SCALPED Director's Commentary: Part Three

The first trade paperback collection of SCALPED was realeased a couple weeks ago, which represents a personal milestone a long time in the making. It was February 2005 and I was standing at the bus stop after a day spent working my shitty day job, when I got a call from editor Will Dennis at Vertigo. I was already writing THE OTHER SIDE for Will, and he was calling to let me know that The Powers That Be had just greenlighted my other idea, SCALPED. Later that same week, I also got a new car and got married, so it proved to be a pretty life changing couple of days. Now here I am, more than two years later, very proud of how SCALPED turned out and very excited about the direction of my career.

And on a completely different note, here's my personal soundtrack for SCALPED Vol. 1. These are either songs that I listened to while working on the book or songs that directly inspired it.

“Ou Es-Tu, Mon Amour?” – Willie Nelson
From Willie's hauntingly beautiful 1998 album Teatro.

“Custer” – Johnny Cash
I probably listened to this song a hundred times while writing SCALPED. It's from the album Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian.

“Rip This Joint” – Rolling Stones
From what's probably the greatest rock album of all time, Exile on Main Street.

“Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee” – Buffy Saint-Marie
A great song about jailed Native rights activist Leonard Peltier. I'm not a huge Indigo Girls fan, but they've also done a good version of it.

“Nebraska” – Bruce Springsteen
A powerful song from an amazingly stark yet incredibly rich album.

“For A Few Dollars More” – Ennio Morricone
Brian Azzarello's LOVELESS ain't the only Vertigo book that has a bit of spaghetti western in it.

“Hello Trouble” – Buck Owens
AKA, "The Ballad of Dash and Carol."

“7 Months, 39 Days” – Hank Williams III
If I could take one real person and write them as a character in SCALPED, it would be Hank III. Complete with duct tape covered boots and that hat that looks like it's been backed over by a truck.

“Stagger Lee” -- Nick Cave
From Cave's 1996 album Murder Ballads, another one of my favorites.

“Death Around the Corner” -- 2Pac
I also listen to a lot of 2Pac while working on SCALPED. I think the paranoia and fear and anger he exhibits on songs like this could play as a straight soundtrack for a lot of the characters on our fictional rez.

“Down Yonder” – Willie Nelson
Another great Willie instrumental, from perhaps his greatest album, Red Headed Stranger.

“I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive” – Hank Williams
As the saying goes, if you don't like Hank Williams, you can kiss my ass.

“The Devil’s Right Hand” – Steve Earle
I have no doubt that in a different reality where Steve Earle never learned to play guitar, he would've been one of the world's greatest short story writers.

“O Bury Me Not” – Sons of the Pioneers
No, that's not a joke. I listen to a lot of music by the old singing cowboys.

“Memo From Turner” – Mick Jagger
From the soundtrack to Jagger's 1970 film Performance. Don't know quite what it is about this song, but I can't ever get enough of it.

“You Show Me Yours”– Kris Kristofferson
One of my favorite songs from one of the men (not just songwriters but men from any walk of life) who I most admire.

“Rock Hard In A Funky Place” -- Prince
Prince's Black Album is Carol's favorite, no doubt about it.

“Where Did You Sleep Last Night” – Leadbelly
I listen to this song all the time too, and I imagine it's just as haunting now as it was back in 1944.

“Round Dance” – Northern Cree Singers
My favorite performers of traditonal Native American drumming. These guys are riveting.


Andrew at: 7:52 AM said...

I like reading about your soundtrack. There are some good tunes on there. I especially like the Hank III choice. I was going on and on about that song, and one of my friends says, "Shouldn't that just be, what, eight months and nine days instead?"


Tom Mattson at: 12:15 PM said...

nick cave makes a lot of sense, and I can imagine he'd help set the mood.

You see what he did with that Proposition movie? Good stuff.

Jason Aaron at: 12:48 PM said...

THE PROPOSITION was a terrific movie.

Andres at: 4:44 PM said...

I've been collecting the SCALPED single issues and love them -- it's the only DC/Vertigo book I buy. I didn't buy the trade, but convinced a friend to get it and he was blown away. I try and tell anyone who'll listen.

Just picked up RIPCLAW and... wow. A certain scene with a reveal of "three hours later" was awe... some...

Can't wait to pick up your Wolverine next week.

Brandon Miles at: 6:12 AM said...

I know I'm way late on this, but I just finished the first Scalped trade and I gotta say it was really fucking good. Also your blog ain't half bad.

Anyways, thanks for the good story.

Joe James at: 7:38 AM said...

Awesome. This "commentary" does what every great "extra" does for a work of art: makes you appreciate it even more.

i'm loving the graphic novels (just finished collection three and am about to crack four) when i thought i'd read up on the creators.

Your music selection really brings to life the feel, the look, not to mention the politics that simply breathes throughout Scalped.

i didn't think it could get better but now i think i'll throw some of these tunes on the headphones and make reading Scalped a total audio visual experience. Thanks a lot/Chi Meegweetch!

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