Myers, Mitch 1957(?)-
Myers, Mitch 1957(?)-
Born c. 1957.
The Boy Who Cried Freebird: Rock & Roll Fables and Sonic Storytelling (essays, articles, and short fiction), HarperEntertainment (New York, NY), 2007.
(Author of introduction) Shel Silverstein, Playboy's Silverstein around the World, foreword by Hugh Hefner, Fireside, 2007.
Contributor to periodicals.
Music journalist and writer Mitch Myers is the author of The Boy Who Cried Freebird: Rock & Roll Fables and Sonic Storytelling. In his first book, Myers presents a collection of his music journalism and other writings that comment on musicians, songs, and the music industry. Describing the book in an interview on the Plug in Music Web site, the author noted "that the different genres; in-depth/ historical journalism, music-inspired fiction, meta-criticism, offbeat columns and oblique pop commentaries all come together with a unified voice, providing an alternate take on the history of popular music culture in [the] 20th Century."
The Boy Who Cried Freebird contains everything from straightforward reviews and overview of the musical contributions of the late Frank Zappa to tall tales and fables that incorporate the author's journalistic writings. For example, the story "Who Will Save The World?" features an overly paranoid nation saved from an alien invasion by singer Ozzy Osbourne and the band Black Sabbath, whose songs, when played, reveal aliens hiding in human-like bodies. Another story features a Grateful Dead fan traveling back in time to see the band when they were at their peak. This story is part of "The Steel-String Trilogy," which includes straightforward profiles of guitarists John Fahey and Leo Kottke. As for the book's title, Greenman Review Web site contributor Kelly Sedinger noted: "there's a recurring motif that circulates through the book, following the adventures (or misadventures) of one Adam Coil, whom we first meet when, in a moment of almost divine inspiration, he becomes the first person to ever shout out ‘Freebird!’ at a rock concert."
In his journalistic pieces, Myers writes about a wide range of music, including rock, jazz, punk, folk, and ambient music. "Despite reading like a book set on random, Myers is a fantastic writer with a great ear for rhythm," wrote Jodie Janella Keith on the PopMatters Web site. She further stated, "His pieces on jazz have an implied swing beat built into the words, while his writing about hard rock is blunt and frenetic." A Kirkus Reviews contributor wrote that the author's "analyses of Lou Reed, Frank Zappa and Doug Sahm are solid … journalistic pieces."
Although several critics noted that the book was somewhat uneven, they nevertheless had high praise for The Boy Who Cried Freebird. For example, Keith wrote that "the collection isn't quite as seamless as it ought to be." However, Raymond Cummings noted on the City Paper Web site that the book "will sate anyone lusting for intelligent, polite rock writing and dubiously weird lore." Other reviewers noted the author's humor. A Publishers Weekly contributor wrote that the author "is also extremely funny" and went on to call the book "an insightful and entertaining look at popular music culture."
Myers is also the nephew Shel Silverstein, known for his cartoons, children's books (Grab Your Socks! and The Giving Tree), poetry (A Light in the Attic, Where the Sidewalk Ends and Falling Up), and songs ("A Girl Named Sue" and "Cover of the Rolling Stone"). In ad- dition, Silverstein also wrote plays and other books. Myers maintains the Shel Silverstein Archive in Chicago and is also the author of the introduction to Playboy's Silverstein around the World, which is a collection of a cartoon travel journal by Silverstein as he traveled across the globe on assignment for Playboy magazine. "Shel had a way with words that went beyond poems," Myers told Carl Wiser in an interview on the Song Facts Web site. "And it was probably more of a songwriter first and became and evolved into the children's poet that he is best known for being." Myers also commented in the same interview on Silverstein's verstaility, noting: "And I think that Shel was a great student. Anything that he was interested in, he would pursue it quite vigorously and quite completely."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Coda Magazine, July 1, 2007, James Hale, review of The Boy Who Cried Freebird: Rock & Roll Fables and Sonic Storytelling, p. 24.
Kirkus Reviews, February 15, 2007, review of The Boy Who Cried Freebird.
Publishers Weekly, February 26, 2007, review of The Boy Who Cried Freebird, p. 71.
City Paper,http://www.citypaper.com/ (December 2, 2007), Raymond Cummings, review of of The Boy Who Cried Freebird.
Greenman Review,http://www.greenmanreview.com/ (December 2, 2007), Kelly Sedinger, review of The Boy Who Cried Freebird.
Plug in Music,http://www.pluginmusic.com/ (December 2, 2007), interview with author.
PopMatters,http://www.popmatters.com/ (April 23, 2007), Jodie Janella Keith, review of The Boy Who Cried Freebird.
Song Facts,http://www.songfacts.com/ (August 20, 2007), Carl Wiser, "Mitch Myers (Shel Silverstein)," interview with author.