“So what kind of music do you listen to?”
Such a loaded question. It was an all-important question in school. Think carefully now. Your reputation is on the line as well as your standing in the community and possibly your entire identity.
Here at Fish Out of Water Books, we love music and we love stories. So what could be better than stories centered around all things music? Your bands, your songs, your friends and how music brought you together—or tore you asunder.
We are looking for true life coming-of-age short stories, slice-of-life stories, and anecdotes, based around the music of your youth. Poignant, humorous, weird and wacky. Road trips. Concerts. Good drugs. Bad Drugs. Cups of tea. The importance of owning the right records, not owning the wrong records, having the right band logo on your school bag or knowing the exact track list for a specific album. And—if you’re as old as us—recording songs off the TV while telling your mom “shhhhhh . . . quit talking . . . I’m trying to record a song . . . argh! Mommmm, you’ve ruined it!”
If music is an important part of your life: if you’re in (or were in) a band and have a crazy on-the-road story; if you spent way too much time and money at used record shops or loved to rifle through friends’ record collections; if you went a ton of concerts and got up to some nutso crap—send us a short story and help us build a “repository for musos” where we can share stories and celebrate the fact that this trivial, ephemeral noise can in fact mean everything.
A good example is this excerpt from Bradford Cox (Deerhunter), writing about his favorite albums for the UK online music and pop culture magazine, The Quietus, describing how he first got into The Fall:
When I was a child running around Athens, Georgia, my mum would go get her hair done on a Saturday. One Saturday she was still getting her hair done, and I was running around with some Athens kids, who were like ten, eleven years old, and we went into this place called Jittery Joe’s, which used to be right outside the 40 Watt Club. They had these chocolate covered espresso beans, and I ate a bunch of them, and then I drank a Joe Cola. I walked across the sidewalk drinking my Joe Cola, and I saw this record shop called Low Yo Yo Stuff Records, named after the Beefheart song. I was in there, bouncing around, completely wired, and I spilled my Joe Cola on a box of used CDs, marked “The Fall.” So the owner—who’s now a lifelong friend of mine, Todd—made my mum buy this entire box of CDs! So when I was about ten or eleven years old, I came into the possession of a Joe Cola-stained box of, basically, a good bit of The Fall’s discography.
If your story is selected, we will promote it on our website, share it across our social media platforms and e-mail list, and generally sing your praises from the mountaintops. “Around the Music” is a complete labor of love; unfortunately, we are not able to offer payment to contributors—nor do we intend to profit in any way. The goal of “Around the Music” is simply to share entertaining stories about something to which we can all relate: a love of music; and stories; and stories about music.
Submit your short story (from a couple of paragraphs up to 2,000 words as a rough guide) to us at firstname.lastname@example.org along with a brief bio, (optional) photo(s) (pics from “back in the day” would be brilliant!), and a signed copy of the “Around the Music” Author/Publisher agreement.
- In “1984,” a slumber party revelation led twelve-year-old PATTI F. SMITH and her best friend on a quest to see the five “members” of Duran Duran go “doing!”
- Did you know that Morrissey helped JULIE HAMILL to deliver the newspapers in Airdrie, Scotland, in 1983? Read all about it in “THE SMITHS: THE SOUND OF THE PAPER ROUND.”
- BILL KOPP describes how Lynyrd Skynyrd helped save him and his bandmates’ hides in 1980s Kennesaw, GA in “MY WORST GIG EVER.”
- In 1978, ABBA sang “If you change your mind, I’m the first in line.” Eleven-year-old JON WILSON didn’t quite hear it that way. Read “TAKING A CHANCE ON AGNETHA.”