Sunday, January 1, 2017

Johnny Strike (#4): Don't Be A Stranger.

  Johnny Strike at the Saint Francis Hotel in San Francisco (May 23, 2010).

Rock 'n' roll novelist Johnny Strike has a new release: a noir-inspired, mystery-thriller called Name of the Stranger (Bold Venture, 2016). It's his latest, literary venture, since his quasi-autobiographical/fantastical eBook The Exploding Memoir came out – the cover of which shows him in his San Francisco punk rock days, when he was co-fronting the band CRIME.

Speaking of which...CRIME is the subject of a (split) cover story in the latest issue of Ugly Things. It's not the first time the band has graced the front of that California-based magazine: Michael Lucas' 1995 oral history is required reading for those who require a steady diet punk rock oral histories, and surely didn't get enough about the band in Jack Boulware's tales of Bay Area Punk Gimme Something Better.

Strike's a '70s era, first-generation punk music survivor, a committed writer, a traveler in the best Beat sense, displaying Burroughsian, as well as pulp, sensibilities in his written projects.

Strike's example also served as inspiration to me, before I set out to write my own first novel: Seeing him keep orderly writer's hours while spending time in the Mexican coastal-port town of Mazatlan, dedicated to pursuing his craft while esconced in the tropics; discussing with him his means of gathering image-notes or translating photos into words – and then recognizing how said snippets informed his novel Ports of Hell and short-story collection A Loud Humming Sound Came From Above.

I like to think he's at work today on a writing project, just as I am. Strike once told me that he no longer parties on New Year's Eve. Instead, he rises early on January 1st, using the day as a template for how he wants his year to progress, filling the first few hours of his New Year doing what he wants to be doing throughout the months ahead. 

Strike out, Johnny.

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