TIH 525: Josh Malerman on The High Strung, Writing an All-Time Horror Novel, and Stories From The Road

TIH 525 Josh Malerman on The High Strung, Writing an All-Time Horror Novel, and Stories From The Road

In this podcast, Josh Malerman talks about The High Strung, writing an all-time horror novel, stories from the road, and much more.

About Josh Malerman

Josh Malerman is the author of many books including Bird Box, Malorie, and A House at the Bottom of a Lake, and the singer/songwriter for the band The High Strung. His brand new book, Spin A Black Yarn is out now.

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Michael David Wilson 0:28

Welcome to This Is Horror Podcast for readers, writers and creators. I'm Michael David Wilson and every episode alongside my co host, Bob Pastorella. Wheatley out with the world's best writers about writing, life lessons, creativity, and much more. Now today, I am chatting with Josh Malerman for the second part of our candid discussion about life on the road, and the early years of the high strung before Birdbox. Thank you for all the positive feedback for part one. I'm glad that you're enjoying this and so we're going to really just get right into part two. But before that, a quick advert break.

Bob Pastorella 1:20

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Michael David Wilson 2:14

Okay with that said, Here it is. It is Josh Malerman on This Is Horror. I imagine that when the luck you got was picked up to be the theme Kuhn of shameless that was quite a pivotal moment for you both in times of recognition, but one assumes and one hopes financially as well. So I mean, I know that the album myocracy Bravo that it was on came out in I think 2006 But shameless didn't air until many years later. So I mean, what's the timeframe for that? And how did that even come about?

Josh Malerman 3:02

So okay, yeah, that song. God is crazy to me, like that song really has been something for us. And you know, it was written outside a house party in Georgia. Like, the band was all drunk inside. I was drunk outside and I was just out there alone and wrote it. Um, and it was different. It was like a smaller song. It started as a smaller song. Like it was a lower key and all this power and, and I remember grabbing mark the other songwriter in the highest calling and saying to him, Hey, man, is this song suddenly Billy Joel to you? And he was like, No, nothing. Okay. Okay. It's like, No, I mean, watch him. He's like, Yeah, let's play and I'm like, Oh, great. You know, we had met a woman in 2003, we met a woman, a Mara Schwartz who, um, she works for a company called bug music. And now she works for a company called her own company called superior music when at the time so we meet her with our first album, these are good times and she we would go on to like eat with her in LA and you know, we were so broke and oh my god, you know? I mean, they had clients like Pearl Jam and Johnny Cash. I mean, this music was big, but they also had like small bands that the people that work there liked or or or discovered on their own, whatever it was. So when we sent her Moxie Bravo, she said said to us, like, oh, this sounds like you got I'm going to this is like, absolutely place. I'm going to place this somewhere. Of course, I would. You know, to me, they it's all like, they're all as good as each other, whatever, blah, blah, blah. But hey, if Mara likes the lucky guy, like let's roll right? And, you know, we would see her every time he came through LA. I don't know how many years later, a few five, whatever it was six years later, we were at band practice. And Derek, the drummer Derek had just left, the rest of us are still hanging out and my phone rang. And it was Derek saying, Man, Mara just called me. She got us a theme song for the lucky got. And we were like, why she's, uh, he was like, it's a theme song for TV show that stars stars William H. Macy. And we're like, why'd you know? And then we were just like, so excited for numerous reasons. Yes, we were so broke. And I don't even but we didn't know what the money would be at first, you know, there's no, we couldn't have known that day, you know. But it was just Yeah, it was just kind of this. I don't know, like a feather in the cap. It was this amazing feeling. So that comes on. And here's something interesting is that we, they never would have to tell us if they wanted to drop it. So literally, in any episode, it could have just been gone. And any season, that show went on for 11 seasons, or 11 seasons. And I mean, two would have been amazing. Three would have been unbelievable. 11 seasons, and the same theme song the entire time. So that was enormous for us a norm as far as and, you know, like I was saying before, we were playing for like, an average of 20 people a night when we're on the road for all those years, right? So it's not like we're like, rolling in the $10 a day thing, right? So any money at all was unbelievable. And that's when I ended up getting my, like, the first apartment I ever got. Um, and it was, I remember, software making millions dollars, but we were making some money, right. And I remember going to the apartment place and being able to say like, you know, when your design, in this case, I didn't have much history, credit history, or whatever I didn't, there was nothing, I didn't have anything. But you're allowed to write like an essay to this company, like saying why you might be reliable or whatever. And I was like, Oh, I can write my way in, you know, this was this was great. And so I talked about the lucky God, and I wrote this theme song. And we just got to show and, and they let me rant. And I remember really weighing between the $75 Extra for an extra bedroom, one bedroom and sort of the basement of this one building, or this two bedroom, you know, a second floor of another building. And finally, I went with the two bedroom one kind of nervously. And I maybe like 123 Maybe like, three months later, I met Alison. And then four months after that I got a book deal with Ferber advice. Yeah. So it was sort of this like domino moment that went from being single for five years, you know, in a band that we're not really making any money. I have a stack of novels that I have no idea where they're gonna go, but I kind of blindly think they're gonna go somewhere. And then all of a sudden themes on your vans making it a little bit money from madly in love with this woman. And book deal for Birchbox. And it was like whole leash and mountain place. They ended up staying, she moved into that place, like, shortly after we met. So yeah, I lived alone. In my whole life. I've lived alone for those, like three months or something that was that ever lived alone?

Michael David Wilson 8:30

Yeah, yeah. And if I remember correctly, the way you met Alison was one of your gigs

Josh Malerman 8:38

was at a gig. And yeah, and there's the craziest thing. I could send this to you. And I don't know if you could use it somehow. There's video footage of not hurt. I'm meaning but like, tons of video footage of that show. Yeah. And I was playing the lucky God and other songs. And, you know, I would I would wear sort of like, like now and say, face paint, but draw on my face before our shows. And we had just finished, and I'm pretty drunk and Derek's drunk, and we're like walking offstage. And all of a sudden, in front of me is like all eyes and legs. Just like the the prettiest thing I've ever seen. I don't even know. And she's like, Hey, can I get some of that face paint too. And I was like, Oh, yeah. And I was reaching. And I was wearing a jacket, just like this. And I was reaching for the sharpen that I had used. And then she just grabbed my face and like rubbed in, like, against her like cheek and cheek or whatever. And when she pulled away she had it like on her face. Yeah. Who that hell was that? And then she like went off into her own. I went off to do what I was doing. She didn't and then like she wrote me on Facebook, like three days later, like, Hey, your show was great. And I was like, Hey, you, you who are you? And then that started just like a boom. And now it's been 11 years that we've been dating you Yeah,

Michael David Wilson 10:00

yeah, yeah. I love the intensity and the confidence in which, you know, Atlas and had in in doing that and it did you know like sometimes life feels like a movie that is a movie moment that is a scene right there.

Josh Malerman 10:16

Yes man i know i know i think about it all the time because so much was so much happened in that moment, like for example, forever. I had like foolishly assumed that like, Okay, I'm a fire out artists guy I probably need to date someone who's not like that or like, like one of us has to have a foot in reality, right? You know? And how wrong was I? You know how wrong like Allison is more of an artist than I am and like to to be like, like, I gotta like, I can't wait to hear her sing it a show can't wait to see the painting that she's going to do. She helps with the obstacle readings. I'm like, it's, it's like we like feed each other in that way. And I just like insanely or idiotically assumed that if you're like a lunatic, you better be like an accountant.

Michael David Wilson 11:10

Yeah, yeah. Well, I can show you the logic, but I think it it makes it more interesting and explosive, in a good way. If you're both artistic. I mean, life is never gonna be boring.

Josh Malerman 11:24

Yes, that is who man that's for sure.

Michael David Wilson 11:29

But I mean, I think I am interested in the kind of Alison's story as it were, as well. So I mean, we're talking about early life lessons and the beginnings but I mean, how did Alison end up at that show? How did she even hear about the high strung to begin with?

Josh Malerman 11:49

That's a great question, man. Um, so she was out to dinner with a great friend of hers who's like, like a cousin, best friend of hers. Emily, who also is from the Upper Peninsula. And I think Emily had just had like, I like laser surgery, or something. And she was wearing sunglasses, actually, she was wearing like dark glasses. Because I always remember that part of the story that they are at dinner, like next in the restaurant, like next to like where we were. And then they went after dinner, they like went their separate ways. And Allison saw that, like a band was playing. And went into went into that place, just because you saw that a band was playing. So I feel like, you know, we must have been has maybe have crossed before. I mean, we're living in the same area, and it's that big area. And if she goes out and I go out, but I when I think about that, I'm like, No, I wouldn't remember that. I would remember if I've seen this this person before. I really believe that I would remember having having seen Allison before. And no, I don't think I ever saw her to all of a sudden it was like, it was like almost like a Disney like, like drawing of how like just like brilliant. Like the eyes were just so big. And everything was like glowing about this, like this woman to me. And yeah, man, it was right away. Like when we started. When we started hanging out like the first night we hung out. I was like, Oh, shit, okay, this part of my life is taken care of now. Yeah.

Michael David Wilson 13:17

Yeah, it's a funny feeling when you get that kind of instant connection and attraction, and it's exciting. But also, you know, a little scary as well. Like, this is happening.

Josh Malerman 13:29

Very man. It was, I there's photos of me from that period where I like the night we meet, and you can see the video. I look similar ish, like body or whatever that I do now. But then, like the photos of me shortly, like, like three months later, I'm like, being in love. And I'm like, I looked like 25 pounds like thinner. Yeah, almost like experience something like really? And it wasn't like I was working out nude. You know what I mean? It was just like, pure like adrenaline. Like, emotive like overdrive falling in love.

Michael David Wilson 14:04

Yeah, yeah. But I mean, you know, like one's emotional state and happiness. It does have an effect on body composition. It kind of feels strange, but like, it's literally scientifically proven.

Josh Malerman 14:19

Yep. Yeah, no, absolutely. You know, it's funny, my brother, my younger brother always talks about how he's in the best shape of his life when he's little stressed out. Yeah. Because it's like, in those moments, he's like, got a lot of work to do. And he's a little more like, peaked and active and less, you know, who has time to just lounge on the couch and eat, you know, so Ryan's like a little overwork. He's like, it's that's when I'm like, in my best shape. And that's kind of a weird funny way of looking at

Michael David Wilson 14:45

it. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Well, I mean, that would be an interesting kind of diet book. It's like, just get more stress in your life, man. That'll do it on the stress

Josh Malerman 14:57

diet. Yeah, yeah. threw a brick through like a window and the cops are after me. They haven't found it yet, but I'm totally freaked out. Yeah, I lost like six pounds on this one. This is incredible.

Michael David Wilson 15:07

Yeah. But I mean to return to shameless as well. I mean, before it came to America, it was like a pretty big show in the UK. I mean, it's definitely, like it kind of verges between Coke Classic and mainstream. It was on one of the, like, major four channels. But I'm wondering, I mean, what was the reception to it? Like, in the US? Did you personally watch it? Are you a fan? Like cuz? Obviously, it went on for 11 seasons. So

Josh Malerman 15:44

no, it was a total hit. i We threw a crazy party with all the friends that I was hanging out with during those single years. You know, like, we've had a big party for it. And kind of we got so drunk that I that I barely even remember like that first episode, because we were like, it was like, you know, when the show is about heavy drinkers as well. That's a weird thing. We also had a song in a Will Ferrell movie, that's like the preview for the movie. But the movie is called the it's called, everything must go. And then it's, it's also about a guy that like, he drinks all the time. And like, and I'm like thinking like, Why do our songs keep ended up and like these, like drunk stories? You know? It's not like the lucky guy is like, roll out. It's like a like a, like a pub shanty? You know? Yeah. Like, why, why, but for some reason, it's almost like, something cosmic is like, these guys love drinking. And this show is about drinking and like, puts us together.

Michael David Wilson 16:46

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, maybe if there's ever a fourth, the hangover movie, that will come to you. This

Josh Malerman 16:54

morning, the hangover? Yeah.

Michael David Wilson 16:57


Josh Malerman 16:59

It is an odd, like thing, because then when we play it, it shows now. And again, we're not talking like stadiums are like, Oh, I have something to say about all that, that I think is interesting. And maybe for authors also, um, but there is this odd sense of like, we're playing our little hit or something. And it's like, but that's not even know, that's not what we're doing. We're just like playing the lucky guy. It's like our song or something, you know, but it's funny. Like, the minute we started, it's like, I almost like see the intro. While we're playing. And we're like, we and we had that song for years before that show. But that's like, how I see it now or something. What I wanted to say was this stuff. And this, this is interesting to me is that so we put out a new album recently. Okay, and this is, yeah, think about this in terms of books to like. And I think there's no question that this album is as good as anything we've done. And I really, it's not like, all of my new is saying now it's really obvious. This is as good as anything we've done. And we even had like a an out of town gig recently. And like a fan, a friend and a fan. For years now she was at that gig and she's like, I listen to your new album. And she's like, it's it shouldn't. It shouldn't This one shouldn't be this good. She's like, you guys are like, now and you're like, mid or late 40s. You've put out like 20 albums. This one's supposed to be slow and bad, you know? And, and it's funny, but I wonder sometimes if because, okay, there were bands when we were starting out that had like, you know, like, breakthrough like hits or something like Franz Ferdinand or the hives. Yeah, it's kind of gross. You had even like the white stripes, who had a million hits and sold a gazillion albums, all these things. But all those bands are either done, broken up, or I don't even know what what they're what they're doing. is interesting to me, we so we never had that moment. We never had the breakthrough, like hit moment where we sell a million albums, blah, blah, blah. But then meanwhile, for the duration of these 20 years, it seems like all the albums are about as good as each other. So I wonder, like, if, if you could look if you're you as an artist, you as a writer, were handed the option of so you your first book, is I got a sensation, and you're first of all, but this first book is great. And then next, like 15 or like they're all right, or whatever. But that first one is like when I'm like you know, like super famous and drained. You get all this money, blah, blah, or would you take now you got to like fucking live about $10 a day and we'll see how life goes and this and that. But you're 20 albums, we read 20 books, like you never got you never get any worse from there. Like, would you take the steady career? Or would you take the like the spikes like you got the hit? And then you kind of like, kind of like live off that kind of thing. And I think that I would opt for the steady one. Why? Because there's a sense now with our band. That like it's no different than it It's not like we're likely gonna get back to them hit days, we didn't have that moment, right? Up. We're just like, just as excited. And just as naively excited about recording and talking about the same things and worries that we did with our first album. And we were, the last one was done in my house. Okay, the demo for the first album was done in our friend's garage, you know what I mean? So, in a way, it's like in the novels like the same thing, like Carpenter's farm coming out online and, and the the back and forth between big five and indie, Big Five indie right, this kind of thing. There's, like maintaining? I don't know, it feels like I'm doing exactly what I was doing 20 years ago. Yeah,

Michael David Wilson 20:44

it it's an it's an interesting one. And I feel like with bands, if they, I mean, peak too early is the wrong way of putting it. Because when a when something becomes a hit, that's not even in your control. You didn't say, right, this is the good one. So, right. Yeah,

Josh Malerman 21:06

you actually peaked or something, a band that had a head? That's just what I would love? Oh,

Michael David Wilson 21:10

yeah. But I do tend to find if you get popular really early, and then the other albums aren't as popular, there seems to be more cans of that band, then disappearing or breaking up or whatever. But it seems that it's a little bit different. With books. I mean, even though Chuck, Paula, Nick is enormous ly successful, I think we can agree that Fight Club has been in terms of commercially, you know, more successful than anything else, but he's steadily still doing what he's doing. He's creating such amazing books now, you know, on on our kind of creative level. I mean, there's a lot that I'd say have surpassed Fight Club. And then you see the same with Bret Easton Ellis. I mean, there's kind of an argument that you know, that so far, that's what's happened with you in terms of Birdbox. So that's even, I guess, there is a parallel to fight club, because we have both of them, it was getting the movie that then brought more attention to the book, but I don't know why it is that writers will stay the course irrespective of what happens. But, you know,

Josh Malerman 22:31

I don't know what it is either. I think that maybe there's like a sort of, like, foolish expectation that your musicians are supposed to be. And so, which I guess in some ways, it makes sense. If you're, if you're a band that like is, you know, if part of your appeal is how you look or how you dress or that okay, well, then I guess I can understand if, if someone likes you more, when you're younger, it's like, but if you're like, like a band, like the Grateful Dead, who never gave it look like, yeah, they seem to only get like more and more popular all the way until Jerry Garcia died. And it seems like that's more akin to what we're talking about on the novelist side. With each Grateful Dead album, or, like, a great example would be like Pink Floyd, with each Pink Floyd album. There's a sense that it's a, um, a cohesive, like, present presented work of art, like a novel would be, rather than like a collection of like songs that are maybe you're trying to get a hit or something. Pink Floyd, it feels like they are is a singular work of art that's coming out each time. And same way with the novelist. So I'm wondering if it has something to do with like, how you're presented like the Beatles were presented as like, you know, their haircuts and their outfits, obviously, they're on. But a lot of bands and a lot of like pop stars are presented that way. So then when they get older, it's like, somebody might be like, Oh, well, there. Oh, he or she doesn't look so good anymore. No one gave a shout of Jerry Garcia. Look, in fact, they kind of, like heavier and crazier he got look, any of the more people were like rooting them on, you know?

Michael David Wilson 24:03

Yeah. Yeah. I think I think it's just like, I mean, probably the trick, particularly with musicians is just embracing how you do look and evolving, evolving as time passes. If you do that, and you create almost a new look, then you know that that's something to work with. I mean, Rob Helfer, Then Judas Priest looks completely different to how he did starting out. Yeah.

Josh Malerman 24:32

Or did you were you never leaning on that aspect to be yeah, there's no like, yeah, like guide voices or, you know, something amazing. Or like indie bands from the 90s. Like, who cares that they look older now? Yeah. I'm just wondering if that has something to do with why the novelist in a general sense. It does seem well, here's another reason why though, maybe is that most like the novels that like blow our minds are written by people that have experienced law. If, you know like him through some stuff, so, you know, a lot of people saying, you know, old man in the sea is that Hemingway's last book? I think it is right?

Michael David Wilson 25:09

I think it is. Yeah. Is Yeah. And

Josh Malerman 25:12

like that sort of sense of like, this guy has lived a whole life. And he's and we're getting we're reading what he wrote. And so I think that part of it is that to the 40, the 50 to 60 to 70 year old novelist, like, what's your name? Barbara Kingsolver? Has that hit right now called demon Copperhead, right. And I'm just thinking like, this woman is like seven years old, almost. And because I remember in the 90s, she had like hits like, in my friend's like, dorm room, dorm room and shit. Like, I'm like, What is this is amazing. And you wouldn't even like there's been a few of those Johnny Cash, this kind of thing dealing and those kind of, but but not not, it doesn't happen that often with like, the rock band, or the pop band or whatever. And so there's something interesting. There is something interesting in there, like, why is the novelist? Like, it's not that they're expected to get better when they get older. But it seems like we have more, there's more of a chance of that, or people being excited by a new book by Chuck plenty, no matter how old he gets.

Michael David Wilson 26:16

Yeah, yeah. Well, I mean, I have all sorts of theories and ideas as we're talking about this. And the great thing is that there won't be a definitive answer. But I mean, another thing I mean, I mean, firstly, I was thinking, I wonder if the writer is more optimistic. I mean, you have to be very, very optimistic the amount of time that it takes to sit down and to write a novel to go through all of the drafts. So I mean, for me, I think, however successful, any of my books or stories get, I will always think, well, why couldn't the next one be even more successful? Because I feel any time we release something like we are literally rolling the dice, we have no idea and so often the favorite. Yeah, yeah,

Josh Malerman 27:09

a great example of this right now is and he he's not, he's like, not even remotely old. But Daniel Krauss, right? And he's already having selling books and this kind of thing. So he's done like, well, in that way, but he seems to be having a moment right now with waterfall, right? Yeah. And I think, and I think that there's something and I wrote, I wrote something about this recently that was saying that everyone that's in the scene right now is capable of writing a classic and any moment, any one of us could, could, you know, could write like an all time horror novel. Yeah. And you don't know what it's gonna be and you don't know where it's gonna come from. It could be Ramsay Campbell could write one right now. It could be someone you know, I don't know how old he is.

Michael David Wilson 27:55

Ramsay. Yeah, he's in his 70s now. Yeah.

Josh Malerman 27:59

But he can absolutely do it. Yeah. Like the youngest like writer on the spectrum right now there can be an 18 year old that puts out like a book that we're like, yeah. And everyone between whether you've put out 30 books or as your second book, or whatever it is, it seems like everyone here and I feel like will fall is feels like the exact example of that we're at Daniel's done, like, had a bunch of success. And everything is done really, what it feels like something special is happening with we all fall. And it's just like a reminder that like there is no preconceived notion with the author there is no it's almost like there's no history with each book like you started like, here's a new one. And if everyone loves it, they love it.

Michael David Wilson 28:41

Yeah, and Daniel is a fantastic example as to why you should never assume that you've peaked or that you've reached the kind of top of your popularity because let's think about this a few years ago, maybe four or five I'm not sure but he released a book co authored with George A Romero. Be very easy to assume that you had peaked at that point. Because like Where the hell do you go from there but now fast forward and as you're saying, way ofall is having a moment Yep. I think it was only released a few weeks ago it's already having a moment so goodness knows where that is going to go but that is

Josh Malerman 29:26

exactly and it there's just something about it that it's just a reminder like any if there's a writer that you think you know, oh, what's he doing? What's she doing now? Oh, they actually might be writing like an absolute Stone Cold classic right now. And like absolutely as possible there's there is like optimism in that and there is and and why not? I mean if you're going to sit down to like I'm I'm rewriting incidents around the house right now just sit down and rewrite 300 pages, line by line. It takes a certain, like, this is worth it. This is gonna be great. This is you know, I mean, it takes some of that otherwise, every day you're going to be like, Oh my god, I gotta I gotta do that. But if you ever feel like that about writing, I don't know, do something else, I guess but like, like, yeah, you sit down there is some degree of optimism, because you're like, This is gonna be a lot of work. This is gonna be hard. But this is this is where this is awesome. So I do yeah, that is interesting.

Michael David Wilson 30:32

Yeah, yeah. My my other observation. You know what, while we're talking about optimism, and people leave or staying the course or disbanding, I'm noticing that, you know, people peeking and then disbanding it does happen more with groups rather than it does with singer songwriters. So I just wonder if it's because you've got many people, and it kind of only takes one to add a little bit of that negative energy or to be like, I don't think this is worth it, and the whole thing falls apart. But if there's, if it's just you, then you kind of stay the course. And you think, Well, why not?

Josh Malerman 31:14

That's a brilliant and you said, there are a number of theories going through your head. We said Dylan and Johnny Cash. Yeah, they're alone. Right? It's not like, you know, like, when I think about the Rolling Stones talk about when they first started playing their first practice together. They were like, oh, man, like, What is this sound? Right? Yeah. And you imagine like, being in that band, and you're on bass, and you start playing it like, oh, shit, this sounds good, right? Same thing. I read some recent about Led Zeppelin, like the first practice they had, they were all like, wow. And I saw something where Paul McCartney said, the first time Ringo sat down, they all kind of look back. And I'm like, This is good, you know? Yes. So even, it doesn't even have to be negativity if someone just leaves the band or for whatever reason. And, and then it's replaced. Well, that's a different thing now, whereas the writer is like, the singer songwriter, the writer is the novelist is like the singer, songwriter, the novelist is like, alone. And this is his new album, ah, spinning black yarn is my new album. And that's the app that I think has more I think that's closer to the meat of this then than anything we have proposed before that comment.

Michael David Wilson 32:23

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I think I think we've spoken about this before. But the thing with writing as well is, it's like, I can't stop, there is no choice. So almost in the math of this is what I do. So whoever, you know, I have 10s of readers or millions of readers, it's going to be a constant. I mean, these stories present themselves to me. It's better for me to get them out there.

Josh Malerman 32:54

Yeah. Yep. I 100% agree, in fact, because it's been a blackout. And I I was leafing through it the other day, and I was thinking of it in terms of like an anthology like horror movie, you know, a seeing them in terms of like, Twilight Zone, the movie creep show Tales from the dark side, all those you know, and it struck me that this isn't just a new book. This is five new stories out. Yeah. And I'm like, You know what, man? Like, because I have a list of ideas like, like all of us do. I'm kind of thinking like, I want to write another one of these. Yeah, and I wouldn't. So soon after this write another one. Collection of novella has been a kind of whiny why to have five more ideas down. Yeah, four or five, six ideas. Like, it feels good, man, it feels good to get a freaking idea down and down, you know?

Michael David Wilson 33:51

Yeah. I mean, another exciting thing in a weaver collection is it's like that's five stories that could potentially be turned in to films, which is kind of like a creative cover. We've said that before it's riffing on your story. And then that's exciting, too, because there's potentially a brand new artistic creation, inspired by yours. And yeah, as I said before, that's the way that we have to think of film adaptations. This is a riffing. This is a cover. I think people get upset when they try and see it as like a kind of literal interpretation. It's a reimagining. And if you wanted a literal interpretation, then why are you even adapting it to begin with? You haven't? It's the book.

Josh Malerman 34:44

Yep, I agree. Yes, I've made the terrible mistake of like finishing a book. And then like, the next day seeing the movie, like the dumbest idea ever with any book, don't ever do it. Like yeah, right away. You're like this is all wrong, and like everything, you know, it's not, you know, it's just like, you can almost look at like, the book would be like the play. And then the movie is the adaptations like the stage performance of it. And that also then gets rid of the idea of a remake. Because why is the original Carrey movie even the real one of the books, the real one? Harry, the movie is just the first like theater company to have done right. And so now it's just the second like I saw, what's it called? Hamilton? Right? It wasn't in the original cast, and it like blew my mind. I think it's unbelievable, you know? And then okay, well, I don't even know what cast it was. It's a third casting of it now by now. So how was that? I mean, all the voices are different, that looks different. Everything's got to be different. And, and it blew my leg. And so there's the actual musical that was written. That's the book. Then there's the first movie carry, there's a remake, but it's not even a remake. It's just, it's just the more recent stage adaptation.

Michael David Wilson 36:07

What you said is really interesting there. And I mean, a lot of people we see them get really upset about roommates who see this happen, people are so pissed off. And I think, yeah, my understanding is we have a lot of so called roommates. They are like remaking trying to almost scene by scene or very closely follow the original film, but I have a feeling that if we were to flip it, and we were to turn it into reimagining or riffing, then people would enjoy so called remakes much better,

Josh Malerman 36:45

right? Yeah. Language. Yeah, yeah, yep. Yeah, totally agreement.

Michael David Wilson 36:51

Yeah. And I mean, you know that there there are a foreign language editions that are then remade for the American audience that are almost a shot by shot remake. I mean, wreck and quarantine seems to be the most kind of obvious example of this. They did things a little bit different, you know, in ring and ring goo. So I think those two are kind of worth what watching and you know, getting an idea getting different ideas from them we can do is so good. Yeah, it's

Josh Malerman 37:27

so good. I saw that pretty recently again, and just you know, it struck me that one of the reasons why it's so freakin awesome and important to like, watch like foreign horror. Is that okay? If we can extend like the fear of the unknown right in in a horror story, the unknown the entity that's that, but now extend that to like, the unknown in terms of like the rhythm of it like the skin? Yeah. The moments of scares and renew like, they don't follow like the the silly like, Hollywood arc. Yeah, like a different rhythm. Because it's a whole different cultures a different like, world. And so you want to be scared like in a lot of American horror movies, you know, when a scary is coming? Because you're you've seen a million horror movie and there's a certain sort of like rhythm there's a beat to it. When in American horror movie, typically when, like, if the real scary night and then it'd be like daytime, and you're like, Oh, thank God now we're during the day for a few minutes. That's not the case when you're watching like a movie some from from another country all the time. And that is freaking awesome. So if you want to learn how to like, infuse your books with what's the right phrase? You want to like? Like scare unexpected, scared? Yeah. Yeah. More like, like foreign like horror movies. Because there are a lot of foreign or first time filmmakers have this kind of thing. Because it's oftentimes people that are just not playing by the same rules that you were used to, or I've seen many times.

Michael David Wilson 39:05

Yeah, yeah. Ya know, a lot of the scares in Japanese and Asian horror movies, they come during the day. It's like this little unexpected,

Josh Malerman 39:18

unexpected moment where you're like, oh, shit, man, I wish I thought we were safe. Like this would have been safe in a different in an American movie.

Michael David Wilson 39:26


Josh Malerman 39:29

He started thinking like, oh, okay, that's pretty fucking badass. Like the rules are sort of like broken at that point.

Michael David Wilson 39:36

Yeah. Now, since we're talking about kind of unexpected scares. I know that when we first spoke, you know, you were talking about how the music you make and the books that you write are very, totally different. And you had this fantasy to write something in terms of music. That was horror, but without a Feeling cheesy or put on and I wondered, I mean, is that something you've got closer to? Is that still something you're looking at doing?

Josh Malerman 40:10

Okay, so recently, I'm always thinking about this. I can't believe you remember that. That's like one of our first arcs I think. Yeah. Yeah, that's an incredible memory right there. Wow. Um, recently I made an album on this machine that's behind the computer right now is this like cassette four track thing? Where it's supposed to be it's supposed to be like one night out in the Old West. Right. And the songs are, I'll send you a link to it afterwards, the songs by sort of like, musical interludes like string sections that are essentially like dark brooding strings, while the Howling Wind of the Old West, and isn't it? So hasn't quite reached horror. But it was my first attempt at like, you could argue that you can argue that albums like the songs aren't like country western. But you can argue that that is an attempt at what you're saying. To me. Yeah, between how I usually write songs, and it's more a sort of like genre, like element or something. Then swing that to like more horror bands without being the monster mash, which that's a great song. And I would love to write the master it. But if I can bring those together, then that'd be like the ideal, like, sort of, like, personal apex or something. So thinking about it all the time, but I haven't pulled that off yet. But have made a few straight up instrumental, scary soundtracks, and I can send you that stuff, too.

Michael David Wilson 41:37

Yeah, yeah. So it's just so things that I put out kind of as your solo material then rather than

Josh Malerman 41:45

I mean, I'll just, like, throw it on VanCamp I don't even sounds like I'm like chopping it around. Maybe I should be a little more different about that. But to me, it's like, I'm just soaking in that, um, took like, three months to make. So this wasn't like, some like thing I just like, blew, you know, I spent like, a lot of time with it. But all I really care about in the end, is that like, it's done in and then like, okay, it's there. If anyone has 12 people here, great if 100 Great, whatever it is. And then now let's write another book. Yeah. So I don't know. It's there. And you know, I'll send it I'll send it to you.

Michael David Wilson 42:22

Yeah, yeah. I mean, I guess we've kind of right marketing is the thing where you could potentially like build it up much like this John Carpenter albums, but then I do wonder if you were to treat it in that way, if it would actually just soak some of the life out of it. And it's like, look, this is just this you have in some fucking fun between books. This is not meant as a commercial endeavor. If you even if you even send that to an agent, it becomes a thing that it's not and then the Spirit disappears. Right. But

Josh Malerman 42:58

the and I know you're not saying anything against this idea. It is the same spirit is writing the books. Like it's like, it's not like all of a sudden, oh, I'm just gonna go do my heart. Oh, yeah. My all I knew it and like trying my hardest and, and working on the lyrics and like, really like trying, you know, like, going for it. And but then, you know, incidentally, it's like, I don't know. Yeah, I just can't imagine like looking at it like some like a commercial endeavors. Like I can't it's but I do find it interesting. The idea of like, a one marriage of all this could be writing soundtracks for the books. Yeah. Yeah. Right. Like, like, it's like a string section like soundtrack for spinning black yarn or for instance. Yeah. and whatnot.

Michael David Wilson 43:47

Yeah, sounds fun. Yeah. Oh, yeah, definitely. And, I mean, yeah, at any point, while we involve like agents and big publishers, and editors, there is that potential for commercial concerns to come in, you know, because it is a business. It is about, you know, selling. I mean, in terms of the kind of corporate suits, they were talking about selling a product, which obviously, you know, it I don't like that wording, but that's kind of how it's going to be phrased by people at the top. But you being with these big publishing houses, I mean, has that in any way? Like, how's the way to put this have you ever had a conflict in in terms of your kind of aesthetic and your artistic concerns with, you know, what people corporately want to occur and commercially, I mean, the good thing for you is that you know, you brought Birdbox in kind of as it was, as your Yeah, and then it works. So maybe we just leave Josh alone.

Josh Malerman 45:04

Yeah, no, it does feel like some element of we leave Josh alone. Like my agent one time told me, like, in our earliest early days, she would, you know, she would bring up like, what the trends are and stuff and and it was obvious that I was responding to this or like, or part of that conversation. It was just obvious Yeah, that I was like, not the person to talk to you. Like, I'm sure she has clients, I'm sure that like, hey, you know, let's craft or what could be a best seller or what couldn't sell? And I've never, you know, what, right when Kristen was like thinking, you know, in those that way about me, I probably was like, hey, what about a weird Western, you know? Yeah. So but she told me once that, and I'm not saying this as a pat on the back, but she she didn't tell me when she was like, You're the you're the most like artistic client? I have. Yeah. And I, there is some sense of like, alright, let's, let's see what he does. Maybe it'll maybe it'll stick man.

Michael David Wilson 46:07

Yeah, yeah. Well, I mean, maybe like you're saying as well, like agents and publishers, they get a sense as to who, for want of better phrasing the Yes, man are and the people who will go along with the trends and who are like, No, this is what I do. Because I mean, I imagine if somebody wanted to, like compromise your artistic vision, you'd be like, well, then I'm leaving it actually kind of simple.

Josh Malerman 46:36

It would just feel really weird. And that doesn't mean that I know everything that I'm doing going anywhere. It doesn't mean that I have some stodgy like it has to be this way. Oh, my God. No, I'm probably like, God, sometimes I think that I say yes to too many notes from the writing. Um, but I don't know, there is some sense of like, if somebody was like, well, home invasions are in and you should be writing that. Yeah, don't don't Don't say that.

Michael David Wilson 47:05

Yeah, I can imagine if you got not, if you got not know, if you'd been working on a home invasion, you'd almost stubbornly be like, right. I'm scrapping that one for now. I will write it when it's not in. How about that?

Josh Malerman 47:21

You know, I have been thinking like, what is going to come after incidents around the house? Because my two book deal right now with Del Rey, and incident is the next book. So it's for next year. And I'm starting to kind of think, Okay, what's the one after that one? I have no idea. Often I know, like the next two, or this or the next, you know, I have no idea. But that's kind of exciting, right? Because, yeah, it will come up within the next month or something. Who knows?

Michael David Wilson 47:49

Yeah, yeah. So we spoke about, you know, initially when you released Birdbox, you had written 20 novels. How many of those novels are now out in the world?

Josh Malerman 48:02

Okay, so the books that were written before Birdbox came out. Yeah, exactly. Okay, those would be very bags. Goblin, I'm looking at my shelf and I'm very careful inspection. So four, four, okay,

Michael David Wilson 48:21

so that means there are 16 pre bud box no folders that have yet to come out so on even

Josh Malerman 48:29

I think the number was a lot of amazing oh six to the number was 16 so there I think there are 1203 Free Birdbox and there are so just let me do this again. Okay, so how so I'm like I'm doing the the non like the afterburner blackmail wheel. On this today, the pig carpenters farm Mallory ghoul in the cave, Daphne's spinning like yarn. So that's, what is that eight? A? And there are, there's 26 books here. So what was that? 14 minus four? So I mean, sorry. 16. So 12 So there's 12 pre publication that are still here. And then there are 14 I've written since then.

Michael David Wilson 49:20

Yeah, so when we think about the 12 I mean, it is your intention to in some way get all of those out into the world? Yes.

Josh Malerman 49:31

Yeah, no, there's not one there is not one in there that I feel weird about not one. Yeah. Fine and bring me the map and when the and a woman a woman a window by the way, that title a woman a woman a window, wrote that title and like oh, nine or something. And now it's like, like the womb. You know? Like a lot of women women in Windows.

Michael David Wilson 49:53

Yeah, yeah. Know that the right Yeah. And she's in Windows. Everyone's fucking hanging out here. No windows these days.

Josh Malerman 50:02

But, but I love that one that one's about a woman that gets stuck, like if you can imagine, like a point of view is, as a, like living sentient like being. So if you look out the window, let's, let's use this as the window. And I'm like looking at it from this angle. I'm like, I'm not I don't see it. But if I like like a Pass it here, like my eyes are meeting with now, it's not the view, my eyes are actually meeting the eyes of the view. And we're now like, sort of like stuck in each eye. And I'm like, Oh, that's interesting, blah, blah, blah, you know, and I walk by, but then now I kind of want to go back to the window and like, find that spotting. And I'm looking again. And again, it's like a woman, you know, it ends up like a woman kind of stuck staring out a window. And what you're doing is staring into the eyes of like a prospective. Yeah, you an angle that I love that book. Yeah.

Michael David Wilson 50:59

Yeah. And, and I'm wondering what when you're kind of pitching your next novel? I mean, do you kind of go to those 12 books and you think, okay, is that one of these that del Rey? Will? Yeah,

Josh Malerman 51:15

yep, definitely like, is there's a handful that I think of often in that way, Marvel's a woman Woman window, the Wolverine line, bring me the map, because bringing the map was written right after Birdbox. And the Wolverine line right before so. I do wonder, like Birdbox was obviously an exciting moment for me. I do wonder if like, what about the book that you wrote right before it and the one you wrote right after? And maybe you should go visit those?

Michael David Wilson 51:42

Yeah, yeah. And I mean, I mean, like, I know a little bit about the Wolverine line premise. And I think this is fine to discuss on that, because I don't mind discussing it. And I don't think there's anything wrong with it. But I mean, at one point, that was a conversation that we were having about potentially This Is Horror, putting out but it also was happening around the same time, as like, you know, Del Rey taking you on so. It just didn't work out. But I mean, that is, yeah, that is gonna be a phenomenal story. So I I know that that's gonna be out there in the world at some point.

Josh Malerman 52:24

Thank you. Yeah, it's I mean, you know, it's like, uh, I wish there was a way that I can just because then I would be up to date. I wish there was a way to have like, all 26 the other 26 already on the job, just so that I'm up to date. Yeah. I mean, that's Yeah, fuck that's gonna happen. Yeah,

Michael David Wilson 52:41

I mean, I wonder if there's kind of like a battle or a creative conflict, because I mean it. At this point, I have got numerous novels and novellas that are like written to a decent standard that, you know, I want to pull out I want to redraft, I want to send them to publishers. But there are always more ideas that turn up in my head. And I think there can sometimes be something more alluring about writing this new idea, especially when it you know, captivates you at that point. But I'm, I'm kind of being stubborn at the moment. And like, I'm trying to just finish the shit as it were, as Wendig would put it, finish your shit. And then we'll send that out, and then I can work on something new.

Josh Malerman 53:30

Yeah, I think my way of handling that or my response to that, because I know exactly what you're talking about, of course, is that I look at it like this. So the 26 books that are not published, each of them will probably require like, a lunatics rewrite. I mean, just like so much work, right. So what does that tell me? Okay, that tells me that there are 26 really good ideas in there that have like, essentially, like the world's greatest outlines, you know, they're in the form is outlines. So rather than thinking to myself, Oh, I already did the Wolverine liner I already did. Track and Field. Hmm, no, what I should say to myself is those are like, kind of on your list. Also, still, and you have a leg up on all those? Yeah, track and field. And it's the idea is just as good as any new idea you have. And you have this outline. Now let's make this book. Unbelievable. So there's still the challenge of the immediate, like, I'm just pulling out a book that I wrote 15 years ago, and like the rule book was lose. No, it would be it would be like, yeah, right, as I am now. So if you look at it that way, it still is or still can be the most current thing that you've done. Yeah. Because the rewrite is gonna be extensive anyway. What are we talking? Right? Yeah,

Michael David Wilson 54:59

no, I I, I really believe as well, you know that no writing time is wasted. Because yeah, I've got I've gotten some of these books from a few years ago that I think actually, with a bit of tightening up, they're ready to go to first readers. But then it's like, Well, no. So I've got, you know, books finished from 15 years ago that are actually like, you know, in terms of like, aesthetically and how I do things they would require. So it will be a completely different book. But, you know, like you say, you've got, there's an outline, and there's a germ of an idea. So why not go back and reread some of those and find where's the magic? Because there is something in it? Right? I

Josh Malerman 55:47

see. Like, some he'll be like, I'll never go back to my old. Why, like, there was a point in time, like, don't think of it as, don't think of it as your writing. Like how, you know, the actual writing itself? Don't as the message you're trying to get across. Think of it as like the just the idea. Yeah. See, it's like the heart nugget idea of it. Yeah. And the fact that you probably likely have a number of really good scenes in there as well. Okay, so now that has a leg up. You have like an advantage. That is, but it's still in a sense. It's still on your list of ideas.

Michael David Wilson 56:24

Yeah, right. Yeah. Now, I I just always wish there was more time because there's so many more things, you know, that I want to be writing. But then at the same time, it's like we do have time. It's a marathon. It's not a sprint, is like just because it isn't happening this year. Maybe it's not even happening this decade, it can happen. So we just kind of

Josh Malerman 56:51

100% agree. And this that goes back to what we were saying before about the writer. What's the right phrase? At any point in your career, like like Barbara Kingsolver? Yeah. What did she think of demon copperhead? I don't know, could have been 30 years ago, for all we know. Yeah. Well, yeah, so I'm trying to now just because I love that this conversation is so much about music. Also, I'm trying to figure out a way to like boomerang this back to

Michael David Wilson 57:22

what I was literally just about to do that. I one thing you said in this conversation definitely a few hours ago, was that, you know, sometimes you have that there have been within the band freaky drug moments. I want to know what have some mother's kind of freaky drug moments been and what are some of the scarier moments been with the band?

Josh Malerman 57:50

Oh, man. So there was one time we lived in a place in Brooklyn, where there was like a bar near our house. And one time we had a band meeting at this bar, so we walked the whole band walks over this bar, and we're sitting there and they they're not like fully open yet. But we're sitting in a booth, and we're all like talking and blah, blah, blah. And the guy that was like mopping the place kind of came up to our table is that you guys need anything. We're like, No. And he's like, No, I mean, like, anything. We were like, No, thanks. So you know, so we keep talking than me and me and one of the families look at each other. We're like, Yeah, that's good. You know? So I went over and I got the guy, like, Do you have any coke? And he was like, yeah, and then I was like, I knew it. I knew it. Okay, I can tell. I got some. And we had some of this band meeting, right. That turned into me going to this bar every day for like, 30 days. Like, we didn't have any money in New York. I had a job at the time. But not like, I mean, I was working at a coffee shop. You know, it wasn't like, we can financial sectors like Yeah, yeah, I would like, go there. Grab a little bag, blah, blah. And the thing that and the reason I'm thinking about because you said scary. Like I didn't, I was like hiding it from my bandmates. These are like, rock and roll best friend lifetime. And I'd be like, because back then we didn't have cell phones. So I'd be like, I'm gonna go call my mom and I'm gonna go outside and use the payphone. And then I was like, run to that bar. Like, do a little deal with them. Weird mopping, dude. And right. Yeah. And then I'd be like, oh, yeah, my mom's good. Blah, blah, blah. And then I'd have a bag. So there were moments for like, why? Yeah, probably for each and all of us. Where we kind of like flirted with like, if you kept this up, Josh for more than one month. This could this could have got, you know, it's gonna get ugly. Or if you had a ton of money, this could have got really ugly. Yeah. There were a few. There were a handful of moments like that on the road. You know, staying with people that had drugs and then sometimes you'd be offered something like Ah, no, no, no, no, no, I don't want that or other times you wouldn't say At least said yes to something, right. Yeah, there were there were moments. I mean, we were like a rock band on the road for seven years. And we were like staying with whoever would house us and we were broke. And if they had like whiskey or if they had grass or whatever, sure, the blah, you know, I can only imagine like, what the Rolling Stones like we're offering, you know? Yeah. Yeah, you after

Michael David Wilson 1:00:25

some weeks end up telling the rest of the vendor about mopping, dude, because

Josh Malerman 1:00:31

I came clean to Derek the drummer, I walk in the house after like, the eighth time of line. I come back in the hospital we all live in Derek was there alone. And I was like, Hey, I gotta tell you, man, I've been lying to you. And I want to say we're gonna kill him. And I'm like, actually, I've been running to the ship's mast. And he's like, all he said was he's like, Why? Why would you lie about that? You know? And I was like, Yeah, I don't know. But it felt really wrong that I was lying to you about it, man. I'm sorry. You know, and then that was kind of like, I was totally shame face that that was like, kind of the end of it. You know?

Michael David Wilson 1:01:03

Yeah. relieved? What I like Jesus Christ. We know you have some sort of attachment to your mother or in

Josh Malerman 1:01:16

on your mouth, like every day like, yeah. Hey, man. Wow. You do okay, Josh? Yeah. Yeah, yeah. No. And then, you know, they each had their own moments like that, too. But, you know, we've all been like best friends, since we were like, 11. And I think, you know, we all tried grass for the first time together. And we all, you know, went through, like, the first time like, getting you made out with a girl or whatever, like, we're like, we're all like, you know, life experiences, you know, you call or the person that was in the next room, or whatever it is. And so I think that there was a sense of, what's the right phrase, it's not professionalism. But like, it would almost be embarrassing for me to in front of these guys who we all know each other. And we all know what's right and wrong. But it would be embarrassing for me to, like, turn around and be some kind of like, phrases drug addict. Right? I think that there was thing there that was even more of a deterrent than like if it was your mom and dad or family. Right? It was, I remember like these guys. Like we're literally like drunk and playing in Fargo. I'm lying to them about if I if I did drugs tonight, you know, so. So there was definitely some sense of like, keeping each other in check just in a just in a sort of like, Be Cool man way.

Michael David Wilson 1:02:42

Yeah. Yeah. And in terms of the high strung and the evolution of the band, I mean, in terms of musically, how do you view that kind of trajectory thus far? And where are you hoping to go?

Josh Malerman 1:02:59

Well, so our first couple things that we recorded, fella was in the band named Jason Berkowitz. And what we call them Berko. And Berko had a major hand in like how, like we sounded in terms of producing and that kind of thing. And even even when I'm producing the live show, like Berco, um, whereas I'm sort of I'm definitely like a Lo Fi Maverick, like, Hey, man, no, like, let's, let's just roll it, let it go. Let it go. Right. It was the kind of guy that's like, No, this song should like, sit back here a little bit. Like, let's, let's ease up a little, he is the one that brought the luck you got from this lower key and slower to like, raise it for keys and it's more around. Um, so he's like a major, you can say like a natural producer, and also kind of like a coach, but then vertical for years. And we made like, Gosh, 15 albums, whatever. And then he comes back for this newest one. Yeah. And then us one has that same in that same Berko like touch where the songs like they they seem like they're more in the pocket. And the harmonies are actually like, it's not endearing if they're off anymore. Now they're on like, Yeah, and like the guitars are placed in. Nobody's winking. The frickin riffs are placed in like cool spots. So where which direction would I want to go? I would like to go. I want another album like that. I want another with him with that coach thing. And then I imagine after that, I would love to just make some trashy thing on this cassette with the whole band, you know, but before we do that, before we make the craziest thing, you know, I'm in my office. I want another one like with Berko because there was something and I'll send you it. It's called address unknown. This album. And I just there's something that with Berko around having him where the songs feel like they're like, they got their do or we did them as well as we can, if that makes sense. And it feels like I'm hearing is like maxing out the songs. And that's like a really good feeling rather than like, Oh, that one's better live, or oh, if you turn off your radio, but I mean, that's all part of being like a Lo Fi Maverick. If you turn up the radio and maybe get, you know, turn off the right speaker, this sounds amazing, you know? Yeah. But that's okay. I love that side of things still. But for now, I would like to see where Burger King kind of like, take us

Michael David Wilson 1:05:27

know. Yeah, yeah. Well, this has been a fascinating conversation. We've spoken so much about those early years, we've spoken about the evolution of your own writing trajectory. I mean, we haven't quite done anything like this on this as our before. So I'm really excited to see how people respond to it. I mean, for me, this is almost like the essence of this as Hora because it's like we've now got like, hours of what in any other episode would be a tangent, but the tangents there my favorite parts are just hanging out and talking, writing talking life.

Josh Malerman 1:06:12

Yeah, I agree. And, and this is by far, the most I've ever talked about, like the band. Yeah, it's all the interview, half the interview, or at least whatever it has been about the band and music. And obviously, I've done interviews just about the music side. But now like, that's just saying, Thanks for Thanks for doing that. And I'm, like, excited for the boys to hear this.

Michael David Wilson 1:06:37

Yeah, yeah, well, I'm thinking for the future, you know, maybe maybe six months or so down the road, we're gonna get together. And we could do this, again, possibly even involve some of the other members of the band. Because, I mean, I've been listening to the high strung, I really like what you've done. And I think, in the same spirit as this, I could go through and I could kind of dissect and have questions about every single album, and we can go really deep. And take Yeah,

Josh Malerman 1:07:15

we would love that. We would love that. And whether it's, it would be up to you how to do it if you wanted, just like songwriters me and Mark, if you wanted the full band, if you wanted, if there was a certain album, and so like it was just three of us on it, then then the three of us will be there. We it's been the same guys the whole time. But it's gone from like, five members to four to three, then back to four and then to five, you know, so it's been like the same guy though. Like, you know, this whole time the same five, six guys so, so it'd be fun, whatever you want to do, we would do and I know Mark, the other songwriter and mark on would be, would love to fucking talk like I am right now with you and you would love him. He's a brilliant dude, man. And then just he has a tendency, like, he has this ability to sort of just steal like these lofty conversations into like, one sentence. Like, for example, in the new album, I don't play like any guitar at all, almost, I just play like piano. Well, you know, Burgos, playing acoustic guitar, Mark plays guitar, Stephen plays electric, oh my god, I'm just gonna play the piano on this one, blah, blah. This was done in my house. And we're talking one night, like, how do we get to this spot where we're like, we're just playing a piano on an album. And we're talking like, Oh, we're in a new period of their lives, whatever. And Mark was like, I, I think this album, we made the sound and just because Josh moved into a house with a piano in it.

Michael David Wilson 1:08:39

Yeah, yeah.

Josh Malerman 1:08:44

Yeah, you're right. That is what happened. Okay.

Michael David Wilson 1:08:49

Yeah, yeah. Well, I mean, listeners should definitely you know, get get in touch. Let us know the type of things that you want us to talk about. Because as you can see me and Josh will talk about any topic if you have burning questions about the music or creativity then you can find This Is Horror on Instagram, you can find us on the rebranded Twitter now known as X. Find your way to get

Josh Malerman 1:09:17

money out there, by the way much longer. I think about man. I mean, I've been drafting like nothing, anyone cares? But I've been drafting a well that's kind of a dumb thing to say. I don't know why I just said that. But I've been drafting a exit letter that pretty much just says like, you know, I speak a few languages and Twitter just isn't one of a man. It's just not a word go I've never jived with that site that seen the vibe of that place. I've never like if Twitter was a party. I think I've told you this before. Yeah. I walked into it i Very early on what it turned her and been like, what do you want to go next door and said, Yeah, I just I don't feel it and with like, I don't know. It just ain't my thing, man. And it doesn't mean that I wouldn't be like other places, but I'm trying to figure out what a way to like say that. That isn't sort of like, I don't know, I guess just be myself just saying, Yeah, I want to make someone feel like they're dumb. Or I don't want someone to think that I that I'm searching them for using it. I just I guess I'm done with it, man. It's just that ain't my vibe, man.

Michael David Wilson 1:10:23

Yeah, I mean, maybe just exactly what you said that. You just nailed it. I mean, maybe maybe it's a post. Maybe it's a video. If you want what you just said, I couldn't even send you that video that you just recorded.

Josh Malerman 1:10:40

Okay, you're right. I should do it. I'm gonna do a video. Yeah, thanks for I'm glad I said something. And I'm glad you said that. That's good. Because really, the whole thing for me is and if you talk about like, expressing through like, songwriting, and novels and all this, yeah, all this stuff we're talking about man and, and even like what we're doing right now. I mean, especially like conversations and with Allison and in my life, blah, blah. To like, narrow that down. As we've said before, it's that permanent opinion, or that declaration or that you got to make a stand. i No matter what it is. And it's like, yeah, I don't I don't operate this way. So yeah, but if you have that, even that comment, doesn't have your tone of voice. But

Michael David Wilson 1:11:26

yeah, I was gonna say, I mean, you just revealed it yourself. You're trying to say you don't speak that language in the language that you don't speak. Imagine me trying to tell people that I don't speak. I don't know. Dutch. In Dutch, it's not gonna go very well. You got to use the language that you speak. You'd be like a no. And then Munna Dutch? Yeah. Pretty much. Like, what the hell is he been smoking? And where do we get it? This is amazing. But yeah, it feels apropos that you've kind of announced at the end of this episode, that you will be leaving Twitter because the in the first episode when we were talking about spin of black yarn is when you were like, Ah, I'm not really feeling the via Twitter. So it feels like we foreshadowed and it had to happen in the final act. And we'll be leaving,

Josh Malerman 1:12:33

like, you know, it's funny, because you can find like, here's one thing that kind of freaks me out is that everyone seems to have like a reason to stay. Right. So everyone would be like, Well, I would leave it but I need it for my job. I would leave when I need it for reading books. I would leave. And then you're kind of like, everyone is saying that. So everyone feels like I would leave but an amazing. Everyone's like tied to this thing that like you don't have to be mad.

Michael David Wilson 1:12:59

Yeah. Which is like kind of a horror story concept in itself. Everyone wanting to leave.

Josh Malerman 1:13:07

Lego first.

Michael David Wilson 1:13:08

Yeah, yeah. Had everyone. Yeah. Yeah. And the thing is, you know, in these situations, there have to be some people who leave and then other people follow when, I mean, yeah, it's obvious that you want to leave Twitter. So you should I mean, because it, it would appear in, you know, the vast majority of aspects of your life when you want to do something, you do what you want to do. You mentioned at the start, as I say about a month ago, that you know, you're not feeling Twitter. You mentioned it on the ark party as well. Fantastic conversation with Rob Olson. I love that guy. So

Josh Malerman 1:13:54

yeah, yeah, do you and He is amazing, man. There's just, you know, he.

Michael David Wilson 1:14:01

You watch you watch that? HUBZone? Yeah, yeah, I did. I do.

Josh Malerman 1:14:05

Talk about listening to him. When I was like, in the park with Alice. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Those moments mean so much to me to hear His voice and like, talking about Goblin, and I'm very careful, while Alex and I are in the dark on this swing set. And it was just like, I love that guy. Love him.

Michael David Wilson 1:14:21

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I mean, some people see this as horror as the kind of Og of horror podcasting, but it's like no book to podcast they would do in this a couple of years before us they will one of the influences I've said on record before booked podcast horror, etc. And the geeks Guide to the Galaxy. Those were the three influences and I thought what if we put them in a pot, and hopefully this has come out, but Rob Olson he he deserves more recognition. And yeah, so Have

Josh Malerman 1:15:01

you even as like a great like invoice?

Michael David Wilson 1:15:04

Yeah, yeah, yeah. And he really cares about what he's doing not just in terms of like reading the books, but in terms of the audio aspect and getting the lighting and getting every little detail, right? To be honest. And weirdly, this episode is now ending as a appreciation for Rob Olsen and the ark party. But there's no rules to these episodes. Anyway, this is all gone out the window. But I mean, he is. He's probably the only other kind of podcasts doing a similar thing, to what This Is Horror doing that I listen to regularly. You know, it doesn't mean that I don't listen to other shows, such as talking scared, for example, but with the Ark party, it's like, I can't miss an episode. And the reason? Yeah, I guess it's kind of like, comfort because I was listening to this before I would before I'd even thought of doing a podcast or something.

Josh Malerman 1:16:09

immediately brings me to the what's the right way of putting this? Like my relationship with horror, there's like, like, is a very, like, innocent relationship where I just like, I'm thrilled by it. And I'm like, yeah, and there's like, the Halloween side of horror. I mean, that is just, like, purely thrilling. And he brings me to that he gives me that same, like, it's October 13, that I'm putting on a Vincent Price like anthology movie. And that feeling I get when I'm talking to Rob It's like a similar similar play. Yeah.

Michael David Wilson 1:16:42

Yeah. Yeah, that's it. And I got exactly the same feeling that you and Alison got listening to the reviews. It's like anytime we publish the This Is Horror book. It's like send it to book podcast, I want to hear them. Talk about it. In the same way The Girl in the Video the same way They're Watching is, it's unfortunately not really the you know, book podcast doesn't exist anymore. Good. I'd love to hear them talk about how some bad memories but you know, I'll, I'll get the second best thing, which is to talk to Rob on the ark party anyway, we probably shouldn't say the second best thing is like, what do you what do you want me to cancel your, your appearance? But no, it's always a pleasure. Given all we've spoken about this is almost an impossible thing. But I I always like to end by asking if you have any final thoughts, you given us a lot of thoughts. But is there a final note? Or anything that you want to sign off this man episode with?

Josh Malerman 1:17:50

Yes, yes, there is. It's just that you know, here we are talking about the band and the band started in like 2000, or whatever, what 90 90,000 Whenever and, and the first book was written in December of Oh, four. And here we are talking about a new a new album coming out or came out earlier this year. And here I am rewriting the book for next year. And I'm trying to think of the one the next one and I want to make the next album was burqa, and it has been that same exact thing for the whole span of this. And I think that it has something to do with rather than it has something to do with you talking about the Marathon of it. And I'm only saying this I don't know maybe to inspire like a an artists that's listening or something or even a reader it has more to do with like, a little bit everyday gets all this done. Then then you realize, so if anyone's listening right now, and they're like, I can't read this super long book. Yeah, no, you can you just read 3040 pages a day. And in a week's time, you already got like, 300 Whatever it is, you know. And, and I think that that concept applies to music, to working out to writing to all the same things is just if you do that little bit every day, you get something done. And when you get something done, that feeds itself now you saw that you got something done, and now you want to do another thing and are you because you realize you can do it. But you keep up with that same sort of pace. I've been on that pace for 23 years with the bandmates and by myself with the books and it literally feels exactly the same right now in terms of like, I can't wait to make an album I can't wait to write into a book as it did at the very beginning and I just want anyone that's listening or any writers or whatever, to just I don't know remember that that kind of thing is possible it's you know that that is possible to remain in that like sort of, you know, that that in love phase with art and that like oh I want to do right by this you it is possible to maintain that for life. At least I know I was 23 years old

Michael David Wilson 1:20:06

thank you so much for listening to Josh Malerman on This Is Horror. Join us again next time when we will be chatting with Richard kids Ma. But if you want to get ahead of the crowd, if you want to get every episode ahead of the crowd, become our patron patreon.com forward slash This Is Horror. Not only do you get to submit questions to the interviewee for guests such as Richard chizmar Chuck Wendig. claimer cloud Chapman, but you got exclusive podcasts include in story on Bob's the horror podcast on the craft of writing the q&a sessions, and video cast on camera off record. So go to patreon.com forward slash This Is Horror. Have a little look what we offer. And if you like it, I'd love for you to join us there. Okay, before I wrap up, a little bit of an advert break.

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Michael David Wilson 1:21:58

As always, I would like to end with a quote. Last week we ended with a Jack Kerouac quote. Today we are going for another one of the beat generation one of the famous beat poets. We're going for Allen Ginsberg. So here it is. To gain your own voice. Forget about having it heard. Become a saint of your own province, and your own consciousness. I'll see you in the next episode with Richard chiasma. But until then, take care yourselves be good to one another. Read horror. Keep on writing and have a great, great day.

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