Wednesday May 12th, 2010

Stephen vs. Billy

wowee-zoweeA few years ago, I had the pleasure of publishing Bryan Charles’ debut novel, Grab On to Me Tightly as if I Knew the Way. That novel took its title from a Pavement song, so it’s unsurprising that Bryan’s new book is Wowee Zowee, the latest in the 33 1/3 series, which pairs writers with records. Wowee Zowee was Pavement’s third record, a bit more experimental than its first two. I recently saw Bryan mark the book’s publication at a lovely store in Greenpoint, where he read a few pages and then discussed the band with Matthew Perpetua of the music site Fluxblog.

Without giving away too much, Bryan disclosed one of the book’s themes, which is a contrasting of Pavement front man Stephen Malkmus with Smashing Pumpkins leader Billy Corgan, who apparently refused to share the Lollapalooza bill with Pavement one year after Malkmus had made a cheeky reference to the Pumpkins in a song lyric. In the same song (“Range Life”), Malkmus refers to Stone Temple Pilots as “elegant bachelors.” This spurred Bryan to say that Stone Temple Pilots were “a thousand times better than The Hold Steady.” Not to turn this into a music blog, but: ahem. I teased him about that judgment afterward, and he hilariously signed my book with one brief comment: “STP Rules.”