Thursday, November 24, 2011


Seems I didn't post this last year. Well, here it is.

Thanks for the wild turkey and the passenger pigeons, destined to be shit out through wholesome American guts.

Thanks for a continent to despoil and poison.

Thanks for Indians to provide a modicum of challenge and danger.

Thanks for vast herds of bison to kill and skin leaving the carcasses to rot.

Thanks for bounties on wolves and coyotes.

Thanks for the American dream, to vulgarize and to falsify until the bare lies shine through.

Thanks for the KKK.

For nigger-killin' lawmen, feelin' their notches.

For decent church-goin' women, with their mean, pinched, bitter, evil faces.

Thanks for "Kill a Queer for Christ" stickers.

Thanks for laboratory AIDS.

Thanks for Prohibition and the war against drugs.

Thanks for a country where nobody's allowed to mind their own business.

Thanks for a nation of finks.

Yes, thanks for all the memories - all right, let's see your arms!

You always were a headache and you always were a bore.

Thanks for the last and greatest betrayal of the last and greatest of human dreams.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Today, someone I follow on Twitter posted, "My music writing bibliography is over 12 pages long." I thought about whether I could even catalog my own writing about music, and soon realized it would be utterly impossible.

I started writing about music for money in 1996. I've written literally hundreds of album reviews, maybe (hell, almost certainly) thousands at this point, for dozens of outlets, both print and online. Several of the websites I've written for (,, are gone now. The metal blog I ran for MSN in 2009 and 2010 (Adrien Begrand runs it now, and does a great job) switched hosts after its first eight or nine months of existence, and in the transition, a lot of posts were lost, permanently deleted. I had a blog before this one which is long gone.

Some of the magazines I've written for don't exist anymore, either. Does anybody remember Oneworld, Russell Simmons' attempt to create his own Vibe? How about the US version of Metal Hammer that only lasted six months? I wrote for both, as well as tiny zines - Carpe Noctem, Subliminal Tattoos - now long dead. And I've got tearsheets of some of that stuff, but not all of it. I don't have copies of anything I wrote for Magnet or Cowbell. And even in the cases of magazines that I currently write for - Alternative Press, The Wire, Jazziz - my archives are far from complete. Not only do I not have tearsheets or moldering stacks of back issues, I can't even access the original manuscripts, as a lot of them were written with WordPerfect and saved to floppy discs which I threw away years ago. Vast swaths of my output - years' worth of work, hundreds of thousands if not millions of words - are totally inaccessible to me.

And yet...I don't care, not really. I'm much more concerned with the next thing I'm going to write than whatever I've already turned in (and been paid for). Even if I could somehow access all the words I've ever typed, I wouldn't re-read them. Sometimes I'll get a press release that includes a quote from a review, un-bylined, and I'll think, "That sounds like something I wrote." But if I can't go back and check, does it even matter?

I put together a collection of longish profiles in 2009. I'm proud of all those pieces, and if you'd buy a copy of the book, I'd be happy. I was even giving some thought to gathering the profiles I've written since, but I don't have anywhere close to a book's worth yet, and I'm writing fewer of them now.

Eric Dolphy famously said, "When you hear music, after it's over, it's gone, in the air. You can never capture it again." That's how I feel about much of what I've written over the last 15 years. I wrote it, and now it's gone. Time to write some more.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011


This time, I was paired up with Maura Johnston of the Village Voice and the subject was Lulu. Wanna hear it? Here you go: