Lit Riffs

Front Cover
Simon and Schuster, Nov 1, 2007 - Fiction - 432 pages
1 Review
Following in the footsteps of the late great Lester Bangs -- the most revered and irreverent of rock 'n' roll critics -- twenty-four celebrated writers have penned stories inspired by great songs. Just as Bangs cast new light on a Rod Stewart classic with his story "Maggie May," about a wholly unexpected connection between an impressionable young man and an aging, alcoholic hooker, the diverse, electrifying stories here use songs as a springboard for a form dubbed the lit riff.
Alongside Bangs's classic work, you'll find stories by J.T. LeRoy, who puts a recovering teenage drug abuser in a dentist's chair with nothing but the Foo Fighters's "Everlong" -- blaring through the P.A. -- to fight the pain; Jonathan Lethem, whose narrator looks back on his lost innocence just as an extramarital affair careens to an end -- this to the tune "Speeding Motorcycle" as recorded by Yo La Tengo; and Jennifer Belle, who envisions a prequel to Paul Simon's "Graceland" -- one that takes place at a children's birthday party replete with a real live kangaroo.
With original contributions from Tom Perrotta, Nelson George, Amanda Davis, Lisa Tucker, Aimee Bender, Darin Strauss, and many more -- riffing on everyone from Tom Waits and Bruce Springsteen to the White Stripes, Cat Power, and Bob Marley -- this is both an astounding collection of short stories and an extraordinary experiment in words and music.
Soundtrack available from Saturation Acres Music & Recording Co.

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


Jonathan Lethem
Amanda Davis
JT LeRoy
Tanker Dane
Aimee Bender
Anthony DeCurtis
Hannah Tinti
Neal Pollack
Arthur Bradford
Jennifer Belle
Bouncing inspired by the music and lyrics
Darin Strauss
Judy Budnitz
David Ebershoff
Zev Borow
Nelson George

Victor LaValle
Heidi Julavits
Author Bios

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page vii - Let your women keep silence in the churches : for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.

About the author (2007)

Touré is a cohost of MSNBC’s The Cycle and a columnist for He is the author of four books, including Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness?, a New York Times and Washington Post notable book, and I Would Die 4 U: Why Prince Became an Icon. He lives in Brooklyn.

Matthew Miele created and developed the idea for Lit Riffs in order to reinvent the musical experience through literature. While a literary agent with John Hawkins & Associates, Inc., he handpicked the hippest and most celebrated storytellers of our time to imaginatively compose stories inspired by songs.
Prior to his publishing career, Miele wrote and directed the feature film Everything's Jake -- due for release in fall 2004, starring Ernie Hudson, Graeme Malcolm, Debbie Allen, Robin Givens, and Lou Rawls -- and was a sound designer/music composer for film and television.
Miele recently founded and is current host of the Manhattan Concert Club (MCC), a subscription-based, ten-concert series presenting intimate, acoustic performances by the world's most renowned recording artists in a wide variety of Manhattan's most unique and treasured settings. Miele hopes that every MCC Concert will reflect to true music enthusiasts what the inception of the "Lit Riff" and this groundbreaking collection ultimately will reflect as well -- a renewed celebration of and appreciation for great music.

Neil Strauss is the award-winning Rolling Stone editor, New York Times columnist, and writer/co-writer for eight New York Times bestselling books.

Bibliographic information