Boiled in Concrete, the 3rd Martin Fender novel, is now available in the Amazon Kindle store, and between tonight (Saturday morning at midnight CST) until Monday morning, it’s free for Kindle Prime Members. So you may as well download now, even if you don’t plan on reading it, so I’ll get credit for it, and this will help me buy a new pair of very expensive, British made Jeffrey West rock star boots. I realize it seems trivial, but that’s where we’re at these days. Very soon, within a couple of months, that is, I’ll have a brand new novel out on an e-platform that I’ll also be asking you to buy, but this time, I really want you to read it and dig it, because it’s brand new, it’s real cool, it’s a post-apocalyptic surrealistic blues pulp fiction story. But more on that later.
- Check out a video of the Carla Olson/Mick Taylor Band here, with me playing bass (don’t look for me, I’m back in the shadows) in 1990 at the Roxy in Los Angles, on the great Stones song “Sway.”
Boiled in Concrete was originally published by Viking Penguin in 1991. I was living in LA at the time with my wife, Lois Richwine, playing in a band with Carla Olson, Mick Taylor, and some other fine musicians. As you may recall, Carla Olson is from Austin and was formerly in a band called the Silver Cloud (with Eddie Munoz), also the Violators and also the Textones. I was in the Violators, with her and Kathy Valentine, in 1978, and then I played with her again in the Carla Olson/Mick Taylor Band. We were briefly called the Jesse Sublett/Carla Olson/Mick Taylor Band, but the clubs where we played kept running out of S’s, so we shortened the name. OK, that’s not actually true. Anyway, the first CD we recorded, Too Hot For Snakes, kicks off with my song, “Who Put The Sting On The Honey Bee,” as the first track. Everybody liked the song, including Mick Taylor, who was formerly in the Rolling Stones, and was the only guitarist to leave the Stones and live to tell about it. Mick liked my songs, and also loved my crime novels. Without bragging, I must say it’s a real thrill to play in a band with a guy who is not only an ex-Stone, but without a doubt one of the greatest guitarists in the world, and who is, like myself, a diehard Howlin’ Wolf fan, but unlike 99.99% of the musicians in the world, able to play those Hubert Sumlin licks so well it just might melt your face off. And so, during a break, you’re talking with this incredible guy about the greatness of Howlin’ Wolf, and then you switch to crime fiction, and he’s as big a Raymond Chandler fan as they come. It’s a cool, cool thing. So, back to my novels: Boiled In Concrete is the third Martin Fender novel. It had not yet been released when I was playing with Mick, but he loved the predecessors, Rock Critic Murders and Tough Baby. Again, I’ve gotta tell you, playing in a band with an ex-Rolling Stone, who knows every Howlin’ Wolf song backwards and forwards, and who is at least as good a guitarist as Jimi Hendrix, and who digs your songs and your crime novels, is a pretty neat experience.
Carla Olson is still a friend and has always been great to play with also. That CD, Too Hot For Snakes, is slated for re-release soon and by the way, we played a few Rolling Stones covers on that record, too.
Back to the novel, Boiled in Concrete. In this one, Martin Fender finds himself marooned in Los Angeles, the real Austin deal in a plastic town, a fish out of water. I loved living in LA, but Martin Fender did not. He was anxious to get back to Austin. So when he hooks up with a troubled pop singer named Dovie De Carlo, his mercenary instinct kicks in and he sees plane fare in it. He can get Dovie back to her roots in Austin, help her write some hit songs, and he can get his fill of good Tex Mex and other soulful stuff in his home town. But there are complications along the way. It’s always that way, even in real life.
I started working on becoming a crime writer when living in Austin, playing in the last stages of the Skunks and making the transition to playing solo, but it was in Los Angeles that I became a published author. I immediately signed up with the Southern Cal chapter of Mystery Writers of America, and met great authors like James Ellroy, Elmore Leonard, Robert B. Parker, Gerald Petievich, Wendy Hornsby and many others. (Ellroy, Parker and Petievich wrote blurbs for my novels. Ellroy wrote a very generous blurb for my memoir, Never the Same Again. We bonded over the fact that we both have this experience of being haunted by a horrific crime in our past: in his case, it was the unsolved rape/murder of his mother, in my case, it was the murder of my girlfriend, Dianne Roberts, by a serial killer. I saw Ellroy for coffee on occasion (triple espressos), and at book events, etc.) Around this time I also met Michael Connelly, who was a crime reporter for LA Times, just before his first book was published, The Black Echo, and what a debut novel that turned out to be (take a ridealong with Michael here and he’ll tell you about his new novel, The Black Box). Between novels and music gigs I wrote spec screenplays and the occasional screenplay or treatment for hire, short stories, war documentaries, anything to avoid actually working for a living. Living in LA felt like a dream, because I was also playing in some cool bands there, playing bass not only with Carla and Mick but with my other Austin pal, Kathy Valentine. The Go-Go’s were in one of their defunct phases at the time, having broken up acrimoniously. So Kathy started a new band called World’s Cutest Killers, and we played up and down the West Coast, recorded with Blondie producer Mike Chapman, and had a great time. Kelly Johnson, Kathy’s pal from the band Girlschool, was also in the band, along with ex Public Image keyboardist Jebin Bruni and drummer Craig Aaronson, of Broken Homes.
I’m going overboard with the name dropping here, so I’ll stop. I do hope you will check out Boiled in Concrete, plus my memoir of these experiences (along with my saga of surviving throat cancer and serial killers, Never the Same Again: A Rock n’ Roll Gothic, and other stuff…)