Synopses & Reviews
ALARM carries on the humorously visual narratives of fictional character Mick O'Grady, introduced in Daily's first published novel, Valley (Bend Press, 1998). Of that novel, Ray Gun Magazine wrote, "Mike Daily packs so many stylish smash cuts into Valley, MTV dulls by comparison."
In ALARM, the humorously visual narrative engages another dimension: the novel includes two full-length CDs featuring improvisational music and Mike Daily's spoken words excerpted from the book. One of the discs is a studio album, the other a compilation of live performances by the author's band, O'GRADY.*
ALARM finds O'Grady "settling into unsettlement" in the weeks after the hit on the World Trade Center. He's jobless, watching the news, shaky in his relationship, cautious with friends, curious with strangers. He's lost. But as the story progresses, his movements become more purposeful. He needs to eat. He gets a job. He gets two jobs.
ALARM is a stripped-down novel (and accompanying audio artifact) of confusion, alienation, and rediscovery of hope in the post-9/11 era that reads like a love letter to a friend and a promise to the future.
* The first CD that comes with this book is a 20-track compilation of live performances by O'GRADY (Daily, jDUB, Francis O'Plague, Sub-Sic) from shows at Disjecta Gallery and Ash Street Saloon in 2006 and 2007.
The second CD is a 16-track album assembled from studio recordings by Roads Less Traveled; Slack Variables; Begin/Daily/Strange (featuring guitar by Jason Begin from Christie Front Drive and Ousia, and vocals by Emilie Strange from Junior Private Detective); Daily, Moscovich & Strahota (presenting "Major Fiction"--the "FC2 Fightsong", as author and literary critic Larry McCaffery referred to it); Mick O'Grady Trio (Daily, David Moscovich, Sub-Sic) performing via live radio broadcast from Jennifer Robin's "Night of the Living Tongue" program on KBOO 90.7; and an early incarnation of O'GRADY featuring Luke Strahota from The High Violets as drummer, A.L. Hungate as Guitar God, Chutz Ponderosa on bass, and writer Kevin Sampsell reading personal post cards and letters (circa '94-'99).
Both CDs were professionally mastered by Antreo Pukay at Tell Tale Recording in Portland.
"ALARM is a fantastically real account of life as we know it and especially succeeds at uncovering the humor and magic of our most normal days working, loving, and living." Craig Finn, lyricist and guitarist, The Hold Steady
"Creating a category all his own between sound and text, Daily hums along like an electrical current zapping every territory of the social body consumer culture, media wasteland, relationship see-saws, and oh yeah the so-called 'self.'" Lidia Yuknavitch, author of Her Other Mouths, Liberty's Excess, and Real to Reel
"For some time now, Mike Daily has been compiling his own Daily-a-canna, a body of music, visuals, and words that do for California subculture what Dickens might have done for London had he been into 99-cent stores and had a band. Now comes ALARM. Authentic as Harvey Pekar's graphic novels, as energetic and raw as any new indie movement, ALARM is a novel in the form of a rock song or a rock song in the form of a novel that mines the humor in mainstream culture as well as the humor in underground culture along with their anthrax concerns, adverting pitches, boy-girl problems, and all the rest of the mashup." Steve Tomasula, author of Vas: An Opera in Flatland, and The Book of Portraiture
ALARM is a novel about a man and a woman wrangling with relationship concerns in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The setting is Southern California's San Fernando Valley. The female character is named Jocelynn.
About the Author
Mike Daily is a novelist, recording artist, and blogmaster who frequently performs his work in Portland, OR. He is currently vocalist for the experimental fiction rock band, O'GRADY.
ALARM features: Jason Begin, A.L. Hungate, jDUB, Matt McCullough, J. Morales, David Moscovich, Francis O'Plague, Mia Payne (vocals), Chutz Ponderosa, Kevin Sampsell (reading), Luke Strahota, Emilie Strange (vocals), Sub-Sic.
The current incarnation of O'GRADY is jDUB/drums, Adam Levi Hungate/guitar, Chutz Ponderosa/bass, Daily/fiction.
Daily/O'GRADY (featuring Nora Robertson as "Jocelynn") performed in Phase One: Words + Music at Someday Lounge on June 20th.
Daily read (with local hip-hop artist Sticks Downey rapping dialogue from ALARM) and signed books at Powell's Burnside on June 25th. Thank you, Powell's!
O'GRADY performed as a drums/fiction duo at Ash Street Saloon on July 26th. Nora Robertson guest-starred as "Jocelynn".
Mike Daily/jDUB performed at the FC2 Writer's Edge student open mic reading on July 28th.
Daily read at Reading Frenzy on August 22nd.
Introduced by Raymond Federman, Mike Daily will read at John Fowles Center at Chapman University in Orange, CA, on May 5, 2008.
Table of Contents
TRACK LISTING: O'GRADY / LIVE PERFORMANCES CD / ALARM
01. O'GRADY [0:30] [Ash St. 07.06.06]
02. Ordinary Concerns [2:36] [Ash St. 01.06.07]
03. Shake It, Bump It, Sniff It [1:12] [Ash St. 01.06.07]
04. War [6:02] [Ash St. 01.06.07]
05. Anthrax [1:34] [Ash St. 07.06.06]
06. Los Angeles [5:30] [Ash St. 07.06.06]
07. Drum Machines [6:30] [Ash St. 07.06.06]
08. Any Questions? [0:25] [Ash St. 07.29.06]
09. Only Girls Can Smoke in Here (Pt. I) [2:26] [Ash St. 07.29.06]
10. Only Girls Can Smoke in Here (Pt. II) [6:04] [Disjecta Gallery 07.20.06]
11. Major Fiction [5:12] [Disjecta Gallery 07.20.06]
12. ALARM [2:37] [Disjecta Gallery 07.20.06]
13. Archivalism [0:24] [Ash St. 07.29.06]
14. Cut to a Commercial [2:07] [Ash St. 07.29.06]
15. Francis O'Plague [2:51] [Ash St. 01.06.07]
16. Brautigan [6:57] [Ash St. 01.06.07]
17. God Is My Friend [3:22] [Ash St. 07.29.06]
18. Follow Your Heart [2:46] [Ash St. 07.29.06]
19. End of Reality [1:15] [Disjecta Gallery 07.20.06]
20. You [0:05] [Francis O'Plague's House June 2006 practice]
TRACK LISTING: STUDIO ALBUM CD / ALARM
Roads Less Traveled
Mick O'Grady Trio
Daily, Moscovich & Strahota
01. Alarm [1:33] [Mick O'Grady Trio]
02. Anthrax [0:51] [Mick O'Grady Trio]
03. God Is My Friend [1:39] [Mick O'Grady Trio]
04. War [8:45] [Mick O'Grady Trio]
05. Made in Burma [2:44] [Begin / Daily / Strange]
06. Oh for Fook's Sake! [6:16] [Mick O'Grady Trio]
07. Van Nuys Blvd. [2:55] [Mick O'Grady Trio]
08. Follow Your Heart [2:28] [Mick O'Grady Trio]
09. Cut to a Commercial [1:59] [Mick O'Grady Trio]
10. Brautigan [5:18] [Mick O'Grady Trio]
11. Drum Machines [4:30] [Roads Less Traveled featuring Mike Daily]
12. Kevin Sampselliana Pt. I [8:03] [O'GRADY featuring Kevin Sampsell]
13. Kevin Sampselliana Pt. II [9:30] [O'GRADY featuring Kevin Sampsell]
14. You [2:13] [Slack Variables]
15. Major Fiction [7:13] [Daily, Moscovich & Strahota]
16. Way Too Tight [0:16] [Abadeka]
Willamette Week: How do you describe the book/CD format of ALARM?
Mike Daily: It's like an [art] installation. It's multimedia. But at its core, I see this as a book. The CDs weren't meant to be a book-on-tape, read-along kind of thing.
Do you consider yourself part of the tradition of the Beats?
About 10, 15 years ago, I read a lot of Beat stuff. But the Beats weren't quite as visual with a lot of their literature or poetry. I've been more influenced by the MC and freestyle element of performing. Where guys are doing their stuff in a rapid-fire format. A lot of verbiage. Driving a narrative. What I've been trying to do is more of storytelling theater.
You still call ALARM a "novel." What makes it a novel?
With my first book, too, having the word "novel" on the cover was a conscious play on wordsâ€”using the word "novel" as something new. I try to bend genres.
What does writing from the fictional perspective of Mick O'Grady allow you to do that writing from an autobiographical perspective wouldn't?
That's what made this game, this fiction game, so compelling. Being able to fictionalize in the gaps, make stuff up as needed. Making a bridge between fiction and reality.
Do you live vicariously through fictional Mick O'Grady?
Mick O'Grady might be a distraught entity. Mike Daily can be a distraught entity. But Mick O'Grady can be more cavalier. Because obviously with fiction you can smooth things out or make something less rough and more free-flowing; you can edit a character. You can't do that in real life.