Interview with Andrew Bonazelli
Andrew Bonazelli, is a author from Philadelphia, USA. He is also the editor for Decibel Magazine. Last week he released his 4th book, DTV (Direct to Video). The book has been described as “a super-cool fusion of literary prowess and action-movie bravado, and though fully aware of the inherent, unintentional comedy found in the genre, Bonazelli has avoided the tongue-in-cheek route, instead crafting a story that celebrates the machismo, animal magnetism and culture of American action movies from the ‘80s and ‘90s.”
Find out more about DTV, its soundtrack and also his favourite action movies in my interview with Andrew below :
Hi Andrew Congrats on the release of your latest book “DTV” (Direct-to-Video). What was the main inspiration behind the book?
Andrew I used to tell my friends that someday I was going to write a buddy cop screenplay for Steven Seagal and Jean Claude Van Damme that would simultaneously resurrect their careers (with either Alan Rickman or David Patrick Kelly as the villain). Best case scenario, there’s no fucking way I could accomplish that before either of those dudes were, like, 70. A novel just made more sense. Hence, the two protagonists of DTV are loose stand-ins for JCVD and Seagal—at least our public, pop cultural perception of them, not what sort of human beings they actually are.
How long did you spend writing since the initial idea for it?
Andrew As much as I’d like to Stephen King or Don DeLillo out and give the world a 1,200-page anvil, I get bored with myself around 40,000 words, which equates to pocket-size novels of a little over 200 pages, which takes a little over a year to outline, write and edit.
“DTV” is accompanied by a kick ass soundtrack. How did manage to get together all these artists?
Andrew One of the many perks of working at Decibel—other than the six-figure salary and callgirl company card—is getting to know and interact with musicians you respect. When the story was in third draft stage, I sent out an explanatory email to a bunch of bands I like that fall under the vast “extreme music” umbrella (although I should’ve emailed my hero Stan Bush, too) and they were all scarily enthusiastic about the idea. Not to mention extremely giving of their time, since the project had such a small budget. I guess it came together because anyone with a brain knows that the mid-’80s to mid-’90s were the apex of action movie excellence.
The packaging for the book looks great. How did you come up with the idea for it?
Andrew Once I got positive feedback from the bands and the soundtrack became a sure thing, I thought a VHS clamshell would be the best—and coolest—way to keep all the elements together. Since I have no artistic ability whatsoever and I think Graf Orlock’s Doombox is the most radical vinyl presentation I’ve maybe ever seen, I asked their frontman Justin for Adam (their drummer and primary designer)’s contact info. I gave Adam very vague parameters and he patiently and expertly did his job. Those guys are great.
“DTV” has been released through Handshake Inc. after your previous novels were released through Vitriol Records. Any reason behind the change of publisher?
Andrew I originally pitched the DTV concept (story, packaging, execution) to a few indie metal labels, but was turned down for one reason or another. David Hall was already a friend, and just a fearless, imaginative optimist who took this onus on after like five minutes of explanation on the phone. I think that’s pretty fucking cool. As for Vitriol, it’s the best, but I already put out two novels with Justin and thought it’d be cooler to collaborate with him sonically and aesthetically for once.
This is your 4th book, “A Regular”, “Mechaniks” and “The Dreamt and Deathless Obscene” being the others. Was the writing process any different this time around?
Andrew DTV was a lot more fun. Not just because I consider it primarily a comedy, but because it was the best kind of DIY project: the kind that seems daunting and impossible at many points in the process, but comes together with the help of talented friends who took as much ownership in it as I did. Pulling together toward something awesome and seeing it actually work is a lot more fulfilling than carrying the cross yourself.
How do you balance writing books with being editor of Decibel magazine?
Andrew Well, Albert Mudrian’s the man there, and since he’s editor-in-chief, my job is merely to make his life easier. He calls the plays, I just run it into the line for three yards at a time (and accrue brain damage). Same thing with Magnet, an indie rock magazine our publisher puts out, which Eric Miller edits. So there’s plenty of time and incentive to get all creative and megalomaniacal outside of work. Also, my wife is way way too forgiving when I need to disappear at a bar, park or my room for hours to crank this dreck out.
What are your top 5 action movies?
Andrew Ha, Shane actually asked me this on the Deciblog recently and I did five JCVD and Seagal movies. So here are five they’re not involved in:
2) The Last Boy Scout
3) Death Wish 3
4) Transformers: The Movie (1986)
5) Robocop 2
Andrew “You fuck with my family, you die.”—John Hatcher, Marked for Death
Pick up a copy of DTV (Direct to Video) from the Handshake Inc. online store