News Podcast

Ep. #248: Ray Robertson

Ray Robertson is a noted author and novelist based in Toronto. Originally from Chatham, Ontario, Robertson has written 10 acclaimed books, including his engaging and excellent new collection of biographical music essays, Lives of the Poets (With Guitars) – Thirteen Outsiders Who Changed Modern Music, which is out now via Biblioasis. During a chat in his living room, Roberston and I discuss the drunken debauchery of a book tour, reading in Chatham, away is better than home, going to school in Toronto and Texas, picking up an American drawl, studying philosophy, discovering great writers, his wife and renowned visual artist Mara Korkola, mistrusting the Canadian literature industry’s star system and presentation of this country’s literary landscape, Dan Wells and Biblioasis, knowing sentences and craftsmanship as a writer, his book Why Not? Fifteen Reasons to Live, all the Nicks, what obscurity does for an artist and their fan(s), the bitterness and insecurity within Ramones, his book Moody Food based somewhat on the life of Gram Parsons, resentful of success, Jerry Garcia’s guitar and the Grateful Dead, being first, Al Tuck, romanticizing illness and struggle, how we know the world and artists via their work, why he wanted to write The Lives of Poets (With Guitars), the personalized aspects of his writing here, political correctness and prejudice, Alan Wilson and Canned Heat, formative periods and passion, U2, how it’s hard to be cool, false inclusivity, nice turns of phrase, going through the book, Gene Clark of the Byrds, Ronnie Lane of the Small Faces, RAMONES, Dee Dee and Jackson Browne, “Danny Says,” Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Townes Van Zandt, Little Richard, Alan Wilson of Canned Heat, Willie P. Bennett, Gram Parsons, Hound Dog Taylor, Paul Siebel, Willis Alan Ramsey, John Hartford, things to do before we die, his new novel 1979, and that closed the book.

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