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Rock and Roll: An Infantile Business with Wesley Stace, Walter Martin and Sam Lipsyte

Friday, March 28, 2014 at 7:00pm

Sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll? Try sippy cups, pillow fights, and BabyBjörns. Novelist Wesley Stace joins musician Walter Martin for an evening of musical performance and conversation, discussing the new novel Wonderkid and the album We’re All Young Together with author Sam Lipyste (The Fun Parts).

Wesley Stace’s new novel Wonderkid is set in a very familiar place for the acclaimed writer—the world of rock and roll. For more than twenty-five years, as singer-songwriter John Wesley Harding, Stace has toured the world, appearing on rock’s biggest stages, releasing fifteen albums, and earning an international following. Now, after three novels published alongside his musical career, Stace offers a fictional backstage pass to the world he knows so well.

An ingenious tale of a rock band that suddenly finds success in the musical world—the children’s musical world—Wonderkid is a deliriously entertaining and surprisingly touching novel of the dangers of compromise, thwarted ambition, and fathers and sons. Told with tremendous humor and energy by an author who is as comfortable inside a rock club as he is inside a bookstore, Wonderkid is truly a behind the scenes rock and roll novel for the ages.

Walter Martin, multi-instrumentalist from the Walkmen, found out his wife was pregnant with their first child just as the New York band was finishing work on their 2012 album Heaven. With fatherhood on the horizon, and adulthood an undeniable reality, Martin felt it was time to challenge himself a bit. He had co-written songs for the band since they had formed in 2000—at first writing their big drum beats and rock riffs, and later focusing more on lyrics and the band's more romantic material. Now he just wanted to write something for himself. It was while standing in his kitchen the summer before last, surrounded by his young family and listening to their collection of 1950s rock 'n' roll records, that he realized what that meant exactly.

We’re All Young Together, Martin’s debut solo effort, is a sweet, funny, rough-around-the-edges “family record,” as he likens it, that’s intended to entertain the little ones, while getting a laugh out of their parents. An album of alphabet songs, it is not. Inspired by early rock ‘n’ roll, it is filled with the kind of innocent yet mischievous music that has long struck a chord with Martin.

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