What made you want to be a writer?
I always wanted to be a writer since I was a little kid. Probably Jules Verne's "Around the World in Eighty Days." I think I read that book when I was six or seven years old, and remember clearly romanticizing being a writer and traveling around the world.
What's harder--putting together an album or a book?
A book is much harder. Recording an album a lot of the dodgier (or forgotten) lyrics can be covered up by the loud music and overdubbing. With a book, it's the naked word alone, not accompanied by any soundtrack, so I'm a lot more of a perfectionist. And I find myself wanting to communicate clearly. I don't want to be misunderstood. Does that make sense? I'd also say doing this book has been equally if not more therapeutic then recording an album. It's been great for me emotionally to get all of these vibes out there, and to document these experiences.
Who are some of your favorite writers?
Lately I've been reading a lot of French stuff like Guy de Maupassant and Gustave Flaubert. I really enjoy their writing. It’s very classy, very articulate, and with a great sense of humor as well. A couple of years ago I got really into the writing of Isaac Babel, the Russian Jewish author, and managed to read most of his books and short stories. I don't usually get really into Russian stuff, but I absolutely love Babel's dry Jewish sense of humor and his sad stories as well. My other favorites are probably William S. Burroughs, "Junky" and "Queer" and the book about his dreams are among my favorites, Hemingway, "The Sun Also Rises", "A Farewell To Arms", and the book of short stories "Men Without Women" are some of my all time favorites. I recently read and enjoyed Jonathan Ames "I Pass Like Night" and "What's not to love." My last three: Ralph Ellison Invisible Man, and also Krishna Murti and Jules Verne. I need to get some more female writers in there!
Why did you call your band Clorox Girls?
It's a name of a song off Redd Cross's 1980 Posh Boy 12" EP. "Clorox Girls, hair so white, Clorox Girls they're outta sight." Ron Reyes aka Chavo from Black Flag played drums on that, and one of the dudes from the Circle Jerks and Bad Religion was also in that band with the very young at the time McDonald brothers. A great fucking record. It's like verse chorus verse chorus stop. One minute songs. And at the time, we really wanted to write and play one minute poppy songs like the Dils, the Dickies, Urinals, and Angry Samoans. It seemed fitting to call ourselves Clorox Girls.
What's the mission of your band?
We're trying to tour as much of possible, and hopefully release a couple more albums. I'd like the next one to be an ultimate pop album a la Buddy Holly and the Beach Boys. Of course still punk influenced, but with some great backing vocals.
What's going on with your mom and dad these days?
My mom lives in Spain with her Deaf boyfriend Pedro and my younger brother Jamie. She didn't date anyone for about ten years after divorcing my dad, and she seems really happy with Pedro, so I'm really happy for her. My dad is semi-retired and lives in Brazil where he's operating a Stevia growing operation, exporting granite, and setting up some sort of rainforest conservation project. Sounds bizarre I know, but it's the truth. I'm going to visit with both of them in the next couple of months, and I haven't seen them in quite awhile. It will be good to see what they've been up to.
What's your day job like?
I work at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry in the Visitor Services Department. A lot of coughing kids and irritating parents. The people I work with are great, but the pay is pretty low, there's no benefits, but it's hard to find steady work in Portland so I'm not going to complain too much. I'm currently trying to get my certification in American Sign Language interpreting. I'm already pretty fluent because my mom's Deaf, but I have to go through the official certification process. We'll see what happens with that!
What kind of writing do you want to do now that your first book is done?
I just finished a screenplay called "Rare Heat", it’s about a gay Jewish substitute teacher who's also a rapper. Actually a friend of mine from New York. So it's a fictional tale about a real person. My roommate and I just started a production company, and we're co-writing a screenplay called "101" which is absolutely hilarious so far. Besides screenplays and comedies, I'd like to do some more short stories, maybe another memoir, and eventually a novel or "full length" book of some sort.
Are you a morning person or a night person?
A night person! Definitely!
Justin Maurer was born in early eighties Los Angeles but came of age in the Pacific Northwest. He plays in Portland, Oregon punk/pop trio Clorox Girls; who have released albums and toured across Europe, Mexico, Canada, and the USA. Don’t Take Your Life is his first published work.