Writer and Philadelphia native Jason Mulgrew has a lot to brag about: He's currently traveling across the Midwest to promote his new book, he maintains a popular blog and was named one of People's 50 hottest bachelors. However, Mulgrew's stock in trade is more about poking fun at himself than impressing others, as the title of his book – Everything Is Wrong with Me: A Memoir of an American Childhood Gone, Well, Wrong – certainly attests. As part of his Midwest odyssey, Mulgrew will appear for a reading and book-signing event at Flannery's Pub downtown on Monday, August 9 at 6 pm. Recently, he took a few minutes to answer some questions from OhioAuthority.
OhioAuthority: About how long had you been blogging before the opportunity to write the book came about? Was it something you'd been kicking around for a while, or did someone approach you about it?
Jason Mulgrew: I was fortunate in that someone approached me about it. You have to remember, I started a blog way back in 2004, back when traditional media and entertainment companies had no idea what they were and thus were willing to throw money at people who wrote them. Long (kinda boring) story short, many years later, I crapped out the book – which, I would like to point out, is not a cut and paste job from the blog. The blog is about how I suck now, but the book is about how I sucked as a kid. Totally different, obviously.
OA: You grew up in Philadelphia, went to college in Boston, and have lived and worked in New York City and Los Angeles. Is there another great American city on your list, or are you content with NYC for the time being?
JM: New York City is good because it’s a great fit for a lazy man like myself. On my street, there are a half-dozen bars, a Thai place, a Mexican place, delis, bodegas, pizza places, laundry/dry cleaners, you name it. I could never walk more than 100 yards away from my apartment and have everything I need to live forever. So, for now, NYC will stay my home.
OA: What was your take on the LeBron incident? We're kind of over it now, but given your informed take on professional sports, we want to know what you think.
JM: Well, I read that you guys recently signed Ramon Sessions, so the whole loss of LeBron shouldn’t be an issue anymore.
OA: Have you been to Cleveland before? Approximately how much time have people spent telling you it's a horrible place?
JM: I have never been to Cleveland before, and I’m really, really looking forward to it. I think this is because I think that Philly, my hometown, and Cleveland are kinda soul mates – tortured fan bases (though you guys now have it much worse), good people in a good city that both get a bad rap, and I’m assuming there are a number of chubby people in both places, based on solely on the fact that I’m from Philly and I’m chubby and Drew Carey is from Cleveland and he is chubby. But otherwise, like Philly, Cleveland seems like a fun, no-nonsense good drinking town. Which I guess I’ll find out about on Monday night.
And by the way, those who aren’t familiar with me or what I do are more than welcome to come on Monday. If you haven’t read my book, don’t worry – you and most of my family and friends have a lot in common, so we’ll get along just fine.
OA: On your blog, you frequently do a feature called "Six Songs", where you let readers know what you're listening to right now. Would you be able to give us a quick six songs?
JM: “Hold On You” by Jeff Bridges: Cleveland is part of an 1,800-mile drive that I’m doing (alone) in my beat-up black 1996 Lincoln Town Car throughout the Midwest, reading and meeting people in bars. So, I’ve been comparing my little trip to the Jeff Bridges’ character’s odyssey in Crazy Heart (particularly in regards to the drinking and vomiting).
“Stranger” by Dr. Dog: Loving these guys and this album. Definitely a song that you crank up in the car when you’re by yourself, hopped up on Diet Coke and combos, and want to party a little bit.
“Whole Lotta Rosie” by AC/DC: One of my all-time favorites; I think I had the car above 100 mph while listening to this. I swear, I want the middle name of my first male child to be “Bon.”
“Trouble Comes Running” by Spoon: Love the frenetic energy. “Are you picking up/Are you picking up what I’m putting down?” and “Slaves are on the horses/Princes walk the ground like they’re slaves.” Oh, Britt. Where do you come up with this stuff?
“Fuzzy” by Grant Lee Buffalo: I have a playlist called “Let’s Make Out or Something” for those times when it’s appropriate to play softer, soothing music when trying to seduce a lady (or in my case, when you’re falling asleep on your pull-out couch while watching an episode of Dateline). What I love about Grant Lee Buffalo is that they have two appropriately-titled songs on this playlist, “Fuzzy” and “Honey Don’t Think.” I can only imagine there’s a track on their next album called “Shhh – It’ll Be Over In, Like, Thirty Seconds.”
“Hang With Me” by Robyn: A friend played this for me last weekend, and boy, it’s a pretty hot track. And yes, I have no problem recommending an AC/DC song about sleeping with a fat woman and a song by a Swedish dance-pop sensation. I do it all, baby.
Everything Is Wrong with Me: Memoirs of An American Childhood Gone, Well, Wrong is available from independent booksellers, Borders, Barnes & Noble, Amazon and IndieBound. Books will not be sold at the event, so pick yours up before you stop by for a beer.