Pick up mysterious hardcover. Caress glossy surface depicting mostly obscured guitarist standing before dressing room mirror. Open. Puzzle over message on first page: “(This is the answer. Turn page for question).” Then: Bizarre diagrams resembling MENSA-exam riddles, found poetry, random German phrases translated. Another page, another head-scratcher: “We are not trying to / you anything… / We only want to / For instance / when the…” Welcome. You’ve just entered the wild subconscious of Wilco.
Since Greg Kot already penned the band’s biography (Learning How To Die), Jeff Tweedy and his cohorts use The Wilco Book to reflect their musical experimentation instead, tossing in shreds of artistic philosophy and sonic science along the way. With telling passages written by band and crew, an “interlude” essay (Henry Miller’s brilliant “The Angel Is My Watermark”), plenty of vivid, full-page photography, writer Rick Moody’s detailed exploration of the Wilco catalog, and a companion CD that offers an eye-opening look at the band’s creative process, this book is a must-have not only for Wilco fans, but for musicians, graphic designers and other artists who like their revelation sprinkled with a dash of self-effacing humor.