Monday, December 31, 2012

One way to wait out the new year...

I know what you're thinking: I got this new Kindle/Nook for Christmas and I want to kill some time while I wait for the New Year's Eve's activities to begin. Might I suggest a book? How about BASEMENT SONGS?

Both Kindle and Nook editions of the book are available for $5.99 and all proceeds go to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Kindle edition can be purchase here:

Nook edition can be purchased here:

And of course, you can order the paperback from Lulu

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Happy Anniversary, Julie!

Julie and went out for our anniversary tonight and stopped at Two Bucks in North Olmsted for a night cap. The jukebox was loaded with more music than I've ever seen, one of those digital machines that has access to nearly everything under the sun. Highlight of the night was hearing Springsteen's "Book of Dreams," (our love song) followed by this Los Lobos deep cut that was also played at our wedding.

Happy Anniversary to my beloved wife, Julie. 19 years have flown by.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A lengthy review of the book

Some very nice reviews of BASEMENT SONGS from readers have begun to pop up. There are three over at Amazon, one at Goodreads, and then there is this one by my colleague Ted Asregadoo. Ted and I have known each other for several years, first through blogging, and then as a part of the Popdose staff. We've collaborated on some cool projects (including a Lost/Peter Gabriel experiment) and finally met in 2011 when I was in San Fran.

Ted just got the book this past week and he just finished it. This review appears on his blog, Py Korry.

Please read the review pump up the numbers to Ted's site!  Leave a comment it you like.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Whomobile

As per the request of my good friend, Ted Asregadoo, here is the only known photograph of the Whomobile (together with the North Olmsted Boys Cross Country team), taken the summer of 1987 (if I'm not mistaken).

As I try to convey in BASEMENT SONGS, this Whomobile was more than just a car, it was a statement of individuality. It's incredible that after 25 years the thought of that machine still brings happy thoughts to my mind.

Thanks to my old friend, Phil Sprague, for sending me this photo several years ago. If anyone knows the names of the other fine fellows in the picture please let me know!

Thursday, December 20, 2012


Thanks to my friend, Rob Smith, BASEMENT SONGS is now listed on Goodreads. For anyone who has read the book, a quick review on the site would be greatly appreciated!  Same goes for Amazon, if you've had a chance to read BASEMENT SONGS, your thoughts will help draw up interest.

Here's a link:

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Simple thoughts on Newtown

It's difficult to put into words how I feel about Friday's tragedy. I was at work when the news broke in Los Angeles, and the busy events of that work day suppressed any anger, sadness and fear that I had. It wasn't until just a few minutes ago, with Sunday winding down, that it all came out. I just want to cry and punch something at the same time.

When something of this magnitude happens, all I want to do is grab my children and wrap them in my arms. To have either Sophie or Jake ripped from my life would devastate me, as I'm sure it would do any parent. My thoughts and prayers go out to those grieving families in Connecticut. The world is with you, not that that will bring you any comfort anytime soon.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Sophie's Springsteen Tape/ Chapter preview

Once upon a time, we went to Hawaii.

In 2003 our family took a trip to Hawaii so I could run the Honolulu Marathon. I raised over $10K for the CF Foundation training for that race. Here's the chapter from Basement Songs that explains how we wound up there and why the music of Bruce Springsteen has become so inspirational to our family.


Bruce Springsteen released his 12th studio album, The Rising, in July 2002, beginning a creative streak that has not let up in ten years. With the U.S. still reeling from the 9/11 terrorist attacks and stories of fallen soldiers in the headlines, the Boss recorded a masterful reflection on loss, sorrow, love, hope, redemption and trying to find one’s way through the darkness.  Each song stands up with his finest material from an extraordinary career that dates back to 1973. Making the album even more compelling was the fact that Springsteen recorded The Rising with the fabled E Street Band for the first time since the early 1980s sessions that resulted in Born in the USA.  Springsteen fans rejoiced, as this was what we’d been waiting for since Springsteen and the E Street Band had reunited for a triumphant tour in 1999.
At that time in the life of my family, we were coming to grips with our own feelings of hopelessness, sorrow, anger, love, hope and struggles with faith.  It was a mere seven months after Jacob had been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.  Personally, I had bottled up many of the fears and doubts that had taken up residency in my mind, foolishly assuming that Julie would not want to discuss my feelings because she was going through the same emotions.  There were many times I wound up crying alone, either secluded in my car, on the couch, or quietly at night while my wife slept next to me.
Just as I’d done throughout my life, I turned to music to help me through some of those dark times.  More than any album I listened to, The Rising tapped into the well of feelings I was experiencing.  In many ways, it saved me.  What The Rising also did was bring the music of Bruce Springsteen into the hearts of my children and create a special bond for our family, providing joy and inspiration for all four of us.
The album was a critical and commercial success.  In true Springsteen fashion, he and the E Street Band toured the world, including a stop in Barcelona, Spain that was filmed and broadcast on European television.  Around the time of the 2003 Grammy Awards, for which The Rising received multiple nominations, the CBS TV network aired an hour of the Barcelona concert footage to drum up anticipation for the awards show. 
I freakishly set up the VCR to record the program on the Friday night it aired.  Sophie watched in fascination as her wild-eyed fanatical father pressed buttons and frantically searched for a blank VHS tape.  She asked what I was doing, and I explained that I was taping the Springsteen concert.  Excited, Sophie told me she wanted to watch “The Springsteen." 
It was a little dishearteningly when, the next morning, the first thing she asked to watch was...Rugrats.  But it was okay, because the next thing she wanted to see was, yes, “The Springsteen.”
Feeding off of my enthusiasm, Jacob agreed to forego his favorite music videos during his morning breathers therapy.  At the time, he only liked the Wiggles (or “Wiwis,” as he called them) and Sesame Street.  Together the three of us watched The Springsteen, and my kids loved it.  Once his breathers were completed, Jacob insisted on replaying the performance of “Dancing in the Dark.” Free of his Vest and nebulizer tubes, he danced around the room, mimicking Springsteen’s manic behavior.  As for Sophie, she fell in love with violinist Soozie Tyrell.  In a matter of days, my little girl created her own “violin” by taking a recorder, pulling off the bottom piece and shoving a drumstick in the end.  Tucking it under her chin, she’d hold her violin with her left hand and use a second drumstick as the bow.  I was on cloud nine having introduced my children, a new generation, to the music of an artist who had inspired me since my senior year of high school.
A month or so later, Sophie requested her own Springsteen mix tape.  I leapt at the opportunity and created “Sophie’s Springsteen Tape,” incorporating the upbeat songs from the CBS special (there would be time for the sad songs later in life) along with an assortment of Bruce classics every child should know: “Badlands,” “Give the Girl a Kiss,” “Seaside Bar Song,” and “Glory Days,” just to name a few.  Through long road trips and short drives around town, Sophie and Jacob sang along to the choruses from “Lonesome Day” and “The Rising.”   They would bounce their heads to “Lion’s Den” and scream “the change was made uptown and the Big Man joined the band” from “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out.”  My children knew who Clarence Clemons was.  The Big Man!  How cool is that?  Eventually they came to know all of the E Street Band: Max, Garry, Nils, Patti, Danny, the Professor and Little Stevie.
Their favorite song may have been “Mary’s Place.” During this rousing number, Sophie misheard the chorus, singing “Meet me at the wedding place,” which I always felt gave the song a touch of innocence.  During the last verse, as the music quiets and the back-up singers begin calling out “Turn it up,” Julie made it a tradition to literally turn up the music with each call out, then quickly back down again.  This made the kids ecstatic each and every time, and they would laugh and sing with all of their hearts.  I can’t tell you how many times we listened to that tape in our van over a two-year period, until it finally got tangled and snapped from having being loved to death.
In a year that found my children beginning a journey into Springsteen fandom, 2003 also took our family on a journey from our California home to the beaches of Hawaii.  Julie and I were already involved with the CF Foundation’s yearly fundraiser, Great Strides, but I wanted to do more.  People knew so little about cystic fibrosis, and I felt the urge to educate and raise more money for the cause.  At a CF parents function in March I was handed a pamphlet about marathon training.  In a moment of clarity, a single word came to me:
I could run a marathon and raise money for the CF Foundation!  By writing letters about my goal I could educate friends and family, and by punishing my body, I could inspire people to donate and help the efforts to find a cure for CF.  It was a crazy thought, especially given the fact that I hadn’t been a dedicated runner since my high school cross-country days, although “dedicated” is a big stretch when describing my teenage athleticism. Nevertheless, sixteen years after the last time I’d run more than two miles, the idea of running twenty-six-point-two of them was an epiphany.  In fact, it felt like a calling.  And so, I signed up to run the Honolulu Marathon.
Julie, Sophie, Jacob and I flew to Hawaii in December, 2003. As any amateur marathon runner will tell you, that first marathon is an exhilarating experience.  It doesn’t matter how fast you run or where you finish, it’s the sense of accomplishment you receive once you cross the finish line.  Think about it: after months of training and raising $10,000 for the CF Foundation, I was going to be running twenty-six (point two) freaking miles!  The exotic sights of the island only heightened the experience, from the sun rising over the mountains to the vast ocean and the tropical foliage.
The highlight of my race wasn’t the sight-seeing, though.  It came at the dreaded twenty-second mile, “the wall,” as runners call it.  I was met at that point in the race by my trainer, Robert, who jogged alongside me for that offensive mile, the whole time offering words of encouragement and distracting me from the cramp in my side and the aches in my feet.  During our short time on the road together, Robert called Julie on her cell phone.
“We love you,” she said, her voice full of excitement.  Speaking to the love of my life gave me the extra boost I needed when I thought I might keel over.  Pushing forward, I sang to myself the Springsteen songs that I’d taught my children, the very melodies that filled my heart with love, that buoyed me across the finish line to collapse into the arms of my family.
After the race, we began a weeklong stay in Hawaii.  It was one of the greatest vacations ever.  Unlike our trips to Cleveland or Tucson to visit family, this time it was just the four of us.  In that tranquil tropical environment, our lives were on hold, as if the troubles and fears that were a part of our daily routine had been left back in California while we basked in the sun and splashed in the turquoise ocean. 
At week’s end, Julie and I wanted mementos for the kids to remind them of our tropical holiday.  Sophie and Jacob asked for ukuleles.  The size of the instrument was perfect for their little hands, and thus they became the kids’ “guitars.”
Once we returned home, the children continued watching The Springsteen on a regular basis, Sophie with her homemade violin and Jacob with his ukulele/guitar.  They would prance around the living room, singing along to their favorite songs.  Sometimes I would imagine them learning to play the actual instruments and jamming with the real E Street Band.  Hey, a father can dream, can’t he?
“Sophie’s Springsteen Tape,” and its replacement, “Sophie and Jake’s Springsteen CD,” kind of ruined my listening experience of The Rising.  Whenever I hear the title track, I expect to hear “Mary’s Place,” followed by “Lonesome Day,” instead of the original track listing.  I don’t mind, though (sorry, Bruce), because that mix tape not only made the music of Springsteen an important part of Sophie and Jacob’s childhood but provided many lasting memories.  On days when I’m melancholy and I feel that elephant sitting on my chest, I think back to that Hawaiian trip and recall the light in the eyes of my children, or I conjure the sound of their voices singing Springsteen.  Although many years have passed since that time, all it takes to place me in the right frame of mind is to imagine Sophie singing, “Meet me at the wedding place!”
That’s the power of music, my friends.
That’s the power of Bruce Springsteen.

Nook update

Finally figured out the formatting issue and I should have the Nook edition up and running by Sunday night.

And all Nook owners said a collective "Yay!"

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Popdose podcast: The Matt 'N' Jeff Radio Hour

I joined my fellow Popdose writers, Jeff Giles and Matt Wardlaw, to discuss Basement Songs and for some reason Alan "Fitz" Fitzgerald came up in conversation. Please check out the podcast for the Matt 'N' Jeff Radio Hours.

Feel free to discuss how dorky I sound.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

I wonder what he'll think of me

The best response I've gotten for the book release hasn't come from someone who's actually read Basement Songs. The best response has come from Jacob, my wonderful son. When the first book arrived last week, he asked me if he could read it. Knowing that some of the content is a little too mature for him (or rather, I don't want him knowing everything about his dad yet), I told him that I thought the book was a little too adult for him.

      "But do you want to read it?" I asked him.
      "Oh yeah!" Jake exclaimed.

Today my second copy of the book (the corrected version) arrived on our doorstep. After I'd ripped open the box and inspected its formatting, Jake asked, "Dad, how old do I have to be to read your book?"

As a father and a writer, there is no better question to hear from your child. That he's taken an interest in my what I wrote almost brings me to tears. Someday soon he'll get to find out what a dork his dad was and how many boneheaded mistakes he made while growing up. He'll also find out how much I love him, his sister and his mother.

Saturday, December 8, 2012


For those of you thinking, "Man, I'm planning on buying a copy of BASEMENT SONGS, but I'd really like to hear all of the songs Scott is talking about," or for those of you on the fence, curious how the power of a song can cement a moment in your life, I have a treat for you.

I've created a playlist on Grooveshark that contains all of the songs featured in the book. You can go to the Grooveshark website (signing up for Grooveshark is free), or you can listen here!

Basement Songs by Scott Malchus on Grooveshark

Friday, December 7, 2012


If you ordered a copy of the book before Wednesday, 12/5/12, you will likely receive your copy in the mail and discover that there is a technical error between pages 15 and 16.

You will turn page 15 and see "Page 10" and the beginning of the Los Lobos chapter. Then you will see an additional page 15 before you turn the page to page 16.

I apologize for the error and plan to rectify it by sending you a new copy of the book.

One of the perils of self-publishing is learning how it works as you go along. I made a false assumption that I would receive a "proof" copy of the book to approve before any were sent to buyers.

My Lulu page had a button on it that said "approve for distribution." The instructions I read said that the book would not be distributed until I looked over the copy I received in the mail and approved it. This would allow for corrections to the cover or, as is the case here, a technical error in the introduction to the book.

When I received my proof copy on Wednesday, I found the error and quickly fixed it. Today a friend of mine received her books and they still had the technical error. After speaking with a rep from Lulu, I learned that that "approval" button was strictly for outside distribution (i.e. brick and mortar stores and Amazon).

Unfortunately, anyone who bought the book before that correction was made (Bless you, everyone of you), will not get the correct text.

So, if you have one of those copies of the book, please drop me an email with your address so I can get a copy in the mail to you ASAP.

Again, I apologize for the mishap.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Nook Version on the Horizon

After some further research, I discovered that I can publish a Nook edition of BASEMENT SONGS without any additional costs. This is great news for any of you readers who prefer the Barnes and Noble ereader over the Kindle. If all goes well the Nook edition should be available next week. Same price as the Kindle edition.

In other news, 6-8 weeks from now the BASEMENT SONGS paperback will be listed on Amazon, as well. Pretty slick, huh? In the meantime, Lulu is still the place to find the physical book.

One of my friends inquired which edition of the book makes more money for the CF Foundation. If anyone else is curious, the paperback has a slightly higher profit margin. The added bonus is that book looks amazing. I don't want to give anything away, but the first and last pages tie into the cover.

All right, this song isn't featured in the book, but it was in consideration up until the end. I wrote about it a couple years ago on Popdose as it's one of my favorite Christmas songs. The Popdose top 50 Holiday Songs list is right around the corner and I know it's on the list.

Here are the Waitresses.

The book EXISTS!

Here I am with the book cover designer, Joe Game with the very first printed copy of BASEMENT SONGS.

Yes, those are new specs on my face. I was hoping to have them in time for the cover photo, but we couldn't wait any longer.

Thanks to everyone who's bought a copy so far!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

In memory of Seann

Two photographs hang in our kitchen, side by side. In them are the images of my brother-in-law, Seann, taken during the weeks before his untimely death, one year ago. Not a day goes by that I don’t pass by those photos and think, “I miss you, brother.” That thought is screaming to me today, the anniversary of his passing.

Anniversary is an inappropriate word choice; I associate it with celebratio

n. There will be no celebrating today, no hoisting of pints and shouting good cheers in his name. Oh, the drinks will be poured and stories will be shared, but they will all be done with tears in our eyes and heavy hearts.

When the night finally ends and I find myself on the precipice of sleeping, I know that one thought will occupy my mind as it drifts off into my subconscious.

“I miss you, brother.”

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

BASEMENT SONGS is now available!

Book Cover Art & Design by Joe Game ( /

Today I'm pleased to announce that BASEMENT SONGS is available to purchase in paperback and Kindle formats.

The paperback edition sells for $14.99 and is available through  Here is a link to the BASEMENT SONGS paperback book page.

The Kindle edition sells for $5.99 at Amazon.  Here is a link to the BASEMENT SONGS Kindle page.

100% of the profits from the sale of BASEMENT SONGS will go to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

What is a basement song, you ask?

Basement songs hold a special place in our hearts. Decades may pass when suddenly one of these melodies begins playing, instantly reminding you of the time and place it first sank its hooks into your heart or into your soul. It doesn't matter if it was at work, in a car, on your friend’s radio, or in your parents’ basement. What does matter is the music and how it still affects you.

In the book, I explore the songs that influenced and guided me throughout the years: from my discovery of popular music as performed by a green felt puppet to the rock anthems played by a Journey cover band. In between, life-long friendships are forged, true love is found and adversity is met head-on. Each defining moment in my life married to a song and each song an anchor to an everlasting memory. BASEMENT SONGS is a journey full of heart, humor and above all, a love of music.

For details about the history behind the book, please check out this link to

For updates on the book, please continue to visit the Basement Songs website or the Basement Songs Facebook page.

I hope you will consider buying the book, liking it on Facebook and spreading the word about this project that I'm very proud to have completed.

Thank you, and have a wonderful day!

Monday, December 3, 2012

the countdown is on...

Here's something to tide you over until the morning, which, in case you forgot, is when BASEMENT SONGS "officially" goes on sale.

"The Rainbow Connection" is the one that made me a dreamer. It's one of the most beautiful compositions ever written. If you haven't listened to it in awhile, take a few minutes to let it wash over you. You'll smile, you'll get teary eyed, and you'll probably recall being a kid.


Sunday, December 2, 2012

A word about the Foreword

There are some writers who inspire me to read their work no matter what the subject. Roger Ebert makes poetry out of film criticism. Cameron Crowe's attention to detail places you in the moment like few journalists. Ann Powers' use of words is as lyrical and moving as the music she writes about. To this list I add Jeff Giles.

I became friends with Jeff because of a Billy Joel record guide he wrote on his long-lost Jefitoblog and some Springsteen bootlegs I mailed him. Soon thereafter, I began writing the Basement Songs series on my own blog, thunderbolt, which Jeff championed and helped find a wider audience, first by providing links on Jefitoblog, and then by asking me to bring it to In addition to being an excellent Editor-in-Chief, Jeff has never wavered in his support of my (or any Popdose writer's) personal endeavors and using the site to help those projects get attention.

Releasing a movie on DVD? Hell yeah you should use Popdose to promote it. You just published a comic? No doubt, write about it on the site and help build an audience. Raising money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation? You damn well better utilize Popdose's resources because we're all behind you.

It's that last one that's always meant the most to me.

As a writer, Jeff inspires me through his master of language and the uncanny ability to take something complex or stupid and make it accessible for everyone. What he writes is fun and alive, whether he's head over heels in love, pissed off, or just having a laugh. Time and again I read a piece by Jeff and I'm given pause, thinking, "Son of a bitch, I wish I could write like that."

When it came time to ask someone to write the foreword to BASEMENT SONGS, there was only one person I thought of: Jeff Giles. For the book, Jeff wrote a beautiful opening that sets the table perfectly. Each time I read it I'm humbled and appreciative. The many times I've thanked Jeff for writing the foreword, he says that the honor was all his.

No sir, the honor was all mine.