Wednesday, May 19, 2004


I'd always envisioned the cover art for RTVD looking similar, in both style and color, to On The Corner. Not only because it's probably my favorite Miles record (it's definitely the one that made the biggest single impact on my developing musical psyche when I first heard it, at about age 18), but because it's so garish and bright, it would make a fantastic book cover. Most books on Miles Davis either have a boring sepiatone portrait, or some other hideous photo, on the cover. They don't invite casual browsers to check 'em out; they certainly don't leap off the bookstore shelf, which in this market is more important than ever. It seems to me that publishers still don't put enough thought into what's on the outside of their books. Shit, half of them can barely be concerned with what's on the inside...if I started counting the typos, spelling errors, etc. that I've encountered in major publishing house releases, I'd never stop.

Anyway, I dug around and found an illustrator I thought would be perfect for the job - Scott Ruhl. (Warning: vulgarity lurks at that link.) But when I tossed the idea to the publisher, they came back saying a) he wanted too much money, and b) they didn't think On The Corner was a recognizable/iconic enough image to sell the book...they wanted to go, maybe, with something Bitches Brew-inspired, and no matter what they wound up doing, it would be generated in-house.

I'm not 1000% sold on the idea of a BB-esque cover. It could be good, but I don't think it'll have the leap-off-the-shelf quality that a bright yellow book would have. Maybe I'll be able to get them to do something with a photo of the 1970s band, set against a blazing psychedelic sunburst pattern...something like this, only more garish. But for now, I've got to stay focused on what's gonna be inside the cover. I'm only a few pages from finishing the first draft. After that, it's a month of revisions and clerical stuff (putting together the discography, bibliography, acknowledgements, etc.), and then at the end of June, off it goes to my editor at Backbeat. I just hope he doesn't ask me to hack out too much; I contracted for 300 pages, and I just crossed the 400-page mark the other night. As with so many other things related to this project, we'll soon find out.

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