At Home with Jim Ruland (author of Corporate Rock Sucks)

At Home with Jim Ruland (author of Corporate Rock Sucks)

Hear an in depth conversation about writing about rock music.

Earlier this year I got invited to speak at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. (The biggest book festival in the country uhhhh ever freaking heard of it???) They told me I was gonna be on a panel with two other music authors and I did a deep cringe. Please God, I prayed, don’t stick me with some absolute dorks. Don’t make this a certified snoozefest. I will not be able to keep my eyes from rolling back into my head if this turns into a conversation about The Future of Music Journalism, O Lord. Fortunately, my prayers were answered when I was paired up with two of the only cool music authors out there, Gina Shock of the Go Go’s and Jim Ruland. Jim has written books with Keith Morris and Bad Religion, and recently published an extensive history of SST Records called Corporate Rock Sucks. In talking to Jim briefly afterwards, I felt an immediate writerly kinship. There are not many people out there I can commiserate with about writing books about punk. There just aren’t many of us out there. He and I had a lot of common ground in that we have both helped musicians put their memoirs together in addition to penning our own rock histories. We agreed we should record a conversation between us one day and I’m proud to say that after several months of dragging my ass, we did it!

I regularly get emails from people curious about the process of selling and writing rock books and I never know exactly how to respond, because the truth is a lot of times it feels like jumping off a cliff and praying you figure it out on the way down. But hopefully this conversation between me and Jim will be helpful to those inquisitive folks. Or maybe it will scare aspiring authors away from ever daring to venture into publishing, I don’t know! But I do think this is a very honest and hopefully informative conversation about the nuts and bolts of the process, from putting a proposal together, to best research practices, to dealing with uncooperative sources, to navigating the editing process, to promoting it.

Listen to our chat above or anywhere you listen to podcasts: SpotifyApple, blah blah blah.

Corporate Rock Sucks is out now and you can find all the purchasing links at Jim’s website. He’s also got a novel out next year called Make It Stop that you can preorder there as well. Jim also has his own email newsletter called Message from the Underworld that you can subscribe to below:

(And your regular reminder that SELLOUT is out now as an expanded paperback with 50 pages of new interviews. You can get it in stores or any of your usual online retailers. If you order a copy from my online shop I will sign it for you. I’m also reaching the end of the SELLOUT SONGS covers LP. I don’t plan on repressing it so grab a copy before they’re gone for good!)


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A podcast companion to Dan Ozzi's REPLY ALT.