Unstrung: Rants and Stories of a Noise Guitarist (Paperback)

Unstrung: Rants and Stories of a Noise Guitarist By Marc Ribot Cover Image


The paperback edition of iconoclastic guitar player Marc Ribot’s darkly funny and subversive collection of writing, featuring brand-new essays not included in the hardcover.

“A slim yet powerful book in which Marc Ribot blends bits of memoir with strange little fictions, many of which are based on his own life and career.” Wall Street Journal

Throughout his genre-defying career as one of the most innovative musicians of our time, iconoclastic guitar player Marc Ribot has consistently defied expectation at every turn. Here, in the expanded paperback edition of Ribot’s first collection of writing, we see that same uncompromising sensibility at work as he playfully interrogates our assumptions about music, life, and death. Through essays—including some new material not included in the hardcover—short stories, and the occasional unfilmable film “mistreatment” that showcase the sheer range of his voice, Unstrung captures an artist whose versatility on the page rivals his dexterity onstage.

In the first section of the book, "Lies and Distortion," Ribot turns his attention to his instrument--"my relation to the guitar is one of struggle; I'm constantly forcing it to be something else"--and reflects on his influences (and friends) like Robert Quine (the Voidoids) and producer Hal Willner (Saturday Night Live), while delivering an impassioned plea on behalf of artists' rights. Elsewhere, we glimpse fragments of Ribot's life as a traveling musician--he captures both the monotony of touring as well as small moments of beauty and despair on the road. In the heart of the collection, "Sorry, We're Experiencing Technical Difficulties," Ribot offers wickedly humorous short stories that synthesize the best elements of the Russian absurdist tradition with the imaginative heft of George Saunders. Taken together, these stories and essays cement Ribot's position as one of the most dynamic and creative voices of our time.

Praise For…

Not all musicians who write books know how to play a sentence. Ribot seems to have that talent. Maybe this is because he feels what he writes rather than writes what he feels. It’s the difference between favoring metonym, which Ribot does, and fetishizing metaphor, which Ribot does not . . . [What] Ribot seems to be saying in Unstrung is don’t give in to the complacency, conformity, and compliance that will eventually metastasize to your soul.
— New City Lit

Ribot is an all-American original, and this collection provides plenty of insight into his fascinating mind.
— Kirkus Reviews

Unstrung . . . delivers everything one could hope from a guitar hero/activist/cultural critic: that is, complex culture and musical theory broken down into tasteful riffs, absurdist tales of our times, and plenty of sparse, unpretentious prose as well-honed as any major American writer.

— BOMB Magazine

Ribot is not only a gifted musician but also a talented wordsmith, and this quirky volume will appeal to music aficionados who appreciate strong writing with observational, intelligent, and provocative themes.
— Library Journal

Ribot . . . produced a book that is much like his musical output: difficult to categorize but fascinating and engaging.
— Inside Hook

Marc Ribot is . . . a heck of a writer, as evidenced by this anthology of essays and profiles. Ribot’s writing is intense and immediate . . . [His] varied approach leaves a reader off-kilter, subverting easy expectations, yet yielding rewards no matter the mode.
— Razorcake

Unstrung is proof that the iconoclast Marc Ribot has a way with words commensurate with his guitar virtuosity . . . Ribot's is the voice of an outsider breaking through. It's the voice of an original.

— Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

At its best, Ribot’s writing resembles his music: It’s challenging, unique, and very humane.
— Washington Examiner

In literature as in music, addressing topics directly isn't Ribot's way. . . As a sideman—with Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, Marianne Faithfull, Yoko Ono, Arto Lindsay, James Carter, Susana Baca, the Jazz Passengers, and his musical soulmate John Zorn, among countless others—he's always aimed to be direct and disruptive simultaneously, and the same goes for his writing.
— Robert Christgau, And It Don't Stop
Product Details
ISBN: 9781636140674
ISBN-10: 163614067X
Publisher: Akashic Books, Ltd.
Publication Date: November 1st, 2022
Pages: 240
Language: English