Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Interview with Kit Gonzo.
Kit John Kelly John Power
Do you have a nickname or what do your friends call you?
When your real name is Kit Power, nicknames are kind of redundant. My stage name is Kit Gonzo, but despite my best efforts, very few people call me that.
Give it some time. It’ll catch on, Kit Gonzo.
Favorite city and why?
London. Because what Johnson said is still true. Though NY is pretty amazing also, for similar reasons.
What did Johnson say?
”He who is bored of London, is bored of life.”
Birthday / Age:
Yes / 35
How would you describe yourself physically?
How would someone else describe you physically?
Short arse hippy.
The first thing people notice about you is…
…my waist length hair.
Hair Color / Eye Color / Race?
Brown / Blue / White / British
Religion, if any?
Agnostic, with strong atheistic tendencies
Are you superstitious at all? Any phobias?
I have a lucky hat that I wear when I play poker. I used to carry a lighter for years after I quit smoking, but seem to have given that up.
Do you smoke/drink? If so, what?
No / Yes. Single malt whisky, bourbon, Guinness, ale, red wine, good brandy.
Any bad habits?
Finger nail biting. Procrastination. Argumentative.
Current occupation / Dream job:
Project manager/ author or rock star (or both).
What do you like to do when you’re not at work?
Write. Rock. Hang with my awesome family.
What is your zombie outbreak survival plan?
Hmm. Head for the countryside and hope for the best. I don’t rate my chances, though I’m a pretty good organizer.
Weapon of choice:
Do you have any special skills?
I’m pretty good at making my 3 year old giggle.
Did you go to college and, if so, what for?
If you mean in the US sense (what we call University) no. I’ve done some study at that level, in management. I did theatre for three years at a UK 6th form college, and failed to pass any of it, which is some kind of achievement.
I did mean in the US sense. How does one fail theatre? I thought pretty much as long as you showed up you received a passing grade.
Well, there was a written component. Turns out if you don’t do any of that, they don’t give you a qualification at the end. Madness, I know, but there it is. The main tutor/director chap once said to me “You’re a lazy little shit and all you want to do is act.” which at the time was a fair assessment.
If you went to college, did you manage to pay off your student loans?
n/a – my employer paid for my management certificate.
Any pets? If so, what are they and what are their names?
What is your favorite animal?
Foxes are pretty cool.
Speaking of pets, any pet peeves?
Most aspects of right wing politics.
Yeah, from what I can tell of what coverage we get about your politics over there, the UK has become a fascist socialist state. How do you feel about that?
Ha! Not sure what a ‘fascist socialist’ state would be – socialism is diametrically opposed to fascism (if you’re doing it right, that is – many people aren’t). It’s been my observation so far in life that societies as a whole and the world in general tend to go to hell in a handcart far, far slower if centrists or lefties are in charge. A relatively small number of very rich people made some very bad decisions, and in order to set things right, the right wingers want to… punish the poor. It just stinks on a basic moral level. It’s a handy coincidence that it also happens to be bad economics. I do at least have the comfort of knowing that since I’ve been of voting age, the Tories have never held an absolute majority. I mean, I’m not taking ALL the credit or anything, but still…
Favorite / Least favorite Food:
What is your favorite quotation / motto / saying?
“No plan survives first contact with the enemy.”
What is the best thing that ever happened to you?
My wife saying ‘yes’ – followed closely by the birth of my daughter.
What is the worst thing that ever happened to you?
Erm… School, I think. I’ve had a very good life, been very lucky.
What is the best thing you’ve ever done?
Not irredeemably screwed up being a parent or husband (so far).
What is the worst thing you’ve ever done?
My current band attempted a cover of Reef’s ‘Place Your Hands’ which was borderline unforgivable on at least a couple of levels. In our defense, we never performed it live.
If you could kill one person, consequence free, who would it be and why?
Ooh, now we’re getting down to it! The ‘consequence free’ part sorely tempts me to name Damon Albarn, but my conscience dictates it would have to be Kim Jong-un.
What do you do?
Well, I have a day job, which I’m very grateful for and which pays the rent, but my passions are writing and singing.
How did you get started doing what you do?
Starting a band is easy – find musicians, start playing and writing songs. Writing was even easier – all I had to do was get over crippling self doubt and loathing and start writing.
What is your advice to other people that want to get started doing what you do?
Get on with it! Life is short, there will always be distractions. I love my PS3, but these days it doesn’t go on until I get my 1000 words (or 2 hours editing, or whatever). Which means, in practice, it doesn’t go on that often. You do have the time. Just stop watching X Factor. And with both writing and making music, the only way to get better is to keep doing it. You’d be amazed what you can rescue with the right edit, but it has to start with getting the words out of your head onto a blank screen.
I used to have a piece of masking tape stuck over my TV with the question, “Do you want to be entertained or do you want to be famous?” while working on my first book. Every time I’d go to fire up the Xbox or throw in a DVD I’d see that piece of tape and I’d work on editing a chapter of my book instead. I’ve finally learned how to balance my work and entertainment ratios in my spare time. These days I can watch a movie or TV show in the background or listen to some music and still get my work done.
Yeah, I think that’s right. A balance is possible, sure, but first things first: Take care of business. It helps for me that I get exactly the same sense of escapism and wonder from writing that I do from gaming, with the added bonus of having a story to sell at the end rather than PS3 trophies, which unfortunately seem to have no cash value.
If only they did I could retire on my Xbox achievements.
What are some of the projects you’ve worked on/finished in the past? Give us a little history if you will.
My first band was called The Nixons, and we performed at a few open mics and made one recording which may or may not have survived – it was never ‘released’ in any sense.
My next band was called Capo Jr. and featured the rhythm section from The Nixons with two new guitarists. We recorded an EP and an Album (For Your Own Good) the ghost of which is probably still up on MySpace. We were pretty good, I think, but ‘creative differences’ ultimately did for us.
My current band is The Disciples Of Gonzo. We’ve done an album (Welcome to the DoG House) which is still available from our website (www.disciplesofgonzo.com) that I’m very proud of. We’ve been taking time off to all have babies, but still do the odd show now and then, and should be getting back more seriously in the new year.
As far as writing goes, I’ve written 21 pieces in the last year, one of which is a short novel, the others short stories or novellas. Of those, 11 are ‘finished’ and at market, with 2 (a sci-fi story called ‘Reverse Engineering’ and a thriller called ‘The Loving Husband and the Faithful Wife’) having been accepted for publication so far. The other 10 are still in the drafting process, either at D1 or being critically read at D2.
What projects are you working on now?
As noted above, I’m constantly writing or editing at the moment. My process is to park D1’s for at least three months before revisiting them, in an occasionally successful attempt to get some perspective on them. I’m currently working on producing a D2 of a short story called ‘Temujin’, D2.5 of a short story called ‘A Bullet With My Name On’ and D1 of a short called ‘Secrets’.
The DoG rehearse most Sundays.
What are you watching?
The Walking Dead, The Newsroom. I’m missing a lot of great telly at the moment, which is frustrating.
What are you listening to?
Podcasts: Harmontown, Nerdist, Idle Thumbs
Music: This week, mainly The Doors and Hendrix.
What are you reading?
Game of Thrones and Lord of the Flies.
Favorite author / book?
Stephen King / IT
Favorite band / song?
Impossible question to answer, I’d need a top 100 or something. Though I think any discussion of the perfect rock song that doesn’t include ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ is not to be taken seriously.
Least favorite band / song?
I think the All Saint’s ‘Under The Bridge’ cover was utterly dire. Least favorite band would probably have to be Limp Bizkit though, if only because they took the legacy of one of the greatest bands of all time (Rage Against The Machine), sucked out all the brains and soul and replaced it with frat boy ignoramus rape-rock. Shit heads.
Desert Island Music / Movies / Books: You know the deal. Five of each.
Guns n Roses: Appetite for Destruction
Bruce Springsteen: Live ’75 – ‘85
Rage Against The Machine: The Battle Of Los Angeles
The Rolling Stones: Let It Bleed
Nevermind The Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols.
Natural Born Killers
This Is Spinal Tap
Stephen King – IT
James Ellroy – The Big Nowhere
The Wind In The Willows
The Complete Sherlock Holmes Short Stories (that’s a cheat, I guess)
Boswell’s Life of Johnson
If you could do anything other than what you do now, what would you do?
I wish I had a real talent for guitar.
Well, you know what they say. Practice, practice, practice.
Well, yeah, but I feel like there has to be some kind of base line of competence. I could sweat blood for 20 years and probably be competent… but I’ll never be killer, you know? Whereas with writing, and with the kind of singing I do, I feel like I’ve got a better shot, because the raw material is somewhat better.
Well, at least you know your strong points and play to your strengths.
Who would you want to meet that you haven’t met? You get three choices:
Alive. Dead. Fictional.
Another real goodie.
Alive: I think it would have to be Bruce Springsteen – he epitomizes everything I love about live Rock in terms of performance, and he’s also an insanely gifted writer and singer. I can’t think of a finer brain to pick.
Dead: Right now, I’d have to say Lou Reed, for similar reasons.
Fictional: This is tricky, because most of my fictional ‘heroes’ are… complex, if not villains. But then I remember The Doctor, and it’s an easy choice.
What’s the best and worst job you’ve ever had?
Best job, the one I have now. Worst, working a pub in East London, which I did for a year.
What was so bad about working in a pub?
I realized that the core business that kept the place open were alcoholics –functioning and non-functioning. It really brought home to me in a personal sense the idea that alcohol is a drug with addictive properties. I’m 100% anti prohibition, but pub landlords are drug dealers, who sell a product that kills many thousands of people each year, and I think they have a right to do that, but it’s not for me. Also, it was a working class bar in a rough neighborhood, and I really struggled with the insane levels of misogyny and racism I heard on a daily basis – I guess I was pretty naïve (and obviously, the clientele were self selecting to be unpleasant, I’m not tarring all with that brush). I’m very grateful for the experience because it taught me a lot about people I hadn’t known, but at the same time, sometimes I have anxiety dreams where I have to go back to work there for some reason, and yuck.
Are there any questions that I didn’t ask that you wished I had asked that you would like to answer now?
Yes, it is hard being this handsome, but somehow I find the will to go on…
Anyone you recommend I interview that you can put me in touch with?
There’ a local arts collective called Monkey Kettle that have been putting on a bunch of different things for over 10 years now in Milton Keynes. They are great people, and I’m sure would be interesting to talk to.
Make the introduction and I’ll handle the follow-through.
OK, I’ll drop them a line.
Got any questions for me?
How long have you been doing this?
I’ve had the interview blog up since October 1st. I’ve completed 50 interviews and gotten about 3,000 registered page views, so I think it’s a success. There’s no money in it, but I’ve met some interesting people and most of my interviewees have been quite appreciative so I’ll keep on doing it for the time being.
Do you do creative writing/journalism as well as these interviews?
I do the first, and sometimes the second.
I just finished a crowd-funding campaign for a post-apocalyptic zombie-epidemic novel-length book project and managed to raise around $500 to help to defray the costs of writing the book.
As for journalism, I maintain a book review blog and a film review blog in addition to this interview blog, but I haven’t had much time to contribute to them lately since this interview blog has kept me pretty busy and I’m trying to make time to work on my post-apocalyptic zombie-epidemic novel-length book project.
You can check out the reviews blogs here:
And the blog for the post-apocalyptic zombie-epidemic novel-length book project here:
What are your long term goals?
For the interview blog or in general?
For the interview blog, just keep on doing what I’m doing and try to figure out how to monetize it by running banner ads or selling the content for subscription or whatever sometime.
In general? Try to get my book off the ground. Put it out print-on-demand [POD] and promote it and see if anyone is interested in buying it. If I can’t make it work POD, then I’ll try to sell it to a publisher and try to find an agent to get me some more writing work.
I can write voluminous amounts of writing per day, as long as I make enough money to have my minimal needs met. If I could make $1,200 a month writing, I’d never look for another wage slave job again, but I’m not there yet.
I tried to pull off the whole writer/artist thing last winter and I made it work for, like, three months, but had to get a normal job again to cover the overhead of rent and food and whatnot.
Thanks for letting me subject you to being interviewed!
Give me all of your links for things you want to promote. All of them.
Facebook: www.facebook.com/Kitpowerwriter (my author page - please ‘like’!)
Etc.: My publishers: http://monkeykettle.co.uk/words/books/ and http://blackbeaconbooks.blogspot.co.uk/
About the Interviewee:
Kit Power lives in the UK and writes fiction that lurks at the boundaries of the horror, fantasy, and thriller genres, trying to bum a smoke or hitch a ride from the unwary.
In his secret alter ego of Kit Gonzo, he also performs as front man (and occasionally blogs) for death cult and popular beat combo The Disciples Of Gonzo.
He finds writing about himself in the 3rd person dashed odd.
About the Interviewer:
Scott Lefebvre has probably read everything you've read and can write about whatever you want him to write about.
Mostly because when he was grounded for his outlandish behavior as a hyperactive school child, the only place he was allowed to go was the public library.
His literary tastes were forged by the works of Helen Hoke, Alvin Schwartz and Stephen Gammell, Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Stephen King, Clive Barker, Edgar Allan Poe, and H. P. Lovecraft.
He is the author of Spooky Creepy Long Island and a contributing author to Forrest J. Ackerman’s Anthology of the Living Dead, Fracas: A Collection of Short Friction, The Call of Lovecraft, and Cashiers du Cinemart.
His reviews have been published by a variety of in print and online media including Scars Magazine, Icons of Fright, Fatally Yours and Screams of Terror, and he has appeared in Fangoria, Rue Morgue and HorrorHound Magazine.
He is the Assistant Program Director for The Arkham Film Society and produces Electronic Music under the names Master Control and LOVECRAFTWORK.
He is currently working on a novel-length expansion of a short-story titled, "The End Of The World Is Nigh", a crowd-funded, crowd-sourced, post-apocalyptic, zombie epidemic project.
Check out the blog for the book here: theendoftheworldisnighbook.blogspot.com
Check out the Facebook Fan Page for the project here: www.facebook.com/TheEndOfTheWorldIsNighBook
Check his author profile at: www.amazon.com/Scott-Lefebvre/e/B001TQ2W9G
Follow him at GoodReads here:
Check out his electronic music here: soundcloud.com/master_control
And here: master-control.bandcamp.com
Check out his videos at: www.youtube.com/user/doctornapoleon
Check out his IMDB profile here: www.imdb.com/name/nm3678959
Follow his Twitter here: twitter.com/TheLefebvre or @TheLefebvre
Follow his Tumblr here: thelefebvre.tumblr.com
Check out his Etsy here: www.etsy.com/shop/ScottLefebvreArt
Join the group for The Arkham Film Society here:
Stalk his Facebook at: www.facebook.com/TheLefebvre
E-mail him at: Scott_Lefebvre@hotmail.com
OPTIONAL: Prove you’re not a replicant.
A tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun beating its legs trying to turn itself over but it can't, not without your help, but you're not helping. Why is that?
Because I believe him to be the reincarnation of Stalin (or Hitler or Pol Pot, one of them) and I want him to suffer.
Describe in single words, only the good things that come in to your mind about your mother.
Kindness. Honesty. Integrity. Loving. Caring. Beautiful.
It's your birthday. Someone gives you a calfskin wallet.
I accept it, but I’d rather have a PS Vita.
You've got a little boy. He shows you his butterfly collection plus the killing jar.
How old is he? It might be time for one of The Talks.
You're watching television. Suddenly you realise there's a wasp crawling on your arm.
I try and stay still, hoping he’ll buzz off.
You're reading a magazine. You come across a full-page nude photo of a girl. You show it to your husband. He likes it so much he hangs it on your bedroom wall.
You're watching a stage play. A banquet is in progress. The guests are enjoying an appetizer of raw oysters. The entree consists of boiled dog.
OK, but what’s the dialogue like? It’s a striking image, to be sure.
PS Adama is a cylon. ;)