Biography All Music Guide
All Music Guide:
Neal Pollack has claimed to be the greatest living American writer, author of more than 50 books, and winner of every literary prize, but more accurately, he's a biting satirist pulling the leg of the reading public. In his book the Neal Pollack Anthology of American Literature, he recounts his adventures across six decades, seven continents and 10 wives and parodies the masculine heroics of such literary giants as Norman Mailer and Ernest Hemingway. (Not a bad resume for a man who had actually been working as a Chicago journalist before fame knocked on the door.)
The Anthology was the first release from McSweeney's Books, a publishing house founded by Dave Eggers, a fellow wisecracking literary phenomenon. (In fact, readers initially thought that Pollack was an alias for Eggers himself.) Pollack also released a spoken word recording of the work, produced by John Langford (the Mekons) and backed by such alt-country musical artists as the Pine Valley Cosmonauts, Kelly Hogan and Sally Timms, among others. The effort was released on Bloodshot Records in 2002 and satirized Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music. The album purportedly arose from a drunken encounter between Pollack and Langford on a trans-contintental flight in the mid-'90s. Pollack has also embarked on his own "world tour 2002," an escapade that saw him performing clad only in a towel in a Toronto bookstore and reading to fans in a Philadelphia subway station men's room. For his next novel, which focused on the underground rock scene, Pollack chose to create his own soundtrack album, and in collaboration with singer/songwriter Jim Roll he formed The Neal Pollack Invasion, resulting in a sloppy but inspired collection of rock parodies, Never Mind The Pollacks.