Funk and Fiction

Funk legend Swamp Dogg’s 2009 cover of Rock Foxx’s "Please Step Back" is a stirring tribute to his fellow funk pioneer, whose ‘70s fame was extinguished by a miasma of drugs, violence, and sexual this ‘n’ that. Only problem, Foxx’s original was never recorded. It doesn’t even exist. Nor, even, does funk legend Rock Foxx. Welcome to the world of multimedia metafiction, courtesy of Ben Greenman, a writer responsible for much experimental villainy in books like Superbad and Superworse and on sites like McSweeney’s. In addition to creating the fictional Rock Foxx in his new novel, Please Step Back, he also created three albums worth of lyrics for the Bay Area musician. But it was Greenman’s decidedly non-experimental job at the New Yorker where he came up with the idea for the coup de grace: the song. Introduced through the course of business to Swamp Dogg, Greenman convinced the real funk legend to collaborate with the fake funk legend he made up in his head, for a book he already wrote.
Thu., April 30, 7:30 p.m., 2009

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