Michael Allen Rose appeared to me in a dream last night. Naked? Absolutely! He popped his eyeballs out of his head and suggested we trade but I was like, “but I like my eyes, thanks,” and he proceeded to howl at me with such a punishingly sweet vibrato that I cried, got all caught up in the emotions of it all and I popped my eyes out there and then and said, “Here… take them, man. These belong to you now…”
So as you read this interview.
Hang on to your eyeballs.
Hey, I’m asking the questions around here! Who are YOU? No wait, you’re asking the questions. Right. My bad. I’m Michael Allen Rose, supervillain.
I used to want to be the world’s first “writer / musician / actor / producer / pro-wrestler / porn star.” I fell JUST short. Now: I do books writing goodly. My spulling is impoocable. Sometimes I make noises people buy. I go on stage and get naked like some kind of trained monkey. I make the ha-has go “ha.”
Tucked neatly inside a nice, warm, Chicago deep dish pizza.
NOTABLE WORK –
Two new books came out last year: Rock and Roll Death Patrol on Rooster Republic Press and The Indifference of Heaven on Omnium Gatherum. I’ve also done books with Eraserhead, such as Party Wolves In My Skull and Embry: Hard Boiled. A few anthologies here and there. I’m working on a few new writing projects now. Subscribers to my Patreon get a new chapbook/zine every month, which keeps me creatively busy. I have a musical project called Flood Damage that has put out an album called Instructions For The Assembly Of God(s) and I’m currently working with a (secret) kind-of-famous musician to produce my next one. I do burlesque with my partner and host things, perform things, and set things on fire for people’s general amusement.
WHAT DO YOU WRITE WITH –
I found a really amazing ouija board in an attic once, and it writes all my books for me. I haven’t read a single one.
ONE WORD THAT BEST DESCRIBES YOUR MIND –
Also, if you want to SEE what the inside of my head looks like at all times, it’s basically a mashup between these three videos, playing on repeat forever:
CAN WE SEE A PICTURE OF WHERE YOU WRITE –
I don’t see why not. Here are a few:
WHAT WAS YOUR INTRODUCTION TO BIZARRO –
I discovered Carlton Mellick III (Satan Burger) and Chris Genoa (Foop!) right around the same time, actually, thanks to the Amazon recommendation algorithm. I was already enjoying Mark Z Danielwzski’s House of Leaves and Christopher Moore’s Lamb and the engine said “Hey, if you like those, you might also like these,” and I was all like “What? How are you talking to me? You’re a website on the information superhighway!” It was all like “Buy more books! Do it! Hail Santa!” After I woke up from my nap, I bought some bizarro books.
Shortly thereafter, I was working on my first novel (as of yet not officially published) and was stuck in a day job that sucked the soul out of me every day. On my lunch break, I would work on the book, unsure of what exactly I was going to do with it. I looked around on my bookshelf for indie presses I liked that might be open to submissions, just on the off chance that was something I’d be able to do. Back in those days, Eraserhead had a survey of sorts on their website, asking all sorts of questions, and allowing you to pitch a book. I threw my ideas out into the universe, and kind of forgot about it, letting myself die a little and getting back to the daily grind.
Around a month or so later, I got a response from Rose O’Keefe, editor in chief of Eraserhead Press, who told me that although they didn’t have a particular interest in the book I had pitched, I sounded like the kind of author they like to work with. She urged me to consider coming out to Portland for something called Bizarro Con, which was about to go into its second year. A decade later, I’m there in Portland every year doing readings and panels, hosting the Ultimate Bizarro Showdown, promoting and selling bizarro books for multiple presses and events in Chicago, and generally trying to be a statesman and ambassador for the genre. I guess it worked out.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE BIZARRO-ADJACENT MOVIE OR BOOK –
Book: John Dies At The End by David Wong. Pretty much anything he writes, actually. I think he’s probably had the most success recently writing what is ostensibly bizarro comedy horror and taking it to a place where it bursts out of the niche and runs wild in society.
Movie: Maybe Dark City? It’s sci-fi, but it’s brilliant and the concept is wonderfully weird and psychologically strange. I don’t watch a lot of movies, honestly, but I do watch a lot of animation. Hit me with some Adult Swim programming and I’m pretty happy, and that’s definitely bizarro adjacent!
HOW DO YOU RECHARGE –
I read once that the true definition of extroverts and introverts is basically: extroverts gain energy by being around people, whereas introverts expend energy to be around people. People assume that because I’m friendly and sociable – I was lucky enough to be blessed with that skill set – I’m an extrovert, but that’s simply not so. I enjoy spending my energy being around awesome people, but I need my alone time. Usually, that involves video games, a cat in my lap, and a really good cup of tea.
WHO WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS –
John Wayne Comunale
Also, feel free to ask any other follow-up questions, or if you need something else, just let me know!
We’ll surely do that!
How I Weird is a series of mini-interviews conducted by Luke Kondor, looking to celebrate the bizarro genre and the people who work in it. If you would like to be featured, then drop him (me) a line on Twitter at @Lukeofkondor.
Check out more of his nonsense at www.lukekondor.com.