Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Notorious asshole Tucker Max explains his writing process

Posted By on Wed, Sep 29, 2010 at 9:00 AM

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Tucker Max is famous -- and hated -- for his stories of debauchery. (In fact, "debauchery" might be a bit mild for what Max is known for.) His first book, I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell, featured sex, shit, midgets, lots of alcohol and many, many women. Max's writing has been at the forefront of what's now known as "fratire," and his legions of fans sell out venues wherever he appears.

His new book, Assholes Finish First, came out yesterday from Gallery Books. The author spoke with us about his writing process, endorsement deals, and asks a few questions of his own.

Is your new book is entitled

Assholes Finished First as a way to silence your critics right

out of the gate?

No. I don't give a fuck. I've never

given a fuck about my critics in the past, and I don't care about them

now. It's called Assholes Finish First because that's a cool

book title.

When you write your stories do you

write for yourself or for your fans?

I still write the same way, with the

same basic idea as when I started. These stories started as e-mails

to my friends. There were, like, nine of us from law school, all

friends and we graduated and went to different cities and we did all

kinds of the same stuff we did in law school, except we couldn't talk

with each other in the law library the next day. So, I just started

writing e-mails to those guys about the dumb drunken things I would

do, and that's still my thought process: just, "Are my friends going

to laugh at this?" 

You can't bullshit your friends. And, you can't waste your friends'

time. It's got to be funny and it's got to be compelling, and you've

got to get to the point. That's kind of how I started, and I've never

really veered from that, in terms of my writing.

I was re-reading parts of I Hope

They Serve Beer In Hell, and I noticed that you wrote some of

these stories right after they happened. Are there times where you're

in the middle of something, and you think to yourself, "This'll

make a great story?"

It depends. There's definitely times

where something crazy's happened, and I'll think to myself, "What

the fuck is going on?" or "Where am I right now?" or whatever.

It's not like right when I'm in the middle of mid-thrust with some

girl where it's like, "Oh, how will I write this up in the story?"

It doesn't work that way. 

I just go out, and have fun, and do the

things I like to do. Then, maybe the next day, if I think it's funny,

I'll sit down and start writing or writing down notes. Some things,

it's just obvious, like, I don't know...a threesome with midgets.

That story's in Assholes Finish First. Clearly,

that's going to be a fucking story. Fucking insane and amazing and

you know that's going to go in the book. But, there's other things

that aren't as obvious, and I have to sit down and write them out and

think about them before I think, "Oh, this is pretty funny. I can

make this a story."

Speaking

of "mid-thrust," do you have a particular brand of condom you'd

recommend for its efficacy?

Not

until they pay me, brother. There is one specific kind I do prefer,

but until they pay me, they don't get my endorsement.

Have

you tried to work out any endorsement deals?

Yes

and no. I have not aggressively pursued it because all the times I've

pursued it a little bit or had companies come to me, it's like

everyone who wants to do an endorsement, wants all this other shit

from me. Basically, they want to control me. I'm not going to take

the man's money if it means taking his boot on my neck. 

If Durex

wanted to come to me and say, "Here's a hundred grand, and we want

you to endorse our condom," and it's a condom I like and I use, and

they're like, "Anything else you do, be who you are," then I

might be on board. That's the only way I'd be willing to endorse

something, and no company is willing to do that.

You

do endorse some things, though; there's Grey Goose and Red Bull in

your stories.

That's

more like, "This is what I use." Who doesn't drink Red Bull,

though? If you go out drinking, and you like vodka, of course you've

had Red Bull. I'm not going to go out of my way to pretend I'm not

using something just because some company's not paying me. There is

one alcohol I mention by name in Assholes Finish First:

Deep Eddy Sweet Tea vodka. It's like, the best fucking alcohol I've

had in 15 years. 

I want them to endorse me, because I love this shit.

I love it. I drink it, like, it's ridiculous how much I drink this

stuff. But I'm not going to go them and be all like, "Pay me money,

so I'll talk about your stuff." I already like it, and if they like

my stuff, then cool. Send me some free cases. But, it's like, that

sort of money and that sort of stuff changes incentives. 

Not to sound

like some weirdo Marxist, but I'd much rather keep the purity of

motive and the purity of incentive than take $15,000 and like

something stupid that I hate because somebody cut me a check.

Speaking of motives: what are yours?

Why

does anyone create art -- any art?

Because

they have to.

I

rarely get the right answer when I ask that. Absolutely right. People

ask me all the time, "I want to be a writer, can you give me some

advice?" Ask I always ask them why they want to be a writer, and

almost never do I get the right answer, and the answer is, "Because

I have to." 

If you have something that you have to say, then you

should be a writer. If you want to be a writer for any other reason -

you like the idea of being a writer, you think it'd be fancy, you

want the respect that comes with it - then you shouldn't do it. 

I

ran from writing entertainment my whole life, and it kept coming back

to me, and kept coming back to me, and eventually, I was like, "This

is what I need to do. All my friends are telling me, 'This is your

path.'" I eventually took it, and it's worked out for me. My goals

as an entertainer are the same as any other entertainer. I want to

entertain people and make their lives a little bit better by making

them laugh and maybe making them think a little bit, but whatever. 

After food, shelter, warmth, entertainment's pretty important, you

know?

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