The Bible Spelled Backwards Does Not Change the Fact that You Cannot Kill David Arquette and Other Things I Learned in the Black Math Experiment
Jef With One F
The Black Math Experiment is a quirky Houston rock band that is most famous for getting actress Courteney Cox’s husband to get them to organize a gig at former indie rock club The Proletariat and winning a “Best Unclassifiable Band” award from the Houston Press. In his book, BME frontman Jef “Jef With One F” Rouner gives readers insight into his life before, during, and after the rise and fall of the band. At times, his stories are funny, other times very sad, but the book is entertaining throughout, and takes you through Rouner’s heartache and love, and through the disappointment and accomplishment of being a struggling musician, and through growing up and getting older.
But it’s a bigger story than B-movie actor David Arquette, and there’s even more to that story than most casual BME fans will know. At its core, The Bible Spelled Backwards Does Not Change the Fact that You Cannot Kill David Arquette and Other Things I Learned in the Black Math Experiment is the story of a musician and artist trying to find his place in the world. It’s the work of one of the city’s most unique and ballsy musicians, and a group of (mostly) like-minded individuals who decided to give it a go and see what happened.
The result is an easy read, one that once you start you likely won’t be able to put down (I couldn’t). Rouner, who according to the book, is a “former hypnotist, transvestite, and luchador turned rock star,” does an excellent job of catering to the ADD-addled brains of today’s music fan and keeps his chapters–most of which tell a single anecdote–short.
Rouner’s mind may be unconventional–he admits phobias about everyday tasks yet would likely strip down and run around naked without the slightest hesitation–but he relates his thoughts and feelings in a likable, readable way. For example, where else but in The Bible Spelled Backwards Does Not Change the Fact That You Cannot Kill David Arquette… will you find not only the best brand of toilet paper to use in a paper cannon, but also how to build said cannon, where to find the least expensive materials, and how many toilet paper rolls you can expect to fire in a minute? Similarly, those who always wondered what goes on behind the scenes of The Rocky Horror Picture Show or how Hitler could come to power will find their questions answered, or their assumptions confirmed.
The book touches on the author’s childhood and outcast teenage years, and Rouner lets the reader conclude on his or her own how tough it probably was without delving too deeply into the drama. He discusses family, death, politics, and religion, the outlook on the latter being pretty much what one would expect. He abhors organized religion (who doesn’t?)–Christianity in particular–and while he thankfully never gets preachy, there’s more underneath the surface. Obviously, his wife’s unfortunate upbringing (read the book) plays a huge part in his disdain, but wearing it as a badge of honor seems hardly better than those he rallies against, and these passages tend to drag the book down. Maybe it’s because those who claim not to care about religion seem to talk a lot about it.
Regardless, The Bible Spelled Backwards… is an interesting glimpse into an artist’s mind. BME fans will appreciate the behind-the-scenes information while aspiring musicians will hopefully learn not to give up on their dreams when faced with apathetic crowds and shady club owners. Those who have never heard the band, or don’t even like the band’s music, will find the book engaging. And, while Rouner comes off as having a devil-may-care attitude, even championing his blase outlook with a bit about his finest moment being when he overheard a woman tell a friend, “That guy just doesn’t care,” one thing the book does very effectively is to show that he truly does care.
The Bible Spelled Backwards Does Not Change the Fact that You Cannot Kill David Arquette and Other Things I Learned in the Black Math Experiment is available on Amazon.com for $11.99. Buy a copy. More information on The Black Math Experiment may be found at www.myspace.com/theblackmathexperiment.
Here is a video of Jef With One F reading the first chapter of his book: