The Irreverent & Irrelevant Q&A

By tonyblack1, Oct 11 2019 09:00AM

Yes, welcome to the interview series that scrapes beneath the scum on the bottom of the barrell.

Today we're talking to Jon Bassoff, who has the distinction of possessing a surname which resembles a function on a high-end 80's stereo. But, if that's not cool enough, he also writes some of the most screwed-up tales you're likely to find. I spoke to him about that, not his name, and a bunch of other stuff.

TONY BLACK: Why? This writing lark, discuss.

JON BASSOFF: If I wasn’t writing I’d probably be a refrigerator salesman, so this is the lesser of two evils. Plus, writing has allowed me untold wealth and groupies. One of those groupies (and I hate to name drop) happens to be U.S. Vice President, Mike Pence, who is actually one of the edgiest motherfuckers I’ve ever met. Okay, what else? I like lying. I like telling messed-up stories. And I’m narcissistic as hell. So, yeah. That’s why I write.

Is fact stranger than fiction?

No. I mean, don’t get me wrong, Trump and Kim Jong-Un and Nicolas Maduro are all very strange (Maduro once said that the late Hugo Chavez had appeared to him as a chirping bird)

but fiction is still weirder. You ever read any Carlton Mellick III? Or Brian Evenson? Or Joyce’s Finnigan’s Wake? Hell, my latest novel, The Drive-Thru Crematorium, focuses on bloody rabbits, faces beneath faces, and morticians who collect serial killer memorabilia. And that’s not even the weirdest stuff in the book. So, yeah, I’ll take fiction by a nose.

I’d kill for a …

…chance to make things right with Sayre. She was a girl from the Bronx that I dated in the late 90s. She was named Sayre because she was conceived in Sayreville, New Jersey. I’ve never been to Sayreville, New Jersey, but I bet it’s lovely. We used to sit in this little Irish bar in the Bronx and watch the Yankees on TV, and she would smoke a pack of cigarettes and drink a gallon of whiskey. I think she used to be a gymnast but her health was in decline (because she smoked cigarettes and drank whiskey). So that was kind of sad. Anyway, if you know where Sayre is, please tell me. But don’t tell my wife.

Take a moment to pimp your wares.

I already mentioned my latest, The Drive-Thru Crematorium. It’s this Kafkaesque, Lynchian type of novel. I like it a lot, but then I wrote it. Some movie people also liked it and optioned it. I really hope it becomes a movie because then I can move my search for Sayre into a full-time pursuit. The pitch is this: Stanley Maddox lives a mundane life in a nondescript town. His wife is cheating on him, his colleagues at work suddenly don’t recognize him, and he has recently noticed a mysterious creature darting its way through his house. When he notices a flap of skin on his face, he begins pulling. Beneath his skin lies another person, an evil person, with the power to change his life forever.

Tell us something about something.

A cockroach can live for up to a week without its head. It only dies because of thirst.

Is that it? Who’d you like to put up next?

I wouldn’t mind hearing from Benjamin Whitmer. He’s as untrustworthy as they come. The kind of guy who would steal his own wallet. But he’s actually pretty damn interesting. He’d probably say some quotes that would end up in a book of quotes next to Benjamin Franklin and Oscar Wilde. Unlike me. My quotes tend to be only used as evidence in my sentencing trial.

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