Thursday, December 10, 2009

Out in the cold, Rick Moody turns to music

I need to preface this by saying that I'm a big Ice Storm fan, and I have nothing but respect (and a little nomenclatural envy) for Rick Moody -- but I can't help but wondering if he didn't go and form a band because the literary world has become a little less than hospitable. I only recently learned that Moody sings and plays guitar in a old-timey Brooklyn-based group called the Wingdale Community Singers, but it's no secret that he has long been the most famous target of outspoken critic Dale Peck (in a 2002 New Republic column, and later the memorably hostile collection Hatchet Jobs).

That was back in 2004, but when I shared The Wingdale Singers' MySpace link with a few print-media colleagues earlier this week, they both shot back Peck's infamous dig: that Moody is "the worst writer of our generation." Now, I can't say I agree with them -- in fact, I'm a little scared to even be on the same page as Peck, as he's highly combustible -- but I also can't deny the convenient connection between the general hostility I'm sensing and Moody's creative lane-changing. (The fact that he put his blinker on around the time of Peck's suckerpunch only reinforces it -- the Wingdale Singers formed in 2002, the year of The Review.)

Speculation aside, though, I like what Moody's doing here; the music has an O Brother Where Art Thou vibe, he and his bandmates are on point, and Nina Katchadourian is their bassist. I'd be curious to hear Peck's opinion, but he's basically been pushed from the herd. (Maybe he'll start a band, too. Something like this.)

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