I spent over three years writing and editing Don't Call It Nothing: The Lost History of '90s Roots, Rap & Rock 'n' Roll and the book is now available to you for the low, low cost of free! The book is part autobiography, part biography, part social history, and all music history. It’s an excellent reference tool for the best American music of the decade, largely driven underground in favor of terrible grunge, emo, Britpop, nu metal, and rap rock.
And as a reward (punishment?) for finishing his damn book, LD created a song-for-song interpretation of Exile On Main St. 18 songs that individually match the aesthetic of the 18 songs on Exile. Oh, and to add a level of difficulty, most of the songs are from the 1990s — this makes sense given this podcast — and even the 3-4 that were recorded in the 2000s are by bands who began in the ‘90s. Enjoy!
Theme Song: Mike Nicolai, “Trying To Get It Right” [Bandcamp]
Welcome to Don't Call It Nothing, the podcast dedicated to the lost history of '90s roots, rap, and rock 'n' roll. I’m your host Lance Davis and today I have a pretty big announcement. You know that book I keep talking about? It’s done! Yay!!! It only took three years of my life. Actually, three years, two months, and 18 days OR 28,200 hours. Take that Malcolm Gladwell! [laughs then laugh cries] I’M NOT DELIRIOUS! YOU’RE THE NOT DELIRIOUS!!! Seriously though, if any of you are thinking of writing a book someday, I have one recommendation. Before you start writing, run as fast as you can, head first, into a brick wall. When you wake up in the ambulance, ask yourself if you’re ready to run into the brick wall again. If the answer is yes, then congratulations. You’re a writer.
The best part about this book? It’s free! I know what you’re thinking, “Lance, is maybe the free part tied to the headwound you suffered when you ran into that brick wall.” Maybe. But, the reality is this book is like Paul’s Boutique. There’s so many goddamn samples and references in this thing, there’s no earthly way I could get all that shit cleared in a reasonable amount of time. Besides, that’s not why I did this. Sure, there’s a small part of me that would love to say, “Don't Call It Nothing: The Lost History of '90s Roots, Rap, and Rock 'n' Roll available now at your local B. Dalton.” But, there’s a much bigger part of me that just wants people to have this information. I don’t really care about having an actual book on an actual shelf. It would be nice, but that’s an ego thing.
Please go to dontcallitnothing.squarespace.com, click the “Book” button in the nav bar, and a PDF download will be available. By the way, the book is almost 900 pages. Part of that is because I added photos, but part of that is because I figured since the book is electronic anyway, who gives a fuck how many pages it is? I mean, whether it’s 600 pages or 900 pages, the difference is slightly more space on your hard drive, so why not maximize the output? That was actually an unexpected upside to the self-publishing angle. And while the book is free, I’m certainly not above tip jarring – PayPal and Venmo firstname.lastname@example.org thanks in advance! – but if you don’t pay me a lick I’m ok with that, too. Seriously. If I wanted to get paid for writing about rock music I’d be shitting out Springsteen bios. I’m writing about Prescott Curlywolf, Uncle Tupelo, and Bikini Kill [laughs]. Publishers don’t give a shit about this stuff. If they did, this book would’ve already been written and it would’ve sucked.
If anything, sign up for the podcast because the spirit of the book and pod are basically the same. You can join us here at the $5 and $20/month levels. All family members get bonus episodes, but at the $20/month level, we can collaborate on a podcast or you can make a request for a pod. Whatever. It’s all good with me. Hit that “Buy Me a Coffee” button at the top of the page or the “Support” button at the bottom.
The other thing I wanted to mention was that while I was finishing up the book, I was also working on the next podcast, this one. This is gonna be another two-parter and I think – I hope – you’re gonna like it. So, over the Christmas break I was listening to Exile On Main St and I’ve got a smoldering hot take. It’s still pretty damn good. But – he prefaces dramatically – what if I created a song-for-song interpretation of Exile? 18 songs that individually match the aesthetic of the 18 songs on Exile. Oh, and to add a level of difficulty, most of the songs are from the 1990s — this makes sense given this podcast — and even the 3-4 that were recorded in the 2000s are by bands who began in the ‘90s.
So, what we’re gonna do is spend the next hour listening to those 18 songs. Gimme a week or two and I’ll write and record my track by track commentary. I’ll tell you why I picked the various songs and how they match up with the Stones. Obviously, the “Rocks Off” leadoff track has to be a banger, followed by an equally rippin “Rip This Joint” type track, etc. No pressure. Just the greatest rock ‘n’ roll album maybe ever. What could possibly go wrong? [laughs] So, I’m gonna get out of here and let Exiled From Main St take over. That is also the name on Spotify, so if you just wanna play your favorite tracks, search for Exiled From Main St. And that’s “ST” for Street, not fully spelled out, which is just like the album. Also, please visit the Don’t Call It Nothing Facebook page and website, dontcallitnothing.squarespace.com. PayPal and Venmo email@example.com. Like, comment, tell yo mama, and tell a friend. And now, rock ‘n’ roll.