Lit Up is always looking for the best literary night out…
This Mexican-folk flavored group will be playing DC’s 9:30 Club on April 8.
The David Wax Museum is primarily David Wax and Suz Slezak, who come together along with an accordion, donkey jaw bone, horns and more to bring you some seriously danceable Latin inspired music. They were nice enough to answer our questions about their reading tastes when they’re not on stage:
There’s a lot of international and musical history heritage behind your music, have you been influenced by any particular books along the way as well?
Our music is strongly influenced by traditional Mexican folk music. I fell in love with this style of music at the same time that I developed an interest and passion for Mexican history and culture. Three of my favorite books in this vein are John Womack’s “Zapata and the Mexican Revolution,” Roberto Bolaño’s “The Savage Detectives,” and “El llano en llamas (or The Burning Plains)” by Juan Rulfo.
Do you get a lot of reading done on tour, and if so, do you have any recommendations for our readers?
Yes, I actually find a good amount of time to read in the van. I’ve always been a voracious reader and touring has let me continue the habit. My favorite books from the last year: Elena Ferrante’s “The Story of a New Name” and “My Brilliant Friend,” “Shadow Country” by Peter Matthiessen, “Leaving the Atocha Station” by Ben Lerner and Robert Caro’s 4-volume biography of Lyndon Johnson.
Are there any titles that you think would pair well to read while listening to your band’s music?
I honestly find it hard to listen to music and read at the same time, so that’s a tricky question for me. But for those who don’t mind, there are so many wonderful works of Latin American fiction that could be fun to read while listening to the David Wax Museum. Four of my favorite works of Latin American literature are The City and the Dogs by Mario Vargas Llosa, “The Lost Steps” by Alejo Carpentier, “Fictions” by Jorge Luis Borges, and “Delirio” by Laura Restrepo.
Is there an author you’d like to have listen to your music?
I absolutely love the poetry of Denis Johnson. While I’m writing, his book “The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations Millennium General Assembly: Poems Collected and New” is what I turn to most for lyrical inspiration. I would be honored to have him hear my music.
Where is your favorite place to get lost in a book?
Until recently I lived in Western Massachusetts. There is a magical place there called The Montague Bookmill and Lady Killigrew Cafe, a used bookstore/cafe housed in an old gristmill from the mid-1800’s that overlooks a beautiful river. It is easily one of the most inspiring places to read and write that I have found in my travels.
Find out just how much you’re going to dance when you see them live by checking out their video for “Harder Before It Gets Easier” from Shutter & String.
This is wonderful (both the interview and the band)! I’d love to spend the rest of my day at The Montague Bookmill and Lady Killigrew Cafe now, too.