Gardner Remembers (2011)

Gardner Remembers, The Lost Tapes: a Novel (2011)

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Cover art by Carlos Gonzalez

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“Mesler captures the flavor of the late 60s/early 70s Memphis music scene expertly, especially his evocation of the Shell as it was then.  I could almost hear Knowbody Else (later Black Oak, Arkansas) performing their creepy local FM hit, “Flying Horse of Louisiana,” there while I was reading Gardner Remembers.”   —Ross Johnson, drummer for Panther Burns, Jim Dickinson, and Alex Chilton

“Corey Mesler’s new novel takes its template from Jann Wenner’s Lennon Remembers, the epic, soul-baring interview conducted for Rolling Stone in 1970. The interview subject here is Buddy Gardner, a fictional 60s music icon from Memphis…In this imagined universe, Gardner’s late 60s group, Black Lung, made one critically revered album, Turntable Poison, produced by Jim Dickinson…This fantasy interview is a smartly-rigged device for an extended rumination on the 60s/70s cultural sea change and the conflicting forces that both motivated and frustrated the artists of that era…Gardner is an intriguing, paradoxical character…he’s arrogant and self-deluded one moment, vulnerable and self-effacing the next—the standard bag of contradictions for any ‘tortured’ rock star. His ‘muse,’ Lorelei, is never far from his side, subtly pulling the strings, more of a Jeanine Pettibone to his David St. Hubbins than a Yoko to his John…In that spirit, there’s plenty of devilish humor here, too, not least the willfully obtuse titles the author has concocted for Gardner’s imaginary catalog of songs: ‘The Rules for Hide and Seek,’ ‘They Bribe the Lazy Quadling,’ ‘The Shell When I Knew It,’ ‘In Real Time Nothing Happens.’ These surely belong on an imaginary mix-tape right alongside ‘Snowflakes Falling on the International Dateline’ by the Count Five… The author delights in pushing our record geek buttons throughout Gardner Remembers—the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, Roky Erickson, Sam the Sham, the Gentrys, Fever Tree…and, oh yes, the Pretty Things, all get a mention…In a final hardy-ha-ha, the book signs off with a note that Turntable Poison has been reissued by Sundazed—with bonus tracks, of course. After reading this book, you’ll be wishing that was true.”     –Mike Stax, in Ugly Things #33 (Spring/Summer 2012)

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