Occasional Mercury freelancer Trevor Kelley (also known for his work in Alternative Press and Spin) has done the unthinkable: He wrote a book about emo. Teaming with Leslie Simon, the two wrote Everybody Hurts, which despite its topic, is an absolutely essential look at society's most influential, and least-respected, lifestyle and musical genre. And I'm not just saying that because I'm thanked in the back of the book.
Since emo will always be the redheaded stepchild of more "legitimate" genres of music, did you feel that you had to justify the music within the context of the book?
TREVOR KELLEY: Honestly, I don't think that we ever thought about that. I mean, you're talking to someone who lives in Brooklyn. I walk past people every day who are dressed like Patrick Wolf, and when I do so, there's a pretty good chance that I'm listening to Cute Is What We Aim For on my iPod, singing along. So no, I never thought that we needed to "justify" this music to other people. If I was going to worry about that, I would have done that a long time ago.
LESLIE SIMON: Sure, I'm hoping that the people who read our book have some kind of back-catalog of knowledge about the music and the lifestyle. However, if my 82-year-old nana can read it and recognize the humor, I'm not too worried about a kid who's shopping at Hot Topic.
How do you think Everybody Hurts, as a book, will age?
TK: Sadly, one day, Everybody Hurts will get older, decide that it's tired of listening to the guy from Silverstein screaming about girls, move to Park Slope and spend most its afternoons listening to Fresh Air on NPR. No, seriously, it doesn't seem impossible to us that people will be reading Everybody Hurts in 10 years time. I mean, it's a humor book just as much as it is a music book, so it doesn't seem far off to suggest that it could still be enjoyable, the way that the movie Swingers is still enjoyable, despite the fact that it was tied to a certain genre, place, and time.
There are so many good emo stereotypes that are mentioned in the book, do you have a favorite?
LS: My fave misconception is probably the one that emo fans cry all the time. We tried not to play that one out too much, but a good Kleenex joke can go a long way.
TK: For me, I'd have to say the fat Coheed and Cambria fan that we outline in the first chapter. When our illustrator was drafting it up last summer, we kept sending him these frantic emails that said things like, "Dude, his tits need to be bigger!" and "You can't see his zits! Give this dork some more zits!"
Thank you for thanking me in the book, but why did you have to misspell my name?
TK: That's actually been fixed in the current pressing. Jeesh, quit your crying, you wuss. Just be happy we didn't thank you by your AIM screen name. I mean, would you really want the world to know that your online handle is "Assman Confessional"? Now THAT would be embarrassing.