Kicking off a series of interviews to celebrate the launch of the new Gutter Books anthology ‘Waiting To Be Forgotten: Stories of Crime and Heartbreak, Inspired by The Replacements’ is S.W. Lauden – author of Bad Citizen Corporation and Grizzly Season.
Author: S.W. Lauden
Story Title: “Customer”
Firstly, what drew you to this anthology?
We all have a band that defined our high school years. The Replacements was it for me. I’d grown up with heavy metal, mostly thanks to my older brothers, but eventually made the transition to punk when I started developing my own tastes. The sonic extremes of hardcore bands were great for getting drunk and smashing into each other, but the charm started to wear off in my mid-teens. The Replacements had the snotty, blue-collar attitude I loved, but they also wrote great songs with heartbreaking lyrics and killer hooks. In the end, they really helped me fall in love with rock and roll in its purest form.
How did you first get into the band, and what was the first Replacements album you owned?
I started my first real band with some kids I met in a high school English class. My new guitarist loaned me copies of “Let It Be” and “Tim,” and I was hooked—but when I went to buy some of their music, I decided to go back and start with their debut, “Sorry Ma, Forgot To Take Out The Trash.” The music on that first Replacements record is really influenced by fifties rock and roll, probably more so than the punk bands it gets lumped in with these days. It’s still The Replacements record I listen to the most, followed by “Stink” and “Pleased To Meet Me.”
How would you pitch your story to potential readers?
I chose a song from the first record, but I wanted my story to parallel the entire arc of the band and their aging, rabid fan base. As luck would have it, The Replacements mounted a reunion tour around the same time so I decided to write a flashback piece about getting old, the resentments we hold onto, and revenge. The song’s called “Customer,” so the liquor store setting was a no brainer.
This story aside, does music have an important influence on your fiction?
Absolutely. The main series I write is about a former beach cities punk musician named Greg Salem who becomes an East Los Angeles police officer later in life. The first book in that series, “Bad Citizen Corporation,” explores the collision of those two worlds wrapped around a series of murders in Salem’s hometown. The follow up, “Grizzly Season,” follows Salem as he leaves the police force and evolves into a jaded P.I. “Grizzly Season” was published in October by Rare Bird Books.
Apart from your own one – do you have any favourite stories in Waiting To Be Forgotten?
There are way too many amazing writers in this anthology to only pick a few. If you like crime fiction and The Replacements, you can’t go wrong with any of the stories in this collection.
Finally, if you had the opportunity to put together a music-themed anthology, which band or artist would you choose?
I’m slightly biased to LA-based punk bands, but I think that X would be the easy choice. They already paint some brutal, vivid imagery in their music. You could probably have a lot of fun with a surf noir-themed Black Flag tribute. And I wouldn’t mind being part of a Ryan Adams anthology.