Who would have thought a novel about defeating a dark and evil Mountain would have been inspired by a ’90s alternative rock band from Canada? Not me.
Well, it was. A portion of it anyway.
There were several sources of inspiration: Stephen King’s writings, particularly The Dark Tower; other Canadian musicians including, Matthew Good / MGB, and I Mother Earth; and of course, even my own life experiences.
Moist, my favorite band of all time.
Moist is from Vancouver and started back when Nirvana, Soundgarden, Candlebox, Collective Soul, etc. ruled the airwaves. Somehow their debut album ended up my most played record during High School. My best friend bought it after seeing a clip of “Push” on Beavis and Butthead, forced me to borrow his cassette tape of Silver, of which I promptly copied, wore out, then immediately purchased as a CD (with “Push” VHS tape included) from the local Newbury Comics days later.
I’ve been a fan of Moist and David Usher (as a solo artist) ever since.
So what’s up with Moist and The Dark Mountain?
First, the color silver appears throughout my novel. The protagonist sees “silver light” when his power activates—the power to see into the stories of other people and even an object’s history.
Second, is the term “crallow bird.” Even from the most early drafts, I always envisioned a black bird on the hero’s shoulder. One that could talk and tell stories. The bird needed a name, which I nailed with “Ogle.” But the bird also needed to be a species, and due to its silver beak and silvery air-brushed black feathers (see more silver), I figured out that it was an imaginary species. Thus I realized the lyric “crallow bird,” from the Moist song “Freaky Be Beautiful” would be perfect.
Third, and most prominent point: “Nauselbaum.” I’ve had a few people ask me what this word is and what it means. In my novel, I actually give the word a definition, but the history of where it comes from and what it really means is still mysterious even to me. I used to be a member of the Moist Fan Club and at the end of every newsletter Kevin Young (keyboard player) would use that word at the end of the main article. One major theme in my novel is “storytelling,” and this word is used at the end of the horror stories that the protagonist experiences. Once he hears this word, it sort of pulls him back into reality and makes the horrors he felt seem distant and far away—it actually pushes them into a dark corner of his mind…which comes up later and is kind of a spoiler, but oh well.
I’m not even sure if the band has this word copyrighted/trademarked or not. I should probably look into that. But if you’re curious here’s how the crallow bird, Ogle, defines the word when he is asked what it means by our hero (he defines it like reciting a poem):
So, we’ve reached the end,
The last word has been read.
Now, may you sleep without warning,
In restful dreams of peace and beauty.
Pray goodnight, dear friend, and see you in the morning.
Other Moist tidbit
Did you know my first ever published work was in the Moist Fan Club newsletter? It was a Haiku, that was entered into a contest. I was the American fan that won, but I never actually got my prize. Oh well sort of, until I saw Moist in concert for the first time in Montreal this week and came very close to David Usher when he walked through the crowd (and this was like 20 years later or something crazy). Here’s the poem I wrote for the newsletter (at least this is how I remember it—I got it packed away somewhere, along with all my other Moist stuff):
Frowning willow tree
Moist apetalous flowers cry
A lonely wind blows.
Hmm, that’s not exactly a correct Haiku now that I notice. Well, I never said I was the best at writing.
Learn more about my debut novel, The Dark Mountain here.
Learn more about Moist and their new album here.