I just looked for the first time in forever and I have 88,095 tumblr followers. WHAT THE FUCK. Who ARE you all? You should introduce yourselves, okay? Let’s be friends. Here’s me ...
My name is Adam Gnade and I live on a small farm in the rural midwest. I grew up in San Diego (Pacific Beach and Golden Hill) where I spent a lot of time alone and anxious “about the world” then got deep into heavy/weird hardcore and grindcore bands like The Locust, Jenny Piccolo, and Black Dice and lightened up a little. San Diego’s great (or it was great, I don’t know anymore) but I needed to Get Out Now which meant Portland. That was mostly okay (Bay Leaf Vegetarian’s hot and sour soup! Los Gorditos’ tofu burritos! Jackie’O Motherfucker shows!) but the un-okay made me want to put a big fucking drill-bit in my eye, so Get Out Now happened again.
My friends Jessie, Thad, and I left Portland five years ago with the intention to live lighter on the land, not be boxed-in by shitty New Age-y neighbors, have wide open spaces like the best cowboy songs, be loud, grow our own food, etc. That’s where I am now. The Hard Fifty Farm.
PHOTO #1: Here’s a picture of me holding a duck from our ever-growing group of rescue animals (sheep, barn cats, goats, ducks, pitbulls, chickens) as well as my terrible attempt at growing a beard. If you can tell me why hair won’t grow on the side of my face I’ll cook you dinner for two years and write a book about how much I respect you. Fuck that beard.
For work, I write a series of novels and records. It’s a connected series, with the plotlines from the books picking up in the “talking lyrics” of the records. I’ve also fluked into a pretty successful nonfiction book, which was never my intention at all. That’s called The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Fighting the Big Motherfuckin’ Sad and it pays the rent.
As far as my records, you can listen to the songs here. At the moment I’m working on a new album of fucked-up campfire noise-folk with my partner-in-everything Elizabeth, who plays banjo, accordion, and harmonica to back up my guitar and “talking vocals.” She’s out in California right now (Sonoma County; we’re both on the road all the time) but once she’s back songwriting happens in a serious way. (Been listening to a lot of old delta blues, Son House, stuff like Castanets, Wooden Wand, older Joanna Newsom, John Fahey, Ohioan, etc, etc, if that gives you an indication of where we’re calling from.)
I’ve done a lot of touring behind my records (here and overseas with my best friends Youthmovies) so a tour is most definitely in the works. I did a fair bit of book-touring last year but that (besides the travel) was boring as hell.
PHOTO #2: Here’s a picture of my books. I don’t know what the one on the bottom is. I think it’s Infinite Jest, which I didn’t like.
All told, writing for a living is a struggle some days and I end up spending a lot of time being like, “You are such a fucking idiot to think you can do this. The fridge is empty. You haven’t paid bills in 900 years. You are not William fucking Faulkner. You need a JOB.” Other times it’s not so hard and that’s when you forget about the lean days. (The polarities swing wild.)
About three years into our stay here on the farm, Jessie and I started a small publishing company called Pioneers Press and it’s been a dramatic, awful, fun, expensive, dumb, exciting time. Jessie runs it with help from Elizabeth (her cousin) and her sister Sarah. Mostly I just write books for the press but I also pitch-in where I’m able. (Pioneers has released books by Julia Eff, Trace Ramsey, Craig Kelly, Matt Gauck, Olivier Matthon, and myself.) We also have an imprint called Punch Drunk Press that’s put out about 40 CDs, tapes, books, and zines since 2008.
What else? I love jugs of red wine, rubies, red clear glass in any form, swimming in any body of water I can find especially at sunset, staying in motels, driving across country, writing stories in pizza parlors, sourdough bread with butter and a squeeze of lemon, building a fire every morning, hanging out with my toddler god-sons Liam and Jack, a good knife, good boots, a good satchel, a good coat, a good umbrella, and novels the size of telephone books. My favorite book is
Roberto Bolaño’s 2666 but Victor Hugo’s
Les Misérables might be better. (Halfway through that one; the newest translation which is the only way to go.)