Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Joe Bonomo  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Non-Fiction Poetry

Audience: Adult;

Born: Wheaton, Maryland


-- Facebook -- https://www.facebook.com/jwbon
-- Facebook -- http://www.facebook.com/people/Joseph-Bonomo/100001036027011#!/profile.php?id=657877505&sk=info=joe+bonomo
-- Instagram -- http://instagram.com/jwbon#
-- Twitter -- https://twitter.com/BonomoJoe
-- Website -- http://www.nosuchthingaswas.com/
-- Joe Bonomo on WorldCat -- http://www.worldcat.org/search?q=joe+bonomo


Illinois Connection

Bonomo resides in DeKalb, Illinois and has been an English professor at Northern Illinois University since 1995.

Biographical and Professional Information

Joe Bonomo is a poet, essayist and rock and roll writer. He was born and raised in suburban Washington, D.C.; graduating from the University of Maryland. His masters and PhD were earned from Ohio University. His personal essays and poems have appeared in numerous print and online journals and magazines. Along with his books listed below, Bonomo also edited, ''Conversations with Greil Marcus''.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

Sweat: The Story of the Fleshtones, America's Garage Band
ISBN: 0826428460

Continuum. 2007

"Joe Bonomo has written a fine book: a book not only about a band or times passed, but also about the rare virtue of endurance."
-Nick Tosches, author of Hellfire: The Jerry Lee Lewis Story


May of 2006 marked the Fleshtones' 30th anniversary as the only band from the mid-70s New York City Punk/New Wave scene that hasn't had an inactive year. In that time they've amassed an incredible history-they shared a practice space with the Cramps in the 70s, they shared a label (IRS) with R.E.M. in the 80s, and the likes of Steve Albini and Peter Buck have produced them. They've opened for James Brown and Chuck Berry, played at the same summer festivals as Iggy Pop. They've thrilled audiences from coast to coast and have a hundred and one connections to some of the biggest names in rock & roll history, and yet you've probably never heard of them.

Until now.

Sweat is not the typical rock & roll story of stars, stacks of money, or wild, unbridled triumphs it's the story of a band that has reached the threshold of fame many times over, but never quite made it a band that contributed to numerous sea changes in the New York City music scene, but unlike many of the bands around them, didn't come out the other side famous or drenched in cool. Sweat is a bare-knuckled, compelling account of road-paving rock & roll played in the real world, where success measured over the long haul is redefined each and every hard-won morning and where patience, vision and determination do not always lead to prosperity. Join author Joe Bonomo as he guides you through the peaks and valleys of the Fleshtones' impressive career, and enjoy an insider's view of three decades in New York City's music scene along the way.

Featuring interviews with Robert Christgau, Steve Albini, Peter Buck, Barney Hoskyns,New York Doll manager Marty Thau, CBGB owner Hilly Kristal and more, Sweat is more than just the story of a band, it's a rock & roll allegory for anyone who has ever persevered in the face of adversity, and the soul sucking pressure of the status quo, to continue to do what they loved.

Jerry Lee Lewis: Lost and Found
ISBN: 0826429661

Continuum. 2009

A superb new study of Jerry Lee Lewis that's as intense and fast paced as the life of "The Killer" himself, from the height of fame to the bumpy road that followed

"The category in which Jerry Lee Lewis truly belongs is 'Jerry Lee Lewis.' The Killer is as big as Mount Rushmore, and he's also as American, as revered, as cliché d, as misunderstood, as corny, and as taken for granted as that monument. The curse of iconoclastic American success. Elvis felt it, so does Dylan. So will others who haven't been born yet."

The story of Louisiana hellcat Jerry Lee Lewis and his 1958 wedding scandal—it was discovered that at 22 he had married his 13-year old second cousin, Myra, before he was divorced from his second wife—long ago took precedence over the man himself and the music he makes. In Jerry Lee Lewis: Lost and Found, author Joe Bonomo lets others focus on the scandal and delves more deeply into the accidental intersection between fading American Rockabilly and ascending Beatlemania. By first taking a look at the critical years before his famed night in 1964 at West Germany's Star-Club — what that meant not only for him but the entire live album-making world — then the tumultuous years that follow, culminating in his time on the American Country charts in the late 60s/ early 70s, Bonomo brings Jerry Lee Lewis to life in new and fascinating ways.

In spite of plummeting record sales and concert fees, a media savaging of his personal character, a change of record labels and management, and a considerable upturn in his drug and alcohol abuse, Jerry Lee Lewis has persevered. In between being betrayed and ignored, he would record one of the greatest rock &roll performances in history. Bonomo's thorough research includes new interviews with Live at the Star-Club producer Sigi Loch, members of the Nashville Teens, and other musicians and fans who were at the Star-Club performance, as well as with music industry figures ranging from famed Nashville producer Jerry Kennedy and legendary Memphis stalwart Jim Dickinson to Killer-influenced contemporaries John Doe and Dave Alvin. This passionate book examines and explains the almighty impact of the Father of Rock'n'Roll.


Installations (National Poetry Series)
ISBN: 014311395X

Penguin Books. 2008

Selected for the 2007 National Poetry Series by Naomi Shihab Nye

The prose poems in Installations invite the reader to encounter, in one extraordinary afternoon, a series of twenty art installations where something fantastic, perhaps improbable, occurs at the intersection of installed and imagined, spectator and event. Installations unites personal experience, suspense, and narrative—in those moments when we are forever altered by the mysterious and the enchanted.

AC DC's Highway To Hell (33 1/3)
ISBN: 1441190287

Continuum. 2010

Released in 1979, AC/DC's Highway To Hell was the infamous last album recorded with singer Bon Scott, who died of alcohol poisoning in London in February of 1980. Officially chalked up to "Death by Misadventure," Scott's demise has forever secured the album's reputation as a partying primer and a bible for lethal behavior, branding the album with the fun chaos of alcoholic excess and its flip side, early death. The best songs on Highway To Hell achieve Sonic Platonism, translating rock & roll's transcendent ideals in stomping, dual-guitar and eighth-note bass riffing, a Paleolithic drum bed, and insanely, recklessly odd but fun vocals.
Joe Bonomo strikes a three-chord essay on the power of adolescence, the durability of rock & roll fandom, and the transformative properties of memory. Why does Highway To Hell matter to anyone beyond non-ironic teenagers? Blending interviews, analysis, and memoir with a fan's perspective, Highway To Hell dramatizes and celebrates a timeless album that one critic said makes "disaster sound like the best fun in the world."

This Must Be Where My Obsession With Infinity Began
ISBN: 0615755453

Orphan Press. 2013

In this provocative collection of essays, Joe Bonomo interrogates the dark edges of his suburban youth and explores issues of spirituality, sex, violence, and myth. From the memory of a rebellious Catholic schoolgirl to a coming-of-age story in a porn theater, Bonomo turns a prism lens on desire and faith and the body's role in both, and ultimately questions the fallibility as well as the enduring power of memory.


Awards

Bonomo is a recipient of fellowship awards in both prose and poetry from the Illinois Arts Council.

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (No)