Bill Morris of The Millions wrote a fascinating essay on the seemingly unkillable appeal of the 1970s in current books and culture, called "The Cockroach Decade." I was thrilled when he devoted part of his essay to Beautiful Music. Here's an excerpt:
Then there are writers and artists who journey back in time, ransack their memories of the ’70s, and embellish them to create a sort of time-lapse portrait. Michael Zadoorian’s fourth book, the terrific Beautiful Music, is a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age story that is usually the stuff of first novels. A nerdy white teenager named Danny Yzemski is living with his unhinged widow mom in northwest Detroit in aftermath of the 1967 riot (or rebellion, depending on your political persuasion). It’s 1974 and Detroit has just elected its first black mayor, Coleman Young, and racism and the related tensions on the city streets and in the hallways of Redford High School are prompting many white families to pack up and get out of town. Danny’s salvation is his discovery of rock ’n’ roll, which helps him survive tough times in a tough town.
I called Zadoorian at his home in Detroit and asked him why he revisited the ’70s four decades after his 1975 graduation from Redford High. “I don’t know what drew me to write a coming-of-age story when I was in my late fifties,” he replied. “Maybe it’s a matter of trying to understand your path, this place, the way life was back then, including the toxic things like racism, anger, fear, white people moving out. There’s something fascinating about the ’70s, especially to people who weren’t alive then. Things were so outrageous and ugly that there was an audacity and a beauty to it. It was a time of ferment when the world went kind of crazy. It’s interesting to find those moments in time when things shift.”
Btw, Bill Morris is also a fabulous novelist who happens to be from Detroit. Check out his most recent novel, Motor City Burning.
My interview with Ann Delisi on her Essential Music show is posted here. It's a little longer than the one that aired. (Bonus content!)
Ann was also kind enough to ask me for my Essential Songs, so I gave her a list of my Essential Songs About Growing Up. It was really a thrill hearing her play them on the air. She also read what I had written about each of the songs. So fun. It was like being DJ by proxy. Her shows are archived here. The show with the interview and songs is Sunday, May 6, 2018. My segment is the second half of the two hour show.
I did a recorded interview with Ann DeLisi of Detroit Public Radio 101.9 last week. I really had a great time talking to Ann. She's a lovely person and a very genial radio host. We chatted about how my book Beautiful Music came about, Detroit radio stations of yore, how important music is to Detroiters, the magic of vinyl and how long it's been since either of us has sat down and listened to music without doing anything else at the same time. (A long time for both of us.) A shortened version of the interview will be played on the show Culture Shift during the week of April 30, then a longer version on the air on Sunday, May 6th. More to come.
Feature in the detroit News
Khristi Zimmeth of The Detroit News came to my house to talk to me and David Guralnick took a lot of photographs of our stuff. This is what is known as "Off the Book Page" publicity. Considering that there are barely any "Book Pages" left in the newspaper world, it's a very helpful thing to a writer. Check out her story and our vintage-stuff-filled house.
I spoke to Sven Gustafson at the Daily Detroit Happy Hour Podcast last week.
We had a great talk about the making of THE LEISURE SEEKER film, the differences between the book and movie, making an ass of myself with Helen Mirren, Detroit, my new novel BEAUTIFUL MUSIC and a whole lot more.
You can listen to it right here.