Wednesday, March 3, 2010
We're bending the Classics Rock! format a bit to feature The Stone Coyotes, the real-life trio that served as the inspiration for the fictional band Odessa in Elmore Leonard's 1999 novel Be Cool. The book continues the adventures of loan shark-turned-movie producer Chili Palmer from Leonard's 1990 novel Get Shorty. The Acknowledgments page in Be Cool reads: "The following songs were composed by Barbara Keith for The Stone Coyotes and are used by permission of The Stone Coyotes (www.stonecoyotes.com): Church of the Falling Rain, Hammer On the Nail, My Little Runaway, The Changing of the Guard, and Odessa." All the songs appear on the Stone Coyotes' 1999 album Church Of The Falling Rain, but only "Odessa" was written specifically for the book. Leonard refers to these songs in the novel, and even quotes some lyrics, but in the fictional context of Be Cool they are attributed to the band Odessa and its founder/lead singer, Linda Moon. Prior to the book's publication a promotional CD was created that featured Leonard reading passages from the novel and the five Stone Coyotes songs. In the CD's liner notes Leonard wrote: "In Be Cool, the sequel to Get Shorty, Chili Palmer wanders into the music business and becomes the manager of a rock band. That was the idea, but what kind of rock would they play? Punk? Metal? I had no idea until I saw the Stone Coyotes at the Troubadour in L.A.--'AC/DC meets Patsy Cline'--and I knew I was listening to my band, Odessa, for the first time: straight-ahead rock with a twang. Chili and I both love it." The AC/DC-Patsy Cline comparison is by a reviewer for Toronto Now referring to the Stone Coyotes, but Leonard works it into a scene in the novel in which Linda Moon describes Odessa to Chili: "Our style is bare-bones, straight-ahead American rock 'n' roll, three chords but no scream or anything pretentious, like hair. It's metal with a twang and if you can't imagine that think of AC/DC meets Patsy Cline. A critic said that about us one time." Trivia note: Leonard's 1985 novel Glitz features a lounge singer named Linda Moon, but it's not the same character. The Linda of Be Cool, who was born Linda Lingeman, describes meeting the Linda Moon of Glitz (her real name) in a Miami nightclub and getting her permission to use Moon as a stage name.