Interview: Carmela Carr, author and writer of Generation Clash

Carmela Carr is a music blogger and author who is publishing a book about her life. Her music blog, Generation Clash, focuses on deep cuts and under appreciated stuff mainly from the 70s and 80s. She’s a great writer and if you enjoy my blog, you’ll love her blog – it’s well organised and well written. She has a few series like Retronaut Selects – where she showcases her favourite albums, Under The Radar – an overview of more obscure bands’ discographies, and Retronaut Favourites – playlists she makes.

On her Instagram, you’ll find her art, pictures of albums from her vinyl collection, vintage classic rock magazines from her collection, and lots of classic rock tidbits! Her specialties are hard rock and she got into classic rock through bands like Kiss, Judas Priest, and Queen.

I am happy to collaborate with someone who is like minded and appreciates more than just the best known stuff. We’re lucky to have Carmela with us on the blog to promote her upcoming book about her life from homeschooled kid to classic rock expert. If you want to learn more about her story and her upcoming book, Journey to Generation Clash, which you can pre-order on Indiegogo.

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🧡🧡// 2018

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Angie: Who are you in a nutshell?

Carmela: I’m an artist, writer, photographer, vinyl collector, and blogger!

Angie: What is Generation Clash all about?

Carmela: The premise of the blog, which is titled “Generation Clash”. On my blog, I focus on featuring bands that were overlooked commercially, but were great bands because they were different. I’ve ha my blog for over a year now, and I’ve discovered a lot of emerging indie artists from having an Instagram account for my blog.

The blog is both modern and vintage, and I try to put both universes together because there is great music from all eras. I don’t listen to only one genre or era, I mix everything together and I don’t make boundaries. I’m open minded and I listen to what I like.

Angie: How did you get into classic rock?

Carmela: My earliest memory of being into classic rock is from when I was little. I remember hearing my dad playing “Detroit Rock City” by Kiss all the time and I remember it vividly.

I got more into classic rock after I started homeschool in 2009. I had the proper time to really listen to these bands and not only know certain songs, but actually get into their albums.

Angie: Which bands did you first get into?

Carmela: A lot of my music taste was influenced by music I heard my dad playing, and bands I found out about from Tumblr.

The earliest bands I got into were Queen, Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lime Spiders, Kiss, and Judas Priest to name a few.

Angie: How did you started collecting vinyl?

Carmela: I first started collecting vinyl after going through used bins at the 24 South Main location of Gallery Of Sound. We have a friend who’s been the district manager for years, and we used to visit him and I would get to hang out in the record store.

However, I actually started by photographing the record store, because I was obsessed with photography from a young age and I just loved taking pictures. In time, I started going through the bins, and learning the names of different artists.

A few of the first records I got included “Sucker For A Pretty Face” by Eric Martin Band, “Heartbeats and Triggers” by Translator, and “Fundamental Roll” by Walter Egan to name a few.

Any record I chose was because I hadn’t heard of it. A lot of those albums were promos, and they stuck out to me for that reason too. Promos are scarce and it’s amazing to know that you can get original promotional pressings for a few dollars.

Angie: What are your favourite albums you own on vinyl?

Carmela: Violation by Starz, News Of The World by Queen, No Place To Run by UFO, Your Face Or Mine by Nantucket, Volatile by Lime Spiders, Nemesis by Axe, The Front by The Front, Strikes by Blackfoot, BRKN LOVE by BRKN LOVE, Sweet Music by Roadmaster, Book Early by City Boy, Secret Damage by Strapps, Language by Gary Myrick, Never Never Land by Simon F, Firepower by Judas Priest, Phil Seymour by Phil Seymour, Spellbound by Tygers Of Pan Tang, and Simon Townshend’s Moving Target by Simon Townshend’s Moving Target.

The list is even longer than this, but this is my version of a (not so) brief list…haha.

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Takin’ Photos + Makin’ Playlists // 2020

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Angie: What are your unpopular classic rock opinions?

Carmela: I have tried to get into Strawbs…and I can’t. I find early Black Sabbath interesting, but hard to listen to. I think that Kansas is really underrated.

Angie: If you could meet any classic rocker, who would it be and why?

Carmela: I’m not sure if this is considered to be a typical answer…but I’d love to meet Eric Carr. When I rediscovered Kiss in my teenage years, something stood out to me about him. Everyone always talks about the original four, and they don’t always give credit to Eric Carr.

There was always a lot of things about Eric that I liked, and one thing that will always stick with me is the time when I read that he was considered to be “the nicest person to ever walk the planet”.

He’s an amazing drummer, and he has great solo songs too. There was a lot of cool stuff that he did and it wasn’t widely known, but if you research him, you’ll see how much cool stuff he did.

He’s the reason I have Carr as the surname for my alias! I figured that it was a cool homage to him.

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Eric Carr For A Day // 2012

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Angie: How did you get into writing?

Carmela: I always loved reading and writing in school. As I got older, I just had an interest in writing, and it started as poetry in homeschool.

I liked writing essays, and I kept working at writing and I naturally got better. I eventually started doing honours level English classes and I just kept writing. Part of why I became a great writer was because of how I think about things. I have this natural way of being able to sum things up and it helps me when I write because I can get an idea to be concise.

Towards the end of high school, I started to question if I was going to apply all the time I put into writing…and I was contacted by a friend of mine who was the editor-in-chief for The Odyssey Online and I got my first writing opportunity right as I was finishing up high school.

Angie: Which writers are your biggest influences?

Carmela: A lot of my favourite writers link back to when I was a kid because the books I read when I was younger always stuck with me. Some writers who have influenced me include Edgar Allan Poe, Ruth Stiles Gannett, Lemony Snicket, Jerry Spinelli, and Bill Wallace to name a few.

Angie: Why write a book now?

Carmela: To be honest, I always thought that it would be so crazy if I wrote book. I always thought, what would I even write about? The opportunity came to me. I was referred by someone and they contacted me.

Angie: What is the book all about?

Carmela: The book is about my personal journey from 2009, when I left public school to start online homeschool up to 2019, when I created my music blog. The premise is really complex, but the reason why I talk about leaving public school to start online homeschool had to do with how I felt at that time in my life.

I was going to school, and being treated like I was like everyone else…when I knew I felt different than other people. One day always sticks with me, and it was a day when I was hanging out with my friends and we were sitting together. I saw them looking at this teen gossip magazine, and Justin Bieber was in it. They were all looking at it, and really interested and I just wasn’t. It made me feel really conflicted, and I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t buying into what was popular.

Eventually, through a crazy coincidence, my brother and I were called by this online homeschool and we unintentionally enrolled ourselves and my parents were contacted by the public school since we weren’t allowed to be in two schools at once.

We had a talk with the principal and we started seeing that they were worried about us socialising…which isn’t more than learning. We withdrew ourselves from public school and started online homeschool. This was extremely important, because I was home more and I had more time to explore my dad’s extensive music collection and I started finding the bands I truly related.

As I started getting older, I started record collecting and this kept happening. I kept finding these bands that were obscure, and they were all fascinating. Then, one day in 2019, I was sitting in my room and I realised that I had found all of these albums for a reason and I decided to start my own platform.

The book covers 10 years, and every event in the book shows how I navigated my teenage years, and it wasn’t how most people do it…and with this I want to show today’s youth that different is cool. You don’t have to live by everybody else’s rules.

Angie: How did you find the publisher?

Carmela: The publisher was lined up with the person who originally contacted me. The idea is based on a course Professor Eric Koester taught. It’s known as the Creator Institute, and it’s meant to help people discover and demonstrate their purpose through the creation of a book.

Angie: What was it like writing the book?

Carmela: It was amazing. It was a lot of work, but it’s proof that hard work pays off. I actually did all my first drafts during my last college semester because I didn’t want to lose any time.

In time, we got to transition into creating chapters, which is all those smaller stories being put together.

Even though that sounds like it makes things easier, there was still a lot of editing time, for spelling checks and grammar that had to be done, so everyone will get to read the finished version, but there’s a lot of editing that you don’t see.

I did learn that any critiques that were provided on my work were purely constructive, and I got to actively see the book get better and better, and that was an amazing feeling.

Angie: What was your favourite part of the book to write?

Carmela: I loved writing the introduction, because it really sets up the whole book. It covers a lot of ground, but the book dives into so many different things and I’m really excited for everyone to read the finished product!

Angie: What was the biggest challenge in writing the book?

Carmela: Let me start by saying this. When you’re a writer, “writing is re-writing”. This quote is true. I wrote a lot for this book, and I re-wrote a lot for this book too.

You have to be patient, because the book will start to come together. It takes time, but it does. I have a tendency to work until I can’t anymore because I like to use my time wisely. However, don’t be fooled and burn out. It’s okay to take breaks.

Don’t get worried about the word count. Just write. Editing increases your word count. It’ll seem like little fixes, but they add up.

Angie: Any advice for people writing a book?

Carmela: Have post-it notes. I used this technique while I was working on my first drafts. My book covers a number of years, so I would write down the event I wanted to write about and I would put the date on the post-it note too. This allowed me to be able to put everything in order, so the book would flow and the timeline would make sense to the reader.

My other advice is to always write down your ideas. Even that one idea you think won’t slip your mind. Always write everything down.

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@thegenerationclash // 2019

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