Big Daddy Abel is a musician with the Amish Outlaws and author. I wanted to talk with him about his writing process. Despite not coming from a writing background, his non-fiction Open Mic series has been phenomenal on the e-book charts.
The five-volume Open Mic series contains BDA's musings from the road. Some are entertaining, others are enlightening and all are worth checking out.
Unfortunately, I couldn't make the interview. So I had the Ol' Badger himself, Maynard Soloman, fill in for me. Good luck, BDA!
Maynard: Back in the good ol' days, I used to crack them gal-damn hippie folk right in the skull. That was before America went to hell and you could still treat hippies proper, see. So what's your deal? You some sort of long-haired fruit bat hippie from the Old States who came here to sing songs or just cut a swell?
Big Daddy Abel: First off, a cut of prime rib would be VERY swell! I think my long haired hippiness is more likened to the vampire bat. Lots of myths and folklore, but not too much clarity on the reality. I think my deal actually comes FROM being cracked in the skull. I cracked it myself though against a dashboard after having hit a telephone pole with my car. It seems ever since then I have had a desire to share my thoughts or perhaps, more accurately, an inability to keep my mouth shut. The singing, guitar playing, song writing stuff has been in me since childhood. The book writing began some time during the college years. That is what the purpose of college IS isn't it, making hippies?
Maynard: You ever cover Bruce Willis songs, hippie? Now there's a fella with soul.
Big Daddy Abel: Did you mean The Bruno songs or the Accelerators stuff? For me it's only the songs from the soundtrack to Hudson Hawk and only when Danny Aiello is around. "Swinging On A Star" being my favorite.
Maynard: I drive around this beautiful country of ours in a Winnebago RV. That POS and me are a lot alike. Both have trouble unloading our septic tanks. Sometimes I just sit in a Wal-Mart parking lot and open 'er up. Must be all that road food. You ever get that problem? What four-wheeled coffin to hell do they got you holed up in?
Big Daddy Abel: Wal-Mart. That's where you're SUPPOSED to empty your tank isn't it? I can suggest a few nice places to eat when you're in the Pennsylvania, Maryland, NJ, NY area. Sheetz and Wawa. GREAT places for road food at 2 AM when nothing else is open and you've just finished singing songs to a bar or club full of people looking for a fun night of drinking and dancing.
If I may suggest the Chicken Quesadila from Sheetz and the Double Turkey and Provolone 10" from Wawa. They'll keep you from starving and keep you regular. Or at least I eat there on a regular basis since we are on the road so much every week.
Seeing happy faces wherever we play is a wonderful feeling and not too much could upset you in that situation. The hotels are usually nice. Been in a few that I would rather not go back to anytime soon. If they could soundproof and light proof the place so I could sleep past 8 AM after being up until 4 AM I wouldn't complain too much. The long drives get to be a bit tedious at times and whatever vehicle is easiest on gas is the chosen mode of transport.
Even so with 3 or 4 Amish guys in a car that have been eating at Sheetz and Wawa creates it's own kinda gas INSIDE the car. Luckily our air conditioner is the old 2/55.
Maynard: Hippie, listen. I like buffets. If they ain't being a pillock about it, they oblige me with a senior citizen discount. Thing is with some of these places, the gal-damn gravy has a crust the size of a phone book sittin' on top. That's why I like the Country Kitchen buffet. They stir the gal-damn gravy. They know gravy makes the meal. With how my digestion is any more, it damn near is the meal. What's your favorite buffet?
Big Daddy Abel: Oh my. VERY difficult decision there. We play at the Borgata Casino in Atlantic City, NJ, every month or so and they have a real nice one. I tend to go for the pesto topped pizza mostly.
Now that I think about it and seeing how I am a night owl and fond of Sheetz and Wawa, if I were pressed to make a choice I would say Sheetz wins. Well the cheesesteak from Gaetano's in NJ is something that can't be beat either. Domino's Think Crust Hawaiian Pizza is a real treat too!
Maynard: Big Daddy Abel would be a heckuva name for a sandwich. What taste temptations would be on it?
Big Daddy Abel: I can see it now. "Are you Abel to handle the Big Daddy?" (Maybe not.) I think that sammich would have Boars Head oven roast turkey on it. Heck, a double serving. Provolone Cheese. Hot peppers. Mayo. Lettuce and tomato. Black olives, salt and oregano. Or maybe I would rename the 17" cheesesteak from Gaetano's, which has 3 pounds of meat on it. Quite a difficult choice. It would depend on the day if I were to TRULY name it. Some days it should just be good and filling or other days it should be hot/spicy and tasty.
Maynard: The ATF raided my RV the other day. Can you believe that malarky? I was all badgered up in the can hidin' from 'em. Gave me time to read your little Commie manifesto, Open Mic. I gotta say, that was some impressive blasphemy. How many of them hippie pills did you pop before you got "inspired" to write these Open Mics?
Big Daddy Abel: Well, thank you! I think mostly the "hippie pills" are life in general. I'm not one to follow the crowd. I tend to stay off to the side and keep an eye on things. Open Mic is a series where I change the topic in each volume. Sometimes I change the topics within the volume, but I always try to tie it together into a theme.
Open Mic Volume One was about Freedom of Thought from a different perspective than most people think about.
Open Mic 2 was a fun and light hearted one about music and acting experiences I've had.
Open Mic 3 was about "Pressure" and all its many shapes and effects on folks, again, with a bit of a controversial view, to some.
Open Mic 4 has VERY helpful information about meeting the opposite sex and the decay of society and how people tend to give up thinking logically for themselves.
I just finished Open Mic 5 and it is about being thoughtful and aware of others regardless of race, sex, religion, etc. So they tend to come from everywhere and what I see in life is the inspiration.
Maynard: Now see here, hippie. Are you a flannel-mouthed liar or a four-flusher liar?
Big Daddy Abel: I think I might have a foot in both or perhaps I am in a whole other realm. Most times I am sarcastic when trying to provoke a thought. Opinionated for sure.
So I think I am pretty much telling what's on my mind directly without too much filter. (Too much filter meaning I find a nicer way of saying things instead of being as direct and blunt as it might be in my head. Nicer word choices.)
So I think I am a four flushing foul mouthed truth spewing apple cart upsetting hippie freak.
Maynard: Seems you got your mitten with those Open Mics. Got a lot of people fancying your hippie writing nowadays. Why do you think you got the bulge and other people don't?
Big Daddy Abel: I think books, music, and life in general has so many great things out there. I think people who are willing to try many things get the most out of life.
I think the people who have been willing to give my writing (or music) a chance have found something they relate to in some part of their mind.
Something I say may ring true with them and they find themselves liking it even so it may have been new and/or foreign to them before. I think if you make someone happy or they feel good about something you've created you have a success. Even if it's only a couple people.
I think writers, of books or songs, want the WORLD to know of their work. It's communication. When you speak to the masses and the masses "speak" back by becoming fans/followers/supporters, you feel connected. You feel like you belong or are connecting with others and feel less "alien" to the world, as many creative people tend to feel.
It's a mutual feeling though. The person who likes what you've come up with also feels that connection and sense of belonging, even if it's to a fringe subsection, in and of life. It's a success and a gift that keeps giving and hopefully spreading. Trying new things is the only way to experience life fully. Books, music, art, TV, movies, etc.
It's all there. Dive in. The water's warm.
Maynard: I don't want to look like I'm on the shoot with you, hippie, but when are you going to start making some shit up?
Big Daddy Abel: Well... that is quite a difficult task. I have "made some shit up" when I collaborated with Giovanni Gelati on a story called The Jersey Shore Has Eyes. It's a funny short story about the audience at one of my band's, The Amish Outlaws, shows. How they "turn" into zombies is quite unique. Not too much blood and gore, but lots of funny situational humor.
I think I will be collaborating on some more "make believe" with a fellow author, B.R. Stateham on something that will be quite good.
As for other made up shit... I will be recording a new CD soon. Most times when I write songs it is about things I see or think. So most of the situations in my songs ARE made up and not so much personal, but still, hopefully, thought provoking. And funny. Funny is ALWAYS the first and main hope.
Maynard: I gotta take French leave before this conversation goes any more up the spout. What did you learn here today, hippie?
Big Daddy Abel: Well, Maynard, thanks so much for all the questions and taking the time to talk with me. It's been a pleasure and an honor. I learned that I am fast becoming a big fan of yours and look forward to hearing more about you. If you ever feel so inclined as to stop by my Big Daddy Abel pages on Facebook you'll find one page is the musician page. It has my original music there and the other, BD Abel, is the one I mainly talk about The Amish Outlaws on.
There's also reverbnation.com/bigdaddyabel and for all of the Open Mic volumes of short stories you can go to Amazon.com and find Big Daddy Abel in the Kindle store. Although you don't have to have a Kindle in order to read any of the books there. They make applications for folks to read on their phones or computers now. Really cool stuff!
Thanks so much Maynard! Happy trails and clean rest areas to you good sir!
Maynard Soloman: Good luck with those hippie pills, hippie.