Brian Paone

Author // Musician

"Moonlight City Drive 2" has been submitted to my editor

I started writing the sequel to my 2017 supernatural crime-noir novel, Moonlight City Drive, back in July. I had never expected the book to become a trilogy, so when I wrote the first part, I wasn’t worried about finding loopholes or ways to extend all these characters’ storylines. That proved to be the hardest part of writing a sequel to a novel that I had no intention of ever writing further.

But, here we are, middle of December, and the second draft of Moonlight City Drive Part 2 (subtitled Electric Boogaloo) has been sent to my editor for a first-half release schedule in 2019. However, this time I was smarter. I went into writing the sequel knowing this was now going to be a trilogy (with Part 3 slated for 2021), so I could purposefully leave larger breadcrumbs, and I didn’t feel so guilty about leaving bigger plot holes wide open. I was able to set the characters into specific places, like playing chess, so their movements and behaviors can be continued (and finalized) in Part 3. That was also slightly difficult for me: to leave characters slightly unresolved, knowing their story will be wrapped up in another book. I have never had to write/think like that before with any of my novels.

So now, I’m just sitting back at the pool with an umbrella-adorned cocktail, waiting for my editor to return the novel so I can work on the third and final draft.

(My band) Drop Kick Jesus' "Depress the Heart" album turns 18

Eighteen years ago this month, my second band, Drop Kick Jesus, released our second album, Depress The Heart. Grammy Award Winning Producer Neil Kernon recorded it in Haverhill, MA, and then mixed it in Tornillo, TX. We moved into both studios during the recording, and it was one of the best times in my musical career.

I was in a weird place during the writing of this album. I was very angry at a lot of things: myself, religion, the state of the world … and I think of the 6 albums I have been the lyricist for throughout my life, this album is the #1 album that shows that level of anger and frustration through my lyrics toward things I couldn’t control. This is also the last album I wrote where the lyrics weren’t cryptic or in story form. The 4 albums I wrote after this (the Grave Machine album, the 2 Transpose albums, and the latest Yellow #1 album) all were conceptual and thematic. Depress the Heart was the last album where I was writing individual songs, and the words I chose were very specific about what I was angry about. No reading between the lines.

The album is harsh, aggressive, in-your-face, and even after 18 years, it still sounds current and relative. I’m glad I was the front man for a band and an album that seems to have stood the test of time. Too bad this was our last album before we broke up. I think if there wasn’t so much in-band fighting after we got off tour for this album, we could have written a 3rd and even better album.

When a celebrity seems out of reach and you wind up working with them ...

Remember that 90s dance-rock band Jesus Jones? Name not ring a bell? How about that massive smash hit they had called “Right Here, Right Now.” I can see the lightbulbs turning on. I was a huge Jesus Jones fan—well, I am still am, but I meant when that album Doubt came out in 1991. As a young teenager, I wore out that cassette (and later the CD). They were one of MTV’s golden children, and they seemed to be superstars. I have remained a die-hard Jesus Jones fan since 1991, following their career and buying each new album on release date, even when they were no longer “cool".” (And for those who don’t know, yes, their 7th album just came out this past May, titled Passages. And it’s fantastic)

Back in 1998, the singer of Jesus Jones—Mike Edwards—wrote a book called Death Threats from an Eight-Year-Old, which chronicled pretty much everything from his childhood, through forming Jesus Jones, to their rise in stardom, to their sharp decline. The main part of the book acts like a diary as the band writes, records, and promotes/tours for their 4th album, Already. The book is hands-on account of how cutthroat the music business is and what a short memory pop culture seems to have. I received a copy of the book as a PDF in 2001 via email, and then there was no talk about it ever again.

Since then, Jesus Jones has released 3 more albums, but the book hasn’t ever found its way out of the proverbial sandbox. I contacted Mike at the beginning of this year and offered to edit the book for him and publish it. I honestly didn't know what kind of reaction I’d get. Here was a man who I’d spent years as a teenager listening to his music, a band who was all over MTV and seen as superstars. When Mike replied enthusiastically about breathing life back into his novel and allowing me to take the project’s helm, I was ecstatic—not just as an editor, but as a fan.

Well, I finished editing Death Threats from an Eight-Year-Old last week and now we start working on the artwork. And I have been in direct contact with Mike through the entire process. If you told 14-year-old Brian that one day he’d be spearheading a project, working side-by-side Mike Edwards of Jesus Jones, he would have told you to get lost—and then would have fainted.

But here we are. What a strange journey it’s been for me throughout my life—how my career as either a musician, author, or editor has brought me face-to-face with so many of my heroes and idols, and sometimes even in a working capacity.

Books | Music | About | Contact | News | Media

All content © 2014, Brian Paone