After outing Fredo Corleone and explaining what happened to Sonny's daughter in The Godfather Returns, ex-Clevelander Mark Winegardner plans to set his next book in Cleveland's 1970s punk and porn scenes.
"They're both really fascinating," Winegardner says of the city's rust-era subcultures. "In Cleveland in the '70s, you had the feeling that things couldn't get worse. And it kept getting worse. An outsider would poke fun at it, but I have tremendous heart for the city. I want to write about that sense of post-apocalyptic malaise. And [both scenes] are so full of fascinating characters."
Winegardner, 43, is from Bryan, Ohio. Now a professor at Florida State University, he researched historical Cleveland for his well-received previous novel, Crooked River Burning. He worked in the city from 1989 to 1997, writing for the Edition and Free Times, and teaching at John Carroll University. He listened to punk in the '70s, but like most of the rest of the country, didn't discover Cleveland's influential bands until the next decade, when he came to appreciate Pere Ubu and the Numbers Band.
"They really couldn't be much more different bands," says Winegardner. "But they were all a part of the scene, and that's really interesting."
Winegardner says the as-yet-untitled book will be "very, very loosely based on" historical characters from the 1970s, including porn magnate Ruben Sturman, and won't arrive for at least another three years.
"It's going to be faithful to the scenes of those worlds," he says.
· Amazon.com editors included Doug Gillard's Salamander (Pink Frost/ Big Takeover) among their top 10 alternative-rock CDs of 2004, ranking the Guided by Voices guitarist's solo debut above the latest discs from such notables as Elliott Smith and Paris Texas. Gillard will play a solo set Wednesday, December 22, as part of the Beachland's Old Home Night. Set in the tavern, the show will feature performances by Cleveland expatriates home for the holidays, including Tony Maimone and Scott Krauss of Pere Ubu.
· After three years of Monday-night jams at the House of Swing, the A.C.O. Band has called it a day. The group, led by saxophonist Robbie Williams, grew out of the backing band of lounge singer Al Mazur, who had played the House's Monday nights for over a decade. A.C.O. alums include vocalist Jackie Warren and guitarists Jason Green and Bob McGuire (the latter six-stringer wrote the early Drew Carey Show theme, "Moon Over Parma.").
· According to a post on Ringworm's website, the Clevocore veterans are in Spider Studios with Ben Schigel (Chimaira, Rikets), recording their third album, tentatively titled Justice Replaced by Vengeance. "The new stuff is sick," says the posting. "The new album is gunna crush. Fast and pissed-off, with a couple headbangers thrown in." No release date has been given.
· Sludge-metal supergroup Son of Jo-Rel, which features members of Soulless, Rwake, Madman Mundt, and Fistula, has posted an untitled debut track of abrasive riff rock at www.shiftyrecords.com. The band plans to begin working on its first full-length shortly.
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