Archive for ‘Cole Coonce’

February 1, 2012

Five Days of Free Sex!

Okay, five days of free access to the kindle version of Cole Coonce’s Sex & Travel & Vestiges of Metallic Fragments anthology, anyway.

If you got your fingertips soiled perusing any of his essays that were published in the LA Weekly, RAZOR Magazine, LA CityBeat and elsewhere, point your Kindle to the link above.

Topics are varied: As the inside cover says; “Katrina to Antietam to Hollywood to Irwindale; be it luscious low-rent lap dancers or land speed record losers; reactionary rock stars or genocidal Confederate Generals; Death Valley meth-heads or Japanese drifters; Teutonic milfs in swimsuits or Ashcroft informants; anarchic adrenaline-addled urban bicyclists or Scientologists; from Mark E. Smith and Merle Haggard to Kathie Lee Gifford, Courtney Love and the chick from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.”

The Sex & Travel collection represents a decade of pounding the pavement in pursuit of the story. This week it is yours for the cost of any energy expended with a point-and-click.

Sex & Travel & Vestiges of Metallic Fragments by Cole Coonce

February 17, 2011 “A Tree Falls in Nathan Bedford’s Forrest”

In his debut column at, the editors there allow Cole Coonce to ruminate on the Sons of Confederacy’s proposal to have the State of Mississippi issue license plates sporting the likeness of Nathan Bedford Forrest.

The controversy? It might be based on Forrest’s penchant for slave-trading, genocidal battle tactics and an induction as leader of that lil’ ol’ social club known as the Klan.


Coonce has penned The Devil’s Own Day, a historical novel about Forrest, and his relationship to both Erwin Rommel and the delta blues.

Read it here: A Tree Falls in Nathan Bedford’s Forrest and the Mississippi Department of Motor Vehicles Gets an Earful

And kudos to Brian Lohnes at for allowing Coonce to go free-form….

January 5, 2011

Motor Trend, Manifest Destiny and the Mojave Desert

Entering Los Angeles

Cole Coonce’s collection of literary journalism—Sex & Travel & Vestiges of Metallic Fragments—is cited here in Motor Trend, replete with a piquant quote from the author! When asked about the intrinsic role of the automobile in post-Eisenhower California, Coonce was quoted thusly:

“California is where manifest destiny finally ran out of real estate. With nowhere else to go, the SoCal surfers and car guys motored up and down Pacific Coast Highway until that got old, and then they doubled back and ping-ponged between the beach and the Mojave Desert. Luckily, after the mother of all government stimulus projects — WW II — there was enough surplus cash, metal and cheap gas to facilitate these guys exploring and absorbing the amber, sun-drenched terrain. Southern California then was heaven on earth—and the hot rods were the angel’s wings.”

Read more:

Sex & Travel & Vestiges of Metallic Fragments, The Cole Coonce Reader Vol. 1

December 25, 2010

Get Stuffed this Xmas at The K-Bomb Kindle Store

Get an e-book reader stuffed in your stocking? Then motor over to the K-bomb Kindle Store and snag some electronic blasts of modern beat journalism designed for the fast, the inquisitive and the appalled.

At K-Bomb Publishing, among the new titles ready for your post-yuletide, orgiastic e-consumption are: The Devil’s Own Day, Cole Coonce’s time-twisting, meta-fiction mash-up of Erwin Rommel, Mississippi delta blues and Nathan Bedford Forrest: Sex & Travel & Vestiges of Metallic Fragments, a collection of Cole Coonce essays on sundry scenarios such as Teutonic milfs, atomic cars on fire, Manson girls  in Death Valley, Hurricane Katrina, and caviar-looting punk-rock chicks;  as well as Come Down from the Hills and Make My Baby, Coonce’s memoir of sex, drugs, drum machines and riots during the dawn of Los Angeles’ Infotainment Age.

So fire up your Kindle, hit and get stuffed!

December 14, 2010

The Devil’s Own Day: Meta-Fiction Mash Up of Rommel, Delta Blues and Nathan Bedford Forrest


K-Bomb CentCom, Los Angeles, CA—While ignoring the mores and delicate dictates of the modern world, K-Bomb Publishing is elated to announce the release of The Devil’s Own Day, Cole Coonce‘s literary mash-up that blends the lives and careers of Nazi Field Marshall Erwin Rommel, delta-blues harpist George Dobson and Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest.

Set in Berlin, Memphis and Tupelo in both the 1860s and 1930s, this is a time-shifting story of three anti-heroes and how their respective crises of conscience influence not only each other but the course of history. Indeed, The Devil’s Own Day serves as a character study that asks the question: Are some actions beyond redemption?

Moreover, are attempts at redemption not only futile, but self-defeating? These are some of the moral and intellectual challenges presented to Rommel by Dobson, a senescent Negro Confederate volunteer cum blues musician, who is hired by the Nazi as a guide for touring Civil War battlefields. Rommel, who is gathering information to formulating future battle plans for an imminent war under the employ of the Third Reich, finds himself exhausted by his travel companion’s incessant and seemingly insipid blues warblings during their road trip through the sticky boondocks of Mississippi, in a journey that can only compared to Driving Miss Daisy meets Triumph of the Will.

Indeed, while stuck in the Lincoln touring car with the blues musician, the German is constantly confronted with seemingly primitive songs whose verses pose pointed philosophical interrogatives such as: Are we all in bondage and serving an innately-evil master? Merely good soldiers following orders? When does when one sacrifice everything in order to take a stand against the untenable? And are a man’s flawed decisions really the fault of women?

Whatever the answers posited by The Devil’s Own Day, K-Bomb Publishing doubts the timeless philosophical conundrum will get explored on Oprah’s book club any time soon.

Copies can be found on Amazon, in both paperback and Kindle versions, as well as at Stories in Los Angeles. -Emil Bustello, c/o Emil Bustello MetaFlack Public Relations-

December 7, 2010


by Cole Coonce


There are shuttles that ping-pong from our resort hotel on Waikiki to the memorial at Pearl Harbor. Even though the federal government is paying for Pamela Palmer’s rented Mustang convertible, we take a bus to Pearl Harbor.

There is a short film about the attack, replete with cinema verite 16-millimeter footage taken from the deck of the Japanese aircraft carrier on the morning of the aerial attack. It is very spooky and moving. Half of the audience in the darkened theater are Japanese tourists, the rest Americans.

We take a boat out to the deck of USS Arizona, which is a tomb for one thousand or so sailors who died in the attack, by bullets, drowning, or by fire.

Over a half a century later, motor oil still seeps out of the engine room and sticks to the surface of the sea, creating an eerie viscous film that defiantly drifts out of the bay and into the mother ocean.

A Hawaiian girl throws a flower from the deck, and hits the seeping motor oil dead on.

“They shouldn’t have snuck up on us like that,” she says. The Japanese tourists click shutters, smoke cigarettes and pretend not to understand.-30-

Sex & Travel & Vestiges of Metallic Fragments, The Cole Coonce Reader Vol. 1

October 14, 2010

ON THIS DAY IN 1997: A Jet Car Breaks the Sound Barrier

Thrust SSC goes supersonic, as told in Top Fuel Wormhole

Point your browser at this  look back to 1997 and “The Universe Is Expanding: Mach One As The Big Bang,” K-Bomb writer Cole Coonce’s explosive-yet-contemplative eyewitness account of how Thrust SSC broke the sound barrier. In a car. Excerpted from his collection, Top Fuel Wormhole.

This essay was later expanded into a feature-length book on the Land Speed Record, Infinity Over Zero: Meditations on Maximum Velocity.

October 4, 2010




I/0, Top Fuel Wormhole now available on Kindle




October 5, 2010, K-Bomb Centcom, Los Angeles, CA—In what is arguably a drag-strip journalism first, both Cole Coonce’s Top Fuel Wormhole (his collection of drag racing essays), and its predecessor, Infinity Over Zero (an impressionistic history of the Land Speed Record), have both gone electric. Which is to say these may or may not be the first books on the topics to have a presence on’s Kindle store, but, arguably, these are the first essential ones.

With new, paper-less versions of both of Coonce’s rocket-fueled books now specially formatted for e-readers, modern motor-sports esthetes can download these delicious digital documents and enjoy them with the knowledge that the trees spared by the lack of pulp-processing  can now serve as emissions credits for burning rubber and fouling spark plugs.

To that end, K-Bomb Publishing, the imprint that produced both the electric and paper versions of these thick tomes, encourages all consumers to brandish their Kindles at the drag races and, as the next pair of monopropellant-powered Funny Cars blasts by, exclaim to anybody who can hear over the noise that with enough pulp-free purchases of Top Fuel Wormhole, drag racing could ultimately be considered carbon neutral.

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October 1, 2010


by Cole Coonce (excerpted from Top Fuel Wormhole)

photo by Dave Wallace, Sr.

I remember the whine and the zing of the Top Fuel cars. It was the sound of metallic machinery wound-up to the point of breaking into magnesium quarks and positrons. I’ll never forget my Grandmother cursing the sound of the fuel cars on Sunday afternoons in the 1960s, hearing the blowers spin up into a glorious glissando and then the reverberation vaporizing instantaneously.

I remember playing in the street in San Fernando, catching footballs tossed by my grandfather, spryly huffing and puffing past parked cars and conifer trees, while abruptly pivoting on a buttonhook pattern and catching a spiral in the solar plexus or futilely extending my hands at the denouement of a post pattern in hopes of sticking the pigskin on my fingertips, and hearing the sounds of the nearby drag races— WWWHHHHHHAAAAAHHHHH – UUNNNNDDTTT —every few minutes while I ran back to huddle with my quarterback and we pretended he was Roman Gabriel and I was Jack Snow.

Yes, I knew what all of the high-pitched racket was, the din my grandfather tried to ignore and my grandmother cursed. It took me years to marvel at the irony of my grandfather passing mute judgment on the noise pollution from San Fernando Raceway.  He was one of Kelly Johnson’s metallurgists at the Skunk Works adjunct at Lockheed in Burbank, and his role in the development and manufacture of various black-budget supersonic spy planes led to all the sliding glass door windows in the city of San Fernando rattling whenever one of Lockheed’s Cold War babies did one of its faster-than-sound hole punches in the sky…

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September 10, 2010

CLOUDS OF STAR FIRE (Bonneville, 1962)

by Cole Coonce

(excerpted from Sex & Travel & Vestiges of Metallic Fragments)


Moment before his catastrophic crash, Glen Leasher ponders Infinity.


September 10, 1962. It is a hot, gloomy Monday morning with a mercury sky. Everything is the color of a bleached and buried coin. Or a bullet left in the sun. During the past few days the Infinity team had been chipping away at various stress and leak tests, ensuring that the sleek machine that resembled nothing if not an avant-garde Russian MIG fighter plane was in superlative condition to claim the Land Speed Record. Many teams had espoused the notion that surpassing the 396 mph mark set in 1949 by Englishman John Cobb was a matter of patriotic pride, as for once the Americans would showcase their Yankee Ingenuity as well as its hearty guts and determination in a manner arguably not showcased since Henry Ford.

It had been such a bizarre trajectory to this moment, from “Dago” Palamides’ shop on the outskirts of the Oakland Airport to the boneyards of Tucson (Vic Elischer remembers the liberation of a J47-33 out of an F86D Fighter/Interceptor while Che Guevara scavenged for spare parts for a “Globemaster” cargo plane for use in the overthrow of the Batista government in Cuba—this is a year before the Bay of Pigs!) to Boeing Field in Seattle to the Bonneville Salt Flats.

The Untouchable had barnstormed up and down the West Coast with a coterie of drivers, first with Archie Liederbrand, next with Glen Leasher, who was fresh out of the cockpit of “Terrible Ted’s” Gotelli Speed Shop Special, Chrysler-powered Top-Fuel Dragster.

With Liederbrand driving, the Untouchable debuted in April, 1962 at Fontana and goes 209 mph, a track record. But this vehicle was really just a rolling test stand for the team. The real glory, prestige and payoff was at Bonneville, all they needed was another race car designed specifically for that task, as well as fresh bullet.

While fabricating the race car at Boeing Field in Seattle, Palamides and Leasher continued to match race the jet car and generate cash. Concurrently, airplane mechanics Loyd Osterberg and Jeri Sorm shaped and riveted the aluminum bodywork around the clock in attempt to have the car ready for Speed Week at Bonneville at the end of August.

One of the locals who grew up around Boeing Field tells me that Sorm is “a master tin man and aeronautics wizard. He grew up in Czechoslovakia before WW II and lived there during the war and when the Nazis held the country. When the Communists were in power, he escaped in the mid 50s — he flew out in a stolen plane.

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