Friday, September 20, 2019

the last book I ever read (Begin the Begin: R.E.M.’s Early Years by Robert Dean Lurie, excerpt twelve)

from Begin the Begin: R.E.M.’S Early Years by Robert Dean Lurie:

The interior of Jeff Walls’s house is tricked out in early-‘60s retro-futurist chic: lots of white, curvy plastic, squiggly glass, and white shag carpets, incongruously set against brick and wood-paneled walls. It is a house entirely befitting the lead guitarist of the Woggles, Athens’ premier garage-soul rave-up combo. Walls himself is an imposing presence: stocky, broad-shouldered, decked out in a tan jacket and a cap bearing the socialist red star. His hair is jet black, an indication of either excellent genes or a ready supply of hair dye. If it went gray, he would look a bit like Southern author William Styron, with his full cheeks and round nose. He leads me from one wroom to another, shuffling along with a certain lumbering grace. We arrive finally at a den overstuffed with guitars and books on all manner of pop-culture detritus: a Robert Mitchum biography, a critical study of film noir, biographies of various ‘60s icons (the Who, the Beatles, etc.). Walls motions me to a seat, produces a bag of weed and a pipe, and asks, “Do you smoke?”

This sort of question always puts me in a quandary. I’m not overly fond of pot, but I’ve learned that it can be a good icebreaker in interviews. So I say, “When it’s offered to me.”

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