Sunday, July 28, 2013

I Never Thought I'd Say This, But....

Boys Don't Lie: A History of Shoes, is finally going to press.

It's been over four years since I swallowed my heart in my throat and proposed to the band that they tell their story, and it hasn't always been easy. I learned a lot about long-forgotten aspects of the record industry, I poked in corners people wanted to leave dark, I researched and provided context for otherwise inexplicable situations, I tried to suss out the long arc of this band that just won't quit. I wrote. I rewrote. I rewrote again.  I spent hours on the phone parsing the fine points of memory. I rewrote again. I waited for comments. I rewrote again. I sat with Moira McCormick, side-by-side, as we typed and reread and blacksmithed the language into shape.

When I started this project, I was cursed by Gary Klebe, who said, "This book is going to be like a Shoes record.  It's going to take longer than you think. It's going to be a longer book than you think. It's going to be better than you think." He was right.

It's a pretty good book, I think. I hope others will also think so.

I can't exactly describe the experience of getting to know and understand these idols of my youth, of having them become friends and colleagues.  I never lost the thrill at seeing their names in my inbox or on my phone--even now. (I suspect they cringe at mine.)

Back at the beginning, Kid Charlemagne said to me, "Don't you ruin them for me!" And even then, I knew that was not possible. They are exactly who you think they are: thoughtful and sweet, sometimes shy, always gracious. What might not be clear from their music is that they're funny, funny guys, they laugh a lot and genuinely like each other, and are genuinely touched by the fact that people still listen to them, still respect them, still remember them.

And then there's Ignition, last year's triumphant return. I don't claim credit for that, of course: rumors were rife that they were writing all the time. But I do think that reflecting on their legacy encouraged them to return to the studio, and for that, we can all be grateful. Last year's new record was accompanied by a spate of vinyl reissues, and this year's string of concerts (even *I* finally got to see them live!) have shown them in fine form.



And if I bear even a small part of the responsibility for them shaking off the cobwebs, that's honor enough.

I'll be posting some excerpts over the next few days: if there are any episodes of Shoes history you've always wondered about, ask in the comments and we'll put them up!

You can pre-order books at the PurePopPress site: street date should be the middle of August.

10 comments:

steve simels said...

Allow me to say it before anybody else--you should be very, very proud.

And thanks for letting me be a part of it.

Brooklyn Girl said...

Congrats, Mary!

Vicki said...

I am very happy for you, Mary! Can't wait to read it in its final version! Be proud of yourself -- you have achieved something major!

Anonymous said...

Somebody had to do it. Who better than you?

Glad you did it before we all put the last clean shine on our shoes.

Vickie Rock (Barefootin')

Now how about the Shirts?

Edoc said...

Very cool. I discovered Shoes late, only a few years ago. Thanks for contributing to their resurgence.

Gummo said...

Congratulations!

buzzbabyjesus said...

Congrats! Looks classy.

Dave said...

Many congrats, Mary. Do you have any post-partum depression after finishing your mss.?

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Were you in the crowd at Shank, Mary? I would have said hi, but I was busy pestering the band for photos and signatures.

The opening band, the Sugar Stems, were pretty great too.

james@16 said...

Mary, Congratulations. Cannot wait to get a copy. Saw Shoes in Milwaukee last week. They played 28 songs!
Great bunch of guys.