The Pescadero & the Guilty Lizard: The Places of Broken Promise Records

Broken Promise Records: Remastered is coming out on September 8th, EXCLUSIVELY on Amazon.com! The book will be re-edited, refined, and there will be a boatload of bonus content including a brand new fifteenth chapter!

I can’t tell you how excited I am for the release of Broken Promise Records: Remastered! Writing that book has truly changed my life and opened me up to things I never thought possible. That book and the characters in it are always going to have a very special place in my heart and the re-release of the book is getting to re-live everything that made writing that book special. To celebrate the countdown to the release, I’m going to release a blog related to the story and the writing process of it. Ultimately, I’m giving you the inside look into the re-release of my debut novel and telling you why you should be excited about it!

This week’s blog is going to explore the places in the book that were based on real locations. The world of Broken Promise Records was grounded in a very real world and yours truly is going to take you on a tour.

The Echolocation House. The house on West Street was based off of a real house that my uncle owned in Tyrone, Pennsylvania. When I was a kid, my aunt & uncle owned a house across from a grocery store and poured a lot of their time into fixing it up, so on some level I think of that house as a symbol of taking what needed fixed and making it into something to be proud of — an essential theme of the book. It’s funny how recollection works; in my mind, that house in Tyrone, PA sits in the middle of a main highway in Janesville, PA.

I tried to find a picture of the house, but it appears to have been torn down. That house will always be tall as ever in my memory and in that book.

Bonus Note: the Pescadero was named after the mental hospital in Terminator 2: Judgment Day!

The Pescadero. The Pescadero is based off of the Arena Bar & Grill in State College, PA. I was torn between basing the Pescadero on the Arena or the Crowbar (another bar in State College), but ultimately ended up choosing the Arena because of the parking lot and the scene in the book where Hendrix meets Kim for the first time.

In hindsight, the Arena was the perfect bar to base the Pescadero on. It’s an excellent venue to see music. I saw a few of my favorite shows there, like Marcy Playground and the Independents. 

The Glory Hole. Okay, not an actual glory hole, but a place where the youth of the area used to party. The structure, wooden horse stalls with tin coverings, is inspired by a few different things. Across the street from where I lived was an abandoned coal building, and there were a lot of horse stalls, as horses were integral to the coal mining operation way back in the day. The clearing that the stalls were sitting on was based on an old car wash near where my friend Matt lived — we spent a lot of good times at that abandoned car wash and that’s why I wanted to include something like it.

The fire never happened in real life, but I wanted to include a scene with a big fire in the book and that’s where it went. What fire? Pick up Broken Promise Records: Remastered and find out!

The Guilty Lizard. This bar was actually based on the Avondale Hotel in Winburne, PA. It’s a quaint little place that had bands play and really tried to create a destination in a town that didn’t have much going on. My band played there a few times and it really had an endearment for me. What I liked about the Avondale for the Guilty Lizard was there were different sections that were easily different rooms, but a part of the same bar. It made it a lot easier for Hendrix and Kim to talk to American Mayhem.

The Z-Rock Studio. This one is kind of on the nose, but in my head it was the 105.9 QWiK Rock studios when the building was on South Atherton Street in State College, PA. How could I write a book about musicians without including the building where I learned to appreciate music more than ever? A radio station isn’t just throwing CD’s in (mostly because they don’t use CDs) and hoping people like it — there is a lot of psychology that goes into what songs are played when. The idea for “the Groundswell” came from the day I met “the Professor” Jim Price. Jim is a fantastic personality who played my brother John’s music back in the early 2000’s. I remember sitting around my radio at home (which got TERRIBLE reception because of living in the sticks) and hearing my brother on the radio. That moment had a lasting impression on me and I had to include it in the book.

Courtney’s Apartment / The Music Store. In a much different life, I worked with commercial real estate and was a practicing musician at the same time. My favorite music store was Rainbow Music and I bought all of my gear there. As someone who looked after commercial real estate, I got to see the ins and outs of the building, including the apartments above my favorite music store that couldn’t be used anymore. The abandoned apartments were neglected, but I could still see the shine and potential in them. When I wrote Courtney into the story, I wanted her to be a no-nonsense kind of woman who made decisions based on functionality. When I gave her the job of working at a music store, I knew she’d live somewhere close so that she could save on gas. In the age old question of “the chicken or the egg,” the music store was the chicken. Once I knew which music store I’d based it on, the apartment became obvious. In the story, Courtney and Dharma’s apartment was much nicer than the ones I’d based them on.

The Collegeville Riots. I’m not facilitating a debate on whether or not you agree with why the Penn State riots happened, we just need to mutually understand that it did happen and it is now part of that city’s history. I lived in State College when the riots happened, but fortunately far enough away that I wasn’t affected by them. When I came to work the next day, I had plenty to do, so I wasn’t completely unscathed. I remember sitting in my living room and watching the riot coverage, feeling many different things. I was so impacted by it that I had to record my impressions some day. So, Collegeville = State College, kind of.

I am really excited for you to read the Remaster of Broken Promise Records, and it’s my hope that seeing the places in the story as I saw them will make the story mean a little bit more to you.

Broken Promise Records: Remastered will be available EXCLUSIVELY through Amazon.Com on September 8th! The Remaster will be re-edited, contain boatloads of bonus content, and a brand new fifteenth chapter! Relive everything you loved about Broken Promise Records and find something brand new to love.

Until your next trip across the Millerverse!

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