cover image The Wilco Book

The Wilco Book

Mark Twain, Rick Moody, Bern Porter, . . PictureBox, $29.95 (160pp) ISBN 978-0-9713670-3-6

In case fans of alt-country turned art-rock band Wilco didn't get enough pertinent reading material this year—including front man Jeff Tweedy's poetry collection, Adult Head , and rock critic Greg Kot's affectionate band bio, Wilco: Learning How to Die —there's this lavishly designed and gorgeously printed collaboration between band members and the New York design company PictureBox. Meant to capture the soulful, rockin', poetically inscrutable essence of Wilco's art, it collects essays, drawings and random comments by Wilco members, organized by their collective interests, including "The Loft" where they rehearse, "The Instruments" they use and the process of "Making a Record." Accompanied by a CD of unreleased material and generously illustrated with beautiful color photographs by Michael Schmelling, it also features Henry Miller's classic essay on creativity, "The Angel Is My Watermark"; an often tortured look at five Wilco songs by Rick Moody; and a section on how the band's soundman prepares for a live concert that gives a fascinating look at the workday of professional musicians. While the book's beauty can't mask its lack of context—biographical or musical—for anyone with a casual interest in the band, there are plenty of hardcore fans out there who'll find it required reading. (Nov.)