If you plan to attend this year's Miami Book Fair International, you might want want to mark down noon, Sunday, Nov. 23rd.
That's when Pulitzer Prize winning author Rick Bragg is scheduled to speak about his new book, "Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story." (The book hits bookstores on Tuesday. Click here to read an excerpt.)
In the early 90s Bragg was the Miami bureau chief for the St. Petersburg Times. He returned to Miami 10 years later as the bureau chief for the New York Times.
Here's Bragg in Garden and Gun magazine talking about meeting Lewis for the first time and getting him to open up about his life:
It was hot that first afternoon, hot for all the weeks to come, as if the dog days had settled hard on DeSoto County and stuck like flies on the lid of a jelly jar. The big iron gates—the ones with a piano on them—swung open from the middle, creaking and shuddering like something from a scary movie. I drove up to the big brick ranch-style house, built on the edge of a man-made lake. I had interviewed a million people, but not a legend before, not the living history of rock and roll, not one of the last true troubadours.
Video via al.com
And here's Lewis himself, talking about his favorite live album, “Live at the Star Club,” [embedded below] recorded in 1964 in Hamburg, Germany:
“Live at the Star Club” from 1964 is my best live recording. That Star Club in Hamburg, Germany, was a wild deal. We cut that live, and the audience wanted to tear up the stage. It was a big hall and wide open as a case knife. The best thing about playing there was the equipment—the mics, the amplifiers, guitars, fiddles and piano. We didn’t have that kind of high-quality gear back home. In other places where they’d give me a bad piano, I’d usually finish it off anyway.(Rolling Stone magazine once described the album this way: "Live At The Star Club, Hamburg is not an album, it's a crime scene: Jerry Lee Lewis slaughters his rivals in a thirteen-song set that feels like one long convulsion.")
Jerry Lee Lewis, live at the Star Club, Hamburg Germany, April 5, 1964.