Author and artist Dmitry Samarov has written for the Chicago Tribune, the Reader, and more; here he turns his eye and pen towards the musical stage, sketching and describing a host of independent musicians he’s seen, crossed paths with, offered sofa space to, and taken out to breakfast over the course of the past few decades. From well-known names like Nick Cave and Mission of Burma to lesser-known greats like Bill MacKay and Condo Fucks, Samarov draws haunting portraits of artistry at the fringes of (and off the edges of) the mainstream, while also offering poignant and memorable essays not only about their work, but about musicianship and art, creativity and commerce—the perils of selling out, and the dangers of never doing so, and above all else, the thrill of creating something new. A love song and a lifer’s lament, Music to My Eyes is an exquisite tribute to the trials and triumphs of independent music.
“Samarov’s minimalist drawings magically capture the frenetic energy and motion of live performance—which is even more of a miracle considering they were mostly done on the fly in darkened back corners of shitty rock clubs and dive bars. Yeah, sure—these brutally honest illustrated recollections let you know what these performances looked and sounded like—but, somehow, Samarov’s words and sketches let you know what music felt like. He’s a dang conduit.” —Kelly Hogan, musician (The Decembrists, Neko Case, Mavis Staples, The Flat Five)
“If Iggy Pop hadn't gotten there first, Dmitry Samarov might have called this book I Am the Audience. With its evocative drawings, honest reactions, and intermittent slices of memoir, Music to My Eyes conveys a palpable sense of the community of music—its haphazard venues, its marginal economy, its shifting career paths, its highs and lows. Samarov is loyal but not uncritical, sad and funny pretty much at the same time, and passionately in need of music, which always makes him ready for the next thing, whatever it might be.” —Luc Sante, author (Low Life, The Other Paris)