In the Winter of 1979, the residents of Barrington Hall built a stage on the ground floor of their home, opposite the entrance to the dining room. With only about eight feet between the linoleum floor and the concrete ceiling, the stage couldn’t be taller than seven or eight inches. But it was tall enough—upon it, the legendary Berkeley cooperative hosted legions of punk rock and funk metal bands, both famous and forgotten. Everybody played there over the years, from Black Flag to Primus.
1. Both your debut novel, Telex from Cuba, and the follow-up, The Flamethrowers, were finalists for the National Book Award. Writers often talk of success as both blessing and curse. What has been your experience?