Darkness, Racket and Twang
Alex V. Cook, along with being a family man, lapsed painter and ardent mediocre guitarist, is a writer living and working in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. His work can be found in a slew of regional magazines and a growing trickle of national ones. Darkness Racket and Twang is his first book.
Alex has been actively listening to records since the 4th grade, when he inherited his step-brother's old record player, and the remnants of his record collection, Black Sabbath, Grand Funk, Hendrix records. His early interests were more informed by the 99 cent 45's he began buying up, Gary Numan's "Cars," The Police "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic" and the horrible Rod Stewart comeback "Young Turks" was among the first batch he brought home. "A mix tape for a car trip through purgatory," he says.
He had always been a library hound and when he turned 16 he was let loose in the adult stacks, "I discovered they had records you could check out, all those great Smithsonian Folkways avant-garde classical records. I remember the first time I dropped the needle on Harry Partch's "The Dreamer That Remains" on a whim, and boom! My taste for weird music has yet to be sated."
Like a lot of kids, his musical imagination was also fired by what he read. He scoured any and all music periodicals. He says his sonic upbringing was not unlike that of Nick Hornby's High Fidelity protagonist Rob Fleming. One record lead to another. An early electronic springboard led to John Cage, Pere Ubu, Devo and Tangerine Dream. Ensuing metal and punk phases, a stint as a college DJ in the late 80s, a jazz DJ in the 90s and a constant scouring of the Internet for input has continued to inform his listening to this day. He maintains that same zeal for music he had in high school, looking for personal connections instead of heroes.
In 2005 he became the music editor for pop culture magazine outsideleft.com and is a frequent contributor to Baton Rouge's 225 Magazine.