Monday, May 31, 2010


It's like that Ernest Borgnine-Lee Marvin movie Emperor of the North Pole. Who's gonna be the king of the fanzines or the king of the rock critics or something like that? And it's NOTHING. You're king of nothing! Dean of Rock Critics? It's like being Dean of Shitville. Being a rock critic is like the lowest fucking peg on anybody's poll. So I've never understood... although it's fun to get in fanzine wars and all that stuff but I don't really get why... There's no turf. What's the pay off of being master of this particular universe? I don't believe that there is one. Maybe unless you really get a lot of free records but you don't even get that anymore- you get downloads. So there's not even that inducement. It's not like chicks dig rock critics. What ELSE is it? Band you don't like will be friendly to you? You do it because you have to and it's really a liability more than anything else, more than a vocation.

Jason Gross has just published an awesome, absurdly wide-ranging interview with legendary underground rock critic Byron Coley, from which the above quote comes. I've been reading Coley since the mid-'80s in Spin, Forced Exposure and then (after years when it didn't seem like he was doing anything but sell records) The Wire. His "Underground" column in Spin was where I first heard of Borbetomagus.

This is a serious, thoughtful, in-depth conversation with a guy who's never had his life and work analyzed in this depth before. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4. Go. Read. Learn.

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