Brian Paone

Author // Musician

when the band you are adapting, gives you a shout-out on stage...

So it was officially announced last week that work has begun on my next novel (my 4th). It's a supernatural crime-noir thriller (think Dick Tracy meets Jacob's Ladder meets American Psycho). But, as a rock fiction author, there is obviously some music attached to this next disasterpiece. It's a novelization of Dog Fashion Disco's concept album, "Adultery."

That album takes the listener on a chaotic, jarring, and almost hypnotic spin through one detective's obsession with catching a killer. A killer who specializes in cleaning the streets of prostitutes ... after he's had his way with them first, of course.

At the beginning of the month, I drove from North Carolina to Baltimore to attend the CD release party of Dog Fashion Disco's album, "Erotic Massage" (this album has nothing to do with my novel, but it was the reason why they were playing a show). This concert was only 1 of 3 shows the band is playing in all of 2017. The other 2 are in Cleveland, and I can't get out there for them, so Baltimore it is!

I had VIP treatment at the club; all the VIPs were allowed inside 2 hours before doors opened to watch soundcheck and hang out with the band etc. Since Jasan (the guitarist) and Todd (the singer) had green-lighted the book to be written a few months ago, we hadn't really discussed it further. Mostly because I was outlining and still trying to figure out how I wanted to approach turning the album into a novel, from a creative standpoint.

I was able to discuss my outline, what I have written so far, and my plans for what's to come with Jasan, and he was very receptive and seemed genuinely excited to read what I'm coming up with so far. But it was during the show where the greatest endorsement from the band came.

In between 2 songs, Todd asked the crowd if they knew there was a novel being written for "Adultery." Many attendees clapped and cheered, acknowledging that they were aware. Then Todd told the crowd that the author was here in the audience, called my name, asked where I was, and I was hoisted into the air by other people around me as I tried to wave to the crowd.

The whole moment took maybe 15 seconds. But its the little breadcrumbs that are dropped during the journey of adapting an album into a novel, that can really make everything click. I don't know what else could top, as a rock fiction author, than having the band I am adapting, themselves, endorse and give a shout-out to me, on stage, in front of a few hundred people. It shows their faith in turning over what might be their most fan-loved album to me, to try to turn its sung story into some form of cohesive narrative.

I have had some really cool experiences since becoming a published author 10 years ago in 2007. Some of them are directly related to being a rock fiction author, where members of bands have reached out to me, and I've connected and networked with some "celebrities" because of my novels and stories being adapted from pieces of music. But having Dog Fashion Disco take time to highlight me on stage, at a show that was all about them and their accomplishment of making it to their 20 year anniversary and celebrating a new release, definitely is high on the list of "magical moments" for me as a rock fiction author.

 

Work has officially begun on the next novel.

My most recent novel, "Yours Truly, 2095", was released in 2015. Since then, I have only written and published 3 short stories. I have not even thought about the next novel. Until now...

At the beginning of the month I finished my outline for what will be my 4th novel, hopefully released later this year. It's a sinister crime-noir thriller that follows a down-on-his-life detective who is hired to tail a man that may or may not be committing adultery. Turns out, the man is a modern day Jack the Ripper, and the detective's feelings and moral standings about the killer's activities become less and less steadfast as he is thrown into the killer's world. Oh, and there may be a few "things that go bump in the night" helping our killer on his mission, all thrown in for good measure of course. I'm going for a Dick Tracy meets Jacob's Ladder meets American Psycho vibe.

Once again, this is a novelization of a concept album: Dog Fashion Disco's "Adultery" album. But, the beauty of rock fiction (for everyone who has read any of my novels or short stories and had no idea they were adaptations of albums or songs) is they are also stand-alone books. Just like you don’t have to have read a book to enjoy or understand the movie adaptation, you don’t need to have heard the album (or even need to have ever heard OF the band before) to understand or love a rock fiction novel. Rock fiction novels are unique in the sense that they already have 2 built-in audiences right out of the gate: the fan base of whatever band’s album is being adapted, and the fan base of the genre the book is written in. It’s not a prerequisite to know the album to read a rock fiction novel. In fact, I bet most people read a rock fiction novel purely based on its blurb and have no idea it is an album adaptation.

Now that a new novel is being constructed... there will be a lot more updates.

...more (very) soon...

 

 

My first band's first album, Yellow #1 "Bottle of Rain," turns 20 years old....

My very first band that recorded and released an album, Yellow #1, gave the world our debut album, "Bottle of Rain," 20 years ago this month.

I was in a thrash metal band called Vertical Smile for about a year (we only played 1 show and recorded a 2-song demo cassette) and was way more into industrial and avant-garde music than thrash at the time. I was the drummer of Vertical Smile and really just wanted to be a singer, front man, and write quirky electronic music with a drum machine and synthesizer, with bits of real instruments thrown in here and there, accompanied by angst-driven lyrics and vocals. So, I quit Vertical Smile after our one and only show and bought about $2,000 worth of gear.

I didn't have a name yet for the band or even band members. I was at a Maids of Gravity concert in Boston, telling the singer, Ed Ruscha, about the nameless band while we were playing pool, and he hit the yellow #1 billiard ball into a pocket, stood, and said, "How about Yellow #1?" My first real band was named.

I started writing songs in my bedroom on an acoustic guitar and a drum machine (a Roland DR-5), while furiously writing lyrics. I wanted the music of the band to sound like a cross between Nine Inch Nails and Mr. Bungle, with lyrics inspired by Korn and Quicksand.

Over the course of almost a year, I wrote 14 songs for the album, playing every instrument myself, except for the guitars on "A Summer Dream." That was written and played by the guitarist for the band Enuresis Burn, Matthew Diglio.

Yellow #1 was offered our first show in 1996: the Middle East downstairs in Cambridge, MA opening for Turkish Delight; probably my favorite local band at the time. We were only getting a 10 minute slot. But here was the real problem: I didn't have a live band! Yellow #1 had been 100% me for the past year, writing and playing every instrument in my bedroom.

So, I put together the first live incarnation of Yellow #1: Christine Kelley (keyboards), Mark Sieczkowski (drums), and Dave Ouellette (known as Dogboy in my novel, "Dreams Are Unfinished Thoughts," on percussion.) I played guitar and sang. My brother Paul was our first roadie.

After the show, I moved the band into a rehearsal space so we could practice like a real band, learning all 14 songs I had written for the album. Mark was also the singer of a local band called Tension and couldn't commit to drums, so after the first show he left the band, and I recruited Dann Paciulan for drums, additional guitar, and additional keyboards. Dann became my multi-instrumentalist on stage. This lineup of Yellow #1 would continue throughout the next year.

After a handful of shows, I felt the songs were ready to be recorded for the album. We recorded the album over the course of 4 months at Zigmo Studio, produced by Dan Tarlow. Dave and Christine wound up writing their own lyrics to 2 of the songs on the album, and everyone had vocal duties. Other guest vocalists included my mother; my stepsister, Lauren Sullivan; and the singer of Enuresis Burn, Mike Viccione. Because of how long it took to record the album, the studio was an open invite. We had friends and family in and out during the entire process.

The artwork was designed by Sean Carmichael (who also designed the front cover of my second novel, "Welcome to Parkview"), and "Bottle of Rain" was released in April, 1997. It received some interesting reviews in some national and local music magazines, and the song "Broken Eyes" was played on Boston radio station, WAAF.

Christine Kelley and Dann Paciulan left the band at the same time, being replaced by Jason Paul, who took over all the keyboard & synthesizer duties. We opted to eliminate live drums from the shows, so Yellow #1's new lineup was Dave Ouellette, Jason Paul, and myself.

Then we were asked to open for Godsmack. Dann was going to be in the area that weekend so he returned to the band just for that one show, which allowed us to add live drums back into the set.

Eventually Jason Paul left the band in 1998, and Yellow #1 was just myself and Dave Ouellette. We stopped playing shows and focused on recording 3 new songs for compilations that we had been asked to submit songs to:

1) A Christmas compilation called "A Drive-By Christmas," which we submitted a song titled "Dirt Blue Star's Third Christmas." I recruited bass player Eric Park (who I would later be in the bands Drop Kick Jesus and The Grave Machine with), and Eric wrote and played keyboards and harmonica on the song, and I sang and played keyboards, and Dave sang as well on the track.

2) A Faith No More tribute CD called "Tribute of the Year," which I submitted our cover of "As the Worm Turns." The incarnation of Yellow #1 on this recording was myself, Dave Ouellette, and Jenny Applebaum, who played electric guitar. (This would be the final thing Dave ever did with Yellow #1; he left the band shortly after recording this song. And this song was the only thing Jenny ever did as a member of Yellow #1.)

3) We were asked to record an instrumental piece for a compilation, and I wrote and recorded a song called "Peaceful Night." This incarnation of Yellow #1 was just myself playing a sequencer.

These 17 songs are what I consider to be the "Bottle of Rain" era of Yellow #1. Especially since our second album wasn't recorded until 2016.

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