Friday, December 19, 2014


Photos by Alasdair McLeod
Words by James A. Newman
THE ROOF TERRACE of the Hansar hotel, a cool December breeze, up here the air is cleaner, pollution less troublesome, corruption more bearable in the clouds than on the streets. The bar counter sits beneath a giant Chinese lantern. A lantern that may or may not have been changing color. A chameleon lantern perhaps? Potted plants, sofas. Chilean wine. 
Christopher Minko sits cross-legged picking effortlessly at a blonde wood electric acoustic. Jimmy plays slide guitar. Bass player James Sokleap plays multicolored strings. Cambodian chanteuses sisters Chamroeun harmonize flawlessly with a professional traditional gracefulness. Hearts were broken, CDs purchased. Krom were finally playing for the first night in Bangkok city. This was an event. Christopher Minko's guitar is a controlled and measured instrument. Picking strong deliberate notes complemented by the slide guitar and those haunting harmonies this music evokes a mystical sound - a sound you feel you've heard somewhere before. A nostalgic sound. Minko's vocal range is a deep gritty noir growl of injustice. The sound of a man hanging around in a world gone wrong. Hanging around to warn others of the dangers. There may be hope somewhere, but hope comes in many disguises, most of them black. 

7 Years Old is a disturbing meditation on the hopelessness of child prostitution. The inner scars that will never heal should be exhibited via song to heed warning to others. The Haunted is haunting in every sense - it stays with you.  Down Sukhumvit Road is just that. Passion and Rain and Sadness just some of the other titles.

Krom is a unique band.  A truly international group who  have created their own genre. We were thrilled to have the chance to watch them play in this wonderful venue.

Newman, Catto-Smith, Minko and Cummings.

You really do have to hear this band  live to appreciate them, but if you can't, then pick up their latest CD: NEON DARK.

For those in Bangkok don't miss out. Krom play tonight at the Overground bar on Sukhumvit soi 22 hosted by Grahame Lynch.

Visit the venue here:
Visit the band here:


Monday, December 8, 2014


IT STARTED with a message on her answering machine: ‘JESUS SAVES SATAN INVESTS.’ Living comfortably off the spoils of her ill-gotten gain as the centerpiece of a blackmail ring, Janet did not need to know the caller was currently sharing trunk space with a fresh corpse.

Enter Todd Morr, an energetic crime fiction writer who has published his latest novel JESUS SAVES, SATAN INVESTS, with Spanking Pulp Press. Todd took some moments to talk to me about his latest book and the writing game. The new novel is set to turn a few heads and a great addition to the SPP stable.    

NEWMAN:  Great title. Where did the title come form?   

MORR: I've had the title for awhile, like a decade or so. The working title for this book was something else.  I intended JSSI for something else that did not turn out so well, but the title stayed with me.

NEWMAN: It has that kind of "bumper sticker" punch to it, the title that is. The novel is a fast paced roller-coaster, full of twists and turns. Which authors do you like to read and is crime a genre you find yourself reading mostly if push came to shove?

MORR: Crime is definitely my go to genre.  Richard Stark, Robert B. Parker and Elmore Leonard are some of my favorites,  though the list of writers I like is long. I've always been a big Steven King fan, I stole my parents copy of Carrie and read it on the sly after they told me I was not old enough to read it, though I think they knew, when I was about ten.  I don't know if it shows, but when I started writing JSSI I was going for a John Woo Hong Kong movie feel with some near over the top type action sequences.

NEWMAN: was thinking it seemed super cinematic. Have you ever wrote any screenplays or tried your hand at writing for the screen
MORR: Yes, not recently and nothing that ever got any traction, and given my lack of experience it is quite possible they were terrible.  As I was writing JSSI I was thinking cinematically, actually I always do,  but I am more comfortable writing in a book rather than a screenplay format. It is something I would like to try again.

NEWMAN: You've published some shorter works, I think.. How important for you is publishing short stories as well as full length novels?

MORR: Definitely prefer novels, but some ideas are not novel length and it is nice to get those out there.  I'm an anomaly of sorts in that the first thing I ever published was a novel, and then worked backwards and published some short stuff.  I like the challenge of flash fiction, getting an idea across in an entertaining way in under a thousand words.  It forces me to look at things and keep it tight and concise, which carries over into longer work. 

NEWMAN: What's in store for Mr Morr in 2015?

MORR: Damn good question, Hell if I know, really.  I just moved to the central coast and am still figuring out what to do up here.  I'm going to keep writing, for sure. It's nice up here but different than Southern California. I'm just putting the finishing touches on novel with the working title Sadistic Home Alone, and have another couple things done I would like to unleash on the world next year.  I've also started covering the Denver Nuggets basketball for, which has been fun. 

NEWMAN: Wish you all the best. And hope that Jesus saves while Satan invests. Thanks for stopping by!