Michael Buckner | Frazer Harrison, Getty Images Now this is a collaboration that…
- Posted on Sep 4th 2009 3:00PM by David Chiu
So how did the real-life Barlow react to being mentioned in a novel? "He hadn't read the whole thing yet," Pernice, who corresponded with Barlow via e-mail, tells Spinner. "But he said he glimpsed at the chapter with him in it. He wrote 'Woo-hoo!' or 'Yippee!'"
The scene with Barlow is just one of several musical references, such as Peter Frampton, Terence Trent D'arby and Del Shannon are also include, in 'It Feels So Good When I Stop,' a story about a young man who skips out on his wife soon after their marriage and is now living in Cape Cod.
"The main thrust for me was creating a character who is pretty self-centered, kind of floundering, and isn't actually even aware to the extent that he is those things," Pernice says. "I wanted to show a guy discovering just how messed up he is, not necessarily fixing how messed up he is."
Pernice says that he had thought about writing a novel for some time. The idea for 'It Feels So Good When I Stop' came from a walk that Pernice took with his son during a visit to his old neighborhood. "A dog was on a leash [and] was kind of darting at us," he recalls. "I started thinking what would a guy do in that situation. The book grew from that one vignette."
The musician sees some similarities between writing a book and a song in that they both require discipline. "It's easier to write music for me because you don't have to find a large chunk of time," explains Pernice. "Writing the book took a lot of effort to get into a schedule. I had a very limited window of time everyday to work. If I skipped [writing] a day or two, it took me two more days to get back into the groove."
Not only did Pernice write the book but he also recorded an accompanying musical soundtrack that features his covers of songs by the Dream Syndicate ('Tell Me When It's Over'), Todd Rundgren ('Hello It's Me') and others. "There's no doubt that I worked tunes into the book as an homage to the songs," Pernice says. "It was only halfway through that I thought, 'Wait a second. I should just record these songs.' I sat around and played almost all these songs on guitar."
Pernice, who already has a new album slated for next year, says he would like to write another book. "I know what kind of effort it takes to pull it off," he says, "and I just want to make sure I'm ready to commit to doing it before I just jump in. I need a few more months to decompress and make music again for a while."
Two years ago, Spinner called Pernice's song 'Chicken Wire' the "Most Exquisitely Sad Song in the Whole World." Since then, the song's popularity has generated not only additional sales but also personal reactions from folks. "Sometimes people are writing me notes like can I help them get through this hard time," says Pernice. But he adds that writing melancholy songs is only a part of what he does. "I certainly have a dark streak but I know more jokes than any other person. I'm not a sad guy but people just assume from my music that's who I am, which isn't really the case."