Tony Nesca was born in Torino, Italy in 1965 and moved to Canada at the age of three. He was raised in Winnipeg but relocated back to Italy several times until finally settling in Winnipeg in 1980. He taught himself how to play guitar and formed an original rock band playing the local bars for several years. At the age of twenty-seven he traded his guitar for a Commodore 64 and started writing seriously. He has published six chapbooks of stories and poems (which he used to sell straight out of his knapsack at local dives and bookstores), six novels, six books of poetry and stories and has been an active contributor to the underground lit scene for twenty years, being published in innumerable magazines both online and in print.
Nicole Nesca was born in Youngstown, Ohio in 1973. She developed a love of music, painting and writing early on and continued that love throughout her adult life. While living in Canada, she completed three works of poetry and prose collected in the anthology piece, KAMIKAZE WHITE NOISE, and another two books of poetry and prose. She has been published in several E-Zines and has been a part of two anthologies.
Tell us a bit about your press. How did you start? Who are your influences, in Canada and beyond? What is your mission?
Screamin’ Skull Press started in 1994 as a vehicle to publish our own books – we had already in just a few short years of submitting our writing grown tired of the merry-go-round, grown tired of waiting 6 months just to be rejected. So we formed our own publishing outfit.
The Idea behind Screamin’ Skull Press is to rebel, to scream out against the mainstream, to experiment with style and content. To rebel against the work-dreary, chase the almighty dollar type of mentality and art.
Our influences range from Al Purdy to Michael Turner, Evelyn Lau, Henry Miller, Arthur Rimbaud, Anais Nin, Gertrude Stein, Jack Kerouac, Dylan Thomas, Joni Mitchell, Hunter Thompson, Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Silvia Plath, Patti Smith, Lou Reed, Virginia Woolf, Tom Waits.
What about small press publishing is particularly exciting to you right now?
The most exciting thing is that the methods of delivery, the avenues on getting your work out there, are enormous. With the internet, we have become our own publishers, agents, marketers and distributors. This is the way of the future, small press and self/indie publishing, and we are right in the middle of the indie publishing revolution at this exact moment – all of us indie, underground artists, must take advantage of this moment in time, and get our fearless work out there.
How does your press work to engage with your immediate literary community, and community at large?
We use the internet and social media extensively, but only for engaging with the Canadian and global literary community and for promoting our work. We don’t use social media for personal accounts, we don’t even have individual accounts. We have also attended many book festivals throughout the year, and continue to do so.
How have the current multiple global crises impacted your work with the press?
Well, we have had to quarantine for a while which means that the time to write and publish suddenly increased tenfold. We both produced a brand new work each in the last 7 months, plus 6 brand new editions of already existing titles. There is also a lot to write about, a lot to inspire and influence, good and bad. There is so much happening globally, all artists of the world need to comment, to chronicle, to fictionalize and invent, to respond to this world in crisis. Write the protest songs and poems, create the next great Canadian novel, make that comic book stand out and holler, now is the time.
Let It Bleed
This isn’t just a book of prose and poetry but a beautiful streetwise and lyrical telling of a life in pursuit of truth, sex, love, youth-lost and experience. With an alternating rhythm of long free-flowing sentences and short, minimalist statements, Let It Bleed is an original urban street-hymn that hearkens to writers of yesterday like Sylvia Plath and also the more modern rock and roll writings of Patti Smith, but always and forever original and unique.
Word Music is Tony Nesca's first spoken word album. Culled from his extensive collection of poems and stories, Nesca reads his work as it was meant to be represented—words as music—and plays electric guitar as accompaniment to his own work.
The words come out in Nesca's raspy, whiskey voice as incendiary white-light/white-heat stream of urban consciousness, both lyrical and street-tough, often in the same breath. The guitar is dirty-lowdown-blues and rock-and-roll, raw, bare, gritty, passionate and intense.
Like nothing else out there, Word Music takes you through a literary rock and roll landscape ranging from childhood memories to blues bars on dingy street corners, always alive, raw and energetic.
About A Girl
About A Girl is a short novel that begins with two strangers, a man and a woman, who meet at a bus-stop and go on an impromptu bar-crawl on a cool, winter day. Taking place in twelve hours it recounts the oddball, hardcore, characters they meet and their increasing emotional connection as they fall for each other almost immediately. Infused with sexual energy, pop-culture references, intellectual debate and literary allusions this is an unapologetic, uncensored look at our society through the eyes of the outsider. It is written in a free-flow, spontaneous style with long unhindered sentences that enable the reader’s eye to glide down the page as the story flows and moves to an urban beat of strippers, punk rockers and nightlife happenings.