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Editor Mike Hudson making news from coast to coast on book tour

Niagara Falls Repoerter

February 22, 2011

By Frank Parlato Jr.

He leads a double life.

Mike Hudson is best known here as founding editor and chief writer of the Niagara Falls Reporter, and for his popular books "Mob Boss" and "Niagara Falls Confidential."

For the rest of the country, however, he is far better known as the lead singer of the seminal punk rock group the Pagans. Founded in Cleveland in 1977, the Pagans helped define the punk rock movement. Their records continue to sell well, and numerous recordings of the band's performances are available on YouTube.com.

Unlike most punk stars of the 1970s, Hudson became a literary personage. Besides his locally based books, he wrote a critically acclaimed book on the punk movement and particularly his role in it, "Diary of a Punk," and an elegant book of short literary pieces, "Jetsam."

Chicago's Smog Veil Records asked him to go on tour with two other Cleveland rock pioneers: Cheetah Chrome, lead guitarist of the famed Dead Boys, whose work has been covered by such artists as Guns N' Roses, Pearl Jam and the Beastie Boys; and Bob Pfeifer, who founded indie band Human Switchboard and later became president of Disney's Hollywood Records.

Chrome recently published his memoir, "A Dead Boy's Tale," and Pfeifer's first novel, "University of Strangers," has just been published by Hudson's Power City Press, and was excerpted in last week's Boston Phoenix newspaper.

The Cleveland Confidential Book Tour is a literary feast of ideas, readings and discussions about their books, the music industry, the punk scene and their transition into literature. But it is more than that.

For many who have attended the sell-out shows, it is a rare chance to see Hudson, Chrome and Pfeifer -- stars in their youth and legends today.

As Jonny Whiteside of the L.A. Weekly said in the Feb. 17 edition:

"Ah, Cleveland. The terminally dreary Midwest metropolis has always played a critical role in American popular music, producing a pantheon of disparate aesthetic extremists (Lux Interior, Little Jimmy Scott, Screamin' Jay Hawkins) and serving as the commercial and spiritual stomping ground where the Big Beat first broke into our mainstream psyche. Well, heads up, kiddies, because when the Cleveland Confidential Book Tour hits town, it'll deliver an appropriately grim and anti-glamorous load of frantic, deep-inside punk rock verity. With some of C-Town's most mad-dog renegades ... you're guaranteed an intensely lurid literary experience. Fact of the matter is, it's a small miracle these cats are still breathing at all, and the ruckus they managed to both raise and survive is the stuff from which plenty of magnificent fin de siecle nightmares were made."

Samuel Johnson once observed, "No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money." And Hudson is on the West Coast, talking about his writing and selling lots of books -- and, oddly enough, leading a double life. He is a rock star again.

It was originally meant as just a reading tour, but fans, some of them coming with old Pagans memorabilia to be autographed, demanded Hudson sing too. And he did.

Stops on the tour include the EMP Pop Conference at UCLA (Feb. 26), the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland (April 11), and the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles (April 14), along with many others. More information is available on the Smog Veil Records website at www.smogveil.com.

Information about "Diary of a Punk," "University of Strangers" and other Power City Press publications is available atwww.niagarafallsreporter.com/hudsonbooks.html. Power City Press publications are available at the Book Corner on Main Street here and at other fine bookstores everywhere, and from Amazon.com. E-mail powercitypress@yahoo.com for more information.

 

 

 
 
 
  Copyright © 2008 Frank Parlato Jr.