Other than dealing with a non-stop flurry of emails, phone calls, and text messages, when I woke up this morning, not much has gone on today to rival the surreal experiences I've had over the past week. So, since tomorrow is the big release date of my first book, the moment I have been fantasizing and fretting about for over two years now, the day that everyone is going to know my deepest darkest secrets, and the day that I can't think of anything else to write about, I've decided, in a meandering, round-about sort of way, to say a few things about the book.
I don't think even a week had gone by from when I turned in the final manuscript that I was asked to write a synopsis of Long Past Stopping. They also wanted to know what my favorite food is, what kind of shoes I like, who I would want to play me in a movie, and so on. But writing the book had been so emotionally taxing that I just wanted a break from sitting in front of my computer, and wanted to get back to sitting behind my drums. My friend Jim Thirlwell was the guest curator for the month at The Stone, an experimental music venue in Manhattan run by John Zorn, and he asked my band Child Abuse to split one of the nights with Gibby Haynes from the Butthole Surfers. I really don't have too many heroes, but Gibby is definitely one of them. Maybe it's because I'd never met him. Having met a few heroes when I was a kid, only to find out they're human beings like the rest of us, I decided to avoid Gibby that night for fear of finding out the same thing about him. After ranting on stage for about twenty-five minutes about the racist cabaret laws in New York City (you can't drink or dance at The Stone), Gibby sat down behind his laptop, pressed play, and proceeded to check his email. The rant was actually very enlightening, but I have to admit the music was a letdown. He seemed to agree, because after the show he made up for it by walking around the audience, insisting on giving everyone their money back. (But, wait... this was supposed to be about my book. I'm getting to it.)
Unfulfilled, but not totally disillusioned, I dug out my old Butthole Surfers records and put on Rembrandt Pussy Horse while trying to come up with a synopsis for the book, and at the end of the first song (2:40), I heard Gibby singing it. I just changed all the words, and made it way longer.
In the Author's Own Words...
(Meant to be read with a fake British accent)
Long Past Stopping is about being raised by hippies, punks, anarchists, communists, social activists, circus clowns, Christians, a holographer, a Jamaican housekeeper, a Jewish grandmother, and occasionally my mom. It's about being a juggler, an acrobat, a unicyclist, a dancer, a paper boy, a bus boy, a limo driver, a bike messenger, an artist, a musician, and a junky. It's about candy leading to cigarettes, leading to pot, leading to acid, leading to heroin, leading to crack cocaine. It's about having a mom who is a feminist, homoeopathist, new age, leftist, anti-establishment, gestalt psychologist. It's about having a deadbeat dad who is a world-famous self-esteem guru. It's about slouching, chain smoking, drinking too much coffee, shooting heroin, and despising myself. It's about joining the circus when I was nine years old and hating it. It's about living in a punk rock commune when I was nine years old and loving it. It's about teaching a woman with no hands how to juggle.It's about telling ugly self-help fanatics that they are beautiful just the way they are. It's about doing cocaine in the back seat of a Mexican cop car when I was thirteen, and it's about waking up naked in the backseat of my mom's car when I was twenty-four. It's about my first time doing heroin with a professor from Stanford, and my first time trying to kick while on tour with an obscure noise band. It's about self-loathing, and thinking I'm better then everyone else. It's about having great friends and stealing from them. It's about hospitals, psych wards, and rehabs. It's about flying to the Caribbean to take an illegal and controversial hallucinogen, and finding out that the real world is not nearly as scary as my head.
It's about trying to write a blog post at two in the morning.
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Oran Canfield was raised in Massachusetts, Philadelphia, Central America, New Mexico, Arizona, and the San Francisco Bay area. While attending the San Francisco Art Institute, Oran began his career as a drummer and became heavily involved in San Francisco's flourishing underground music and art communities. Along with his involvement as a drummer for numerous bands in the '90s, he also owned and operated a recording studio and cooperated a music venue featuring experimental and creative jazz music. He has also been a bike messenger, piano restorer, housecleaner, limo driver, and sex-toy maker. Early in 2001, after seven separate stints in rehab, he got clean after attending an experimental treatment center in the Caribbean islands. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, and works as a musician and freelance art handler.
Books mentioned in this post
Oran Canfield is the author of Long Past Stopping: A Memoir