Here’s one for my fellow research nerds out there, accomplished and aspiring alike.

This week I’ve made lots of progress seeking out candidates for inclusion in Pasta, so I thought I’d share how I’ve gone about it.

Rather than using examples from my actual project, though, I’ll use a stand-in topic that won’t give away any proprietary, potentially valuable information: singing drummers. I’m pretty sure I’m not ever going to work on a children’s book about singing drummers.

But, geez — there’s Ringo. Levon Helm. Philip Bailey. Meg White…

Hang on a second.


OK, I’ve talked to my agent, and she assures me that I won’t be working on a children’s book about singing drummers, so let’s proceed.

To cast a net for singing drummers who might be interesting to write about, my first step would be to search for phrases that would likely be used in an article about one or more of these talented artists, such as “singing drummer” (note the pages mentioning Ringo, Don Henley, Phil Collins, and Micky Dolenz) “drummers who sing” (which points the way to Peter Criss and Dave Grohl), and “drummer sings lead” (Jim Capaldi).

The next step — where I am today in Pasta — would be to triangulate between the names turned up in the previous search and find books containing references to at least two of these people on the same page. Examples include “don henley” + “phil collins” (which turns up a book also mentioning Kevin Godley of 10cc) and “ringo starr” + “dave grohl” (through which I was reminded of Beach Boy Dennis Wilson).

My next step would be to dig deeper into the lives of each of the people I’ve come up with and see if I’d like to begin dedicating my early mornings and lunch hours to telling their stories. So, if you know of any good Dennis Wilson bios…