Jackson Falls- The (Un)official Soundtrack

The hardest part of writing a book is pulling all of the thoughts from my head, translating them into words, stringing the words into sentences, into paragraphs, into chapters, into completion.

I take that back. The hardest part of writing a book is sitting my butt down in a chair and making myself stay there for three to five hours per day, every day, for months on end. I have a short attention span. I am easily distracted. The slightest thing can throw my off. There is one thing that can keep me in the groove, keep my butt in that chair, keep my eyes on the prize. Music. The right mix of music. And it is a constantly morphing chameleon of songs. It’d be great if I could punch up the same three hours of songs every day. I’d be one prolific mofo. My kudos to all of the musicians who inspire my heart and mind on a daily basis.

JACKSON FALLS is driven by music. One of the main characters in JACKSON FALLS is Johnny Turner, the town’s prodigal and most famous son. His band, the Cliff Dwellers, is in the exactly the right place, at exactly the right moment in time. They are children of the Seventies, so their music is influenced by the early age of rock and roll. I imagine Mary Turner loving the Beatles. I imagine Johnny hating them because his mother loves them so much. That’s what kids do. I imagine a spinning turntable. I imagine the next record dropping onto that turntable and Johnny’s mother smiling broadly and pulling a 1965 Fender Jaguar guitar from behind the couch and handing it to her only son. I imagine Johnny Turner learning his first song:

The Beatles “Birthday”

The opening scene is the Cliff Dwellers’ coming out party. Some of my favorite parts of this book are the ones that take place with Johnny on stage. Johnny is a guitar genius with the love for the heavy riff. I see the hot summer day, the windblown fair, and the apathetic small-town crowd, I see the Cliff Dwellers coming out on stage and electrifying the crowd with the songs like:

Creedence Clearwater Revival “Born On A Bayou”

Ripping their hearts out with:

MC5- “Kick Out The Jams”

Johnny hits New York City as the worlds of punk and glam are colliding and he feeds off of that energy. He is the guitar hero that everyone wants to play with, but he has a hard time getting his own band up and running. And then he goes to CBGB and wows the punk world with songs like these:

Richard Hell and the Voidoids “Blank Generation”

Johnny Thunders “In Cold Blood”

The nineties are a blur for Johnny, with celebrity marriage, fame and fortune, and endless touring taking a toll on his health and his personal life. I see him winning his Grammy with a song like this:

Rocket From The Tombs “30 Seconds Over Tokyo”

While alternately shredding ear drums with the likes of:

Ball and Biscuit by The White Stripes

At the turn of the new millennium Johnny turns back inward to his roots, straight-ahead songs with blues sensibilities. I imagine Johnny writing and playing hit after hit with gut-punching guitar lines:

The Black Keys “Tighten Up”

The Raconteurs “Steady, As She Goes”

When Johnny finally makes his return to Jackson Falls, I can see him sitting down with his old buddy Darryl, just two men and two guitars, and playing an old song that they both learned together, like this:

Papa Junior “Wake Up Mama”

JACKSON FALLS was a lot of fun to write. The Rock and Roll aspects of it are just a small but important part. The best part of being a writer is making myself smile. If you guys get a chance to grin a little that’s just icing on the cake.

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