Wednesday, July 25, 2007

My Night with a Rock Star

Last Monday night, I spent the evening with Zach Lind, drummer in the band, Jimmy Eat World. They’re on a tour in advance of their next album, which is due out sometime in September. I showed up for their sound check, then I took him over to Solomon’s Porch and gave him a couple of books. We ate dinner at Chino Latino (curry shrimp with rice).

Most interesting about our conversation were the similarities and differences between the music industry (which he knows well) and the book publishing industry (which I know). For instance, bands choose their CD titles, while authors do not choose their book titles. On the other hand, I’ve known the release date for my book (February 1) for a year, and he still doesn’t know the release date for his CD (even though it’ll come out in less than two months).

One interesting stream of the conversation was over categories. I had read earlier in the day that his Jimmy Eat World is considered and “Emo-Core” band—that is, a cross between Emo and Hardcore. He said that label doesn’t really fit, but once a band gets categorized by the media and the retailers, there’s no getting out of it. The problem with this, of course, is when a music category (Zach mentioned “Ska”) goes out of fashion, all of the bands in that category are pretty much screwed.

Some of us are wondering about the future of “emerging church” or “emergent church,” especially as a book category. The former is now an official category among Christian bookstores (which means that you can find it above the bar code on the back of the book). For some of us authors, this category is helpful because it tells retailers where to stock, and how to sell, the book. But for more popular authors (Brian McLaren, Rob Bell, etc.), this category is probably too confining, and they’d just as soon be shelved with general Christian nonfiction.

After dinner, we went back to the Fine Line, where I stayed for the first four or five songs. Backstage, before the show, we had a couple beers and hung out with the band. The backstage vibe was very laid back. They had a great sense of camaraderie (after all, they’ve been a band for 13 years). It was a bit like the feeling I had running camp for many years. I could definitely see the allure of being a rock star.

As well as Zach’s music and blog, you can check out the podcast that he co-hosts with Shane Hipps. It’s some top-notch stuff.


Blogger Rustin S said...

Cool post. Note that only successful, established bands get to choose record titles though. New bands would be so lucky as to have a label that let them make any decisions.

10:55 PM  
Blogger spankey said...

Being the "mayor" of Emergent Village isn't all that bad is it? BTW - as an Episcopalian I like to think of you more as "mayor" and less as "bishop" Anyway, neat post, thanks for sharing your thoughts, and the links.

5:55 AM  
Blogger Steve K. said...

Heh, that's interesting, Tony. I was just thinking about the correlation between emo music and the emerging church as I was listening to Dashboard Confessional on my wife's iPod Shuffle on my commute home from work yesterday ... They both "emerged" at roughly the same time ... And they were both pretty whiney and disgruntled at the beginning ...

I guess emo is still kind of angst-y, and so is some of the emerging church conversation. But as I had to remind some folks at our last cohort mtg: There's always a legitimate need for that process of deconstruction (and a safe place in which to do it), otherwise it's just nameless anger and frustration.

Thanks for sharing about your rock'n'roll fun.

12:21 PM  
Blogger Adam said...

Dude - glad you got to hang with Zach and the band. They are great guys - I've had the chance to hang out with them once in Newark (here) and Atlanta (here).

3:03 PM  
Blogger Zach Lind said...

tony, thanks for the dinner and books. i had a great time. chino latino.

i think i'm just going to tell people that we're an "emo-emergent" band. we'll start a whole new music category.

10:10 AM  
Blogger el mol said...

Zach - there is an open chair at our poker game in dallas when you come through. tony can approve the table. thats all I got.

4:55 AM  
Blogger Kyle Fox said...

I believe I met Zach once at a concert at Central Christian Church in Mesa, AZ. In fact, he represents one of my claim to fames. I think I went to the same High School as him in Mesa, Mountain View High School. Or at least thats what I tell people. It gets me friends like THAT!

11:16 AM  

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