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Today, Sublett is a symbol of perseverance andhis passion for the lyrical life has branded Texas arts and letters forever. Skip to main content. Musicians Off the Record. Jesse Sublett. Musicians Bevis Griffin.

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Compared to the soaring experience of an enhanced iBook, Apple's rivals give you a flightless, songless bird. The story behind the print version of Rock Critic Murders also entails a trip through evolving technology.

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Originally published by Viking Penguin in , it's a hardboiled detective novel set in Austin of the mids. Protagonist Martin Fender is a blues bass player who moonlights as a skip tracer and detective. He's also kind of my alter ego.

Prior to that, I labored on borrowed typewriters, using the backs of leftover gig flyers for paper. Within a few years, Write Now was not only out of production, but documents created with it could not be converted to any other word processor I could find. To republish those books, they have to be scanned with an OCR program and meticulously proofed, which is an old-fashioned pain in the ass. Backing up just a little further, it was in the pages of this very publication that Martin Fender first sprang to life. In early , Chronicle editor and SXSW co-founder Louis Black asked me to write a few stories from the working musician's perspective.

I wrote several of them before I decided to test Louis' patience by turning in, instead of straight journalism, a Martin Fender crime story wrapped around a half dozen or so strange vignettes from a recent band tour through the South and Midwest. Louis was a little put off at first, but he ran the story.

Louis and another Austin music critic, Ed Ward, told me they thought I had something and encouraged me to write more in that vein, maybe even a novel.

I enjoyed the irony, because these same rock critics had inspired the novel. They hated my band, or at least they used to, so I had them killed in my first novel.

Ex-Punk Author, DIY or Die Forever

After helping me get through several drafts, Ward accompanied me and my wife, Lois then and now an advertising rep at the Chronicle , to New York to meet some publishers. The editors we met ended up turning the book down, but I persevered, using the same do-it-yourself approaches and attitudes we all learned in the indie scene of the Seventies and early Eighties. You know, sending out a blizzard of demo tapes, pressing our own records, putting up gig flyers in a blizzard in NYC, doing interviews at every college radio station in the country, handing out swag, etc. I no longer cared so much about becoming a rock star; I wanted to be the next Raymond Chandler.

I sent out dozens of copies of manuscripts to agents and editors, called them on the phone, and asked dumb questions like "How do I get my books published? She'd heard of my bands but had not seen me play, and over the course of a rambling conversation, I managed to pique her interest and she asked to read my manuscripts. Two weeks later, Kaufman, now at PublicAffairs, offered me my first publishing deal.

Three of those novels were published, but none hit the bestseller list. I still write and still play music. But for better or worse, that's what I remain.

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