Gordon Lightfoot once sang: “If you could read my mind, love, what a story my thoughts could tell.” As he read the new book from artist Mick Lambrou and Scottsdale author Danny Marianino, It surprises meI thought along that line.
I have known Marianino for over 20 years, and one thing that has always been clear to him is that his thoughts tell a great story, and for the past decade, Marianino has been writing down his many highly entertaining thoughts for us. Via Never hit a rock star (2012), The Revenge Films Megabook Volume 1: The Big Payback (2014), The warring book of movie quotes (2015, and to make things worse (2017), Marianino has been constantly telling stories of his life and love of movies.
More recently, however, he teamed up with Australian artist Lambrou to create Carmine, the main character of It surprises me. Throughout the book, Carmine shares his thoughts on different facets of life, touching on topics like neighbors, famous bands, and people bringing a baby to an adult party. In a way, Carmine speaks for all of us as he expresses his frustrations and bewilderment in chewing cigars at the silly things people do.
Marianino will be signing copies of It surprises me and telling stories at Changing Hands Bookstore in Phoenix at 7 pm on Saturday, May 21.
Carmine is a character with many things on his mind who, perhaps not coincidentally, bears a strong resemblance to Marianino.
“Originally, it was even more like me, and I was like, ‘No, we need to change that just a little bit. She has the Hawaiian shirt and the bald head and the cigars. through our friendship, [Lambrou] he basically channeled what he thought Carmine’s voice would look like, and he still looks like me,” says Marianino.
A lifelong playlist maker, Marianino decided to take some of his playlists and flesh them out a bit.
“The first one I wrote was a rant about Metallica (which is in the book), and I was like, ‘Wow, this is funny. What if I took some of these other rants and wrote more of them? I thought this would be kind of fun as a book with a character. I hyped it up to the point where if it just came from me, people would think I’m crazy, 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 Marianino’s band and Total Gavone clothing line, and built a friendship that spans time zones and an ocean.
“I first met Danny through social media. Danny saw my artwork and asked if he was interested in doing an artwork for the North Side Kings. I was honored to be asked as I have been a fan of NSK for many, many years. Then we worked on art for Danny’s clothing brand Total Gavone and things took off from there…and we’ve been friends ever since,” Lambrou says via email from his home in Australia.
There is a synergy between the two that is obvious, and it seems that there will be more adventures (and misgivings) for Carmine in the future. So far, according to Marianino, book sales have been going very well, so the couple hopes it will create future opportunities.
“I have another book that I am already working on called used to blow my mind. It’s Carmine when he was younger. It’s a kid who complains about things like it took all day for a radio station to play that song you wanted to record and then the DJ talks about some asshole in Indiana who wants to dedicate it to his dead cat during the first 30 seconds of the song ”, says Marianino.
It seems that Lambrou is also on board.
“It has always been a dream of mine to publish a book, (and) doing it with someone I admired and now consider one of my closest friends makes it even more special to me. The possibilities with this concept and our character are endless, so I’m really excited to see where we can take it,” says Lambrou.
That blow my mind book event: Saturday, May 21 at 7 pm, Changing Hands Bookstore, 300 West Camelback Road. Copies of his latest book will be available. There are a limited number of free tickets available, or you can buy the book for $15.95 for a guaranteed seat.