Lonesome Wyatt is the Ambrose Bierce of underground country. He plays the kind of music you’d hear while walking down a dirt road headed deep into the woods weaving your way through haints and shadows. When he isn’t touring with Those Poor Bastards, Wyatt’s penning pulp novels to support their albums or working on his side project, Lonesome Wyatt and the Holy Spooks. His music is dark, atmospheric, desperate, and pained by life and the people in it. Murder ballads, ghost tales, broken hearts, bad relationships, benders, lost souls – it isn’t exactly uplifting, and yet, this isn’t a man who is weltering in misery. There’s a difference between shouting out wrongs and awfuls and wallowing in them.
Lonesome Wyatt is a mad-eyed architect of exquisitely desperate music. The Library was able to steal some of his time for a short talk about his reading habits and upcoming projects.
Mount Prospect Public Library: What was the last good book you read?
Lonesome Wyatt: The last two books I read were The Mammoth Book of Frankenstein and Farewell, My Lovely and they were both very enjoyable.
MPPL: Is there any genre or author you refuse to read? Why or why not?
LW: I don’t like to read things about teens or romance unless it’s from the 1950’s or earlier. I’m just not interested.
MPPL: How often do you read? What genres are your go-tos?
LW: I read around 2-3 hours every day. My favorite genres are mystery, horror, western, science fiction and anything strange or offbeat.
MPPL: You’ve mentioned in other interviews that Poe and Lovecraft have been inspirations to you…what other writers (or musicians…or artists) inspire you?
LW: I like the author Robert Lowry a whole bunch. His book The Big Cage really got me going. Also Nightmare Alley, They Shoot Horses Don’t They, and all those classic noir stories are very inspiring. The Silver Surfer 1968 series and the Ghost Rider 1970’s series have a lot of great stuff in them too. That’s what comes to mind right now, but the list of brain expanding and inspiring creations is almost endless.
MPPL: What book could draw you into joining a book club?
LW: I don’t know. I’m pretty sure it would have to have a monster or robot on the cover though.
MPPL: When was the last time you were in a library? Do you think libraries are still important in today’s world?
LW: I go to the library at least once a week. It’s one of my favorite places. You can get almost anything you want to read or watch without having to spend your hard earned dough on it. We always went to the library when I was growing up and I discovered some great things just browsing around. Libraries are full of an endless supply of fertilizer for the imagination. They are immeasurably important.
MPPL: Both books and music are becoming more and more a digital culture. Do you think anything is lost when the physical world gets digitized?
LW: I have absolutely no interest in digital stuff. I can’t understand the appeal. This old goat prefers paperback books and either vinyl records, cassette tapes, or CDs as a last resort.
MPPL: We heard tell that there’s a Halloween album in the works. Tell us more…and is there a novel to go with it?
LW: Some of my favorite albums are those old Halloween ones from the 60’s and 70’s. It’s a real shame that no one makes that kind of stuff anymore. Nothing beats listening to them in the gloom of the basement on a 1978 Fisher Price record player. It’s just perfect. They’re often refreshingly weird and unique.
Anyhow, those old records really moved me and I wanted to try to make something special out of that initial spark of inspiration. This record is like the musical equivalent of a homemade Halloween costume; kind of strange and clunky, but made with real heart. I’m awful fond of the thing. There’s no book with this one. It’s just a collection of stories and songs about monsters and death.
MPPL: What else is upcoming for you and Those Poor Bastards in 2013?
LW: Those Poor Bastards are playing some shows in August, then I’ll be releasing that Halloween album in October, and finally an Edgar Switchblade 7” will arrive in December. It should be a pretty frightening year.
For more information on the fantastic and foreboding art of Lonesome Wyatt, check him out on tour or at his website. Gotta have Lonesome Wyatt in your life right now? Stop by the Fiction/AV/Teen desk at the Library for Gospel Haunted by Those Poor Bastards or Lonesome Wyatt’s duet album with Rachel Brooke, Bitter Harvest.