New York Times best-selling author Tucker Max visited the South Broad Street Borders on Thursday, Sept. 30 to promote his new book, “A——s Finish First.” Before the book signing, the self-proclaimed “a——” sat down with The Temple News to discuss his new book, college life and what it was like to share his phone number with the world.
The Temple News: What content can fans find in “A——s Finish First” that wasn’t in your first book, “I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell”?
Tucker Max: Well, for the most part, it’s the same voice, same style, same everything. The first half of the book almost could have been in “I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell.” The second half is a little different. It’s called the “Post-Fame Sex Stories,” and it’s like how weird and unusual the situations I got into with girls [were] once I got famous. You know, [in] “Beer in Hell,” the stories are a little bit crazy, but it’s not s— that anyone couldn’t do if you go out drinking and have fun – it’s all the same stuff we all get into. Once you get famous and girls start coming to you, s— kind of changes a little bit.
TTN: Have you partied in Philadelphia before?
TM: Oh yes, many times. The one place I do know that I’ve been to because I know a lot of people who work there, is Mad River. I come to the Army-Navy game every other year at least, so I’m here all the time.
TTN: You have an educational background in law. As an author, do you think that studying law was the right decision for you?
TM: F— no. Being a lawyer was a stupid goal for me ‘cause it’s just the worst job I could have [had], and I hated it. But I can’t sit here and say that I regret going to law school. Where the f— do you think these stories came from? A lot of them came from law school, and a lot of them came from my friends that I met in law school. So it’s like going to law school was sort of the impetus for a lot of these things that happened to me. It’s sort of like being a lawyer sucked, but law school worked only because I made it work.
TTN: In a 2006 New York Times article, you said that “any good artist grows and changes and matures.” Do you think this held true in the transition from “I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell” to “A——s Finish First?”
TM: I do. On the plane from Austin, when I was flying to New York to start the book tour, I read both books back to back. It was actually kind of shocking to me how much better [“A——s Finish First”] was in a lot of ways. I’m not a totally different writer, but I think that I’m a better writer – a little bit more mature.
TTN: You started your career by blogging. What advice do you have to people starting their own blogs?
TM: I think it’s stupid and disingenuous to differentiate between blogging and writing. Writing is writing – you may choose to write on the Internet, you may choose to write on Twitter, you may choose to write in a newspaper, whatever – you’re still a writer. Most people should find their own style. They should be honest and raw and authentic, and write in a way that makes sense for them. Very few people have the courage to put themselves onto paper like I do. That’s really the only reason that I sell so many books and most people don’t. I’m a lot more [of a] courageous writer than most people.
TTN: You had your real phone number mentioned in the film adaptation of “I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell.” How did that work out for you?
TM: I had a phone that I could hardly use anymore. Let me show you my missed call log – it just goes on and on. Constantly, calls and texts like, ‘Dude, the f—ing B&N in Pittsburgh is f—ing sold out of your book, what the f—?” What do you want me to do about it, s—bird? Want me to fly you a book? I put [my phone number] in because I thought it would be this neat, cool little Easter egg that no one would figure out. The movie just came on Showtime, [and] I can tell you when it’s on Showtime based on the number of calls I got. It’s f—ing crazy.
TTN: If you could give one piece of advice to current college students, what would it be?
TM: You know, I give speeches at colleges, like three or four a year. I get paid a stupid amount of money to do it – it’s great. I talk more about inspirational stuff, [but] here’s the thing. Most college kids seem to think – not all the college kids, but most – you have to check off all the right boxes. You have to go to the right school, you have to join these clubs or take these classes or get these grades, and then you have the degree, and that means something. It doesn’t. That’s just not the way the world works. I can go degree-for-degree with anyone in the world, and those things didn’t mean s— for my success. My success, I earned. I think what a lot of college kids don’t realize is that life is about a process and about finding the right path and living each day in a really enjoyable way and not rushing to some result.
TTN: Overall, do you think the stories were more humorous and entertaining in “I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell” or “A——- Finish First”?
TM: I would say, judging from the general reaction, the fans are extremely happy with the sequel. Some think it’s just as funny, some think it’s more funny. At the very least, it’s not less funny.
TTN: Do you have plans on writing/producing any more films in the future?
TM: No, not right now. I don’t see it happening. I spent two years doing essentially nothing but the movie. Writing, getting the deal, producing, shooting, editing, distributing, promoting – I think it took five years off my life. If I make another movie, I might die in the middle of it.
TTN: What would someone find on Tucker Max’s iPod?
TM: It’s all hardcore gangster rap and most of it is Houston rap: Slim Thug, Paul Wall, Chamillionaire. I love them. I know it seems crazy. I’m not like them at all.
Angelo Fichera can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.