome.

But King is also capable of astounding dreck. The Colorado Kid, anyone. No. No one.
posted by Pastabagel at 6:31 AM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sometimes I wish I wasn't the only Mefite who both doesn't read sci-fi and has fond memories of King scaring the shit outta me as a teenager.

You are not.

(also, Mellencamp seems to have been wandering in the wilderness of late, so it'll be interesting to see where this leads)
posted by jonmc at 7:41 AM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, I have mixed feelings about King having just given up on Drawing of the Three due to the realization that not only did it deliver paint-by-numbers bad cinema/literary crazy, everything about it revolved around Roland. Gunslinger was a weird combination of brilliant weird fantasy and adolescent, navel-gazing bullshit. For that matter, Mellencamp at his worst shares the same introspective pretensions of being the tormented prophet of middle-class and middle-American mediocrity. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it's corny as heck.

Either way, it should be interesting.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:21 AM on April 4, 2011


I dunno. This thing just SCREAMS Drive By Truckers as opposed to John Mellencamp.

You should listen to Mellancamp's Trouble No More album. All blues covers. He can handle this.
posted by Billiken at 9:04 AM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not to derail the thread, but can anyone here recommend (for or against) reading the Dark Tower series?

That's a tough question. The first 4 books are incredible -- like really awesome wonderful incredible. Along with the Talisman, Eyes of the Dragon, and The Stand, some of the best stuff he ever wrote. After I heard about the upcoming 8th book, I decided to finally finish off the series. So I picked up a copy of The Wolves of the Calla. Boy was I disappointed.

I dunno. It's tough to say whether it's really that bad, or if I'd just grown out of his writing. My big Stephen King phase ended before I entered my 20s, and that was before I'd read any good books. So it's hard to say if this is a problem with Wolves, or a problem with his writing in general, but I feel like he doesn't give his audience enough credit. Like, he never alludes to something when he can just go right out and have an expository scene -- or worse, show exactly what thoughts are going through the character's head. To me, this is unnecessary. My favorite books in recent years have been ones that actually do demand something from the audience; it makes you feel like you're part of the book. I mean, I know that King writes for a mass audience, but at this point in his career, hasn't he earned the right to go off-script and do something that's a little less-accessible?

Anyway, there are good parts of Wolves -- mostly in the descriptions and characterization of Mid World (the alternate universe where the book takes place) -- but I feel like a lot of the book is just sort of flaccid and lazy. He uses a lot of really lazy devices -- I won't get into them here because they're spoilers -- that really should be beneath him at this point. On the whole, the book was enjoyable, but not satisfying -- like a handful of m&ms when what you really want is a meal.

I've decided to skim the sixth book, Song of Susannah, because it centers around the least compelling character in the series, and has these sort of interminable expository sequences that have basically nothing to do with the main plot of the book. I don't think a thorough reading is necessary.

Anyone know if I should bother with the seventh? I mean, I wanna know how it turns out, and I'm hoping that it's better than 5 and 6, but damn, it's like 1000 pages. In that time, I could be reading any number of other books on my shelf. As it is, I'm thinking about just downloading it to my phone and snacking on it on the rare occasion when I don't have a book with me.

Also, can I say it? At this point in time, Joe Hill is so much of a better writer than his dad. Steve's lost it, don't think he's ever gonna get it back. Joe's stuff is completely enjoyable in every possible way.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:14 AM on April 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Anyone know if I should bother with the seventh? I mean, I wanna know how it turns out, and I'm hoping that it's better than 5 and 6, but damn, it's like 1000 pages.

I thought it was worth it. There's (oh so much) stupid shit in the last book, but it's better than the previous two, if only because it contains fewer payoff-less digressions -- hell, book 5 and 6 are payoff-less digressions. There are also a few moments which echo the early books in their descriptive and emotional power... and while the ending is a bad joke, the endings-after-the-ending are fantastic.

tl;dr: frankly, if you've read this far, there's no reason not to finish. And then you can re-read the first three books, and sigh, and dream of what might've been...
posted by vorfeed at 11:44 AM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, you need to finish the journey.
Are the Dark Tower comics any good?
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 3:38 PM on April 4, 2011


Are the Dark Tower comics any good?

I read the first one, and it was all right, basically just the flashbacks from Wizard and Glass in comic form. Not worth buying new, but if you can borrow it or read it in the bookstore...
posted by vorfeed at 4:09 PM on April 4, 2011


Finish the series. If you possess superhuman willpower: DON'T read the final pages. King takes a moment out-of-character-pause to warn you. You do not want to know.

Memail me if you achieve this and I'll congratulate you most warmly, I wish I had been able to.
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:33 AM on April 5, 2011


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