Dan Kennedy Rocks On with New Book, Trusty Gary Baseman Figurine

rock on by dan kennedy.jpg

When we spotted what appeared to be a Gary Baseman creature on the cover of Dan Kennedy‘s new book, Rock On: An Office Power Ballad, we had to get the full scoop. It turns out that in addition to being a delightful and hilarious raconteur (on the page and on the stage), Kennedy is also “super into design” and played a major role in conceptualizing the book jacket. “I had comped up this really rough idea using a favorite Gary Baseman figurine that I had become sort of, um…attached to as a good luck charm in my days of unemployment from the record business,” Kennedy told us (his original idea is pictured above, at left). “And then the real artists and designers brought it up about 25 levels to what you see in bookstores today” (above, at right).

Published by Algonquin Books, Rock On’s jacket was designed by Anne Winslow, with Laura Williams creating the graffiti-style background graphics. “I think the design they came up with speaks volumes about the book,” says Kennedy. “The Laura Williams drawings and doodles, to me, say that there’s someone daydreaming here; someone looking down at their notepad in the meeting and wishing they were a million miles away. The font…on the cover just kicks ass. Especially in white on black, it just feels like a Marshall Stack guitar amp but somehow more boxed in by convention, which is kind of the setting of the book, really. And the Gary Baseman figurine is a favorite of mine; a wide-eyed dunce sitting in the dark, but if you look closely, he has tiny fangs — and ‘tiny dunce sitting wide-eyed in the dark but not without his fangs’ completely sums up the narrative voice of this book.”

For more on and from that narrative voice, don’t miss Kennedy tomorrow evening (6:30-8:00pm) at the Apple Store in Soho, where he’ll read from and discuss Rock On. He’ll also be signing copies of the book–and, if you tell him UnBeige sent you, we bet he’ll sign your Baseman figurine too.

After the jump, Kennedy answers a couple more of our questions…


Assuming that you were unavailable, who do you think would be a good choice to play Dan Kennedy in a movie version of Rock On?
I told ’em to hire the skinny guy from Superbad. I mean…ya
know…the folks in the make-up department would have to figure out
how to add a couple decades of longs drives, sleepless nights, dive
apartments, beer, cigarettes, hit-and-miss girlfriends, fast food,
and slow days to his look. But he’s got the riff down pat. Oh Jesus,
who am I kidding; hire the one whose a little bit older and fatter.
And hopefully by the time we’re ready to shoot, he’s got the graying
hair, too.

How do you feel about the Michael Damian song “Rock On” (we’ve always thought “blue jean, baby queen” has a nice ring to it)?
I hope it was a sweet payday for David Essex. He wrote a solid song there.