Ami, Go Home
A Graphic Novel written by Adam Selzer, Illustrated by Nick Choban
(Out now in Australia, U.S. release date TBA)
In the Autumn of 2003, I headed over to Europe, mostly in Germany, for a seven week solo acoustic tour. I was opening for a band called Noise Toys which, unbeknownst from the outset, was a loud, heavy Christian pop band. A lot of the shows were at worship venues and Christian festivals and it was truly an uncanny experience. Over the last ten years, I have had it in the back of my mind that it might make an amusing graphic novel. With my drawing skills a notch below stick figure level, I fortunately met a great illustrator in Nick Choban and two years later, we finished the book. The fine folks below have some flattering things to say about it, for which I am extremely grateful.
• “A subtle, warmhearted, and wryly funny memoir of one nonreligious American musician’s sideways journey through Christian Germany.”
~Patrick DeWitt (Author of Sisters Brothers)
• “Ami, Go Home is a perfect summation in words and images, of the grim rock n roll tour, no limos, Lear jets, or adoring crowds here. You are shown the reality of the low level touring machine: the tortuous van rides, indifferent crowds, the bad food, and the overall sense of pointlessness. It is well worth a read for anyone wondering what the road is really like.”
~Peter Buck (REM)
• "Ami, Go Home effortlessly puts you in the shoes of a struggling working musician on a difficult tour. It's funny and strange and heartbreaking and Selzer's dialogue is something else. What a surprise find, and one of the best graphic novels I've read this year."
~Willy Vlautin (Author of The Free, Lean on Pete, The Motel Life)
• “So many times friends ask me what is it like touring Europe and I wish I could hand them this book to show them how strange and surreal situations can be. Both Adam Selzer's perspective and Nick Choban's illustrations weave an interesting tale of a musician's life on the road.”
~Joey Burns (Calexico / Iron & Wine)
• “(Selzer) is just as an amazing story teller as he is a songwriter, an American voice heard by few but "worshiped" by those that have drunk the wine.”
~Chris Funk (The Decemberists / Black Prairie)
• “A thoughtful, funny and sometimes sad take on the absurd situations in which touring musicians often find themselves.”
• "Ami, Go Home" is the perfect travelogue to tell the tale of that particular brand of existential crisis that can only be experienced by traveling thousands of miles in a foreign land only to play music for unappreciative or nonexistent audiences and sell too few records along the way, but you don't have to be a touring musician to relate to Adam Selzers' story of traveling Europe as the opener for a small time Christian rock band. Adam has added another layer to the Robert Louis Stevenson quote, "There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign."
~Tom Hagerman (Devotchka)
• "Ami, Go Home" captures the strange mix of isolation, dream logic and excitement that goes with being on tour. An anti-romantic slightly downer vision of the road that still somehow manages to make you want to go on tour anyways. Go figure."
~Eric Isaacson (Founder of Mississippi Records)
A Collection of four short stories in book form with accompanied soundtrack on 2 CDs
(Out Now on Jealous Butcher Records)
I had been working on a few short stories that I thought may go together well enough to be included in a single collection. I also thought it might be interesting to record myself reading the stories and ask some of my amazingly talented musician friends to create soundtracks to the readings. Peter Broderick, Cory Gray, Raul Pastor Medall, and John Askew each took on a story and far exceeded my expectations. You can hear samples off to the left here...
Also, my good friend and talented writer Danielle Frandina wrote the text included on the back of the book, making it sound implausibly legitimate. Here it is:
A young artist wrestling with a growing sense of failure seeks comfort and validity from a checkout girl at a grocery store.
A man unwilling to confront the origins of his own unhappiness sets out to track down an old girlfriend, yet becomes distracted by a karaoke singer in a roadside bar along the way.
A couple shattered by the death of their soldier son seeks healing in ways so divergent, their relationship may not survive the process.
A man facing financial ruin and domestic turmoil spontaneously jumps in his car for a disaster-laden road trip to reconcile with a dying brother.
The anti-heroes of Selzer's work often seek escape from the desperation of both their external and internal landscapes via the open roads of the West, seedy small town bars, and the arms of temporary lovers who offer fleeting salvation. And yet in each of these journeys, despite the protagonists' attempts to ignore old wounds, insecurities, familial trauma, and long histories of bad choices, they are eventually forced to confront the magnitude of their own yearnings and loneliness.
All four of Adam Selzer's tales are firmly grounded in the Pacific Northwest, from the dark and rainy streets of Portland to the Doug Fir-lined highways and former timber towns struggling to survive. Selzer does not flinch from the ragged edges of human tragedy and desperation, which he renders with sparse language, surprising bursts of gallows humor, and a sense of compassion for the lost souls that inhabit his stories. Ultimately, Selzer celebrates our compulsion to search for the remedies to our ills, even though what we find is rarely what we sought.