Gordon Lightfoot once sang, “If you could read my mind, love, what a tale my thoughts could tell.” As I read through artist Mick Lambrou and Scottsdale author Danny Marianino’s new book, It Blows My Mind
, I thought about that line.
I've known Marianino for over 20 years now, and one thing that has always been clear is that his thoughts tell quite a tale, and for the past decade, Marianino has been writing his numerous and highly entertaining thoughts down for us. Through Don’t Ever Punch a Rockstar
(2012), The Megabook of Revenge Films Volume 1: The Big Payback
(2014), The Belligerent Book of Movie Quotes
(2015, and To Make Matters Worse
(2017), Marianino has been consistently telling tales of his life and love of movies.
More recently, though, he's partnered with Australian artist Lambrou to create Carmine, the main character of It Blows My Mind
. Throughout the book, Carmine shares his thoughts about different facets of life and touches on topics like neighbors, famous bands, and people who bring a baby to a party for adults. In a way, Carmine speaks for us all as he voices his frustrations and cigar-chomping bemusement at the inane things people often do.
Marianino will be signing copies of It Blows My Mind
and telling stories at Changing Hands Bookstore in Phoenix at 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 21.
Carmine is a character with a lot on his mind who, maybe not accidentally, resembles Marianino quite a bit.
“Originally, he looked even more like me, and I was like, ‘No, we have to change that just a little bit. He has the Hawaiian shirt and the bald head and the cigars. Through our friendship, [Lambrou] basically channeled what he thought the voice of Carmine would look like, and he still kind of looks like me,” says Marianino.
A lifelong list-maker, Marianino decided to take some of his lists and flesh them out a bit.
“The first one I wrote down was a rant about Metallica (which is in the book), and I was like, ‘Boy, this is funny. What if I was to take some of these other rants and write more to them? I thought this would be kind of funny as a book with a character. I exaggerated it to the point where, if it were just coming from me, people would think I’m crazy, so that's how Carmine evolved,” says Marianino.
Lambrou and Marianino originally met while discussing art for Marianino’s band, North Side Kings (full disclosure: I was also a member of North Side Kings). The pair collaborated on a few projects for the band and Marianino’s Total Gavone clothing line, and built a friendship that spans time zones and an ocean.
“I initially met Danny through social media. Danny saw my artwork and asked if I was interested in doing some artwork for North Side Kings. I was honored to be asked, as I've been a NSK fan for many, many years. Then we worked on artwork for Danny's clothing brand, Total Gavone, and things took off from there ... and we've been friends ever since,” says Lambrou via email from his home in Australia.
There is a synergy between the two that jumps off the page, and it seems that there will be further adventures (and misgivings) for Carmine in the future. So far, according to Marianino, book sales have been going really well, so the pair hope it will lead to future opportunities.
“I have another book I’m already working on called It Used To Blow My Mind
. It’s Carmine when he was younger. He’s a kid complaining about stuff like how it used to take all day for a radio station to play that one song you wanted to record and then the DJ talks about some asshole in Indiana that wants to dedicate it to his dead cat over the first 30 seconds of the song,” says Marianino.
It sounds like Lambrou is on board, as well.
“It's always been a dream of mine to release a book, (and) to do it with someone who I admired and now consider one of my closest friends makes it even more special for me. The possibilities with this concept and our character are endless, so I'm very excited to see where we can take it,” says Lambrou.
It Blows My Mind book event: 7 p.m. Saturday, May 21, Changing Hands Bookstore, 300 West Camelback Road. Copies of his latest book will be on hand. A limited amount of free tickets are available, or you can purchase the book for $15.95 for a guaranteed seat.