16 December 2011

Bruce Springsteen and Friends, Convention Hall, Asbury Park, NJ, December 17, 2000

From THE DEVIL AND PRESTON BLACK: There’s no place where loneliness feels worse than in bed. Waking up with her made me want to erase those last few lonely months, pretend like Dani and I’d been together forever. I wanted to forget about New Year’s Eve by myself. At midnight, when everybody was exchanging kisses, me and Paulie and Stu exchanged sympathies. And I wanted to forget about Christmas morning. Paulie and me in this apartment exchanging unwrapped boxes after eating leftover Kung Pao chicken and eggrolls. I got him a few bass pedals and a bottle of Jack and he got me a nice hand-tooled leather guitar strap. I outspent him, but that was beside the point.

A nice Friday download for yinz. OR, a really cheap Christmas gift for that special someone.

Download the show at Sugarmegs.

Bruce Springsteen and Friends 2000-12-17 - CONVENTION HALL, ASBURY PARK, NJ

Disc One:
01 Jingle Bells Intro (Max Weinberg 7)
02 For You
03 Blue Christmas
04 Powerhouse (Max Weinberg 7)
05 Run Run Rudolph
06 Luckytown
07 E-Street Shuffle
08 Kitty's Back
09 Rose (Patti Scialfa)
10 As Long As I Can Be With You (Patti Scialfa)
11 This Time It's For Real (SSJ, Little Steven & Bruce)
12 Good Is Gone (Little Steven)
13 All I Needed Was You (SSJ, Little Steven, Bruce)

Disc Two
01 Shine Silently (Nils Lofgren)
02 Merry Christmas Baby
03 So Young and In Love
04 Roll of the Dice
05 Bobby Jean
06 Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
07 My City Of Ruins
08 I Don't Want To Go Home (SSJ, Little Steven & Bruce)
09 Rosalita
10 Santa Claus is Coming to Town

TheBoots.net synopsis:
The material from the second album all sounded great with the addition of the horns from the Max Weinberg 7. "Blue Christmas" was done in a basically bluegrass arrangement. "Lucky Town" featured Bruce and Jimmy Vivino trading off guitar solos and the horns added some great punch to it. The Southside songs also benefitted from the horns, as did "So Young and in Love." Patti's new song, "Rose," was about her experiences working in a New York City diner, where she said she was the world's worst waitress.
Bruce's new song, "My City of Ruins," is very powerful and very gospel-esque, sounding very similar to Curtis Mayfield's "People Get Ready." Bruce dedicated the song to the Asbury Park Chamber of Commerce and mentioned all the charities that each night was benefitting.

15 December 2011

More West Virginia Pictures!

From HELLBENDER: The gray came from a full moon. The silver light, so bright it cast shadows, fell upon trees as massive as Acropolis columns. It reflected off empty glass bottles, off the metal barrels of shotguns and rifles. In the forest all around me a chorus of crickets and cicadas kept me company. Time stopped moving forward in a straight line. It felt like a web, where one strand left diagonally, and always returned to the center via another strand, so I experienced the same patterns of pain and dreaming over and over again with only slight variations.

From HELLBENDER: We fled the Shavers Fork watershed and returned to the Blackwater via Otter Creek. When the old green path hit the ridge top, pine gave way to spruce that blocked out nearly all of the morning sunlight. The faint glow of headlights did little to pierce the darkness.

From HELLBENDER: My eyes strained to pierce the fog that prevented me from seeing this wilderness as a whole. Waterfalls streamed down the steep walls in stony chutes that acted more like downspouts than streambeds. White threads intertwined to make strands of lace that plunged a thousand feet from the rocky ledges near the rim. I got drunk on the cool breezes that drifted up from the river below. The speed had a narcotic effect, which when combined with the rhythm of the rails made me want to pull out my fiddle and play along to the song it was singing.

From HELLBENDER: Katy whooshed in with her boyfriend in a scream of car stereo and everybody dropped what they were doing to run over and see them. They pulled the new silver VW onto the grass in-between the fire and Jamie's house. Katy looked more polished than I'd ever seen her. Like, she went from a fern to a Pink Lady's Slipper in just a season. Her hair was colored and styled and she wasn't dressed like a thirteen-year-old girl. Her little floral patterned dress, unbuttoned way too low, made her look like some kind of revivalist rebel. She walked proud and smiled like she was posing for Vogue. Alex stood next to me, holding a kitten, and asked, "Who's that?"

13 December 2011

Time for a year in review post? Probably not quite yet...

2011, there really wasn't anything special about you, was there? Maya apocalypse is next year, as are the Summer Olympics. AND a presidential election. 2010 was the end of a decade (and just as equally, the beginning of a decade, I suppose.) 2011 was just supposed to hang out, like Justine Bateman in FAMILY TIES.

But I liked Justine Bateman. I could never understand why she wasn't more famous than Molly Ringwald. Molly Ringwald wasn't even funny (By extension, if humor was a legit reason to be attracted to somebody, I would've been all over Anthony Michael Hall.) Whatever happened to Long Duk Dong, BTDubs?

So 2011 is another year to be filed away and forgotten. Just like 2003. Some things happened back in 03. This year is no different. Some things happened. I got on my mountain bike a lot more than I did last year, and didn't break any bones. Wrote a few songs for the book. Went to Florida and to the beach. I wrote A LOT.

So, maybe it's the writing that'll make 2011 different than the rest. Putting THE DEVIL AND PRESTON BLACK out there was simultaneously the most gratifying and terrifying thing I'd ever done. And it opened more doors than I ever could've on my own. I've met more awesome people and made more friends than I have at any other time since Seton Hill. And now, almost 9 months later, the book has a life of its own. It's out there in the world, and there's no stopping it.

But I wouldn't say that the biggest thing to happen to me was self-publishing, and then ultimately finding a publisher for, THE DEVIL AND PRESTON BLACK. And this is what I want to make clear as the year winds down, especially with a new flurry of self-publishing-related news (Kindle Fire. KDP Select, etc.)in the air. The stigma of self-publishing will remain as long as folks release books that aren't quite fit for human consumption.

'Published' and 'self-published' are temporary states. And the biggest thing to happen to me in 2011 was I realizing my novel was good enough to be read without waiting for an agent's approval. Stepping out of the queue and taking action--a trait I respect in my fellow self-publishers regardless of their writing ability. The capacity to take action is a permanent state, much unlike the states of 'published' and 'self-published.'

Raw Dog Screaming Press is releasing THE DEVIL AND PRESTON BLACK next fall, so I can now check the 'published' box. Working with them has been an absolutely amazing experience, even if it did make me question my southwestern Pennsylvanian dialect. (Question--what's wrong with the following sentence: This car needs washed. Answer: Not a damn thing, jagoff.) The education I received by doing it myself taught me one thing--I learned that if you wait until AFTER you're published to figure out your marketing plan and who your readers are, and how to interact with them and on and on, it's already too late. A lot of writers talk a good game. But if they're focused on agents instead of readers, they aren't in the game.

Heidi told me I have to make sure I don't diss anybody in these little posts, so I'm not really sure how to end this. Had I been allowed to diss, you can bet there would've been some hardcore dissing right about here. Instead, I'll leave you with a Bateman family fun fact:

Because of TEEN WOLF TOO my brother, Mike Miller, hates Jason Bateman so much he refuses to watch ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT.

12 December 2011

The Clash, The Lyceum, London, UK, December 28, 1978

Posted this show in honor of my guest post over at Tennessee Hicks' blog.

From my post:

And anybody who’s going to spend thousands of hours embarrassing themselves, losing respect and credibility learns one thing by doing it themselves. They learn whether or not they love it, and if they’re willing to fight for it, even if it means going against the grain and being the unpopular kid.

And THAT’S how I got my deal. By bleeding for it. By hustling. By losing sleep and popping ibuprofen and swallowing a little pride. By taking a risk even though it meant career suicide. In other words, I got my deal by being a little stupid.

Read the rest here: http://www.tennesseehicks.com

Download the show at Sugarmegs.

The Clash
Flash Bastards Remastered
The Lyceum, London, UK, December 28th, 1978

01. Safe European Home
02. I Fought the Law
03. Jail Guitar Door
04. Drug Stabbing Time
05. City Of the Dead
06. Clash City Rockers
07. Tommy Gun
08. (White Man) In Hammersmith Palais
09. English Civil War
10. Stay Free
11. Cheapskates
12. Julie's In the Drug Squad
13. Police and Thieves
14. Capital Radio
15. Janie Jones
16. Garageland
17. Complete Control
18. London's Burning
19. White Riot

06 December 2011

The Tweets 2 Lennon Project

31 years ago this week.

Think of all the stuff he would've loved. iPads and Pixar. eBooks. Just a few guesses.

In my book, THE DEVIL AND PRESTON BLACK, John Lennon becomes a father figure for a character who had none of his own. Ironic that Preston would choose John Lennon, who spent a childhood pining for parents who were never there. Maybe that's why John Lennon chose to contact Preston via text:

     I got another text. This game had lost a lot of its intrigue. I just wanted to know who'd been messing with me. The message sounded like something John Lennon would say. everything's proven until it's disproven, isn't it? who's to say your dreams aren't real?
     I deleted it.


And again:

     My phone buzzed, and since Dani was busy primping in the other room, I figured it had to be Pauly. The text said music belongs to everybody. It doesn't always have to be a suit who decides how much it should cost. Remember what we talked about last night.
     I stared at the text. I knew who it was from, and it wasn't Father James.
     I hit REPLY and thought of a way to ask without coming across as crazy. When I realized there was no easy way to do that, I typed 'JOHN?' and hit send.



When I wrote the novel I liked the idea that technology possessed magical qualities. That the chips and circuits were no different than a shaman's beads and bones. The idea that I could have a conversation with somebody who was long gone intrigued me. In a way, it kept them alive.

So what I'm proposing is that we all send our messages to John Lennon over the next week. Well wishes, favorite bits of lyrics, questions. Something tells me he already knows, but is going to be just as happy to get them.

Leave them in comments below, or Tweet them, using the hash tag #tweets2lennon

05 December 2011

THE MUSIC AND PRESTON BLACK: Joe Strummer, Filmore, San Francisco, July 6, 1999

"When you blame yourself, you learn from it. If you blame someone else, you don't learn nothing, cause hey, it's not your fault, it's his fault, over there."
-Joe Strummer

I owe a lot of what I got going on this year to thinking like Joe thinks. Thanks, man.

Download the show at Sugarmegs.

Disc 1
Diggin' The New
London Calling
X-Ray Style
White Man In Hammersmith Palais
Tony Adams
Straight To Hell
Rock The Casbah
Yalla Yalla
Brand New Cadillac
I Fought The Law

Disc 2
Techno D-Day
Tommy Gun
Junco Partner
Forbidden City

27 November 2011

A little something for John Lennon after a lot of bourbon and whiskey.

John says it's time to come together and he's holding down that same old chord. I kind of want to go with him, but I know it's not possible. He's already gotten to where he's going. I'll always be wondeing how to get there.

"We all shine on," is just something he says to make me feel better. Like, those words make it okay that he's not here. Like, I'm supposed to forget that I'm going to wake up tomorrow and he isn't. John also said, "I know what it's like to be dead," something I know nothing about.

And maybe that's what all the records or for.

For the benefit of...

Don't let me down...

Living is easy...

She said...

Across the universe...

All you need...

23 November 2011

More Wild and Wonderful West Virginia!

      Even though sun fell at my back, the sky ahead was still thick with rain. Through the scent of wet concrete and stinky neoprene I could smell my mountains.
      My Appalachians.
      For better or worse, like how a dog belonged to its fleas.

      All this happened as the sun slid across the sky and dipped toward Canaan Mountain on the other side of the valley, four or five miles away. It was a circus of pink and gold that lingered the way that only a summer-bound sunset can.

     "That’s why I’m here." He took an old pistol and a box of rounds out of a shoebox and threw them into the pack.
     I had to look away. "Ben...."
     "For snakes. Let’s go." He tossed the old pack over his shoulder.

     By the time we hit Seneca Rocks the sun was halfway into its trip to noon. Shadows stretched out from the mountains, hiding coolness in their breeches. At the climbing school guides sipped coffee and stretched their ropes. Ben pulled right up to the porch. Tourists lingered by their cars, as far from the guides as was proper. The stoners were slack-lining, their gear littered picnic tables. One had dreadlocks and a shaggy beard. I could smell weed as soon as I got out of the Jeep. Say what you will about raft guides, but at least they got wet once a day.

     We strode over the gashed earth where skidders and bulldozers had torn through the soil. Past smoldering piles of ash that used to be tsuga canadensis, kalmia latifolia. Indian pipes, whorled loosestrife, and flowering raspberry were little more than smoke signals now. A first-hand account of the destruction.

Download Hellbender for you Kindle at Amazon.com or for other devices at Smashwords.com.

20 November 2011

My Wild and Wonderful West Virginia!

     The hair on my neck and arms stood when she kissed me. Her breath was cool, like the wind that twisted the spruce on the huckleberry plains above. When she said my name I couldn’t tell if I was hearing words or the arrival of summer.

     Alex didn’t say anything until I pulled up to the old Jenkinsburg Bridge. This was much higher than the bridge over the Big Sandy. The old steel trestle spanned the V-shaped Cheat Canyon quite dramatically. Big pines buttressed each end and a rocky rapid flowed below. Occasional rock outcroppings punctuated the steep, green slopes.

     I slowed as we came through the village of Thomas. Old company stores hemmed us in on one side, the Blackwater River on the other. The Miners and Merchants Bank was the only non-tourism related business left on the whole street. Exiting town took us up still higher, through white pines and past the ball field where I played Little League. Canaan Mountain loomed high in the background; the spruce along the top was visible even from here. We passed the entrance to Blackwater Falls State Park and a chill fell upon us. It was so cold Alex dug for my fleece in the back of the Jeep.

Girls loved raft guides like rabbits love clover...

The ground twisted and slithered. A sea of snakes pulled themselves from chilly crevasses to seek the warmth of the heavy, dark ties. Timber rattlers, too sleepy to be excitable, kept their distance from the heavy wheels. Feisty copperheads coiled and feigned aggression.

The power of the ancient forest was apparent from the moment the sun passed overhead.

The quiet meadows along the road were about to erupt with the greens of wild bleeding hearts and tiger lilies. Some dark pocket on the backside of the ridge probably hid the last painted trillium of the year.

All around the green walls of Mozark Mountain, Otter Creek, and Blackwater Canyon muffled any shouts of assistance to the outside world.

     "Hungry?" I asked. But her reply didn't matter. I was starving, and drifted to a stop in front of Sirianni's. Almost like I'd followed the smell of garlic right to the front door.

     North Fork Mountain kept people out of this part of the world; it was the first ridge in a series that ended at the Shenandoah in Virginia. Where Spruce Knob was capped with its namesake vegetation, North Fork Mountain had rocky fins of Tuscarora Sandstone crenellating its long, narrow expanse. Wanderers and outcasts gave in to the pull of West Virginia's secret border, a place the rest of the country ignored. But the exposed rock nestled in a bed of white pine finally broke my silence. It made me smile.

HELLBENDER Less than 24 hours until the brood hatches!

Get your Kindles ready, because they ain't going to be the same after this. Are your Nooks waterproofed?

The eVersion and a bundle are ready to go live first thing tomorrow morning, so you'll be able to jump right into HELLBENDER, or start at the very beginning with my man Preston Black in a specially priced bundle. All I can say is you're going to get dirty.

19 November 2011

Hellbender Scrapbook.

     The smell of the spruce had ignited crazy dreams all night long. They weren’t memories though. I knew because the dream-forest was more climactic than any I’d ever seen. Spruce trees, three hundred feet tall and ten feet across at the base, rested on a bed of humus so thick I nearly sank. Laurels dense enough to confound a team of trackers kept intruders at arm’s length. The laurel hell went off in all directions, like a green quilt. When I opened my eyes, I expected to be in the center of a large, primeval forest, the kind of place that died long before I was born, but the old green was gone.
     Killed by axes and steam trains.

"Belsnicklers came to our farm every Christmas, dressed in sackcloth with coal dust all over their faces. Scary sons of bitches. Us kids had to just stand there while they threw candy on the floor. If we fidgeted they whipped us with switches. I've even seen elder spring from the frozen ground on Old Christmas Eve—"

The remains of an old brick pump house sat between us and the mine. The old machine house looked rough, but it still had four walls and most of its roof. Red dog and ash from old coke ovens paved the yard all around it.

HELLBENDER Creepin' up on ya.

Today I locked down the formatting for the Smashwords Edition eBooks. Kindle's next. Witches, whiskey and revenge--you ready?

18 November 2011

17 November 2011

New Writer's Social Media Toolkit

This is brief list of the ideas and tech discussed Thursday, November 17 with the Scottdale Writers.

Blogging at www.blogger.com--your hub. Your online business card. This is what people see, and remember, when they 'meet' you online. Blogs are free, easy to update and design, you can experiment without any expense. Feedjit is a way to monitor traffic to your blog.

Twitter.com and Facebook to drive traffic to your blog. These are you 'handshakes.' Facebook will be mostly people you know, Twitter will be people you haven't met yet.

To manage your Twitter followers--Twitter Karma and Twit Cleaner. If the goal is to foster and maintain real relationships, then these two services help separate out spammers and bots.

Goodreads targets readers. It's a more specific approach to making friends. Amanda Hocking, anyone?

Klout, to measure the effectiveness of your social network.

16 November 2011

HELLBENDER IN 5 DAYS! And a new excerpt.

Nov Excerpt

13 November 2011

Raw Dog Screaming Press signs Jason Jack Miller

Here's the announcement from Raw Dog Screaming Press's journal:

RDSP is pleased to announce a multi-book deal with author Jason Jack Miller for his Murder Ballads & Whiskey series. The first book to be released, Hellbender, will come out in March 2012 with The Devil and Preston Black to follow at the end of the year. "We're particularly excited about this deal because it represents the next step in the evolution of publishing," says editor John Lawson. With the rise of self-publishing and spread of ebooks traditional publishing models are obsolete. "We see the role of publisher in the future as an information hub and support network driven by the author's vision and enthusiasm. Jason Jack Miller is the perfect candidate because he's got plenty of both."

RDSP, like many other small publishers, has always had a more collaborative approach to dealing with authors. The hope is to forge a working model where the author has unprecedented input into both the product and the way it's marketed while also sharing much more of the promotional workload. "Raw Dog represents what’s best about the new face of publishing. They adhere to the Gen X ethos of pursuing passion and individualism over corporate culture, meaning they release books they love. They’re risk-takers, which, in my opinion, are rare in publishing."

Jason Jack Miller hails from Fayette County, Pennsylvania, as in, "Circus freaks, temptation and the Fayette County Fair," made famous by The Clarks in the song, "Cigarette." He is a writer, photographer and musician who has been hassled by cops in Canada, Mexico and the Czech Republic. An outdoor travel guide he co-authored with his wife in 2006 jumpstarted his freelancing career; his work has since appeared in newspapers, magazines, literary journals, online, and as part of a travel guide app for mobile phones. He is currently writing and recording the soundtrack to his novel, The Devil and Preston Black. Find him at http://jasonjackmiller.blogspot.com. Tweet him @jasonjackmiller.

Top 9: Yellow Submarine Clips

In honor of YELLOW SUBMARINE'S 1968 New York City premier.











12 November 2011

2011 Writing Perspective

From JOE STRUMMER and the legend of THE CLASH by Kris Needs--“We started the 101’ers with one amplifier and one speaker’, remembered Joe. ‘We built our own equipment… We got some drawers out of a skip and we used to buy cheap speakers down the Edgeware Road and we’d drop them into these drawers and put a facing board on them and turn them up. That would be a cabinet… I used to go to gigs with two bricks in a shoulder bag and these bricks were to sit in the deck of a record player upturned with a broom handle screwed in it, which was the microphone stand. The microphone was taped on the top and the bricks were there to drop in the record player and keep the things steady so the mic didn’t fall over.’

I started writing in October 1998 with one goal--to get a book in print with one of the Big 6. Every writing-related action I’ve engaged in since has been to help me achieve the publication of a novel. I went to conferences to meet agents, went to book signings to meet authors to find out how they did it, I’ve taken query writing workshops, completed a Masters degree, bought writing how-to books, read agent blogs and subscribed to feeds from publishers.

And you know what? It was starting to work. My rejection letters really started getting better and people started telling me that was a good thing. Instead of ‘this isn’t right for us’, I started getting ‘the writing’s great, but we don’t know how to market it’. Some great victory, huh?

And that’s exactly why I’m pulling out now. I have the confidence to realize that my work is better than the form-rejection letter an agent’s intern sends me. Some would call it ignorance, or even hubris, but spending so many years on the outside looking gave me a new perspective on the industry I wanted more than anything to break into. And when I read that little passage from Joe Strummer it hit me… I’m not waiting anymore.

Musicians don’t wait until they get paid to start delivering songs to an audience. An artist doesn’t paint with thoughts of ‘is this right for the market’ hanging over his head. It’s writing, with its archaic hierarchy of agents, editors and marketing departments that complicates the artist’s relationship with consumers. And with Amazon’s way of e-distributing directly to readers, writers finally have an alternative route to publication. Look at some recent Tweets from Publishers Lunch—“Harvard Square’s Globe Corner Bookstore up for sale”, “Random House closes operations at Tricycle Press Imprint”, “Latest BISG eBook Survey Finds 40% of Respondents Spending Less on Printed Books”, “Aletheia Continues to Trim their Barnes & Noble Holdings”, “New Book Sales Fall 9.3% At Hastings, Which Has No eBooks”, “Borders Announces Yet Another Web Site Redesign”, “Joseph-Beth Files Chapter 11 Bankruptcy; Will Close Another Two Stores”.

Whose fault is it the industry’s going to shit? It’s not mine. I’m not the guy who chooses to represent or publish Hilary Duff or Lauren Conrad or Snooki over writers who’ve been practicing and polishing their work for a lot longer than I have. St. Martin’s Press published J-Wow and Ronnie’s book, NEVER FALL IN LOVE AT THE JERSEY SHORE. Celebrity culture is not literary culture and massive media campaigns will never create the kinds of long-term relationships word of mouth readers and booksellers and good stories can.

If somebody from one of the Big 6 houses would’ve asked me, I would’ve said it was dumb to print hardcovers in such massive quantities that they’d only end up reduced 80-90% on a bargain table three months later. And that it’s a bad idea to rely on a book like THE DA VINCI CODE (or a DA VINCI CODE clone) to support the rest of the house. And that advances, like the $1.2 million paid for Andrew Davidson’s THE GARGOYLE, or Tina Fey’s $6.8 million advance or Tom Friedman’s $5 million advance leaves little or no money for new, developing authors. The kind of authors that turn out the mid-list books that support a house in the long run.

Until Amazon made it easy for writers to produce and distribute work on their own terms, we had no choice but to abide by the Kafkaesque system create by the Big 6 and literary agents. Agents are terrified (assumption is based proportionally on how often I see agents blogging about how un-scared they are) of e-publishing because it exposes them for what they really are. Agents don’t create anything, and they don’t produce anything. The idea of agents as gatekeepers is insulting to writers and to readers. I once heard an agent say at a conference, quite boastfully, he still would’ve passed on the Harry Potter series despite its success because he wasn’t interested in Rowling’s writing.

Jessica Faust of BookEnds,LLC doesn’t even think a well-established writer can stand without the machine. She said, “(Self-published) books aren’t what they’ve come to expect from you, and now they feel like they’ve wasted their hard-earned money and time reading books they found unsatisfying.” http://bookendslitagency.blogspot.com/2010/11/building-your-career-on-kindle.html

So writers are little more than monkeys at typewriters? Interesting.

Here’s what she said about JA Konrath’s success--“In my opinion, he’s an exception to what’s happening, not the rule. Trust me, Joe has a lot of great points, and the biggest is the amount of money one can make going directly to places like Kindle rather than through a traditional publisher. That being said, can you make the money if no one buys your books? Joe was selling books to readers well before he entered the self-epublishing world, he had a fan base, and people were hungry to read more of what he had written. Let me put it this way: For every success story like J. A. Konrath, there are hundreds of authors who put a book out on their own, only to see a hundred or so sales to friends and family and then nothing.” http://bookendslitagency.blogspot.com/2010/11/launching-your-career-via-kindle.html

My favorite is when she says, ‘…can you make money if no one buys your books?’ I don’t know, but I’d try asking Borders first?

Scott Eagan does her one better--“Many of the editors I talk to openly tell me they want to see some great new projects. They are desperately searching for that golden gem. They want that great author. Agents are doing the same thing. The problem is that the stories just aren't there.

I said this a couple of weeks ago, but you can't blame the editors for not buying. The real issue is that the stories just aren't coming in.” http://scotteagan.blogspot.com/2010/10/just-some-observations-e-publishing.html

There you have it--it's the writers fault the industry is failing. Brilliant.

You know, I may or may not be Joe Strummer, but I sure as hell ain’t Snooki. Relying on my writing ability and my ability to sell myself sits with me a hell of a lot better than relying on agents and marketing departments. I know that the road to legitimacy is a lot steeper going this route, but it’s been virtually impassable querying agents and trying to attain my goals ‘legitimately’. If I stick with the Big 6 plan I won’t have readers until 2015, if ever. By going Amazon’s route I can have readers--for better or worse--tomorrow.

I know a Big 6 publisher is going to market me and make sure my book sells, right? I know this because it was what our Avalon Travel publicist was supposed to do. And we still set up our own signings and still contacted the media ourselves. We set up all of our own speaking engagements and presentations. The publicist contacted us the month before the release and never again, forcing my tenacious wife to learn more about publicity and marketing than she ever would’ve on her own. So I know even if would ever end up with a book deal, I’d still be promoting it myself. (But if our Avalon publicist is reading this, thanks a million! Because of you we learned to do it ourselves.)

When it comes down to it, I'd rather fail for something I’d written, rather than for not being able to ever get a foot in the door. If I have to start carrying around a couple of bricks in a shoulder bag, that's exactly what I'll do.

11 November 2011

Top 9: Veteran's Day Songs

Remember the men and women who came home, the ones who didn't, the ones still waiting to come home and the ones who never will. 11/11/11


8. SEAN FLYNN The Clash

7. TRAVELIN' SOLDIER The Dixie Chicks

6. BELLEAU WOOD Garth Brooks




2. ONE Metallica

1. HERO OF WAR Rise Against

10 November 2011

Top 9: Guitar Solos

Who does a Top 9? Preston Black, that's who.

Why a Top 9? It's a magic number (Sorry 3.) In numerology any number multiplied by 9 results in a 9 (2x9=18(1+8=9) 3x9=27(2+7=9)) and any number added to 9 results in the number added (1+9=10(1+0=1) 2+9=11(1+1=2)). On top of that, 9 is a root of 27, which holds special significance for my man, Preston.

Feel free to argue below.

9. PARANOID ANDROID Johnny Greenwood


7. BLACK Mike McCready

6. SOMETHING George Harrison

5. LITTLE WING Stevie Ray Vaughan


3. DAMAGE INC. Kirk Hammett

2. VOODOO CHILE (Slight Return) Jimi Hendrix


09 November 2011

And here's where I announce my deal with Raw Dog Screaming Press!

It gives me great pleasure to announce the beginning of a beautiful collaboration between Raw Dog Screaming Press and myself.

This partnership promises to be different than many of the hook-ups between writers and publishers you are familiar with. It is an attempt to move away from some of the mistakes made by the bigger houses, and toward a concept that benefits publishers, writers and readers in a variety of ways. During my meeting with Jennifer and John from Raw Dog I got the impression that my independence was as important to them as my prose, and it’s because they are publishers who earned a long string of successes by doing things their way and nurturing the kind of authors they love to read. (Mike Arnzen, Jeff VanderMeer, Elizabeth Massie—the list goes on.)

Raw Dog represents what’s best about the new face of publishing. They adhere to the Gen X ethos of pursing passion and individualism over corporate culture, which means they believe in what they’re doing. They’re risk-takers in a time when big publishers are playing it safe. Raw Dog reminds me of record labels like Sub Pop (which began as an extension of a fanzine) who chased music rather than receipts. Nirvana didn’t stand a flipping chance against Poison for a record deal with a major label in 1989. Yet Sub Pop helped kill corporate hair-metal pop because they didn’t try to change Nirvana, or tell Kurt, “You need more songs about deodorant.” And if you don’t get why that matters in today’s publishing culture, you probably don’t understand why Raw Dog’s so important to writers like me. (Or maybe you just liked Poison a whole lot better than you ever liked Nirvana. Every rose has its thorn, right?)

Amazon fueled the rise of independent authors the way MySpace gave unknown--but awesome--bands a level playing field. Music hasn’t been the same since. And now it’s publishing’s turn.

Jeff Gordinier, author of X Saves the World: How Generation X Got the Shaft but Can Still Keep Everything From Sucking, believes Gen Xers became a real force for meaningful change when we started to hit our 40s. Perhaps the changes we are now seeing in publishing reflects that. I mean, Gen X is already fixing a political landscape fashioned by the Boomer reaction to September 11th. Gen X is tackling an environment mired by oil spills and melting ice. (Thanks, again, Boomers.) Why shouldn’t we go after publishing the same way?

Gen X grew up with Reagan and the Cold War, but Stephen King and RED DAWN more than made up for it. We had to deal with Menudo and The New Kids on the Block but ended up with Public Enemy and Rage Against the Machine. We’re used to waiting--we had to watch the Boomers grow up before we could. (I like Springsteen, too.) But while waiting, we learned how to snatch opportunity out of the hands of those who’d misplace or undervalue it. Many writers are missing some of those opportunities today. Look at who's doing promotion in social media, for instance.

Raw Dog and I share the sense that promoting is just as important as writing, and can be just as rewarding when you foster real relationships both online and face-to-face. The Big Six Houses tend to go after sure things. Raw Dog and I tend to prefer ‘the alternative,’ and our tastes have forced us to innovate.

They’ve asked me for five books—The Devil and Preston Black, which many of you may already be familiar with; Hellbender and All Saints, which I finished at Seton Hill; The Gospel of Preston Black which I will begin writing in 2012; and an unnamed fifth book. I met with them over the weekend and they inspired me the way a good general does his troops—I’d give blood for them because they believe in what they are doing. And I believe they have the same faith in me, which was all I could hope for when I put Preston out there for the world to see.

And here’s what I want my fellow writers to understand—I didn’t self-publish because I was afraid of the industry, or weak-willed, or an impatient writer. I did it because I knew my stuff kicked ass. And I knew, by putting it out there, it would find a home. So if you are thinking about doing it—do it. Don’t wait for an agent to give you permission to publish. You may wait forever.

08 November 2011

Hellbender Excerpt!

I originally posted this for Jeremy Bates' Halloween Hop and wanted to have it on a standalone page.

This is one of my favorite parts of the book, and it shows Henry, and his world, in transition. To me, this excerpt embodies the spirit of HELLBENDER.

Hellbender Excerpt

Download Yonder Mountain String Band, Cain's Ballroom, Tulsa, OK 01/29/05

     I reached into my pocket.
     "What’re you looking for?" Katy said.
     I showed her the long set of rattles I found in my dad’s closet. Jamie watched with keen interest, then said, "To keep the devil away, huh?"
     "Think I need it?" I gave him a half smile which he didn’t reciprocate. I dropped the rattles into an f-hole, then gave it a shake.
     Preston said, "Those don't always work, you know."
     "You hush up now, Preston." Jamie looked at me, "Hell Up Coal Holler, on three?"
     Jamie, Katy and I drew my bows like archers about to fire. When we released, sad triads floated into the valley. The syrupy notes that sprang from my f-hole stunned even my own ears. That unmistakable sound couldn’t be produced where Kentucky’s bluegrass sprouted. They were too busy with horses and basketball. And that sound couldn’t be produced in Tennessee’s Smoky hollows; they were too worried about Country and Western. That sad squeal was pure West Virginia. As I played I could feel the devil riding my bow.
     I had a real hard time keeping up with Jamie and Katy, who played these notes with well-practiced flourishes. These twelve notes, which journeyed with my pap’s grandfather over the gray North Atlantic when famine forced him from Ireland’s stony-green shore. These twelve notes, which sustained my grandmother’s grandmother when food couldn’t, when her trail led over frosty ridges into territory still haunted by ghosts of the first people. These few measures, which I played to announce my gratitude, to announce that my blood flowed for those who made me what I was, and for those who would speak of me when I was dead.

From the novel, HELLBENDER.

Banjos and Beatles. They said it would never work.

Download the show at Sugarmegs.

Yonder Mountain String Band
Cain's Ballroom
Tulsa, OK

Source: SBD (xlr out) > UA-5 (Oade warm mod) > Nomad JB3 @ 44.1 khz
Transfer: Nomad JB3 > PC (via USB) > CD Wave > FLAC16
Taped, transferred, and converted by Phil Rollins (philrollins@hotmail.com)

*******Do not encode to MP3 or sell this recording*******
*******Please contact me if you are going to do any remastering of this

Set I
Disc 1

1. Intro
2. Bloody Mary Morning
3. Half Moon Rising
4. Easy As Pie
5. Near Me
6. Old Plank Road
7. New Horizons>
8. Finally Saw The Light>
9. New Horizons
10. Rag Mama
11. Idaho>
12. Come Together>
13. Traffic Jam

Set II

Disc 2
1. Intro #
2. Ruby
3. What's Going On In The Head Of That Woman
4. Night Is Left Behind
5. Hit Parade Of Love
6. Sharecropper's Son
7. Train Bound For Gloryland> *
8. Little Rabbit> *
9. Granny Woncha Smoke Some *

Disc 3
1. Sometimes I've Won
2. You're No Good
3. Only A Northern Song>
4. Snow on the Pines>
5. Mother's Only Son
6. Crowd
7. Reuben & Cherise

06 November 2011

Goodnight, but not goodbye...

The PRINT version of THE DEVIL AND PRESTON BLACK is going away for a while. When it comes back, it comes back in a big way. Watch this space for more information.

03 November 2011

Download The Beatles, Shea Stadium, New York, New York, August 15, 1965

     “And at least once a day I ask myself what if I hadn’t given up. You know, what if I’d have kept at it for another year more.” Mick waved me aside. Once his line of sight cleared he relaxed.
      “So you think I should keep going?”
      “Is failing something you can live with?”
      “Why would I have to fail?”
      “You’re going to fail a lot before you ever get it right, son. Your skin’s thick enough and your head’s hard enough that in ten or fifteen years you’ll know.”
      “Know what?”
      “Whether or not it’s time to give it up. Giving up too early leaves a pretty sour feeling. Might be the only thing worse than hanging on too long.”


When I was a kid I didn't have many heroes. I can't remember if it was some sort of discontentment, or just plain ignorance. I mean, I liked Han Solo and all, but I knew I'd never pilot my very own Millennium Falcon. So I think, in retrospect, this was why I wasn't very ambitious.

Blame grunge and Eddie Vedder, but my musical heroes were not, to my teen-aged mind, hard workers. Pink Floyd, Pearl Jam, Nirvana and Soundgarden gave the appearance of rolling out of bed and playing shows in what ever they happened to be wearing. Magazine articles focused on lifestyle and 'shredding' which was why I focused on weed and 'shredding.' Not sure how I missed all the stuff about hard work.

And that's what I like about Lennon and The Beatles. Enough has been written about the band to provide a blueprint for guys like me who otherwise would have no idea how to pursue success. They were perfectionists, tenacious and they weren't afraid to have a laugh. Reading Lennon's bio by Philip Norman right now, and in some ways, the book is magic. I mean, IT'S ALL THERE. Laid out. Everything a boy needs to dominate the world.

But I'm not a boy. And I'm not John Lennon. Doesn't matter though. World domination... It's coming.

"To the toppermost of the poppermost!"

Download the show at Sugarmegs.

Artist: The Beatles

Album: The Beatles And The Great Concert at Shea!

Label: Yellow Dog Masters Choice

Source: Silver CD > EAC > Flac Frontend > You

CD 1

Line Recording (part 1)

1. Introduction
2. Twist And Shout
3. She's A Woman
4. I Feel Fine
5. Dizzy Miss Lizzy
6. Ticket To Ride
7. Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby
8. Can't Buy Me Love
9. Baby's In Black
10. Act Naturally
11. A Hard Day's Night
12. Help!
13. I'm Down

--A few other acts round out the first disc, but I've edited them out of the track list for the sake of space.

CD 2

Original 1966 BBC Soundtrack

6. Introduction
7. Twist And Shout
8. I Feel Fine
9. Dizzy Miss Lizzy
10. Ticket To Ride
11. Act Naturally
12. Can't Buy Me Love
13. Baby's In Black
14. A Hard Day's Night
15. Help!
16. I'm Down

The entire Shea Stadium Concert 1965 plus the BBC TV special and a reproduction
of the vinyl album THE BEATLES LIVE AT SHEA as described by Erupting fans [???].
For the first time ever the complete unedited version of the famous Shea Stadium concert.

02 November 2011


Required viewing for anybody who's ever heard a note of music. Thanks to Hulu.com for the free stream.

Download Arcade Fire, 25th Bridge School Benefit, Shoreline Amphitheater, Mountain View, CA, October 23rd 2011

"And the last thing, I think, is that somehow I'd like to be a part of music forever. Real music, the kind people never forget. I'm afraid life--real life--like jobs and taxes will tear me away from what I love. I'm afraid if I lose music I'll be just like everybody else. And that scares me." I forced a laugh. "Is that too much to ask?"


Download the show at Sugarmegs.com.

Arcade Fire
25th Bridge School Benefit
Shoreline Amphitheater, Mountain View, CA
October 23rd 2011

Lineage: Sony ECM-121 => iRiver H340 (ROCKboxed) => USB => SoundBlaster X-Fi => Adobe Audition 2.0 => FlacFrontend (level 6 - Align on sector boundaries)

Recording position: Section 203 - the rustrows

01. Intervention
02. Half Light II (No Celebration)
03. We Used to Wait
04. Empty Room
05. Helpless (Neil Young cover) (with Neil Young)
06. Rebellion (Lies)
07. Wake Up
Total time: 38:28

I recorded all acts, both days. Some are NAB and some songs might be available through official channels. I'll do my best to check and not upload any official stuff, but else I plan to share all the recordings here through the next days.

Text BRIDGE to 80888 or
Text BRIDGE and YOURNAME to 80888
You will receive a text message on your phone, you must text YES to confirm the charges.

31 October 2011

Download Mumford and Sons, 25th Bridge School Benefit Shoreline Amphitheater, Mountain View, CA, October 23rd 2011

Music lets you write your own checks. Don't ever forget that.
-Preston Black

Mumford & Sons
25th Bridge School Benefit
Shoreline Amphitheater, Mountain View, CA
October 23rd 2011
Download at Sugarmegs.com.

Lineage: Sony ECM-121 => iRiver H340 (ROCKboxed) => USB => SoundBlaster X-Fi => Adobe Audition 2.0 => FlacFrontend (level 6 - Align on sector boundaries)

Recording position: Section 203 - the rustrows

01. Sigh No More
02. Roll Away Your Stone
03. Lover's Eyes
04. Sister
05. Dance, Dance, Dance (Neil Young cover) (with Neil Young)
06. Awake My Soul (With Sarah Neufeld and Marika Shaw from Arcade Fire on violin)
07. The Cave
Total time: 32:19


This is my favorite 'old' album. I guess because it's the first album that consists mostly originals. I wonder if that's why the quality of covers is better?

Anyway, the quality of covers is much better, even if you disregard all the Beach Boys stuff. Many standouts on here for me, including the Maroon 5 and Sugarcult covers. I'm a little lukewarm on the She and Him cover, although I like the intent. Please leave a comment with your favorite cover and why.




IF I FELL: Maroon 5

IF I FELL: Weezer


AND I LOVE HER: Pat Metheny

AND I LOVE HER: The Wailers

TELL ME WHY: April Wine

TELL ME WHY: The Beach Boys

CAN'T BUY ME LOVE: Chet Atkins

ANY TIME AT ALL: Nils Lofgren



WHEN I GET HOME: The Hassles

YOU CAN'T DO THAT: Vanilla Fudge


27 October 2011

BLOG HOP: Jeremy Bates' Halloween Hop and HELLBENDER Excerpt!

Blog Hops
Join me and other bloggers this Halloween weekend for Jeremy Bates' Halloween Hop!

I'll be giving away three THE DEVIL AND PRESTON BLACK eBooks.

Just leave a comment here and Tweet:

Check out #THEDEVILANDPRESTONBLACK by @jasonjackmiller - http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004SURM0O

Or post to your Facebook page, but provide the link in your comment here so I can find you!

Hellbender Excerpt

24 October 2011

Beatles Cover Project: WITH THE BEATLES

While a little easier than PLEASE, PLEASE ME, WITH THE BEATLES still proved to be a bit of a challenge. Sorry about "All I've Got to Do." Redemption comes from Franz Ferdinand, Robert Palmer, and, as much as I hate to say it, Amy Winehouse.




Don't Bother Me DELAVERDE

Little Child THE INMATES

'Til There was You PEGGY LEE (This was the version that inspired Paul.)

Please Mr. Postman THE MARVELETTES (original recording artist)

Roll Over Beethoven CHUCK BERRY (original recording artist)


You Really Got A Hold On Me SMOKEY ROBINSON (original recording artist)


Devil In His Heart THE DONAYS (original recording artist)


Money (That's What I Want) BARRETT STRONG

16 October 2011

Beatles Cover Project: PLEASE PLEASE ME

First in a series of cover versions, by album, in order. I hope it gets easier. I hope the covers get better.

I Saw Her Standing There THE TUBES


Anna (Go to Him) Arthur Alexander (original recording artist)

Chains THE COOKIES (original recording artist)

Boys THE SHIRELLES (Original recording artist)

Ask Me Why LES LIONCEAUX (Je Suis Fou)

Please Please Me MATT DUSK


P.S. I Love You

Baby It's You THE SHIRELLES (original recording artist)

Do You Want to Know a Secret BILLY J. KRAMER & THE DAKOTAS



Twist and Shout TOP NOTES (original recording artist)

09 October 2011

Happy birthday, John Lennon! To celebrate, I give you my Lennon top 5.

#5 I Feel Fine. The opening riff is amazing, the energy, especially in the Shea video represents the touring Beatles at their best.

#4 Don't Let Me Down. Sometime I watch this and wonder if they could've ever had any idea that this would be the last set they played together? To see them smiling and interacting makes me think they didn't. Triumphant and tragic.

#3 Help! To me, the melody starts to mature, a sign that John was growing up. The long hair reminds us that RUBBER SOUL arrived just 4 months after HELP! was released.

#2 Instant Karma! This video hints at the great things he was capable of on his own. Too bad the primal scream therapy hadn't kicked in. Love this video, from BBC's TOP OF THE POPS.

#1 Strawberry Fields Forever. Even without lyrics, the song would remind us that 'nothing is real.' But when Lennon's poetry is applied to the Beatles music on the verge of their SERGEANT PEPPER breakthrough, it's magic on magnetic tape.

Honorable mentions: (Started off as two songs, but the list kept growing. Sorry.)
Hey Bulldog

Dear Prudence

In My Life

Happy Xmas!(War is Over)

A Day in the Life

Whatever Gets You thru the Night

Across the Universe

You've Got to Hide Your Love Away

03 October 2011

THE MUSIC AND PRESTON BLACK, Nirvana, Music Source Studios, Seattle, WA 1991-01-01

Me at 37.
I was a senior in high school.
Already owned a bunch of flannel, for some reason.
Good-bye, Poison, Skid Row, Warrant...
In love.
In a band.
Still waiting for the next big thing.

Download the show at Sugarmegs. www.archive.org/serve/Nirvana1991-01-01/Nirvana1991-01-01.wma Vocals are real low in the mix, but overall sound quality is good.

Music Source Studios
Seattle, WA, US
01. Aneurysm
02. Oh, The Guilt
03. Radio Friendly Unit Shifter
04. On A Plain
05. All Apologies
06. Even In His Youth
07. Token Eastern Song

Generation: DAT(x) > WAV > FLAC > Your Copy CDR(1)

Lenght: 27 minutes 20 seconds

Comment: This has some digital noise in a few songs from the DAT.
DAT generation is most likely a DAT(3) or a DAT(4).
This is a vast sound improvement from the existing ANA(1),
but it suffers from the same cuts so it's virtually the same edit.
The biggest difference other than sound that's noteworthy is a complete "Even In His Youth."

Encoded by BS
Do not sell or encode to MP3!

01 October 2011


Working my way through revisions on HELLBENDER, the follow-up to THE DEVIL AND PRESTON BLACK and came across one of my favorite passages. To me, this passage embodies the spirit of the book, which is to West Virginia and wilderness as THE DEVIL AND PRESTON BLACK is to music. I'm very excited to be posting it here.

And what're the thistles for?

You'll see. Trust me.

Hellbender Excerpt

THE MUSIC AND PRESTON BLACK, Weird Saturday Edition, UNCLE TUPELO, WMBR, Boston, MA, February 24, 1991

Download the show at Sugarmegs.

Uncle Tupelo
WMBR, Boston, MA
February 24, 1991
Acoustic in-studio appearance

Lineage: FM>Cassette Master>Cassette>DAT (obtained in trade August, 1996)
DAT-> PC (vi Lynx One digital I/O) -> SHN (transfer in 2004)

Size of SHN: 196MB

Total Length: 34:30

1. True To Life
2. D. Boon
3. Whiskey Bottle
4. Screen Door
5. Punch Drunk
6. Watch Me Fall
7. Looking For A Way Out
8. Graveyard Shift
9. Flatness
10. I Wanna Be Your Dog

Note: I just finished reading Greg Kots new book "Wilco: Learning How
to Die". Quite a lot of fun and interesting reading too. In the book,
the band's (to become) manager Toni Margherita is desribed as saying
he didn't think all that much of Uncle Tupelo at first. They were
"OK", for a local band. Tweedy begged him to come see them, but even
after seeing them, he wasn't all that impressed. But, an acoustic
performance in 1988 was different. Margherita is quoted as saying: "Up
till then it had just been a bunch of kids playing with a lot of
energy and volume. But I walked out of there that night thinking that
I should do everything I could to help these guys. I could finally
hear the songs."

That comment resonated with me in that this recording was what first
really got me hooked on UT. Although short, it's wonderful and the
magic is there.


29 September 2011

Notification from: Uniontown Area Education Association

Notification from: Uniontown Area Education Association

This is the email I received yesterday...

Please call your State House Representative immediately and ask them to oppose the Boyd amendment to Senate Bill 389. This amendment would allow school districts to furlough employees without any regard for seniority. Rather, the school boards would be permitted to furlough employees on the basis of test scores or other factors they deem relevant. Further, the legislation would prohibit bargaining over the issue of seniority in future years.

PSEA strongly opposes this language. PSEA, in good faith, negotiated with House and Senate leaders to find compromise language that permitted economic furloughs but maintained seniority rights for professional employees. The Boyd amendment walks is a significant departure from this agreement.

Allowing furloughs to be based on factors other than seniority creates a subjective and arbitrary process that could open the door to abusive employer practices that undermine educational quality. While furloughing the most experienced and educated school employees could result in the greatest cost savings, it also hurts the educational environment. Research tells us educator experience matters for student achievement. Please urge your State House Representative to vote no on the Boyd amendment to Senate Bill 389

The amendment could be voted on as soon as tomorrow, September 28th, so your prompt action to make the call is essential.

Once you’ve made contact with your State Representative, don’t forget to email me or fill out the ACE feedback form at

Thank you, again, for all you do.

27 September 2011

WHAT NOT TO WEAR (to a Social D concert) Guest Commentary by Mikey Rega

Since Jeremy Piven didn't really get into great detail, I had to bring in an expert to sort this concert t-shirt mess out. Mike Rega's statement stands as the final rule regarding all future concert t-shirt disputes.

Here's the question that got the ball rolling:

Heidi wants to know the rule on wearing t-shirts to concerts within genres--specifically, wearing a Dropkick Murphys shirt to a Flogging Molly concert. Both Irish--what's the rule?

Sam and I had an argument over if it was okay to wear a Beatles shirt to the Beatles fest. . . I went with 'yes' because you weren't seeing the Beatles and it was an overall celebration of the Beatles. However, a solo Beatle shirt would be preferred. Also, you couldn't wear any of the Beatles' tribute band's t-shirts if they did indeed have a shirt. You could however wear a shirt of a Beatles tribute band that had appeared at a previous years festival, or a non-festival participating tribute band such as Rain.

There are of course caveats and exceptions to the "don't wear the shirt of the band you are going to see" rule. I believe it is acceptable to wear the shirt of the band you came to support if the band is one of many in a festival lineup. Example, a Rage shirt at Coachella, a Blues Traveler shirt at HOARD, or a Jane's Addiction shirt at Lollapalooza.

I think wearing a DKM shirt to Molly would be acceptable, unless the bands have some sort of rivalry that I'm not aware of (WILCO shirt at a Son Volt show). Might be a little obvious though. I think a Pogues shirt, a 101ers shirt, or a Street Dogs would impress more. Kind of like wearing a Styx shirt to a Kansas concert but overall same musical families.

My whole logic about bands and T-shirts comes from a scene in the movie PCU. My friend Tony violated the rule and we let him have it for like 10 years.


Also, I found this:


The comments are pretty funny.

Q: When, besides festivals, is it okay to wear a band's shirt to their concert? What if it's a vintage T? what if it is a tour shirt purchased on an older tour?

A: I believe wearing a vintage T of the band or an older tour shirt is still being "that guy" . . . It's being "that guy" to a lesser degree, but still counts. There are plenty of other T-shirt options out there and no matter how tattered with credibility your original appears, you would still be a form of "that guy".
At festivals I would have to say 5 bands or more have to be in the lineup. If you went to see Mastodon, Alice N Chains, and the Deftones (who toured together last year), it’s not appropriate to wear any of their shirts. You would wear a related Tee of the band you were there to see. If 5 or more bands with multiple/rotational headliners (outdoor venues only) are in place, go ahead and rock your Tee.

Q: Also, are there any bands that are the exception to this rule (thinking Grateful Dead for some reason) and, if yes, why?

A: I think the exceptions to this rule would be on the small scale show circuit. If you bought a shirt at a concert from a member of the band, an obvious gf or wife of a band member, or a member of the crew who has additional duties within the show, it would be appropriate to wear that t shirt to a show at a later date (you can NEVER put on the shirt you just bought . . . that’s why there are cargo pockets).

EXAMPLE: I saw the Buzz Poets at Pitt-Johnstown in the late 90’s and I bought a shirt before the show. The guy who was selling the shirts was also running sound (from the same location). It would be a judgment call to wear that shirt if you ever saw the Buzz Poets again.

Also, Back In Time Band is a perfect example. Their shirts are made in such a limited number that wearing one is showing membership to an exclusive inner circle.

Q: Also, and this the last one, what about movies or TV shows associated with a band--YELLOW SUBMARINE(supposing the Beatles were still around), THE WALL, etc? Is this a loophole?

A: I think THE WALL is too obvious, YELLOW SUBMARINE is a non-applicable perfect world scenario that would mean the Beatles are still together, and movie shirts in general are hard to find. A proper band related film could be acceptable though. If the film Tee is a concert DVD, such as PJ’s IMMAGINE IN CORNICE or Dave’s LISTENER SUPPORTED, then I’d have to go with no. If you were to wear a SINGLES shirt to PJ, or a BECAUSE OF WINN DIXIE shirt to Dave, you would get mad props from the crowd for your amazingly obscure Tee. John Howard has a Citizen Dick shirt he has worn to see PJ and he always gets big ups and fist bumps from strangers.
A related record label or a geographically relevant to the band record store or bar would be a better choice of attire. One of my old neighbors in Pittsburgh was able to meet Mike McCready because he was wearing an Easy Street Records t-shirt.

Some random thoughts and specific examples:

-The T shirt rule does not apply to opening acts. It’s acceptable to wear the T shirt of the opening act if the opening act is considered obscure. You can wear a Band of Horses Tee if they are opening up for someone much larger, but not a Band of Horses Tee if they are the main act.

-It is completely acceptable to wear a Joe Grushecky shirt to see the Boss, but would be considered a slap in the face if you wore a Boss shirt to go see Grushecky.

-It is also considered acceptable to wear a Donnie Iris shirt at anytime including a Donnie Iris show; bonus points if you pull it off on the Gateway Clipper.

-I think Jay Farrar would get mad at you if you wore a WILCO shirt to see him, but Tweedy would think it’s funny if you wore a Son Volt shirt to see him. He might even rant about it.

After some research, I may have 2 exceptions to concerts where you are supposed to wear the T shirt of the band. Kiss and Iron Maiden see to be the exceptions. Unwritten rule is you are supposed to wear your oldest, most obscure, vintage band shirt to see Kiss or Maiden. Old tour shirts will gain you crowd cred while a shirt you got a Hot Topic last week will have people calling you a fag in no time.

I guess you do wear you Steeler jersey to Heinz Field . . .