Bane, Michael 1950-
BANE, Michael 1950-
PERSONAL: Born May 5, 1950, in Memphis, TN; son of Robert R. (in politics) and Ruth Barbara (an executive secretary; maiden name, Bickers) Bane; partner of Mary Ellen Moore (a writer). Education: Attended Florida State University, 1968–71. Politics: "Libertarian."
ADDRESSES: Home—Boulder, CO. Agent—Patricia Berens, Sterling Lord Agency, Inc., 660 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10021.
CAREER: Clearwater Sun, Clearwater, FL, political reporter, 1974; freelance writer for magazines, 1974–76; Country Music, New York, NY, editor, 1976–78; Genesis, New York, NY, senior editor, 1978; freelance writer, 1978–.
MEMBER: National Rifle Association.
The Outlaws: Revolution in Country Music (nonfiction), Doubleday (New York, NY), 1978.
Who's Who in Rock, Facts on File (New York, NY), 1981.
White Boy Singin' the Blues (nonfiction), Viking (New York, NY), 1982.
You Can't Miss (nonfiction), Shaw/Bane Publishing, 1982.
Tampa: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, Mishler/King Publishing (Tampa, FL), 1982.
Pinellas: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, Mishler/King Publishing (Tampa, FL), 1983.
(With Mary Ellen Moore) The Guide: A List Book for the Tampa Bay Area, Mishler/Smith Communications (Tampa, FL), 1983.
(With Mark Andrews) The IBM PC User's Guide, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1983.
(With Travis Tritt) Ten Feet Tall and Bulletproof, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1994.
Shifting Paradigms: Reshaping the Future of Industry, Dogwood Publishing, 1997.
Diving on the Edge: A Guide for New Divers, Lyons Press, 1998.
Over the Edge: A Regular Guy's Odyssey in Extreme Sports, Wilderness Press (Boulder, CO), 2000.
Trail Safe: Averting Threatening Human Behavior in the Outdoors, Wilderness Press (Boulder, CO), 2000.
Also author, with Bill Wilson, of The Combat .45. Contributor to periodicals, including Esquire, Look, Rolling Stone, Oui, Chic, New Florida, and American Handgunner.
SIDELIGHTS: Michael Bane has written a variety of nonfiction books, including celebrity biographies that focus on musical figures in country music: The Outlaws: Revolution in Country Music, Living Proof: An Autobiography of Hank Williams, Jr., and Ten Feet Tall and Bulletproof, cowritten with Travis Tritt. Many of Bane's other books reflect his interest in and experience with extreme sports adventures. In Diving on the Edge: A Guide for New Divers Bane offers neophyte divers advice on putting safety first in all diving situations, from the Caribbean to the Great Lakes. Strategies and frequently asked questions are presented in an "easy-to-read guide that makes you feel as if you were having a one-on-one conversation with an experienced diver," according to Brenda Barrera in Booklist. The critic advised that all divers "will surely minimize their risks by heeding the advice provided here."
Bane's personal fascination with extreme sports began in mid-life. As a young person, he "was never an athlete. I was the typical smart fat kid who never got the girls," as he commented to Matthew Benns in an interview for the London Mirror. By the time he reached his forties, Bane was a "self-confessed couch potato," wrote an Economist reviewer, discussing Bane's book Over the Edge: A Regular Guy's Odyssey in Extreme Sports. While eating pizza with friends, he came up with a list of thirteen extreme sports that would be extremely challenging for him. They included mountain climbing, marathon swimming, biking in extreme climates such as Death Valley and the arctic, bungee jumping, and sky diving. Though disqualified from the Iditarod Bike Race, he completed all twelve of his other challenges, and in so doing, he spent 30,000 dollars, damaged his lungs, and ended a romantic relationship. The Economist writer found the story compelling, although cautioning that "Bane would need to be a greater stylist than he is to describe the extremes of physical and mental suffering 13 times over, and still have adjectives left to spare." Bane's ability to conquer great challenges has earned him a reputation as being something of a "guru for the Common Man, 'a Walter Mitty from hell,'" according to a columnist in the Denver Post. Bane commented to that writer: "One of the things that is weirdest is that people want a secret formula. There isn't one. You start. The answers are, to an extent, simple. You say, 'I'm going to do this,' and you do it. There isn't a shortcut."
Bane once told CA: "I think it's vitally important for an author to be wildly curious about everything. I'm at a loss to understand journalists who don't seem very curious about anything once they're 'off work.' I would also caution a new writer about the concept of 'buying the whole package'—making assumptions based on limited information. It's a problem particularly for newspaper reporters and for those of us trained on newspapers. What is explained away in a journalism class as a simple case of black and white is usually neither simple nor black and white. Don't let your own preconceptions blind you to the real world.
"Being a celebrity journalist, while consigning my soul to some sort of journalistic hell, was actually a lot of fun. The celebrities I found most interesting were the ones who were able to step back and get some sort of perspective on what they did for a living. These were, unfortunately, few and far between. I found Willie Nelson, with whom I spent a lot of off-and-on time, to be fascinating and enigmatic. Charlie Daniels is probably the most 'sane.' Hank Williams, Jr., remains the most interesting and the closest—when you write somebody's life story, you become linked in a strange and terrifying way.
"Freelancing is hard because it's such an individual occupation (also because magazines and publishers only pay you when you've got a gun to their heads). Having freelanced since 1978, I think I can safely say that it takes a special mindset to keep doing it."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Back Stage, December 31, 1982, George L. George, review of Who's Who in Rock, p. 41.
Booklist, May 1, 1998, Brenda Barrera, Diving on the Edge: A Guide for New Divers, p. 1489.
Country Music, November-December, 1994, Rich Kienzle, review of Ten Feet Tall and Bulletproof, p. 92.
Denver Post, October 12, 1996, "Scaling Mt. McKinley Next on List for Daredevil Adventurer," p. A2.
Economist, June 21, 1997, review of Over the Edge: A Regular Guy's Odyssey in Extreme Sports, p. 13.
Industry Week, November 19, 1990, Sue Gibson, review of Shifting Paradigms: Reshaping the Future of Industry, p. 40.
Library Journal, December 15, 1981, review of Who's Who in Rock, p. 2381; March 1, 1982, review of White Boy Singin' the Blues, p. 551.
Mirror (London, England), December 13, 1997, Matthew Benns, "I Defied Death 13 Times," p. 9.
New York Times Book Review, October 21, 1979; Los Angeles Times Book Review, November 29, 1981.
Publishers Weekly, November 27, 1981, Sally A. Lodge, review of White Boy Singin' the Blues, p. 83.
School Library Journal, September, 1982, Larry Domingues, review of White Boy Singin' the Blues, p. 151.
Wilson Library Bulletin, December, 1981, James Rettig, review of Who's Who in Rock, p. 304.