By Michael Rand
Chuck Klosterman is a native son. And by that, we mean a North Dakotan. He graduated from the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks (where our dad teaches) in 1994, which is the same year we graduated from Grand Forks Central High. He has worked at various publications as a pop culture and music writer, but he is perhaps better known for his books. The first was called “Fargo Rock City,” and it was so true that it hurt. The fifth was just released and is his first novel. It is called “Downtown Owl.” Klosterman will be reading from said book on Thursday, Oct. 2 (that’s one week from tomorrow) at the Triple Rock. The web site indicates the night will be “full of awesomeness,” and we tend to agree. Recently, Chuck was kind enough to answer exactly eight of our questions. Here we go:
RandBall: I have intentionally avoided, up to this point, finding out any information about your new book, a novel. I can only assume it is an extension of the story you gave us all a taste of at the end of IV, yes? [Note: We were not serious].
Chuck Klosterman: Actually, the story from “IV” and this book have no relationship whatsoever. Which is probably good, because that story kind of sucked. “Downtown Owl” is about tax evasion, alcoholism, statutory rape, Tommy Kramer, and wind.
RB: What the hell happened to the USC-era Reggie Bush?
CK: I think we (or at least “I”) overlooked how much of Bush’s collegiate success was built around the fact that he could essentially run away from every outside linebacker he ever faced, which simply does not happen in the NFL. He can’t get into space. However, he will still have a nice career. He will be better that Preston Pearson and possibly as good as Joe Washington or Bobby Mitchell, which (in theory) would make him a borderline Hall of Famer. But he can’t blow people away, and — somehow — that always feels disappointing. He was absolutely the best collegiate running back I ever saw.
RB: A lot of people have strong feelings about whether MLB starters should be held to strict pitch counts. What are your thoughts, and is it surprising that so many people care passionately about a seemingly mundane topic?
CK: I feel like this argument is a manifestation of that night the Sox left Pedro in against the Yankees during the 2003 ALCS. People can’t get over that. I think Babe Ruth pitchers should be held to strict pitch counts — beyond that, everything is situation. It’s a man’s game.
RB: Your beard: best for closing ballgames for World Series Twins teams, making a deep NHL playoff run, or something else completely?
CK: My splitter could terminate a few dudes in the bottom of the ninth. My beard is a nice length for that kind of action. However, that’s only because I recently received a trimmer. Last summer, my beard was more suited for the logging industry, playing lap steel on “Layla,” or seducing a female Sasquatch.
RB: Creating clever fantasy football team names has replaced creating clever band names as an idle past-time for 20-something males. Discuss.
CK: No idea. I don’t understand the question. But here’s my new plan: I want to start a band that only plays cover versions of songs that tell narrative stories about how the group itself started, such as Boston’s “Rock and Roll Band,” Bryan Adams’ “Summer of ’69,” and that one good single by Art Brut. However, we could only play one gig.
RB: Kevin Love or O.J. Mayo?
CK: This is actually pretty close. I think Love has the potential to be better, but only if he’s the third option on a very good team (and that will never happen in Minnesota). Mayo is more complex. He’ll either be awesome or useless. There is something strange about his attitude; he seems detached in a way I cannot define. He might end up being a version of Vernon Maxwell who passes well, or a [redacted] sociopath.
RB: A Cambridge University “personality map of America” found that New York is where the least friendly people live, while North Dakota has the nicest people. Where, um, does that leave you?
RB: You’re doing your reading at the Triple Rock, which is awesome. But: That’s the same venue where on June 8, 2003, I saw the very last Lifter Puller show after they reunited for a three-night stand. I bought a T-shirt to commemorate the event, and then it was stolen from a laundromat about 6 months later. Will you be taking any measures to ensure merchandise purchased at your reading will not be eventually stolen by neer-do-wells?
CK: Yes. Every person who comes to the event will be given a complimentary AK-47 assault rifle. Please bring your ID.