Filtering by Tag: The Who

DIGITAL UNDERGROUND NOVELIZATION GREEN-LIGHTED

How many of you did the Humpty Hump in 1990? You remember, that old-school rap song by Digital Underground (that included Tupac) … "The Humpty Dance" was the first song off Digital Underground's album, Sex Packets--considered by many to be the first real rap concept album. Like Pink Floyd's The Wall, Genesis' The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, and The Who's Tommy or Quadrophenia, Digital Underground had written a rap version of a prog-rock concept album. Only this album's story took place in an alternate reality, in the ghetto, where drug dealers weren't slinging crack or pot--they were slinging sex in a packet.

I approached Money B and Shock G of Digital Underground about turning their seminal album into a rock-fiction novel (just as I had done with Electric Light Orchestra and Dog Fashion Disco). Money B has given me the thumbs up to try to bring their semi-dystopian storyline from the speakers to the pages.

As of right now, we are shooting for a first-quarter 2020 release schedule. The book is currently untitled; however, you can bet your biscuits that Humpty Hump I will be a major player in the narrative.

… more soon

"Yours Truly, 2095" turns 3 years old!

My third published novel, Yours Truly, 2095, turned three years old this month. I can't believe it has been three full years now since its been published, especially since it took me three full years to research, outline, write, and edit it.

Starting off as an idea to take one of my favorite albums of all time, Electric Light Orchestra's concept album Time, and try to adapt it into a direct novelization was something I had been tossing around in my head since high school, almost twenty-five years ago. The concept album--which follows a man who awakens in the year 2095 with a robot for a wife, not knowing how he got there, and trying to return to his real wife in 1981--had always intrigued me, not only as song lyrics, but as a stand-alone storyline.

It took almost nine months to dissect every single song so I could write an outline and find enough story arcs, plot lines, and character developments within the lyrics to where I felt comfortable writing a 90k-word novel based around a 16-track album that clocks in at approximately 55 minutes long.

Writing the novel during the four years I lived in Japan (2011-2015), I initially approached it as a Michael Crichton-style sci-fi story; I wanted the technology to be so steeped in science fact that the reader would never be required to suspend their disbelief (even when the characters have to travel to the moon). I really wanted an organic-feeling story that didn't have whirling time machines and far-fetched technology. What I never expected was that I would wind up with a time-travel romance novel.

Staying true to every single lyric of the Time album (heck, even the front cover of the book is an adaptation of the front-cover art of the album), I found I had a lot of holes that needed to be filled with my own literary license. Even though it IS a concept album, it's not as concrete as, say, Pink Floyd's The Wall or The Who's Tommy, where there is no mistaking what is happening, what everyone is thinking, and what everyone is saying.

I realized, after my editor had submitted the book's final draft, I had a novel anyone could read. My biggest concern while writing was that people who had never heard of Electric Light Orchestra wouldn't even try to read the book. Why should they? Especially if its a novelization of an album they'd never heard? But I was able to write a straight-forward time-travel romance novel that works twofold: 1) if you are an Electric Light Orchestra fan, you will "see the storyline" of the Time album in every piece of action and dialogue, or 2) if you have no idea who Electric Light Orchestra is, this book is a stand-alone time-travel romance novel full of mystery, action, and suspense. You do not need to know anything about the source material to enjoy the book or for it to make sense. In fact, most of the positive reviews I have received are from people who only found out afterward that the book is based on an album. And the positive reviews from Electric Light Orchestra fans have applauded me for taking a revered album and turning it into a novel that stayed true to the tone and storyline of Time.

Yours Truly, 2095 was suggested for a Hugo Award in 2016, however, it did not make the finalists.

Transpose's "Retribution" turns 7 years old

My band, Transpose, released our second album, Retribution, seven years ago this month. It had been four years since our first album, and we had played enough shows within those four years where we really wore out that first album. It was time to not only have some new material to play live, but way past due to give the fans a new batch of songs.

This album was the most unique album I have ever been a part of. It is the only true concept album I have ever written. The songs can't be listened out of order; there are characters, dialogue, a plotline, a climax, and resolution. We began writing this album right around the time I was in the editing stages of my second novel, Welcome to Parkview, and there was a part of that novel (which was eventually removed and did not appear in the published version) that was about 20 pages long and told the story of a man who knew his wife was cheating on him, so he follows her and spies on her meeting some random man at a hotel. When he confronts her the next morning, she won't tell him what happened, so he burns the hotel where the affair happened to the ground, killing everyone inside, but ultimately forgiving his wife in the process.

I removed this part from the book and instead rewrote the 20 pages into lyrics, keeping some of the dialogue to be sung in the songs. We were really going for a true concept album like Pink Floyd's The Wall, Genesis' The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, or The Who's Quadrophenia. An album that is really just one long song; a story put to music.

It was also the first album, of the now 7 albums I have written, where the lyrics were written first, and THEN the band put music to what was happening in the story. Up until Retribution, every other albums' songs had been finished musically first, and I would come in and write the lyrics and vocal pattern around the preexisting music. This time, as a band, we had to verbalize what was going on in the "scene" and then write the music to that action.

In the studio, we added sound effects to accent what was happening in the scene: alarm clocks, sounds of people eating, a woman moaning, footsteps on stairs, firetrucks etc. It was a lot of fun to drop those into the songs throughout. This was also the most amount of keyboards I had written/played on an album since Drop Kick Jesus' album Splatterguts, which came out in 1998, so it was also a lot of fun to get behind the keyboard and compose again.

As soon as the album was finished, it marked the birth of a totally new live show for Transpose. Gone were the random order of songs from the first album. Our shows were now Retribution from start to finish, and then our encore; which consisted of about three songs from the first album, A Delicate Impact. We moved the songs from the first album to the end of the show and performed the new album in its entirety as the meat of the live shows. We toured pretty extensively on the Retribution album for two years.

I even made a film to go along with the album; a visually journey of the story as the album plays. That film can be found here on my site under the MEDIA tab or on YouTube. We would play the film at our merch table on a TV during the tours and shows.

I have been a part of 7 albums in my musical career total, and Retribution, still to this day, is the album I am most proud of than any other album I have written. I don't know what the future will bring in regards to how I will feel about future albums, but this one will always be super special to me. It was one of those albums where I felt everything just clicked the whole way through. And not just because it was the first time one of my stories had been turned into an album that I could sing every night on stage.

Oh, and we also recorded a cover of Digital Underground's "The Humpty Dance" during the recording sessions and added it as a hidden bonus track on the album. Ha!

Books | Music | About | Contact | News | Media

All content © 2014, Brian Paone