Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Ten Questions with Noel Hudson

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Ten Questions with Noel Hudson

Noel Hudson is a book editor and writer for television, radio, magazines and newspapers. He has played lead guitar in such notable ensembles as Mule's Lips, Hawaiian Howard and the Indoor Plants, the Louisville Sluggards, and currently in the jazz-funk quartet Bebopamoeba. His new book, The Band Name Book (Boston Mills Press), explains how the best-named bands in history got their names.

OB:

Tell us about your book, The Band Name Book

NH:

It’s a meaty, beaty, big and bouncy collection of facts and trivia about the origin of rock & roll band names, from late 1950s doo-wop groups all the way up to 2008 alternative bands -- thousands of bands with great names. Most are/were located in the US, UK, Canada, Australia and Scandinavia, but I include groups from over 30 countries. Equal attention is given to such legends as Led Zeppelin and such local heroes as Agoraphobic Nosebleed. It’s all loudly illustrated with great album-cover art and band posters for bands with weird names.

OB:

Did you have a specific readership in mind when you wrote your book?

NH:

Music lovers. Pop culture junkies. Pun worshippers. Musicians travelling between gigs in ancient, revamped school buses at 3:00 A.M.

OB:

Describe your research for The Band Name Book.

NH:

I read a lot of other people’s lists. I consulted rock histories. I spent quality time with the Rolling Stone: Cover to Cover DVDs and the stream of current music magazines. But then I went to MySpace and CDBaby for the most current under-the-radar bands. I visited thousands of individual band sites, fan sites and Wikipedia entries. This is a book that wasn’t possible pre-internet.

OB:

What are the top three oddest names for bands that you discovered while working on your book?

NH:

The book’s entire focus is odd band names, so selecting the three oddest from thousands is an impossible task. Having said that, it’s hard to top Big Fat Pet Clams From Outer Space, Molten Lava Death Massage, and the Brady Bunch Lawnmower Massacre. Of course, there are band names in the “Shock Your Mama” section that you will drop in party conversations for many years to come.

OB:

Your own band, Bebopamoeba, has an unusual name. How did you and the other members of the band decide on it?

NH:

It’s from a line of dialogue in “Mobile Homes,” the title story in a collection I wrote back in the mid-80s. The narrator is a hyperactive forklift driver in a mobile home factory. In one scene, he’s speeding along singing, “Bebopamoeba, she’s my baby,” a malapropism for “Be-Bop-a-Lula,” the 1956 Gene Vincent & His Blue Caps hit. Our keyboard player suggested it as a name, as we play a kind of shape-shifting jazz-funk-blues-soul-rock.

OB:

If you had to choose three albums as a "Welcome to Canada" gift, what would those albums be?

NH:

Who are the recipients? Canadian artists have produced a staggering amount of great music. Just three albums?! To show the history of Canadian music? Its scope and diversity? No gift certificates allowed?

At the risk of offending all Canadian solo artists and all but three Canadian bands: (vintage) The Guess Who, Anthology; (modern) The Tragically Hip, Fully Completely; (post-modern) The Stills, Oceans Will Rise. But I prefer the idea of a “Welcome to Canada” mix DVD of MP3s with several hundred Canadian songs on it.

OB:

What was your first publication and where was it published?

NH:

My first writing to go beyond high school and university publications was probably “Salmon,” a short story in the debut issue of Writing magazine.

OB:

Do you have any advice for writers who are trying to get published?

NH:

Read. Be aware of the rhythms of language. Be aware of the precise meanings of some words; the multiple meanings of others. Provided the story is worth telling, its success with the reader comes down to rhythm and word choice. Can you captivate your fellow cave people huddled round the fire waiting to hear your tale?

OB:

What are you reading right now?

NH:

The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon and Jeff Beck: Crazy Fingers by Annette Carson

OB:

What is your next project?

NH:

Convincing every band member in every band mentioned in The Band Name Book to buy a copy for every member of their extended family.

The Band Name Book

Read more about The Band Name Book by Noel Hudson at the Firefly Books website.

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