You guys know I'm writing a book about Blitzen Trapper, right? It's going to be a slim little volume about the album FURR, which was a big deal nationally in 2008. I'm doing boatloads of research, I need some new hardware, and I'm interviewing the band themselves for this thing. Trying to get publishers interested. But I need a little help. If you've enjoyed my writing in the past and want to throw some cash my way to make this a real thing that makes people happy, please do!
What the project is.
I am going to build a book around the band Blitzen Trapper’s seminal album, Furr. Cited as one of Rolling Stone’s best albums of 2008, Furr was a centerpiece of the alt-folk explosion of the late aughts, gaining mainstream prominence in the post-grunge scene that also elevated groups like Band of Horses and Fleet Foxes. After toiling in self-published near-obscurity for years, Blitzen Trapper finally landed a deal with power indie label SubPop; Furr was their label debut, distilling and honing their unique and nearly uncategorizable sound into a record Pitchfork called “an essential 13-song LP with no filler.”
My aim with Furr: Inside Blitzen Trapper's Breakthrough Album is to track the why, how, where, and when Furr was so important – not just to Blitzen Trapper, but to the fans and bands of the late-00s Pacific Northwest rock scene. I’ll be interviewing the band and those influenced by the album and scene, and going into deep research mode. From the bizarre creation of the album (spent living and recording in an old telegraph building in Portland and playing on a partially-broken piano) to the background of their significant debut on the important indie label SubPop, this book will discuss the multiple facets of this constantly fascinating album. The book will also function as a critical look at the themes and imagery inherent in the record, and do it in a way that is both academic and accessible. My hope is for Furr, the book, to become essential reading for anyone with even a passing interest in the band, the music of the era, or the thrilling intersection of folk, rock, country, and pop. The first work of its kind on this band, written in the style of the books in the influential 33 1/3 series of album guides.
The publisher’s next pitch session is this fall; I’ll have to not only construct a compelling case for them to want to publish a book on Furr (including a 2,000-word introductory essay), but I’ll also want to have the majority of the book written in advance, offering me plenty of time for rewrites and fact-checking.
Because I’m writing this book on spec – meaning without an advance or any guaranteed money from the publisher – I’m hoping to use this Kickstarter as its own advance, allowing me the time and resources to work on this book without having to get a second job. Because a nonfiction book, especially one adhering to certain specifications, requires deeper and more thorough research than a novel, the money generated from this campaign is even more important.
Anyone who has ever donated to a book Kickstarter for me knows that my success rate is 100%; each of the four novels was completed and delivered to readers before my self-imposed deadline. I have also written seven nonfiction books, each published through a legitimate nonfiction publisher, with another on the way. I know what I’m doing, and you are right to have confidence in my ability to finish this project, and well. The most exciting aspect of the writing and campaigning part of this book is that Blitzen Trapper is fully on board every step of the way. Their commitment to my project is so deeply embedded in its fabric, they have offered to provide all the prizes for the various levels of donations – everything from stickers and T-shirts to concert tickets and, holy wow, BACKSTAGE PASSES. This is firmly a “hell yes” situation.
I’m writing an awesome book about a landmark record, and Blitzen Trapper will give you concert tickets and backstage passes if you donate enough. So please, consider donating to this project, and share with every single friend who might be into a book like this! Thanks!