Waiting to Derail: Ryan Adams and Whiskeytown, Alt-Country’s Brilliant Wreck (co-written with Thomas O’Keefe). A book about Ryan Adams at the most meaningful and mythical stage of his career. Skyhorse Publishing, 2018.
Partisans. A collection of essays about drawing boundaries and choosing sides. Black Lawrence Press, 2017.
Lines of Scrimmage: A Story of Football, Race, and Redemption (co-written with Scott Pleasant). The true story of a historic boycott by thirty-one black players on a Southern high school football team. University Press of Mississippi, 2015.
Hitless Wonder: A Life in Minor League Rock and Roll. A memoir about the twenty-five-plus years I’ve spent playing in Watershed. Lyons Press, 2012.
IN LITERARY JOURNALS
“Writing the Apple.” Creative Nonfiction 60 (2016). A roundtable discussion with Michelle Herman, Heather Kirn Lanier, and Amy Monticello about what we risk when we write about our kids.
“Partisans.” River Teeth 17.2 (2016). An essay about watching college football in Mexico via pirated satellite with a racist Alabaman.
“The Botch Job.” Creative Nonfiction 53 (2014). Why fixing a tattoo is chasing good money after bad. Cited as a notable essay in The Best American Essays 2015.
“The Mercy Kill.” The Normal School 5.1. (2012) An ex-priest, an ex-nun, and murder in the suburbs. Special Mention in The Pushcart Prize XXXVII: Best of the Small Presses 2014.
“Los Camioneros.” The Louisville Review 70. (2011). A play about three immigrant smugglers. Based on true events.
“Age of Consent.” Barrelhouse 9. (2011). Excerpted from Hitless Wonder. Modern girls and modern rock and roll.
“The Encore.” Iron Horse Literary Review 12.1 (2010). Excerpted from Hitless Wonder. Why getting laid on the road is nigh impossible.
“The Bodyman.” Fourth Genre 10.2 (2008). A profile of the great Dave Cook. Special Mention in The Pushcart Prize XXXIV: Best of the Small Presses 2010. Cited as a notable essay in The Best American Essays 2009.
“Barreling into Uncool.” Barrelhouse 6 (2008). A man makes love to my CD collection.
“In Any August.” Passages North 29.1 (2008). Hot fun in the summertime.
“Trouble Doll.” Backwards City Review 3.2 (2007). A short story about a Guatemalan trouble doll, stuck in corporate hell. Really.
“Tricoter.” Ninth Letter 4.1 (2007). The American and his girl in Paris. Cited as a notable essay in The Best American Essays 2008.
“The Low Season.” Cimarron Review 159 (2007). How to finance a trip trough Mexico by attending timeshare presentations.
“This Essay Doesn’t Rock.” Barrelhouse 3 (2006). A diatribe on the misuse of the word rock. Cited as notable nonrequired reading in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2007.
IN ONLINE MAGAZINES AND JOURNALS
“Running to Meet My Kids, Way Down the Road.” Fatherly (2021). Running. Parenting. Politics. Pandemics.
“Sunrise.” Brevity: A Journal of Concise Literary Nonfiction 58 (2018). Guilt, betrayal, and getting the job done.
“The Skips, the Pops, the Hisses, the Clicks: A Conversation with Joe Bonomo.” The Normal School (April 2017).
“Mary Poppins and the Art of Sweetening With Scene.” Brevity: A Journal of Concise Literary Nonfiction 52 (2016).
“The Get Down.” Superstition Review 17 (2016). Get up with the get down.
“Misfire” Rappahannock Review (2015). The not-so-glamourous after-show shenanigans.
“16 Things You Learn About the NCAA Tournament While on the Road with a 16 Seed.” Esquire (2015). A loss isn’t necessarily a defeat.
“Writing in the Major Key.” Bending Genre (2014). Why do we writers take ourselves so damn seriously?
“The Upside Addiction.” Bloom (2013). Here I parse out the subtle distinction between “potential” and “upside” while explaining how Watershed got derailed by Silverchair.
“This Machine No Longer Kills Fascists (Did it Ever?).” White Space (2012). An essay about the connection between music and politics. “Popular music only has two clear policy directives: 1. Party! and 2. Buy shit!”
“Towing and Recovery.” storySouth (2011). A story about a working class guy struggling with adulthood. Nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
“Sealing the Deal.” Swink (2010). Excerpted from Hitless Wonder. Sex, New York style.
“Hard Love Nasty Mag.” Sweet (2009). Back when porn was tough to find…
“You Can’t Switch Off the Sun.” Paranoid Lovesick (2009). Cleveland’s greatest power pop band.
“The Engagement Party.” Pindeldyboz (2008). Excerpted from Hitless Wonder. Second or third best van breakdown story I know.
“Simpatico.” Waccamaw (2008). What do you do when you’re stuck in the Mexican jungle in a van that only drives in reverse?
“Two Haircuts.” Small Spiral Notebook (2007). I wasn’t always bald.
IN NATIONAL MAGAZINES
“Esquire in Real Life.” Esquire 150.3 (2008). Gay pirates hit New Orleans.
“It’s a Buckeye’s Life.” Sports Illustrated Presents Ohio State: A Celebration of Buckeyes Football (2008). It’s impossible for OSU football fans to separate their memories from the team’s highs and lows.
“The Complaint: Hotel Bar Names.” Esquire 149.6 (2008). Why are hotel bar names so crappy?
“The Death of the Dead Schembechlers.” Esquire 147.2 (2007). The demise of The Best Damn Punk Band In The Land.
My contributions to Esquire’s Best Bars in America series. Esquire has cleaned up their website and removed much of this Best Bars coverage, so the links below lead to off-prints that I made.
- “Deep Eddy Cabaret.” Austin, TX. (2008)
- “Parkway Tavern.” Tacoma, WA. (2008)
- “Doyle’s Public House.” Tacoma, WA. (2008)
- “Andyman’s Treehouse.” Columbus, OH. (2007)
- “Five O’Clock Bar.” Cleveland, OH. (2007)
- “Beachland Ballroom.” Cleveland, OH. (2007)
- “Surly Girl Saloon.” Columbus, OH. (2007)
- “Mitzi Jerman’s.” Cleveland, OH. (2007)
“Coastal Baseball: Getting Their Mojo Working.” Grand Strand Magazine (April-May 2017). A look back at the Chanticleers’ College World Series Championship, a run fueled by talent, togetherness—and a few lucky charms and superstitions.
“Fired Up, Ready to Go.” Myrtle Beach Weekly Surge. (September 25, 2014). A retrospective on the 1989 Conway (SC) football boycott.
“A Salute to the Tourist.” Grand Strand Magazine. (April 2013). Why Myrtle Beach is like one big Chuck E. Cheese’s, and why that’s a good thing.
IN ACADEMIC JOURNALS
“Knights of the Napkin: Waiters as Class-Enforcers in David Copperfield.” Victorians Institute Journal VIJ Digital Annex 39. (2012). If you’re wondering how Victorian-era waiters both enforce and reinforce the class system that keeps them stagnate, then I’m your man, and this is your paper.
REPRINTED IN MAGAZINES, JOURNALS, AND ANTHOLOGIES
“Sunrise.” Reprinted in The Best of Brevity: Twenty Groundbreaking Years of Flash Nonfiction. Rose Metal Press (2020).
“The Night Ryan Adams Said F**k You to the Fillmore.” An excerpt from Waiting to Derail reprinted at Salon (2018).
“Tricoter.” Reprinted in Cover Stories (2017). A literary cover of Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants.”
“This Machine No Longer Kills Fascists (Did it Ever?).” Reprinted in ĕm: A Review of Text and Image 2 (2013).
“This Essay Doesn’t Rock.” Reprinted in Bring the Noise: The Best Pop Culture Essays from Barrelhouse Magazine (2013). The essay so nice, Barrelhouse printed it twice.
FIGHT SONGS (seriously)
“We’re the Chanticleers.” The Coastal Carolina University Fight Song (2014, written with Scott Pleasant).