Interview Mix: Adam Wilson, A Ribald Replacement For The Last Generation’s Pen Envied Men

Adam Wilson, whose debut novel Flatscreen hits the streets and screens on February 21, is not afraid to admit to the world at large that Marc Bolan’s voice turns him on, sexually. In fact, there doesn’t seem to be too much in the realm of coitus and phalluses that he’s afraid to put into print. An expert on the definition — though not necessarily the practice — of a “golden shower,”  Wilson has understandably been compared to literary raunch king Nicholson Baker, whose House of Holes he would like to visit for a weekend.

Though currently a resident of New York City, where he teaches creative writing, Wilson’s heart resides fondly with Red Sox nation, having grown up in Newton, MA. If his non-fiction output is any indication, Adam’s early years in the perennially safe Boston suburb have been a fertile spawning ground for his writerly wanderings. In the digital pages of The Paris Review, he’s mused about lusting after a Newton baseball card store matriarch (now more of a toy store) while his best friend sucked the ear of the girl with “Sexiest unibrow you’ve ever seen.” At JBooks, he’s confessed to his connection to Alexander Portnoy and that he bedded his first shiksa at an overnight camp run by the Newton YMCA. (Full disclosure: I used to shop at the same baseball card store and attended the same camp, though Adam and I were never in the same cabin).

Though he admits that he “never will be” Tim Riggins, Wilson has been many things in recent years: BookCourt booksellereditor of The Faster Times, culture columnist for BlackBook, TV blogger for Flavorwire and to his own bemusement, a tech writer for The New York Egoist. He is also a legally ordained minister. But perhaps most important of all, he’s a rising star on the indie lit scene. His book, Flatscreen, has been named one of the most anticipated books of 2012 by The Millions and Amazon declared it one of the best books of the month for February 2012.

I spoke to Adam recently about his tastes and interests in music. His answers were the basis for this mix:

 How would you describe your taste/interest in music?

Eclectic. But everyone says that. I used to be one of those guys that spent hours every day reading record reviews, and went to shows all the time, courted music that seemed difficult and esoteric, but also stood up for the artistic merit of select pieces of mainstream pop. Now I just listen to the Mountain Goats. Lots of Mountain Goats.

How did you first get interested in music and how has your taste developed since then?

The first CD I ever owned was Kris Kross. The second was Wreckx-N-Effect. Since then I’ve gone through many phases. I was obsessed with Snoop Dogg in sixth grade. I was obsessed with Jim Morrison in seventh grade. I was obsessed with my own penis in eighth grade, but that’s unrelated. There was a long jam band phase that coincided with a long period of hallucinogenic drug use. That ended. In college I got deep into hip-hop and started wearing Timberland boots with the laces untied. That ended, though I still love hip-hop. After college I lived in Austin and listened to a lot of indie rock and country and alt country and all such variations. Then I moved to New York and listened to the Velvet Underground non-stop for a few years. At some point I got really into all the 90s bands that I wasn’t cool enough to listen to at the time. Oh, and a ton of old soul music. That’s my shit. Stax, Atlantic etc. And Tom Waits, who doesn’t fit into any category. And Jay Z. But not so much Kanye. And The Hold Steady. Which led to The Replacements, who I never really recovered from. I’m forgetting some shit.

Name five of your favorite songs at the moment (in no particular order).

Tune-Yards – Powa
Guided by Voices – A Salty Salute
Robert Earl Keen – Corpus Christie Bay
The Mountain Goats – Fall of the High School Running Back
Beyonce – 1+1

Name five of your favorite albums of all time (in no particular order).

Sam Cooke – One Night Stand: Sam CookeLive at the Harlem Square Club
Jay Z – Reasonable Doubt
Springsteen – The Wild, The Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle
Elvis Costello – My Aim is True
Velvet Underground – Velvet Underground

What are some songs to which you have a particular emotional attachment?

Neil Young – Unknown Legend
Otis Redding – These Arms of Mine
Townes Van Zandt – If I Needed You
Mazzy Star – Fade Into You
Magnetic Fields – I Think I Need a New Heart
The Replacements – Little Mascara
Jeff Buckley – Lover, You Should Have Come Over
Bob Dylan – If You See Her Say Hello

What are some of your musical guilty pleasures?

Beyonce, but I don’t feel guilty about it. Taylor Swift, who I do feel guilty about.

What goes into a good mix?

Racial Equality.

If you were running for President in 2012, what song would you use as your campaign theme?

Rhiannon by Fleetwood Mac. I don’t know why. It’s just what I imagine playing.

What is your process for finding music that is new to you?

I ask the Internet. And my girlfriend.

What is your opinion on downloading copyrighted material without paying for it?

I don’t do it. But mostly because I don’t know how.


To hear the mix, created by me and based on Adam’s description of his musical interests, click HERE or listen below:

Here’s the tracklist:

1) Rick Wakeman — I’m So Straight I’m A Weirdo

2) Lou Reed — Ooohhh Baby

3) Charles Douglas — Slowly Wasted

4) Alex Chilton — No Sex

5) Jeffrey Lewis — Complete History Of Jeff’s Sexual Conquests, Vol. 1

6) Andre Williams — Bonin’

7) Paul Westerberg — Knockin’ ‘Em Back

8 ) Fat Lip — Writer’s Block

9) The Young Fresh Fellows — Hang Out Right

10) Rita Lee & Tutti Frutti — Yo No Creo Pero…

11) Archers Of Loaf — Smokin’ Pot In The Hot City

12) Vows — Buttered Popcorn

13) Lambchop — The Gap In My Education (Berman)

14) Caitlin Rose — Answer In One Of These Bottles

15) The Dream Syndicate — Then She Remembers

16) Lifter Puller — Candy’s Room

17) John Cale — The Man Who Couldn’t Afford To Orgy

18) Ace Frehley — New York Groove (Russ Ballard Cover)

19) Silver Jews — Old New York

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4 Responses to Interview Mix: Adam Wilson, A Ribald Replacement For The Last Generation’s Pen Envied Men

  1. Pingback: Morning Bites: Rachel Maddow’s Steinbeck Award, Dickens’ Google Doodle, Adam Wilson’s playlist, and more | Vol. 1 Brooklyn

  2. Pingback: Review: Adam Wilson’s Flatscreen | Matt Corley

  3. Pingback: Adam Wilson (BSS #439) : The Bat Segundo Show

  4. Pingback: The Bat Segundo Show: Adam Wilson

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