A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Sylvie Simmons *updated*

Q1: When did you start writing and who influenced you the most?

Sylvie: . I had two obsessions, from the moment I came out of the egg it seems, and they were writing and music. When I was little I sang and tapdanced onstage and offstage I played a recorder, I started writing stories pretty much as soon as I started school. I can’t think of one particular person or book that influenced me as a writer because I read so much, all sorts of stuff, starting with fairy tales. My inner-goth preferred Grimm to Hans Christian Anderson. I can be more specific about the first music I heard that really meant something to me: Bessie Smith singing St Louis Blues, my dad’s favourite record. And then while I was still a little kid there came the Beatles. Between Bessie Smith and John Lennon, it’s all I needed.

Q2: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

Sylvie: Again nothing specific. I can’t remember thinking “I want to be a writer”, because I had never met anyone who was a writer by profession, and because I was always writing, all sorts of stuff, for no reason other than that I liked to write. There was a time in my teens when I wanted to be a singer-songwriter because I loved singing and I had a guitar and I guess I looked the part. Most of the songs I wrote were minor-key dirges – about lost love before I’d had any love to lose – and none of the songs were worth remembering without embarrassment. Anyway, stage-fright put paid to that idea. So I became a music journalist. My influences as a music journalist? Hard to say. Probably a mishmash of the largely-male (they were mostly men back then) rock writers in Sounds, N.M.E, and Melody Maker, the three UK music magazines I’d devour every week. When I moved to L.A in 1977 I became  Sounds’ correspondent. Left to my own devices out there I suppose I started to find a style and approach of my own. I hope so. Also, I got over my stage fright and became a singer-songwriter, but that was several decades later.

Q3: Who has helped you most with writing and career?

Sylvie: In the beginning it was Sounds magazine in the UK, for making me their correspondent in 1977 and giving me all sorts of brilliant assignments, like going on the road with Black Sabbath, or The Clash, and a weekly column. This led to assignments from other magazines in the US and Europe, which meant I was writing nonstop, and picking things up as I went.

Q4: Where did you grow up and how did that influence you? Have any travels influenced your work?

Sylvie: I was born and raised in inner-city London and I entered my teens when London was the best place in the world to be for someone who loved music. I lived in France for a while, which certainly influenced my writing the Serge Gainsbourg biography: A Fistful of Gitanes.

But work-wise, the USA is where things really took off for me as a writer and also later as a musician.

Q5: What do you consider your most meaningful work creatively to you?

Two things tie for first place: I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen – the biography that I wrote with Cohen’s co-operation – was my first big best-seller, with almost 30 translations at last count. The other is my debut album of original songs Sylvie (Light In The Attic Records). When the turquoise vinyl turned up in the post, I admit I cried when I saw it.

Q6: What are your favorite activities to relax?

Sylvie: Playing old LPs on an equally old portable record player. Playing my ukulele, or piano, or my new love, a tenor guitar. Or walking for miles and miles going nowhere in particular, thinking thoughts, maybe stopping for a latte or a beer. Or going to the movies. I still love movies, and it’s just not the same on TV. It’s like watching a concert on Zoom.

Q7: What is a favorite line/ stanza/lyric from your writing?

Sylvie: I’ll leave that for someone else to decide.

Q8: What kind of music inspires you the most? What is a song or songs that always come back to you as an inspiration?

Sylvie: I love to rock out – for years I was the correspondent for Kerrang! – but ever since my dad and St Louis Blues I’ve always been drawn to slow, melancholy music. I can go on endless jags of listening to everything by Leonard Cohen, Nick Drake, Scott Walker, or Joni Mitchell’s Blue. The songs that keep bringing me back again and again are those in which you can hear the humanness of the singer and the honesty of the delivery. For that reason I love listening to music like old Blues or early Beatles, anything where the little mistakes are left in. I truly dislike auto tune and those polished productions that iron out all the human-ness.

Q9: Do you have any recent or upcoming books, music, events, etc that you would like to promote?

Sylvie: I recently got back from playing at the Calgary Folk Festival in Canada, and now I have a few things coming up in San Francisco. I’ll be doing a speaking event at Litquake with fellow veteran rock critics including Ben Fong-Torres and Greil Marcus on October 21st ’22. Also a music event at the Lost Church on November 6th ’22 as part of the S.F Leonard Cohen festival. There’s info on my website. You can find my first two albums on my Bandcamp page. I’ve also added some new music and outtakes. I’m hoping to record a new album next year.

On the writing side, I still write regularly for the UK magazine MOJO. My last book was Face It,  a collaboration with Debbie Harry. But I’m happy to say that there’s now an updated US edition of my Leonard Cohen biography  I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen.

If anyone would like to purchase a signed copy  – of the book or my albums,vinyl or cd – they can contact me directly through my website at the link(s) below.

Bonus: Any funny or strange stories you’d like let us know during your creative journey?

Sylvie: Too many to mention. It’s been 45 years of strange and wonderful occurences, and I hope it never stops.

Links:

Website: https://www.sylviesimmons.com/

Contact: https://www.sylviesimmons.com/contact

Bandcamp: https://sylviesimmons.bandcamp.com/album/sylvie

I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen on Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/2p98h7vf

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Kenny Inglis (Composer/Producer)

Q1: When did you start writing/discovering music? Who influenced you the most?

Kenny: I started writing music properly around 1994. We always had a piano at 
 home that i sort of messed around on as a kid, but definitely got more 
focused on it when i came out of high school.

At the time i wasn't listening to much in the way of music by artists, 
or albums etc. I was more into American TV theme tunes, stuff like The 
Equalizer, The A-Team, Airwolf, Knight Rider etc. I think a lof of them 
were written by the same person or people if i remember right.

Nowadays i find myself listening more to artists and albums from the 
period when i started writing. Early Massive Attack, Bjork, Portishead, 
Tricky etc, and bands like Leftfield, Lamb, the Cocteau Twins.


Q2: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a musician/artist?

Kenny: A pivotal moment for me was being introduced to the technological aspect 
of music production. I was used to just playing a solo instrument, but i 
 was blown away when i first got to us a sequencer triggering a bunch of 
gear all at the same time. A friend showed me his home studio set up and 
i literally remember asking him in disbelief "what ? you mean you can do 
more than one thing at the same time ??". It was basic, but it was just 
amazing to watch the drum machine running, then a bassline dropping in 
on top, and a bunch of pads and samples on top of those. That was it.


Q3: Who has helped you most with your career?

Kenny: I'm self taught, both musically and technically. I've always been really 
determined and i think i was my own driving force from the beginning, 
but there have been a handful of people i've met along the way who i'd 
 say helped purely by believing in me at times when i was running out of 
resolve. You get a lot of knock backs early on, and the music industry 
tends to drain your self-belief over a period of years. Every time i was 
 feeling the weight of stuff someone would appear in the mix and give me 
the boost i needed to keep pushing forward.


Q4: Where did you grow up and how did that influence you? Have any travels influenced your work?

Kenny: I grew up in the West of Scotland. It's quite a magical but isolated 
place and the winters are long and dark. I think the landscape and the 
weather influenced the tone of my music a lot. I moved into the city 
centre (Glasgow) in my 20's and i think that kind of galvanised the 
sound i had into something a bit more industrial/expansive sounding.

I've been in the U.S. a number of times. I think Los Angeles and New 
York just feel very cinematic and that tends to resonate with me. 
There's something about these cities at night, their sheer size and 
depth, which definitely stuck with me in terms of my creativity.


Q5: What do you consider your most meaningful work creatively so far to you?

Kenny: I recently released an album 'Everything Wrong Is Right' under my 
Imperfect Stranger pseudonym. As a body of work i reckon it's one of the 
most meaningful things i've done. I've never really written music for 
the sake of doing so. The music i write is personal, and it's a sort of 
diary reflecting upon difficult things i've experienced. 'Everything 
Wrong Is Right' encapsulates a specific period of great change for me 
and i think from an artistic point of view it's very important to me.

Q6: What are your favorite activities to relax?

Kenny: I like to get as far away from the studio as possible when i can. I do a 
lot of active stuff, like cycling, climbing, wild swimming etc. I've got 
a little campervan which gives me the freedom to go anywhere and just 
pitch up next to a beach or whatever. It's a polar opposite of staring 
at a computer screen in a dark room with a set of monitors blazing at me.


Q7: From your accomplishments what do you consider a favorite piece of music that you've done? Any meaning behind why?

Kenny: One of the first tracks i wrote in a previous project under the name 
Cinephile has the lyric "your promises, sound like lies to me". I often 
think about that as a simple definition for so many things that i've experienced
over the years. The music industry is absolutely rife with 
the wrong kind of people. The artist is always the person at the end of 
the day who suffers, and it's almost always because they've been given 
some kind of false promise or hope. Like a moth to a flame.

Q8: What kind of music inspires you the most? What is a song or songs that always come back to you as an inspiration?

Kenny: I am drawn to music which leans towards the cinematic. I don't mean 
actual score music, more anything which conjours up a definite tone or 
atmosphere. Music that gives you a sense of a story unfolding or some 
kind of scene always grabs my attention.


Q9: Do you have any upcoming projects that you'd like to promote? Concerts, books, events, etc? 

Kenny: I'd repeat about my recent album as Imperfect Stranger - 'Everything 
Wrong Is Right' which is available via Castles In Space. I've got a 
follow up EP to that coming this November all being well.


Bonus:  Any funny memory or strange memory you'd like to share during your creative journey?


Kenny: I was playing at a festival in Ireland in 2008 and was making my way to 
our stage across a particularly muddy backstage area. As we crossed the 
access road a huge black limo swung in through the production gate and 
drove right over my left foot. I sort of yelped with fright but when i 
looked down the side window was open and Grace Jones was staring right 
at me.

Links: http://www.kennyinglis.com/

Twitter: @mrkennyinglis @areyouimperfect
Instagram: @hearingwithmyeyes


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenny_Inglis

https://open.spotify.com/artist/6DD2kStVwlf03zYaCUMskK

https://music.apple.com/us/artist/kenny-inglis/961290526

https://www.discogs.com/artist/7377-Kenny-Inglis























A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Lily Maureen O’Nan (author of “Cracked Around the Edges”)

Bio: My name is Lily Maureen O’Nan. I am a genderfluid transfeminine writer, artist, musician, and a double major in sociology and psychology with a minor in gender studies. I’m also multiply neurodivergent, but place emphasis on Autism. I am the sister of David O’Nan. My pronouns are they/them and she/her. I write a variety of genres, and have one self-published book entitled Cracked Around the Edges. https://transdisciplinaryneurodiversity.blogspot.com/2022/03/name-is-lily-maureen-onan-and-i-am.html?sm_au=iVVrZppJZf6F0kVMHtJqHK0qJ6jF1 Twitter @LilyMONan

https://www.lulu.com/shop/lily-maureen-onan/cracked-around-the-edges/paperback/product-2y8qd4.html?page=1&pageSize=4

1. When did you start writing and whom influenced you the most?

Lily: I started writing philosophical rants down on paper when I was 14 or 15 after being told I think existentially by my therapist at the time. Soon after, I started writing my signature stream-of-consciousness poetry, which has evolved significantly over the years. I have always been most influenced by Beat literature, so I would say that Kerouac created the foundation for me to become the writer that I am today, however, more recently, I would say Ada Hoffman has been a huge influence on me and got me interested in the genre of speculative fiction written by Autistic authors. 

2. Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

Lily: Honestly, I have somewhat known that I wanted to be a writer since I was a teenager, but I did not fully commit to writing completely until I went back to university, published my first book, and started work on more projects. After having won a scholarship for a grant that I wrote for about disability and adversity, I feel like an accomplished writer in academia, and that gave me more confidence to work on my own personal writings.

3. Who has helped you most with writing and career?

Lily: I would have to say that my book would not have been published if I did not have my nesting partner, Jessica, as co-editor to format the book correctly. I also have to thank my brother, David, for being a strong support, and the late Bill Sovern for giving me a stage when I needed it.

4. Where did you grow up and how did that influence you? Have any travels influenced your work?

Lily: I grew up in a very small town in Kentucky called Sebree and it influences a lot of my work, as it was not a pleasant place to live, so I had to use many forms of escapism to deal with the trauma, therefore, it is reflected in my work a lot. I also spent a short time in New Orleans growing up, and that has also had a significant influence on my work because it gave me a taste of various cultures and subcultures that I would have otherwise not been introduced to. As far as travels go, Chicago has indirectly influenced my work through a past polyamorous relationship that did not work out as planned.

5. What do you consider your most meaningful work creatively to you?

Lily: My most meaningful work has yet to be published, but it would have to be a flash speculative fiction piece that I wrote. Most of my poetry is untitled.

6. Favorite activities to relax?

Lily: I am a voracious reader. When I am not doing schoolwork, I am reading for pleasure or developing my social life more. Listening to music and social media are other ways I choose to relax, and honestly, I write to relax at times.

7. What is your favorite line/stanza/lyric from your writing?

Lily: I cannot reveal my favorite line from my writings, as the piece has not been published yet.

8. What kind of music inspires you the most? What is a song or songs that always come back to you as an inspiration?

Lily: I would have to say that I am most inspired by industrial and folk music. There are quite a few songs that come to mind as an inspiration, such as “Venus in Furs” by The Velvet Underground and “Waitin’ Around to Die” by Townes van Zandt. Lately, I have been listening to “History is Everyone’s Fuck” by Street Sects a lot and it is inspiring me to want to start a new music project.

9. Do you have any recent or upcoming books, music, events, projects that you would like to promote?

Lily: I am working on a book of poetry, a collection of flash speculative fiction, a memoir, and possibly a book of essays. I read poetry at The Bokeh Lounge, and you can more than likely find me at Poetry Speaks. I have read there during the past two events. I am also considering starting a new music project.

Bonus Question: Any funny or strange occurrence you’d like to share during your creative journey?

Lily: I got mistaken for a friend of mine at Poetry Speaks while being called to the stage, so that was kind of humorous. 

New Poetry book “Cracked Around the Edges” from Lily Maureen O’Nan (info from Lulu site)

New poem by Lily Maureen O’Nan

https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Cracked_Around_the_Edges_Selected_Poems_2015_2019?id=kshqEAAAQBAJ&hl=en_US&gl=US

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/bare-bones-writing-issue-1-david-l-onan/1141994348

For Lily’s Twitter and links to her blog!

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cracked-around-the-edges-lily-maureen-onan/1141347779

Poetry/Stories inspired by “Elvis Costello-Veronica” David L O’Nan & Pasithea Chan

Twine Years by David L O’Nan

Ever since I remember as a little boy
my grandmother much younger than I actually thought
She appeared to be lost and looking for the lost sunset all day
Another cloud goes by and she smiles and says "it is about to become really pretty out here."

She would sit in on a knotted wood framed chair and watch her world disappear as the moon came out to remind her for a moment of who she is. As she twisted some twine together hoping to someday make more blankets and sweaters.

The woman with style at the 1950's ballroom halls.
The men would look and she'd flash her ring
A quick look at her military man in a picture frame. Smiling in the dust that buries the room.  Her yellow wedding dress sits in the attic.

She remembers the walks in the park with her lost friends.
She remembers the children as they were children.
She remembers the kicking and jumping, the twirls of immortality.
By the beach she would splash for hours with a wagging tail dog.
She remembers the endless fashions she would help mature a town from rags to class.

She looks blank and cries to a mass of blanket that she has been working on for weeks.
Was that military man remembered for his drunkened slams of fists against the walls?
The accusations he'd proclaim as he ran with the mice in packs to the whores and sweating out Sunday mornings. Dripping, stained and stinking in a plaid jackets.

I have to calm her down.  I play the "The Nutcracker" on a record player, as she masks herself back into a ballet.   She begins to sway arms slowly but surely.  I feel she is on that endless dancefloor again.
Or was she ever?  Was she just imagining a time when she was free again?

About 6 months later I had lost this Angel to the dance away.  The sunsets would always come. Even in the darkest of storms.

She'd say on her last days " I want to Remember You, but I can't" " I want to know all children and tell them not to be afraid"

Now i'm in my 40's I see another older woman.  Struggling to remember most days.  Does she mimic this dance?  The mother I
always depend on.   Will I finally have to learn to be myself?  I wait for the sunset for hours by the river. Always curious if she is also looking for that same spinning sunset that seems endless and impeccable and immovable. Has it moved all these years?

Fidgeting with the jute twine.  Where can I go hide? 

Current bio for Fevers of the Mind’s David L O’Nan editor/writing contributor to blog.


I Am Here Veronica by Pasithea Chan

I went to see you yesterday like I do every weekend, but like
Always we’ve just met over lunch, and I have to introduce
Myself to you and tell you all about me once again.

Hell is when you look at me doubtfully 
Even though I know you feel me trying to
Reach out to you and reassure you that
Even if you forget me I will never forget you.

Vivid fails to describe how witty and colorful you are in
Everything you do from how you show me your hairpins to how you
Reminisce the good days when you used to paint 
Out in the backyard and talk about how you met the love of your life.
Never did I imagine I would have to explain why he can’t come and see you
I have to find the strength to not grab you and tell you I miss you 
Cause it hurts so much to remind you that I love you with
All my heart and give you back some of the pieces you’ve lost.

Author’s Notes: Acrostic spelling I Am Here Veronica, inspired by the song “ Veronica” by Elvis Costello.