Unstrung: Rants and Stories of a Noise Guitarist

Unstrung: Rants and Stories of a Noise Guitarist

by Marc Ribot
Unstrung: Rants and Stories of a Noise Guitarist

Unstrung: Rants and Stories of a Noise Guitarist

by Marc Ribot


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The paperback edition of iconoclastic guitar player Marc Ribot’s darkly funny and subversive collection of writing, featuring brand-new essays not included in the hardcover.

"A slim yet powerful book in which Marc Ribot blends bits of memoir with strange little fictions, many of which are based on his own life and career."
Wall Street Journal

"Ribot . . . produced a book that is much like his musical output: difficult to categorize but fascinating and engaging."
Inside Hook

Throughout his genre-defying career as one of the most innovative musicians of our time, iconoclastic guitar player Marc Ribot has consistently defied expectation at every turn. Here, in the expanded paperback edition of Ribot’s first collection of writing, we see that same uncompromising sensibility at work as he playfully interrogates our assumptions about music, life, and death. Through essays—including some new material not included in the hardcover—short stories, and the occasional unfilmable film “mistreatment” that showcase the sheer range of his voice, Unstrung captures an artist whose versatility on the page rivals his dexterity onstage. 

In the first section of the book, "Lies and Distortion," Ribot turns his attention to his instrument—"my relation to the guitar is one of struggle; I'm constantly forcing it to be something else"—and reflects on his influences (and friends) like Robert Quine (the Voidoids) and producer Hal Willner (Saturday Night Live), while delivering an impassioned plea on behalf of artists' rights. Elsewhere, we glimpse fragments of Ribot's life as a traveling musician—he captures both the monotony of touring as well as small moments of beauty and despair on the road. In the heart of the collection, "Sorry, We're Experiencing Technical Difficulties," Ribot offers wickedly humorous short stories that synthesize the best elements of the Russian absurdist tradition with the imaginative heft of George Saunders. Taken together, these stories and essays cement Ribot's position as one of the most dynamic and creative voices of our time.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781636140674
Publisher: Akashic Books, Ltd.
Publication date: 11/01/2022
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 689,874
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Marc Ribot has released twenty-five albums under his own name over a forty-year career, exploring everything from the pioneering jazz of Albert Ayler to the Cuban son of Arsenio Rodríguez. Rolling Stone points out that "Ribot helped Tom Waits refine a new, weird Americana on 1985's Rain Dogs, and since then he's become the go-to guitar guy for all kinds of roots-music adventurers: Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Elvis Costello, John Mellencamp." Additional recording credits include Neko Case, Diana Krall, Elton John/Leon Russell’s The Union, Solomon Burke, John Lurie’s Lounge Lizards, Marianne Faithfull, Joe Henry, Allen Toussaint, Medeski, Martin & Wood, Caetano Veloso, Allen Ginsberg, Madeleine Peyroux, Norah Jones, the Black Keys, and many others. Ribot works regularly with GRAMMY Award–winning producer T Bone Burnett and New York composer John Zorn. He has also performed on numerous film scores such as Walk the Line, The Kids Are All Right, and The Departed.

Table of Contents

Introduction Lynne Tillman 15

Part I Lies and Distortion

Lies and Distortion 21

Guitars 28

Frantz Casseus 30

Horn Section 39

Robert Quine 44

The Attack on Artists' Rights … and Me 47

Maybe There's Something There: Three Short Riffs on Derek Bailey 52

World Music: Time and Money 57

Still Things That Move: The Poetry of Henry Grimes 71

Songs of Resistance 76

Playing Hal Willner Home 80

Part II Everybody's a Winner

We Tell Children the Cow Says Moo 87

A Portrait of the Poet as a Young Asshole 90

I Watched from My Room as the Bicyclist Was Run Down 95

Everybody's a Winner 96

Pale Blue Eyes 100

It Was Almost Like Paris 103

O Say Can You See 104

The Lido of Something, Near Ravenna 110

Kaddish for Joan 111

The Twenty-Three-Day Tour 116

Putting Your Arms around a Memory 120

Today I Did Something Remarkable 130

Three Stories Involving Black Liquids 133

I Terremotati 144

Part III Film (Mis)Treatments

Party Boat [unfilmable treatment #1] 149

Three-Star Desperadoes (or, Biting the Hand) 151

Hungry: A Thirty-Minute Real-Time One-Take Disaster Film 160

Dialogue of the Sushi Eaters 161

Death in Venus 164

The Club-Date Musician (or, Saturday Night Nausea) 165

Whale Watching [unfilmable treatment #17] 169

Shark Watching: A Series [unfilmable treatments #18-?] 171

Bates Airbnb 172

Part IV Sorry, We're Experiencing Technical Difficulties

The Man Who Didn't Know How [tech failure #1] 177

Once There Was a Man Named Harry Who Couldn't Tie His Shoelaces 179

The Man with the Fun Job 185

Botox [tech failure #2] 192

The Boy Who Grafted Himself to a Tree 194

For Mauritzio 197

Wilderness [tech failure #3] 201

Bird 203

Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone 204

The Activist (or, Twistin' Time Is Here) 206

IRL 210

Acknowledgments 215

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