Brian Paone

Author // Musician

11 Years Today as a Published Author ... And the Wild Ride to Get Here

My career as a novelist would never have happened, or at least to the success that I have had, if one of my best friends hadn’t died in 2005. My friend David, the lead singer of the industrial-rock band God Lives Underwater—who enjoyed some commercial success in the 90s—had been struggling with drug addiction, depression, and the throes of the music business since I met him in 1995. We became fast friends, and I was one of the few people who stuck with him through all his highs and lows.

When he passed away in 2005, I didn’t know where the put my grief. I just couldn’t find a healthy outlet for how I was feeling about losing him. It was suggested to me to write a memoir about our friendship, but in novel format so it would read more like a story than a journal. My wife was the biggest advocate of me using my grief to write my first novel and recall all the good and bad times that come with being close to someone who struggles with addiction and someone who was on major tours, on MTV, and all over the radio. He was a multi-dimensional person, and our friendship was trying and rewarding all at the same time.

Since 1988, I had only written short stories, novelettes, and novellas. I had never attempted a piece of work beyond 30k words long. So, I started writing what would eventually become my first novel, Dreams Are Unfinished Thoughts, in January 2006, and it was published in October 2007—on the second anniversary of his death.

And here we are. Eleven years to the day of that first novel being released into the world. What a wild ride it's been. I am a few months from my 5th novel's release, Moonlight City Drive Part 2, and my 5th published short story will be released in the next few months. It's only been over the last three years that I have been dubbed a rock-fiction author (adapting albums or songs into novels or short stories) but my entire eleven-year career has been steeped in music, which is my true love in the world. Between Dreams Are Unfinished Thoughts delving into the touring life of bands and the tribulations that world can trap the musicians in and my second novel, Welcome to Parkview, stemming from the idea behind Billy Joel's song, "Piano Man," writing about music has been a part of who I am as an author since Day One.

Over these eleven years, I have met a lot of my heroes and idols in the music world because of my writing, and I have created friendships among band members that I never in my wildest dreams thought I would ever make. After I finished Welcome to Parkview in 2010 (which I started in 1991), I honestly thought I only had those two novels in me ... and I was done with writing. Then in 2012, I had a flash of inspiration to try to novelize Electric Light Orchestra's album, Time. The process was so enjoyable and liberating for me as a music fanatic that when Yours Truly, 2095 was released in 2015, I knew I had found my niche in writing, and I knew I didn't want to stop. Since then I have had four short stories published, all adapted from bands' albums or songs (Moby, Jethro Tull, Porcupine Tree, and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers respectively) and my most recent novel, Moonlight City Drive, is another rock-fiction adaptation; this time of Dog Fashion Disco's album, Adultery.

I started writing my first novel on a desktop computer next to my CD collection in my bedroom in an apartment that I shared with two other roommates, to now having my own writing office in my house that I share with my wife and four children. The list of bands and albums I have stored in the back of brain to adapt into rock fiction (either novels or short stories) is so extensive, I will probably die before I reach the bottom of that list. The immediate future of my rock-fiction career includes Pink Floyd, Digital Underground, TheThe, EMF, Thursday, and Jane Jensen.

It's been an amazing eleven years. Here's to continue the inertia of heading upward to the next eleven years...

Transpose's "A Delicate Impact" Turns 11!

My band, Transpose, has an unorthodox beginning. Guitarist Joshua Givens and I started the band in Beverly, MA in 2005. We had written 5 songs before I moved to GA, and when I announced to him that I had to move and leave the band, Joshua decided to move with me, instead of finding a new singer. As soon as we reached GA, we immediately started looking for a bass player and drummer to finish the lineup. Joshua and I attended a concert to see a local band called Ashes of Osiris. Unbeknownst to us, this was Ashes of Osiris' final show. Joshua and I loved their rhythm section, and within 2 months, we had recruited half of Ashes of Osiris to join Transpose to complete the lineup. With Tim Sigler on bass and Jason Bonner on drums, we were ready to roll.

We used the 5 songs that Joshua and I had written in MA as a springboard for the new band, showing the songs to Tim and Jason,and then rewriting them as a "band." All 5 of those songs not only made the debut album, but also became fan favorites at our concerts: "Branches," "The Mourning Crash," "Insect Ways," "Helter Skelter Morning," and "This Rust." Once we perfected the 5 songs that had been brought from MA, we wrote a total of 6 more songs (and 2 covers; God Lives Underwater's "Miss You More Than Anything" and the Team America World Police theme song "America, Fuck Yeah!") to complete the track listing of what would become our debut album: A Delicate Impact.

We recorded the album on the weekends while I was in the police academy in GA. I would spend Monday - Friday at the academy and then Saturday and Sunday in the recording studio, just to do it all over again ... week after week. I also finished writing my first novel, Dreams Are Unfinished Thoughts, during the recording process, AND my first child was born. Sept. 2007 was one of the busiest months I have ever lived in my life: graduated from the police academy, finished writing my first novel, recorded Transpose's debut album, had a baby, and Stephanie and I moved into our first house.

The front cover of the album was a real photograph of Joshua's girlfriend in a wedding dress that we bought from a thrift shop, tied up to the railroad tracks. Yes, this was an active rail, and we had to time the picture in-between trains coming through. I even called dispatch to let the police know if they got any weird calls of a girl tied to he tracks, that was me and we were okay.

When the album was released, we sent the first single, "Only the Dead Go Free," to radio stations and never expected the response it received. It was placed in rotation on a lot of stations in FL, and we would have people coming to the shows just to see us play that song. We played constantly to promote the album, touring for almost 2 years straight. Joshua left the band in 2009 and that pretty much ended the A Delicate Impact era. As soon as we inducted our next guitarist, TJ, into the band, that became the first step toward writing Retribution. Even after Josh left the band, we still played 8 of the 13 songs from the album on a consistent basis live. The only songs we retired, and still have never played live since 2009, are: "This Rust," "Pills & Places," "And The Noose Replied," "Insect Ways," and "Breaking Silhouettes."

What a crazy time it was recording this album in between attending a police academy, finishing a novel, having a baby, and buying a house... but if I had to list, in order, my favorite albums that I have ever been a part of (which is now up to 7), this album would certainly still be in the top 3.

New Transpose demos?

It’s been 7 years since my band Transpose’s last album, Retribution, was released and 5 years since our last show. After that album came out, we toured on it for 3 years (throughout 2011, 2012, and 2013), and when the 2013 tour ended in Jacksonville, FL, the band went on an unofficial hiatus.

We have contacted each other over the 5 years with messages like, “It’s time to get the band back together!” (even though, if you ask us, we have never really broken up) and “I’ve been thinking of what the next album should sound like” etc. Our guitarist even went as far as to get on a plane and fly from Massachusetts to spend a weekend jamming with my bass player in Iowa last year, just to get the juices flowing. From my understanding, nothing substantial came from that long-weekend writing session.

But, my bassist, Tim, has sent me the first recorded snippets of songs that have been written and worked out for what might very well turn into the 3rd Transpose album. I listened to the musical vignettes on my phone, and if the music continues in this direction, I foresee that the 7+ year wait for a new album is going to be worth it.

Now … to just all get on the same stage again and play some shows!!

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