Archive for June, 2009

Seduction of the Innocent: Live @ San Diego Liner Notes

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

First off, I should note that THE FIRST QUARRY has now received two nominations, for an Anthony and a Barry Award, both for best paperback. The fields of other nominees are tough but it’s nice to see the book noticed. It is frankly weird to have started back up a series I began in college in the ’70s…but fun. Both awards are given at Bouchercon, and I’ll be there.

Second, for eastern Iowa fans and friends: Crusin’ is playing July 4 on the Pearl City Plaza patio for the Underground restaurant. This is the same location where we played not long ago to a capacity audience. We’ll start around 6:45 PM and play up to and for a while after the fireworks (with a great view from the patio). We are doing a mix of originals and classic rock, leaning on bands we appeared with.

Fans everywhere should check out this review of G.I. JOE: ABOVE AND BEYOND at Bookgasm.

When I did that 4 favorites thing last week, I inevitably left some favorites out. There were many of ’em, but I should probably have included LI’L ABNER as one of the four musicals/comedies I could watch over and over. Can’t believe I left that out. It has my favorite exchange in any movie, when Abner (Peter Palmer) asks Appasionata Von Climax (Stella Stevens) about the arrangement with General Bullmoose:

“Does you get bed and bored?”


Among the many TV shows I listed, I should have included THE MATCH GAME, particularly the Richard Dawson years. Apparently he didn’t get along with Brett Somers and Charles Nelson Reilly, but they were a great comic trio. You need to seek out THE LIFE OF REILLY, by the way, the wonderful one man show movie with CNR near the end of his life. Very talented and funny man.

Elvis Costello would have been among my favorite male singers but I am among those he continues to irritate with his non-rock ‘n’ roll albums. The current blue grass thing is listenable, at least, unlike the opera singer one (the woman sang horribly off-key) which I threw off the Centennial Bridge crossing from Davenport to Rock Island (the CD, not the female opera singer, though I would have if I’d had the chance).

Seduction of the Innocent: The Golden Age CD Cover

The San Diego Con is coming up, and Seduction of the Innocent — my “comic book” rock band — is a guest. We aren’t playing, because the con doesn’t have the right venue for us. But we will be doing several signings (dates TBA), and will have 200 copies of an official bootleg of our 1999 gig at San Diego. It includes lots of garage band stuff and a few originals. If we bring any copies home, they will be available here.

I wrote liner notes, but eventually had to edit them way down. I thought you might like to see the longer first draft:

It started with my son Nate, in 1987 only five years old and listening to Dr. Demento. Which meant I was listening to Dr. Demento, too, and got interested in “Fish Heads” and “Party in Your Pants” and other great bad-taste tunes from Barnes & Barnes. I knew Bill Mumy was half of that duo, and approached him at a San Diego Comic Con dance honoring Jack Kirby. He signed something for me, we chatted, I got introduced to Miguel Ferrer, and (since I was a comics pro) got invited to hang out. I knew Steve Leialoha through cartoonist Trina Robbins, and he joined this informal gang as we stood taking in a band that none of us liked. I said to Bill, “We could go up there cold and do better.” (I knew Miguel had been a session drummer.) Bill agreed. Steve, in his low-key way, smiled and said, “I play bass.” Somebody from the con (Jackie Estrada?) eavesdropped all this, and by the end of the evening we had been invited to play at the next San Diego Con. Miguel named the band “Seduction of the Innocent” that very night.

My ‘60s revival band Crusin’, back in Iowa (still together!), had a list of garage-band stuff that Seduction built its set list around. Bill added in some very hip things, like “Cinnamon Girl,” “All Along the Watch Tower” and “Shake Your Hips,” and we practiced in his living room, blowing out all the speakers on his stereo (I don’t believe we ever reimbursed him). It fell together pretty easily and we liked each other’s company, and laughed a lot. That’s all it takes for a band to work.

Over the next decade, we played San Diego numerous times and had a few other assorted gigs (Wondercon, Charlotte Heroes Con, a private party at the Santa Monica Pier). Chris Christensen (who had produced a Will Eisner LP) offered to put out a Seduction CD. We wrote songs for it, recorded it at Bill’s (not using his stereo speakers) and it came out well. “Pussy Whipped” got some airplay, even back in Iowa (Crusin’ had to learn it). Around then, Chris joined the band (playing drums when Miguel sang out front, and guitar when Miguel drummed) and was a terrific addition. We made a music video of “The Truth Hurts” (with our friend Brandon Lee) and played the original stuff at cons. Finally San Diego got too big and unwieldy to find room for us, and this live performance was our last to date…although smaller cons are free to inquire about gigs. We are actors and artists, and can be bought.

Max Allan Collins


Four Things

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

I was “tagged” (a term I don’t understand) for this “meme” (a term I also don’t understand). But it seemed like a fun exercise, so I of course cheated and added to it. Here goes:

4 movies you would watch over and over again:


How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Start the Revolution Without Me
Phantom of the Paradise


Kiss Me Deadly
Gun Crazy
Anatomy of a Murder

4 places you have lived:

Jefferson Street
Fairacres Drive
Lord Avenue
Fairview Avenue
(all Muscatine Iowa)

4 TV shows you love to watch:

Slings & Arrows
Veronica Mars
Life on Mars/Ashes to Ashes (UK)
Midsomer Murders
Foyle’s War
Little Britain
Spooks (MI-5)
Due South
Dragnet (‘50s)
Star Trek (original)
Sgt. Bilko
Fawlty Towers
Perry Mason
Nero Wolfe (A & E)
Crime Story
…is that four yet?

4 places you’ve been on vacation:

Italian alps

4 of your favorite foods:


4 web sites you visit daily:

Rap Sheet
Bill Crider’s Pop Culture Magazine
Ed Gorman’s blog
If Charlie Parker Were a Gunslinger

4 places you would rather be right now:

on stage playing rock and roll
on a film set directing
in the editing suite working on a film
in my baby’s arms

4 things you want to do before you die:

Get an Edgar
Direct at least five more movies
Complete the Nathan Heller saga
Not die

4 books you wish you could read again for the first time:

The Postman Always Rings Twice
Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye
The Bad Seed
One Lonely Night

And I’m adding this:

4 favorite bands:

The Beatles

4 favorite male singers:

Bobby Darin
Frank Sinatra
Anthony Newley
Bobby Rydell

4 favorite female singers:

Julie London
Lene Lovich
Kim Wilde
Rachel Sweet


On the Horizon

Monday, June 15th, 2009

Several people have mentioned seeing KING OF THE WEEDS listed on Amazon as a book coming out this year — it’s even available for pre-order. How exactly a phantom like this gets into the system, I don’t know. But KING OF THE WEEDS — which is one of the six substantial Mike Hammer manuscripts Mickey Spillane left for me to finish — isn’t even written yet. In fact, of those six Hammer novels, it’s scheduled to be the sixth, as (like GOLIATH BONE) it’s about Hammer in the last days of his career. As I’ve mentioned here, the next Hammer will be the ’60s era THE BIG BANG, published next year. This year I’ll be doing KISS HER GOODBYE, a ’70s Hammer, for 2011 publication. That will be the end of the current contract, so KING OF THE WEEDS isn’t even under contract yet, anywhere.

A number of projects are on the horizon but aren’t quite official yet. Terry Beatty and I are in serious discussions to do a new Ms. Tree graphic novel, which would herald a complete reprinting of the series in uniform format. I am close to signing with DC/Vertigo to do RETURN TO PERDITION as a graphic novel — this would be the last, chronologically, of the saga and a direct sequel to the prose novel ROAD TO PARADISE. Efforts to get ROAD TO PURGATORY made, from my screenplay and with me directing, continue, and are looking favorable. All of these, however, are not “done deals.” Stay tuned.

Jeffrey Goodman and I had a nice response to THE LAST LULLABY in Des Moines this past weekend (the film played through/including June 11 at the Fleur). The Q and A after the weekend screenings was excellent (Jeffrey said he’d been asked questions that no other audiences had thought to ask — i.e., did he have a completion bond?). We had a nice review locally in City View, too. And last week the film was featured at a Brooklyn film fest, marking the picture’s first New York screening.


The Little Death

Monday, June 8th, 2009

I have just written a Mike Hammer novel for audio that will be produced this summer in Chicago by producer Carl Amari and stars Stacy Keach himself as Hammer (with a full cast). This is the second of the “NEW ADVENTURES OF MICKEY SPILLANE’S MIKE HAMMER”from Blackstone Audio. It’s called “The Little Death” and will be out in the fall of this year.

This marks several firsts, probably the least of which is me writing a script in radio format. More important is that this will be the first time Keach — who has appeared as Hammer on film more often than any other actor — will be featured in a Hammer story actually based on Spillane material. The sources are the short story “The Night I Died” by Mickey and an unproduced screenplay that I developed under Mickey’s supervision. (Interestingly, “The Night I Died” was an unproduced 1950s radio script I found in Mickey’s files years ago, which he allowed me to short-story-ize for our NAL anthology, PRIVATE EYES.)

In the Audie-nominated first installment of THE NEW ADVENTURES (not written by me), there were two episodes. When I was invited to write the second installment, I asked if we could do one story — a novel for audio. Keach and Amari loved the idea. This will be the new Hammer novel for 2009 (although THE GOLIATH BONE is due in trade paper soon from Harcourt). The next prose novel, THE BIG BANG, will be out in the spring of 2010, and is a “lost” novel from 1964 — truly vintage Spillane.

I’m thrilled about “The Little Death,” as it was my opportunity to bring the Keach TV Hammer more in line with the novels. I promise you will never have seen (or anyway, heard) Keach’s Hammer this tough.

In other news, Crusin’ is performing this Sunday, June 14, in Muscatine, IA. The concert, from 6 pm to 7:30 at the Pearl City Plaza patio (adjacent Elle’s Tea and Coffee), will cover the history of the band. In the event of rain, we will perform inside the Port City Underground restaurant. Food will be available.