Brian Paone

Author // Musician

Work has officially begun on the next novel.

My most recent novel, "Yours Truly, 2095", was released in 2015. Since then, I have only written and published 3 short stories. I have not even thought about the next novel. Until now...

At the beginning of the month I finished my outline for what will be my 4th novel, hopefully released later this year. It's a sinister crime-noir thriller that follows a down-on-his-life detective who is hired to tail a man that may or may not be committing adultery. Turns out, the man is a modern day Jack the Ripper, and the detective's feelings and moral standings about the killer's activities become less and less steadfast as he is thrown into the killer's world. Oh, and there may be a few "things that go bump in the night" helping our killer on his mission, all thrown in for good measure of course. I'm going for a Dick Tracy meets Jacob's Ladder meets American Psycho vibe.

Once again, this is a novelization of a concept album: Dog Fashion Disco's "Adultery" album. But, the beauty of rock fiction (for everyone who has read any of my novels or short stories and had no idea they were adaptations of albums or songs) is they are also stand-alone books. Just like you don’t have to have read a book to enjoy or understand the movie adaptation, you don’t need to have heard the album (or even need to have ever heard OF the band before) to understand or love a rock fiction novel. Rock fiction novels are unique in the sense that they already have 2 built-in audiences right out of the gate: the fan base of whatever band’s album is being adapted, and the fan base of the genre the book is written in. It’s not a prerequisite to know the album to read a rock fiction novel. In fact, I bet most people read a rock fiction novel purely based on its blurb and have no idea it is an album adaptation.

Now that a new novel is being constructed... there will be a lot more updates.

...more (very) soon...

 

 

My first band's first album, Yellow #1 "Bottle of Rain," turns 20 years old....

My very first band that recorded and released an album, Yellow #1, gave the world our debut album, "Bottle of Rain," 20 years ago this month.

I was in a thrash metal band called Vertical Smile for about a year (we only played 1 show and recorded a 2-song demo cassette) and was way more into industrial and avant-garde music than thrash at the time. I was the drummer of Vertical Smile and really just wanted to be a singer, front man, and write quirky electronic music with a drum machine and synthesizer, with bits of real instruments thrown in here and there, accompanied by angst-driven lyrics and vocals. So, I quit Vertical Smile after our one and only show and bought about $2,000 worth of gear.

I didn't have a name yet for the band or even band members. I was at a Maids of Gravity concert in Boston, telling the singer, Ed Ruscha, about the nameless band while we were playing pool, and he hit the yellow #1 billiard ball into a pocket, stood, and said, "How about Yellow #1?" My first real band was named.

I started writing songs in my bedroom on an acoustic guitar and a drum machine (a Roland DR-5), while furiously writing lyrics. I wanted the music of the band to sound like a cross between Nine Inch Nails and Mr. Bungle, with lyrics inspired by Korn and Quicksand.

Over the course of almost a year, I wrote 14 songs for the album, playing every instrument myself, except for the guitars on "A Summer Dream." That was written and played by the guitarist for the band Enuresis Burn, Matthew Diglio.

Yellow #1 was offered our first show in 1996: the Middle East downstairs in Cambridge, MA opening for Turkish Delight; probably my favorite local band at the time. We were only getting a 10 minute slot. But here was the real problem: I didn't have a live band! Yellow #1 had been 100% me for the past year, writing and playing every instrument in my bedroom.

So, I put together the first live incarnation of Yellow #1: Christine Kelley (keyboards), Mark Sieczkowski (drums), and Dave Ouellette (known as Dogboy in my novel, "Dreams Are Unfinished Thoughts," on percussion.) I played guitar and sang. My brother Paul was our first roadie.

After the show, I moved the band into a rehearsal space so we could practice like a real band, learning all 14 songs I had written for the album. Mark was also the singer of a local band called Tension and couldn't commit to drums, so after the first show he left the band, and I recruited Dann Paciulan for drums, additional guitar, and additional keyboards. Dann became my multi-instrumentalist on stage. This lineup of Yellow #1 would continue throughout the next year.

After a handful of shows, I felt the songs were ready to be recorded for the album. We recorded the album over the course of 4 months at Zigmo Studio, produced by Dan Tarlow. Dave and Christine wound up writing their own lyrics to 2 of the songs on the album, and everyone had vocal duties. Other guest vocalists included my mother; my stepsister, Lauren Sullivan; and the singer of Enuresis Burn, Mike Viccione. Because of how long it took to record the album, the studio was an open invite. We had friends and family in and out during the entire process.

The artwork was designed by Sean Carmichael (who also designed the front cover of my second novel, "Welcome to Parkview"), and "Bottle of Rain" was released in April, 1997. It received some interesting reviews in some national and local music magazines, and the song "Broken Eyes" was played on Boston radio station, WAAF.

Christine Kelley and Dann Paciulan left the band at the same time, being replaced by Jason Paul, who took over all the keyboard & synthesizer duties. We opted to eliminate live drums from the shows, so Yellow #1's new lineup was Dave Ouellette, Jason Paul, and myself.

Then we were asked to open for Godsmack. Dann was going to be in the area that weekend so he returned to the band just for that one show, which allowed us to add live drums back into the set.

Eventually Jason Paul left the band in 1998, and Yellow #1 was just myself and Dave Ouellette. We stopped playing shows and focused on recording 3 new songs for compilations that we had been asked to submit songs to:

1) A Christmas compilation called "A Drive-By Christmas," which we submitted a song titled "Dirt Blue Star's Third Christmas." I recruited bass player Eric Park (who I would later be in the bands Drop Kick Jesus and The Grave Machine with), and Eric wrote and played keyboards and harmonica on the song, and I sang and played keyboards, and Dave sang as well on the track.

2) A Faith No More tribute CD called "Tribute of the Year," which I submitted our cover of "As the Worm Turns." The incarnation of Yellow #1 on this recording was myself, Dave Ouellette, and Jenny Applebaum, who played electric guitar. (This would be the final thing Dave ever did with Yellow #1; he left the band shortly after recording this song. And this song was the only thing Jenny ever did as a member of Yellow #1.)

3) We were asked to record an instrumental piece for a compilation, and I wrote and recorded a song called "Peaceful Night." This incarnation of Yellow #1 was just myself playing a sequencer.

These 17 songs are what I consider to be the "Bottle of Rain" era of Yellow #1. Especially since our second album wasn't recorded until 2016.

Transpose's "Retribution" album turns 6 years old

My band, Transpose, released our second album, "Retribution," six years ago this month. It had been four years since our first album, and we had played enough shows in those four years where we really wore out that first album. It was time to not only have some new material to play live, but way past due to give the fans a new batch of songs.

This album was the most unique album I have ever been a part of. It is the only true concept album I have ever written. The songs can't be listened out of order, there are characters, dialogue, a plotline, a climax, and resolution. We began writing this album right around the time I was in the editing stages of my second novel, "Welcome to Parkview," and there was a part of that novel (which was eventually removed and not part of the published version) that was about 20 pages long and told the story of a man who knew his wife was cheating on him, so he follows her and spies on her meeting some random man at a hotel, and when he confronts her the next morning, she won't tell him what happened, so he burns the hotel where the affair happened to the ground, killing everyone inside, but ultimately forgiving his wife in the process.

I removed this part from the book and instead rewrote the 20 pages into lyrics, keeping some of the dialogue to be sung in the songs. We were really going for a true concept album like Pink Floyd's "The Wall," Genesis' "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway," or The Who's "Quadrophenia." An album that is really, just on big song; a story put to music.

It was also the first album, of the now-7 albums I have written, where the lyrics were written first, and THEN the band put music to what was happening in the story. Up until "Retribution," every song was completely finished musically, and I would come in and write the lyrics and vocal melody around the preexisting music. This time, as a band, we had to verbalize what was going on in the "scene" and then write the music to that action.

In the studio we added sound effects to accent what's going on in the scene: alarm clocks, sound of people eating, a woman moaning, footsteps on stairs, firetrucks etc. That was a lot of fun to drop those in the songs throughout. This was also the most keyboards I had written/played on an album since Drop Kick Jesus' album "Splatterguts," which came out in 1998, so it was also a lot of fun to get behind the keyboard and compose again.

As soon as the album was finished, that was also the birth of a totally new live show for Transpose. Gone were the random order of songs from the first album. Our shows were now "Retribution" from start to finish, and then our encore; which was about three songs from the first album. We moved the songs from the firs album to the end of the show, and performed the new album in its entirety as the meat of the live shows. We toured pretty extensively on the "Retribution" album for two years.

I even made a film to go along with the album, a visually journey of the story as the album plays. That can be found here on my site or on YouTube. We would play the film at our merch table during the tours and shows.

I have been a part of 7 albums in my musical career total, and "Retribution," still to this day, is the album I am most proud of than any other album I have written. I don't know what the future will bring in regards to how I will feel about future albums, but this one will always be super special to me. It was one of those albums where I felt everything just clicked, the whole way through. And not just because it was the first time one of my stories had been turned into an album, that I could sing every night on stage.

Oh, and we also recorded a cover of Digital Underground's "The Humpty Dance" during the recording sessions and added it as a hidden bonus track on the album. Ha!

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