|#57 in the 33 1/3 series of books about music history and criticism.|
People in Your Neighborhood: D.X. Ferris: Akron Writer/Author/Publisher
by Joanna Wilson
How many books from the 33 1/3 series do you have on your bookshelf? I have at least a half dozen but I'm a pop culture junkie so I want more (my wallet is the only thing that holds me back!) Did you know that the author of Slayer's Reign in Blood from the 33 1/3 series, D.X. Ferris, lives here in Akron? In addition, Ferris' writing is included in the newest release from Bloomsbury Press, How to Write About Music: Excerpts from the 33 1/3 Series, Magazines, Books and Blogs with Advice from Industry-leading Writers (2015). Holy crap! Akron is home to a ridiculous amount of talent.
|Released February 2015.|
You may also recognize Ferris' name from his time writing for Cleveland's Scene magazine, from 2002-2010. I first met Ferris about four or five years ago after my first book The Christmas TV Companion (2009) was published and we discovered our mutual interest in unusual Christmas entertainment. He also possesses a wicked sense of humor. Since then, I've struggled to keep up with his many accomplishments. Check out Ferris' bio:
D.X. Ferris is an Ohio Society of Professional Journalists Reporter of the Year (2011). He is also the author of "Slayer's Reign in Blood," which is part of Bloomsbury Academic's prestigious 33 1/3 series. His work has appeared in A.V. Club, RollingStone.com, Alternative Press, the Village Voice, Decibel, Metal Sucks, and other outlets. His Heavy Metal Game of Thrones Reviews most recently ran on Diffuser.fm. Popdose.com hosts his ongoing webcomic, Suburban Metal Dad. He has appeared on various podcasts as a pop-culture pundit. His Pentagrammarian.com collects thoughts on grammar, usage, ethics, writing, and the business thereof. He was thrown out of Slayer’s South of Heaven tour when a misdirected crowd surf landed him onstage.
|Ferris' most recent book on Slayer from 6623 Press.|
Yet this impressive background bio leaves out what he's up to these days. After writing the book for the 33 1/3 series, Ferris went on to start up his own book publishing company 6623 Press to launch a longer, follow-up biography entitled Slayer 66 2/3: The Jeff & Dave Years (2013). When asked about his interest in Slayer and metal, Ferris responded, "I’ve been a metalhead since middle school. I’ve always been a Slayer fan, but I spent a lot of the 90s and early 00’s not listening to much metal. It strikes me as ironic that people listen to angry, fast, cathartic music when they’re young, and then they put it away when they get old. But no matter how frustrated and angry you are when you’re 15, it’s NOTHING compared to what you have to deal with when you’re 35 and you have a job and you have to deal with moron middle managers. When you’re a grown-ass adult, metal makes a lot more sense. So the longer I was out of school, the more I drifted back to metal. Metal is one of the few things that have held my interest my entire life."
Later, Ferris' 6623 Press also published For Whom the Cowbell Tolls: 25 Years of Paul's Boutique (2014) written by Dan LeRoy and Peter Relic. (Dan LeRoy is a fellow 33 1/3 series writer having penned the Beastie Boys' Paul's Boutique (2006) book.) 6623 Press continues to publish "reasonably priced, unconventional books about pop culture and other cool stuff."
|Ferris' 6623 Press published this book about the Beastie Boys' album Paul's Boutique.|
Ferris also co-wrote a parenting and performance manual about martial arts in 2014. Ferris told me, "I’ve been studying martial arts since the 1990s, and that led to my most recent book, which I co-wrote with Hudson’s Grandmaster Ryan Andrachik, who owns the Asian Sun schools. It’s called The Martial Arts Parents' Frequently Asked Questions: Unlocking Your Child's Potential Through Martial Arts. It’s his expertise as a father of four and as the head of Ohio’s largest martial arts school, filtered through my curiosity as a fellow parent, and my experience as a writer-publisher."
|Suburban Metal Dad #125|
As if that wasn't enough, Ferris also creates a twice-weekly comic strip, Suburban Metal Dad. Ferris explained to me, "Comic strips and comic books are a second thing that have always held my attention. Peanuts is a cornerstone of my cultural mythology. I never considered myself creative. I can write, but I spent all of high school and college trying to coax some original creative work out of myself. And in eight years, my total output was a couple short stories. I could just never make anything happen...I mean, as anyone who has seen my strip can testify: Even after four years of biweekly strips, I cannot draw. But 30 years of listening to punk rock has taught me this: You don’t need to be Jimmy Page if you want to play guitar. Sit down, just do it. Do your thing your way, to the best of your ability. And eventually, if you work hard and get lucky, maybe some other people will appreciate it for what it is." You can easily follow Ferris' comic at Popdose.com and through Twitter HERE.
|Suburban Metal Dad #258|
And, he works as an Adjunct Professor teaching at the University of Akron. I'm exhausted just describing it all! When I asked him about profiling him for Akron Empire, he told me, "I’m from Pittsburgh, but I love & respect Akron. I’ve been a Devo guy since way back: Everybody else heard “Whip It,” and they were amused for a minute, and they moved on quickly. Me, I wanted more. I kept going down the Devo path. So, 30-plus years later, I live in Akron, my kids were born here, and I have huge civic pride. I understand that Akron is not a suburb of Cleveland. Akron has its own culture and tradition." Ferris' plans for future projects stretch longer than Market Street. Isn't it inspiring to know how much activity, creativity, and talent exists in Akron right now?
Stay tuned to Ferris' projects at http://www.6623Press.com
and Ferris' books--at times--can be purchased at Square Records in Highland Square. Look for them when you're in there. They tend to sell out!