New Heathens

Author Baby!

New Heathens lyrics turned up in a new book that comes out today written by my friend Carrie-Anne O'Driscoll. Carrie's debut novel is entitled, "The Worm Fiasco," and it's a harrowing tale set deep in Alabama's kudzu country about a young woman's plight to flee an abusive relationship with her bi-polar, possibly murderous husband.

Sad to say the book is based on true events, as a couple gut-wrenching photos of Carrie in the final pages attest. Fortunately the real-life story has a happy ending. Carrie is now living in Texas and remarried to a very stand-up Iraq war vet. Together they're raising two cool sons.

In the book the pregnant protagonist "Cara," hears the New Heathens' song "Getaway Baby," as she drives from a crushing meeting with a lawyer who tells her that under Alabama law she can't get divorced until after she's given birth, despite the fact that her husband almost killed her twice.

Carrie writes, "As she pulled to the road side, she turned on the radio and heard a song by the band The New Heathens. The song was called, 'Getaway Baby.' The lyrics stabbed into her soul and the beat pummeled against her heart. She felt the ice trickle through her veins as the lead singer's gravely voice tell her story in reference to another woman. Instinctively, she grabbed her diary and green fountain pen and jotted the lyrics down."

Carrie then quotes the entire song. (Beat ya' on your home turf, take that Drive By Truckers!)

Carrie and I went to high school together and even back then she was formidable in her ability to take on big projects and follow nobody's muse but her own. Fascinated by JFK's assassination, Carrie took the initiative to conduct an in-depth interview with James Leavelle, the Dallas cop who was handcuffed to Lee Harvey Oswald when Jack Ruby shot him dead. Years later, after falling out of touch with Carrie, I visited the Kennedy Assassination Museum in Dallas and mentioned to the curator that I'd worked on my high school paper with a JFK buff who I'd known then by her maiden name, Carrie Gallagher.

"You went to high school with Carrie Gallagher?" the man asked incredulously. "The Carrie Gallagher who did the Leavelle interview?"

The last time I saw Carrie was a few years ago when she and her (good) husband drove an obscene number of hours from their home in South Carolina to see the New Heathens play in Richmond, VA. She shared with me this photo she'd kept from our high school newspaper days, shot at the Western Montana Fairgrounds. Carrie's in the middle. I'm to her left, sigh, preening.

Carrie has mostly moved on from her conspiracy theory days (I say "mostly;" ask her about Obama's religion.) Her book is graphic and gripping, and it reads like she exorcised a lot of demons. Now she's using her story to raise money and awareness to fight domestic violence. You can get a copy of Carrie's book, help the cause and hear "Getaway Baby" by visiting

Here's to every success in the world for "The Worm Fiasco," and to the start of Carrie's career as an author. You listening Oprah?

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