THE PARAGRAPHS

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rick berlin.jpg
The-Paragraphs-Cover-300.png
rick berlin.jpg

THE PARAGRAPHS

16.00

THE PARAGRAPHS
by Rick Berlin
(Cutlass Press, November 2016)
Paperback Original, 9780692802489

The Paragraphs is a memoir of a life in music, made up of vignettes penned as exercises in songwriting by Boston music icon Rick Berlin.

Created from fragments used to write songs, this memoir recalls a life of music, a relationship with the animal world, and a two-day meth-fueled road trip. Berlin, a queer Boston music legend formerly the front-man of Orchestra Luna, Berlin Airlift, Rick Berlin: The Movie, and The Shelley Winters Project, and currently of The Nickel & Dime Band, is known for his zany lyrics and unflinching wit. Exploring boyhood, family relationships, and the dynamic social workings of Boston through the decades, Rick Berlin’s work is “uncategorizable...part punk, part musical theater, part sentimental sap, part wordplay master. Gold” (Amanda Palmer). 

“Rick Berlin’s writing is as raw, luminous, open-hearted, profane, musical, magical as the man himself. Put on your seat belts.” —Beth Harrington (documentary filmmaker, The Winding Stream, member of The Modern Lovers)

“I love reading Berlin’s words. All the pretty young boys and girls got nothing on Rick. He can light up the darkest places.” —Carmelita (Bay State Rock, WAAF)

The inaugural Cutlass Press publication

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About Rick Berlin

“Rick Berlin is a giant on the Boston music scene. His colorful songwriting and strong stage presence have influenced countless other artists since the early 1970s, when his innovative band Orchestra Luna harnessed a potent blend of theater and music years before the Tubes. Throughout the decades and the shifting fortunes of the business Rick has continued to make music with intelligence and integrity, building an international reputation around his knotty, singular piano playing, straight-from-the-heart singing and a style of character-based songwriting that’s drawn favorable comparisons to the likes of Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen— although Rick rocks more than both. . . . Rick’s still busy creating (writing, music videos). . . . with The Nickel & Dime Band’s Always on Insane (2012) When We Were Kids (2014) Badville (2015) The Courage of the Lonely (2017) with a full, intense, rocking band.” —Ted Drozkowski, The Boston Phoenix


Praise for Rick Berlin

Like Leonard Cohen, Rick Berlin’s poetics are timeless, speak directly to the heart confronting us with postmodern mythologies.” —Amy Rome

“From the mind of an artist, Rick Berlin’s writings are as unique as his music. He continues to be a Boston treasure.” —Oedipus (WBCN, The Oedipus Project)

“Though I fancy myself a busy and discerning person, I almost always stop what I’m doing to read Rick’s work when it arrives in my inbox. His incisive, fearless vignettes cut to the bone and then pat you on the back. Relentlessly colorful, necessarily detailed, and sometimes nearly unbelievable, Rick’s life stories are vital and disarming and everyone should read them.” —April Greene (freelance writer)

“Rick Berlin’s writing is as raw, luminous, open-hearted, profane, musical, magical as the man himself. Put on your seat belts.” —Beth Harrington (documentary filmmaker, The Winding Stream, member of The Modern Lovers)

“At the age of 70, maybe older now, Berlin remains a free man. His defiance toward most of the tired categories of social life that hem others in is a reminder of the superiority of soul and a goad to the rest of us to go get some more of it. As Rick reminds us, it is free.” —Christopher Mackin (Ownership Associates)

“I love reading Berlin’s words. All the pretty young boys and girls got nothing on Rick. He can light up the darkest places.” —Carmelita (Bay State Rock, WAAF )

“Rick Berlin is the voice of the generation that had the best time in the Boston music scene, and he is our voice still. Singing and writing voice, that is!” —Adrienne Wolffe Feddersen

“Rick’s voice is so strong they read like a transcript of a monologue. The ones that struck me the most were the ones about him as a kid or a young man. Clues to how he became the man he is. But what I think I loved most about them is the feeling I get from a lot of Rick’s songs too: Life is sad, but in that sadness are moments of joy and magic.” —Jeff Chasse (songwriter)

“Such a mix of street edge with the humanity of a poet, Rick Berlin carries his life, his music and his community close. He writes about unbearably sweet horrors and a longing that keeps burning.” —Jane Hudson (video/film artist, owner of Hudson ART, Inc.)

“I love Berlin’s ‘paragraphs.’ They allow me to escape from my pathetic life and slightly slip off into a place I rarely get to go. I enjoy reading every fine-tuned word he describes in detail every aspect of the story. Shit man, he could write a story about going to the mailbox in pink flip flops and somehow manage to make it exciting and worth daydreaming about!”
Tim Czifrik

“I have been enjoying Rick Berlin’s ‘paragraphs’ since his ‘ich bin ein Berlinner’ days. Rick is a master of imagery. His vignettes of the human condition are at once raw and poignant. Rick’s words stay with the reader long after a ‘paragraph’ has been absorbed. His writing is succinct and powerful. This is a must-read, not just for fans of Rick’s music, but for anyone who enjoys the art of thinking.” —Susan M. Vertullo

“Reaching in, as he’s been doing, goes beyond your own experiences and helps to provide a map for others to do so for themselves.” —Bob Lewis (owner, president of Video Visuals)

 

Cover design by Nicholas Kent, Author photo by Evan Scales