Liz Prince Primes Power Chords For The People
Nov 29, 2017
by Vince Brusio
Many of us have been encouraged over the years to understand a universal truth, which is that to truly live life, you have to rock and roll all night, and party every day. But one book goes beyond that traditional advice, by encouraging you to be your own party while you’re rockin’ and rollin’. What we see is that being your own audience is just as important as which strings you use on your Fender Stratocaster. In this PREVIEWSworld Exclusive interview, cartoonist Liz Prince elaborates on which power chords are chicken soup for the soul, and she amplifies how you can hear them loud and proud in her new book Be Your Own Backing Band (OCT171804).
Be Your Own Backing Band (OCT171804) is in comic shops December 6.
Vince Brusio: What’s the nucleus of Be Your Own Backing Band? It’s a book containing comics that celebrate punk rock, granted. But what makes it more than that? What makes it a birdhouse in your soul?
Liz Prince: On the surface, Be Your Own Backing Band is a collection of comics about my relationship to punk, but if you delve deeper, the comics are really about how that relationship has affected my life, for better or for worse. The title is referencing the idea that you should be your own biggest advocate and support system: punk is the birdhouse in your soul, but you need to be the blue canary in the outlet by the light switch who watches over you.
Vince Brusio: Let’s use a metaphor here that everyone can relate to who’s a music junkie. Be Your Own Backing Band is the ultimate mix tape. Now if we took this and ran with it, what individual melodies would be on this mixtape?
Liz Prince: "Social Life" by Teenage Bottlerocket on an infinite loop.
Vince Brusio: A magazine titled Razorcake appears to have a role in this book, delivering critiques that reflect on you as an artist. How does the focus on Razorcake in this book contribute to the passion of this project?
Liz Prince: Todd Taylor, the publisher of Razorcake magazine (a long-standing punk zine out of LA that just celebrated its 100th issue), wrote an introduction to this book because Be Your Own Backing Band is a collection of comics that were originally written for, and printed in, Razorcake. Without Razorcake, this book wouldn't exist, because there wouldn't have been a venue driving the content, just like how without Razorcake, the punk scene would be a lot less diverse and far-reaching.
Vince Brusio: What was the most challenging aspect of making this book? What was the most rewarding?
Liz Prince: It can be hard to come up with a comic for a bi-monthly magazine 6 times a year: despite that I've been contributing to Razorcake for 7 years at this point, the deadlines always seem to sneak up on me! Having all of these comics put together in one volume, and published by the team at Silver Sprocket has been an awesome experience, so it was well worth all the deadline stress (which admittedly was my own fault in the first place).
Vince Brusio: Of all the different strips that appear in this book, which one or two stand out the most for you, and why? Is it that they’re the most personal? Or are they more reflective of the book as a whole?
Liz Prince: My favorite comic in this book is actually a collaborative comic that I drew with my friend Jim Kettner about going to The Ergs! reunion in December 2010: it was our first time drawing a comic together, and spending a few days in Philly after the show to work on it with him is a really great memory.
Vince Brusio writes about comics, and writes comics. He is the long-serving Editor of PREVIEWSworld.com, the creator of PUSSYCATS, and encourages everyone to keep the faith...and keep reading comics.