R.E.M.’s Peter Buck and Drive-By Truckers’ Patterson Hood inspired by A Long Day at the End of the World

Who doesn’t like R.E.M.? No one. That’s who. So we thought it was pretty cool when R.E.M.’s Peter Buck and Patterson Hood got together to write a song inspired by Brent Hendricks’s A Long Day at the End of the World. Obviously we think you should read this book. Peter Buck thinks so, too. But first, listen to this haunting song and learn how it came to be.

“Roswell,” written by Peter Buck and Patterson Hood, vocals by Patterson Hood.

“I woke up one day in the spring to find an email from Peter, saying that over a sleepless night he’d written a song about our teenage years in the northern Atlanta suburbs. He’d written ‘Roswell’ after reading my book, in which I describe our time back in high school—the disturbed ground of our little piece of the New South, where the only thing we had to do was to drive around in our cars and drink beer. All around us, the countryside was being torn up by backhoes and bulldozers to make way for malls, shopping centers and lousy subdivisions. It was a disturbed landscape whose nothing wind emptied us all out. You can hear that wind in the background just behind the guitars. The song will be on Peter’s second solo album coming out soon.” —Brent Hendricks

“There is one thing you must know: The place Brent and I grew up was the land of ghosts, the ghosts of the unspeakable past that was everywhere communicated by a flick of the hand, a turn of the eye, or a casual phrase. It was a place where you could drive by a row of imitation antebellum mansions, turn a corner, and drive by a row of tin shacks occupied by the descendants of the people who worked that same land as chattel. It was place we learned to love and to hate, to defend and to fear, to celebrate and deny. We watched ancient buildings being torn down to make way for 7-11s, malls, and multiplex theaters. It was a place that we never really left, and which never left us. Brent’s book captures the feeling of the reluctant Southerner, carrying in his heart a place he can neither forget, nor remember without pain, as well as anything I have ever read. They say it is a new South. Brent lives in Tucson and I live in Mexico, but we are both still Southerners, with all that entails, for better or worse. Read this book.” —Peter Buck on A Long Day at the End of the World

A Long Day at the End of the World