Title: The Mixtape Manifesto: A Pop Culture Confessional
Author: SW Hammond
Published: August 23rd, 2016
Publisher: Surf Star Media
Genre: Non-fiction / essay / relationships
Recommended Age: 16+
A compilation of articles spanning more than a decade woven together to create the misguided anti-love story of a young man learning about relationships and the opposite sex through music, movies, and television.
From music industry professional, SW Hammond, comes The Mixtape Manifesto: A Pop Culture Confessional, a collection of provocative short stories on his life as a Lost Boy in search of Winnie Cooper.
Raised on rock n’ roll, Hammond blends an unparalleled view of pop culture and philosophy that follows him from his early twenties through his early thirties. The Mixtape Manifesto is filled with rich photography that captures Hammond’s days as a tour manager on Warped Tour and working for Sony Music Entertainment, as well as bringing to life the music, movies, and television that has plagued his rational sense of love and relationships. From childhood viewings of Full House leading to his lifelong hatred of John Stamos, his introduction to the Riot Grrrl movement and Kathleen Hanna, and to a questionable infatuation with The OC’s Summer Roberts—each story blends a reflective Kevin Arnold-like inner monolog with Wild Turkey.
The Mixtape Manifesto is the byproduct of one too many romantic comedies. Inspiration, enlightenment, and delusion fuel Hammond’s quest as he searches for a bit of meaning to life and someone to share it with.
What was the inspiration for your story?
Love, I suppose, haha—or heartbreak. Seems I can only talk about relationships through analogies or comparisons—spinning off of a Taylor Swift song or episode of Full House! People can relate to that though, and it feels good to have something in common with someone else.
I had been writing articles, keeping journals, and taking pictures all throughout my twenties while working in the music industry. Life on the road living in a tour bus, working with some of my favorite musicians—I always knew I wanted to do something with these writings. Some of them had been published when I originally wrote them through various magazines, but I always thought there was something else I could do with them. With a little encouragement, I began to compile everything and sort the good from the bad—the meaningful. I discovered there was something there.
What kept you going throughout the writing process?
This was actually a really difficult project because it’s not fiction. I’ve never worn my heart on my sleeve so freely. I can’t hide behind a made-up universe or clumsy character. People may read an article where I speak my mind or bear my heart, but then it’s done. This book is like that, but back to back to back. Truthfully, it was embarrassing. I often wondered why anyone would even care about reading it. Then I’d randomly get an email, someone stumbling across an old article and say it meant something to them—and that meant something to me.
I think the biggest thing that kept me going was how well, how natural the project and articles seemed to weave together to tell a much larger story. Even though there was no central plot or theme in the beginning, each chapter being an individual article or essay written across a decade, it turns out the book has a point. When I saw that beginning to form, it was like wind in my sails. Plus, it just seemed fun and different—the photography adds so much to each chapter, really brings things home.
What is your most meaningful article / essay and why?
Oh jeez… I’d have to say Girls To The Front, the article about riot grrrl and the crazy women of punk rock. That whole movement and genre has meant so much to me over the years—probably has inspired me the most. I’ve never experienced so much truthful, raw emotion in any art form—it’s really stuck with me. I also like the article because it shows where I came from. I was just some dumb kid in the middle of the Utah desert until a friend put on Bikini Kill and blew my mind. I loved music before that, but it became a lifestyle after.
Can we expect you to write more of these articles in the near future?
Totally. These articles are the perfect break from the novels I’m working on—keeps things fresh. I usually write these types of articles when I’m moved or inspired. I watch a movie that I can’t stop thinking about, or new music strikes a chord—for instance, I just finished a piece on Veruca Salt’s new album, Ghost Notes. Sadly, it seems there haven’t been many “matters of the heart” lately, so I’m fresh out of those jams, haha—but you can always find something new over at https://www.swhammond.com.
How has this project touched your life?
The best thing I’ve gotten out of this book, which has also been the biggest surprise, has been the feedback from readers. It connects with them, resonates at times. Building that bond through the common things we love in pop culture—a video game, a band—we’ve both laid awake at night listening to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs thinking about how we blew it with someone we liked. While I use myself as the fool, people tell me they’re learning something about themselves through this book—they feel like they have a friend who understands them. That means the world to me and was something I never expected.
What motivated you to start writing?
When I started writing, it was never a conscious, cerebral thought. It was more of reflex that didn’t make much sense. I’d be lying on my bed listening to music, it’d start with a doodle or a nervous scratching of lines. Eventually words came. I’d write what happened that day, or often how I wanted things to happen. I would replay conversations I had from earlier, but this time say all things I didn’t dare to say the first time. After a while, the world just started to seem a little better—I didn’t even know why at first. Then I realized writing helps me process my thoughts and feelings, it’s my outlet and release. It helped me understand life and my place in it.
I feel my best when I’m deep in imagination or thought. Writing gives those endeavors purpose.
Excerpt from The Mixtape Manifesto by SW Hammond:
The Blunder Years
Whatever happened to predictability? The milkman, the paperboy, evening TV? Casual drives over the Golden Gate Bridge and neon windbreakers to protect us from that brisk Bay Area sea breeze? Back when times were simpler and the world had three fathers—and by no means am I referring to the Holy Trinity. I’m talking Danny, Jesse, and Joey. All were miserable failures with personality dysfunctions, but somehow were able to pull themselves together to raise America’s favorite girls. What this country’s fascination is with “three men and a baby” is beyond me.
Aside from the horrible acting and Afterschool Special “the moral of the story is” writing style, Full House was mashed potatoes and gravy to my generation. When the theme song kicked on, you felt good because “everywhere you look there’s a heart and a hand to hold on to.” I always acted as if I was bored while I watched the show, though; even at an early age, I was aware that it wasn’t socially acceptable for a dude to like chick flicks. And that’s what Full House was—a weekly soap opera for young girls.
I watched habitually, though, especially once Rebecca became a regular. I’m not afraid to say it: Lori Loughlin was hot. She still is. In 1989, I didn’t even really know what hot was, but whatever Rebecca was, I liked it. And so began my lifelong hatred for John Stamos. The guy makes me sick. He’s too fucking cool. His gelled-up hair, scruffy metro shave (before the world even knew what metro was), black Italian boots, a rock n’ roll attitude but with a sensitive and understanding side… What a prick. Moreover, he was briefly married to a supermodel. Still, Romjin aside, the only Rebecca that really mattered to me was the one on Full House.
I remember sizing up Stamos on every episode. I’d sit there and scowl at the TV as I’d watch his performance. The majority of my Full House viewing was around the age of 10, so looking back, that must have been quite the sight. Back then, I didn’t know what it was, and I couldn’t clearly put my feelings into words, but I certainly knew that Uncle Jesse was a pretentious asshole. The Elvis impersonations are eventually what did me in. One too many “Teddy Bears” made Rebecca’s love for Jesse unforgivable and I eventually had to move on. I learned early on that chasing after women who were attracted to Jesses was fruitless. I’d never be that guy.
I tried to seek solace in DJ, but she just didn’t have what made me tick. Kimmy was way too easy, so I figured I’d give Steph a shot and maybe try someone my own age. I appreciated her wit and subtle vulnerability, but the fact she shared a roof with Stamos was a deal breaker. I finally had to part ways with the San Francisco family and I found myself becoming best friends with Kevin Arnold. His lifestyle was much easier to swallow than three misfit dads living in the gay capitol of the world. He rode his bike, played football with Paul, thought way too deeply about the world around him, and had a crush on Winnie Cooper—the single greatest young female character up to that point in television history.
Kevin and I got along great, primarily due to our strikingly similar inner monologue. Yes, that’s what it sounds like in my head all day. Winnie was off-limits, however. I admired her from afar, but the show taught me trust and loyalty, one of the lessons that always seemed laughable coming from Jesse’s mouth. Winnie was everything a 12-year-old boy could ask for. She had her own set of wheels, enjoyed milk shakes, and was never afraid to make the first move. In the grand scheme of things, that doesn’t sound too bad to someone in their mid-twenties.
Kevin was my boy though, even through their on-again off-again late adolescence. We shared a comradely, an understanding of sorts. Kevin always ultimately did the right thing, learning life lessons along the way. I took notes and mentally never had an affair with his girl. That’s how it all went down until the final episode.
That night, I turned on my TV, half-depressed. I was anxious to see the big finale, but I felt like my childhood was ending just as Kevin’s was. The suspense ate me alive as I slurped from my juice box. The show ended by flashing forward to present day. Winnie got off a plane from studying art in Paris only to be greeted by Kevin, his wife, and new son. Those fuckers. I dropped my fruit-flavored beverage and let it seep deep into my favorite childhood blanket.
From that moment on, it’s been nothing but Guns n’ Roses, cheap strippers, Wild Turkey, and an immense Winnie Cooper void I’ve never been able to fill. Rebeccas are a dime a dozen, just like the Jesses they date. But not Winnie Cooper. Only a Winnie can make you… melt.
About the Author:
SW Hammond, short for Sean William, is the author of The Mixtape Manifesto: A Pop Culture Confessional and The Final Book fictional series. He is also a freelance writer contributing to countless music zines, athletic, lifestyle, and technical magazines and websites across the world.
SW’s writing style, particularly within his commentary, is often compared to Chuck Klosterman-esq with countless references to pop culture, especially music. His brazen and honest approach creates camaraderie with the reader, then tests the boundaries with sensitive subject matter. Philosophy, ethics, and nobility square off against a materialistic society driven by instant gratification, with Hammond treading water directly in the middle.
His fictional writing makes a conscious effort to blend perception, rumor, and fact leaving the reader to question reality. His stories often taking place in historical settings or playing on modern headlines, Hammond uses common themes to drive home critical points about the human condition. Though often grand, epic, and futurist, the backbone of his novels hinge on honor and virtue, or lack thereof.
Hammond has a very unique background as a music and sports industry professional. He has worked for Major League Baseball as a Marketing Coordinator, was an Assistant of Arizona Operations in the Kansas City Royals farm system, and a Stadium Manager of the Los Angeles Angels Spring Training facility. He is also credited as a Marketing Representative for Sony Music Entertainment, a Senior Tour Manager for the Vans Warped Tour, and an intern at WAR Records / United Interests Management.
SW was born just outside of Denver, CO and hasn’t stopped moving since. Aside from Colorado, growing up Hammond also lived in Maine, California, Utah, and Hawaii. As an adult he returned to Colorado and Utah, also adding Arizona and Nevada to the list. He currently resides in Las Vegas. Hammond has never been married and has no children.
There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:
- A $25 Amazon gift card & ecopy of Mixtape Manifesto
- 5 ecopies of Mixtape Manifesto
Giveaway is International.
Ends August 31st, 2016 at 11:59 PM EDT
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Optional Individual Blog Giveaway
Also each blog host may giveaway 1 ecopy of The Mixtape Manifesto to a lucky recipient. Giveaway may be handled however the host desires but the winner’s name, email, and preferred format needs to be sent to Laurie@junipergroveBookSolutions.com by September 1st, 2016.