GR: What are you reading these days?
HR: I am reading short stories of Gogol. Re-reading parts of Of Time and the River by Thomas Wolfe and reading some F Scott Fitzgerald essays that I somehow have not gotten to until now.
GR: What can we expect from the updated version of Get in the Van?
HR: All the flyers from my time in the band are there, the tour dates have been corrected. there are many new photos and there's a better layout and design to thing. I think there's an extra 50 pages to it. It took a few years of gathering stuff to make it.
GR: What's your writing process like?
HR: I just do it when it hits me for the most part. Sometimes I pick a night of the week where I don't have to be anywhere the next day and I go all night. I like working like that. I have less time for that right now but hope to have more time like that up the road.
GR: Over the years, you've had the opportunity to interview some of the greats in modern music history, from Jerry Lee Lewis to John Lee Hooker. Is there still anyone that you would love to have a chance to sit down and talk to?
HR: That's an interesting question. I would like to talk to Werner Herzog, the director.
GR: Between the first book you published, High Adventure in the Great Outdoors, to your most recent, Broken Summers, your writing style has changed rather dramatically. Starting from the surreal imagery and relentlessly vicious tone of your early poetry and long prose, your work has slowly taken on a more straightforward style of recording events and giving opinions, while maintaining your insight for details. Is there ever an interest in returning to this earlier voice? Do you think there's still further change to come?
HR: That early writing was an interesing time. I think it comes with youth and the eyes opening and the senses opening and dealing with things intensely the first time around. I have found that after seeing dead bodies and a lot of really insane, wrong, horrifying and amazing stuff over many years, I am not seeing things the same way. I see the mechanics of things more often than the glow that perhaps comes off it. The adult world has a way of taking one away from interesting imagery and slamming one into the hard and real. Sheer practicality and responsibility can smack the creativity right out of your mouth.
GR: Five writers whose works you consider to be essential reading?
HR: Selby, Camus, Fitzgerald, Kapuscinski, Dostoyevsky
GR: Shock and Awe, your fourth spoken word DVD is due out February 2005. From what I've been reading about it, a good deal of the show touches on George W. Bush. Is there anything else about it that we ought to know?
HR: I think it was a good night of a good tour and the audience was the usual for Seattle--amazing. All in all, I think it's a sturdy release.
GR: Of all your books, which one would you say was the most difficult to write? In terms of content and/or some form of writer's block.
HR: Solipsist was years of work and very hard to live inside.
GR: Any update for us on your attempts to win the heart of Anne Coulter? I heard she has a new book out.
HR: She never calls, never writes. I jack off into envelopes and send it to her people, nothing comes back. It's pretty heartbreaking for me.
GR: Quite often, you've expressed disgust when it comes to the current state of the music industry. Feeling, justifiably so, that virtually none of the so-called musicians clogging up our radios and television would be able to handle the discipline required to survive anything even close to the grind Black Flag handled in the 80's. The same goes for the absolute marathon you yourself endure today. Is there anyone out there, as far as up and comers go, that you think that maybe, just maybe, might be able to walk a mile in your shoes and survive?
HR: I don't think that any band needs to be able to live like shit in a van for years. I think they need to play with total commitment and passion. How does Ashlee Simpson fit into that? The bland music trotted out so crassly to young people is often so tame to me. I wonder, why is an old man like me more pissed off and wanting a band to fuck shit up more than some 18 year-old? Thankfully, there's great bands playing all the time. Two are staying at my house tonight. El Guapo and Q and Not U.
Gabriel Ricard writes short fiction, poetry, and plays. Born in Canmore, Alberta, Canada, he lives with his family in Waverly, Virginia.