DIRTY! DIRTY! DIRTY! A high speed book tour (part I)
Electric Lit is committed to publishing—and paying writers—through the pandemic without any layoffs or pay cuts. Please consider supporting us during this difficult time. Donate here.
Mike Edison’s new book, Dirty! Dirty! Dirty! — Of Playboys, Pigs, and Penthouse Paupers, an American Tale of Sex and Wonder, has been described as a “high-speed saga of sixty years of sex in the centerfold.” Largely following the outsized egos of what he calls the “Four Horsemen of Porn and the magazines they created — Hugh Hefner and Playboy, Bob Guccione and Penthouse, Larry Flynt and Huster, and the lesser known but equally vituperous Al Goldstein and Screw — Dirty! Dirty! Dirty! is at turns foul-mouthed social history, post-gonzo journalism, and tragi-comic epic storytelling. Edison has been out on the road promoting Dirty! Dirty! Dirty! on what was a book tour like no other. Traveling at times with his collaborator and accompanist, Mickey Finn, who Edison calls “the World;s Greatest Piano Player,” Edison will be perpetrated a mix of literary mayhem and music in bookstores, pizza parlors, dive bars, and art museums, and will be sharing his tour diary and road tales here for the next two weeks. You can find upcoming dates, comix, videos including the 3D trailer for Dirty! Dirty! Dirty! and the legendary bong guitar plus a whole lot more at www.mikeedison.com.
Wednesday, Nov 2, 2010
New York City/Brooklyn, USA: IT’S A ROCK’N’ROLL THING.
I’ve been asked, point blank, what the fuck is wrong with you? “Other authors just carry a copy of their book. It’s easy. Why can’t you just read from your book and answer questions like everyone else?
And when I am trudging through an airport carrying an electric organ, tape loop generators, a guitar, my theremin rig, a small amplifier (and trailed by my beatnik who doubles on be-bop bongos at the early shows and explosive, locomotive drums at the late night hootenannies that are part and parcel of one of my tours), sometimes I gotta think, Well, just what the fuck is wrong with me? After all, other authors, or so I have been told, do tours just carrying copies of their books.
1. Manly the World’s Strongest Cat voguing on top of the Dirty! Dirty! Dirty! backline, enough amplification for a small rock concert. Sorry to say he didn’t make the trip: ass, gas or grass, no one rides for free. 2. Warming up the show a the Raconteur in Metuchen. Rocking the theremin with World’s Greatest Piano Player Mickey Finn.
But not me. I couldn’t imagine reading without music. And so tonight, to get the tour for my new book Dirty! Dirty! Dirty! started, I have loaded on to a hand-truck a Nord Electro keyboard, a Magic Motion amplifier with rotating speaker which is something like a portable Leslie (and when I say portable I mean it weighs less than a taxi cab), an Orange amp I like for the theremin, and the theremin rig which includes an extremely nasty fuzz box and a few other face-melting tricks.
I am off in a few minutes to meet the Word’s Greatest Piano Player, Mickey Finn, who is my collaborator and accompanist on this part of the tour that is taking us from NY to Chicago, Detroit, and a sick double-header in Pt Huron where we are doing a reading/performance early, and then a full-tilt rocknroll set with local musicians later in the local gin mill.
Our last gig was a warm up for the tour in a small bookstore in New Jersey, and I am wondering, Do other author’s even think about doing warm up shows? Opening on the road? We rehearse like insane people and have been doing bits of the show on off the grid readings for the past year getting ready, polishing the gags, figuring out what works and what doesn’t, editing the whole mess into a freaking REVUE that is really starting to blur the edges between X-rated cabaret and some kind of post-gonzo literary happening. And it’s fucking great. Trust me when I say that — we’ve been at it for a while now and we blow minds. There is definitely an easier way to do it, but I am really not interested.
1. Aftermath of gig at WORD in Greenpoint. A relatively small mess compared to what is about to happen… 2. I suppose I could do the whole tour with a pile of books, a Sharpie, and a bottle of whisky… I have heard rumors of other authors doing it that way.
OPENING NIGHT AT WORD BOOKSTORE IN GREENPOINT, BROOKLYN was a gas. We could’ve used a few more bodies (we could always use a few more bodies) but what the crowd lacked in legion they made up for in brainpower. I know at least one woman in the audience who has more degrees than a thermometer. We did what we do, a 45 minute set of beatnik bop and theremin explorations as soundtrack to stories from Dirty! Dirty! Dirty!, some dirty blues, and maybe a few greatest hits from my first book I Have Fun Everywhere I Go. It went pretty well until I knocked the theremin over doing some Elvis-style kung fu moves during a particularly piquant story about blow job techniques as per The Sensuous Woman. For a while I was pretty worried that I had actually smashed the dingus, but fortunately I was able to put it back together. I have had this particular theremin for about ten years, I have played at least 300 shows with it. It is similar to the model that Jimmy Page used, and I am rather fond of it. Fond.
Show rated a success, we repaired to the bar with friends and fans. Only concern so far: Judy McGuire, the co-host with me on my Internet radio show the Mike & Judy Show was out with us, helping to celebrate the new book and the tour, but I could see the gleam in her eye while were talking about how she was going to do our show this week without me while I was busy terrorizing the midwest. I know that gleam. It is the same look George W. Bush had when he invaded Iraq. I could see I was going to have to monitor this situation from the road if I want to still have a radio show when I come back.
Tomorrow morning we are flying to Chicago and then driving to Detroit. Already the whisky is flowing a little bit too easily.
Click here for the rest of Mike’s high speed book tour entries, or, for more mayhem, buy his book: Dirty! Dirty! Dirty! — Of Playboys, Pigs, and Penthouse Paupers, an American Tale of Sex and Wonder
— Mike Edison is the former publisher of marijuana magazine High Times, and was the editor-in-chief of the irresponsibly outrageous Screw. Edison has worked as a correspondent for Hustler and a high-paid gun-for hire of the legendary Penthouse letters. In addition he is an internationally known musician and professional wrestler of no small repute. He is the author of 28 pornographic novels and the cult classic memoir I Have Fun Everywhere I Go (Farrar, Straus & Giroux). He speaks frequently on free speech, sex, drugs, and the American counterculture, and is “proof positive that one can be both edgy and erudite, lowbrow and literate, and take joy in the unbridled pleasures of the id without sacrificing the higher mind.”
by Mike Edison