Monthly Archives: February 2013

Music Journalism A-Z – Summary

I hope you found the February 2013 Music Journalism A-Z series of value. I enjoyed coordinating the research and providing the information about varied music journalists this month.

My impetus for putting together this series was to set the stage for the EMP Pop Conference 2013 multi-city event April 18-21, 2013. It will be anchored at EMP Museum in Seattle with satellite location events at NYU in New York; USC in Los Angeles; Tulane University in New Orléans; and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland. It’s quite the extravaganza for digital music wonks 😉

I am participating as a member of the professional music blogging community and a music journalist. I will be attending the NYU event, April 18-19 2013. I attended the Pop Conference 2012, Sounds of the City last year at NYU which continues to energize my pursuit of written music knowledge.

I am working with  Tavia Nyong’o and the NY City Program Committee. I will share information about the event via this blog soon so please stay tuned as registration opens on March 15th!

NEW YORK, NYU

Date: April 18-19, 2013
Details: After the Deluge is New York’s theme. The New York City installment of the 2013 EMP Pop Conference will be held at New York University April 18–19, 2013, sponsored by the Department of Performance Studies and the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music. The two-day event will feature a set of discussions and events curated by a distinguished program committee of scholars and journalists. Our postdiluvian title is meant to be open-ended. It will invite reflection on music and the city and region before, during, and after Superstorm Sandy. It will draw focus to the much smaller scale of this year’s event, after the IASPM/EMP extravaganza of 2012. And lastly, it will invite consideration of how we handle—as critics and consumers—the excesses and scarcities of music in our present moment.
Proposals: There is no open call for papers, as NYU is curating this event.

To attend: Registration will open on March 15. Please contact the conference organizer Tavia Nyong’o at tavia.nyongo@nyu.edu if you are interested in learning more. The schedule includes eight panels with additional events and keynote presentations.

Contact: Tavia Nyong’o, tavia.nyongo@nyu.edu
Program Committee Members: Tavia Nyong’o (Conference Chair, New York University), Gustavus Stadler (Editor, Journal of Popular Music), Wayne Marshall (Co-Editor, Reggaeton [Duke UP]), Deborah Kapchan (New York University), Imani Kai Johnson, (University of California), Daphne Brooks (Princeton University), Maura Johnston (former Music Editor, Village Voice), Steve Waksman (Smith College), Daphne Carr (General Editor, Best Music Writing)

I want to highlight program committee member’s  Maura Johnston digital journalism achievements. Maura has taken the bold, necessary step to offer a weekly magazine, Maura. It is available via iTunes subscription. I subscribed today 😉

Maura embodies my core belief as a digital music journalist. If the existing publishing hierarchy gets in the way of your published work, build your own magazine and drive subscription. If you build it they will come.

Johnston, who teaches music writing at the New York University’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music and does freelance work (including a regular column at MSN Entertainment), created Maura because “I’ve always wanted to do my own thing. I’ve been proud of the work I’ve done in full-time jobs, but I had a difference of opinions with my hierarchy.”

The publication, Maura features themed issues (“Desire” and “Static” were recent ones), and articles about current events, media and entertainment.

Read this insightful Web article at Digital Journal by Cate Kustanczy, to learn more about Maura Johnston’s significance: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/343410#ixzz2MF6XuIK2

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Music Journalism A-Z – Andy Zax

Andy Zax

So we arrive at the last letter of the alphabet, Z and our last music journalist. Andy Zax  is a music historian and producer of CD boxed sets and reissues. He also appeared on the Comedy Central game show Beat the Geeks as the Music Geek.

His best known project is co-producer of the Grammy nominated  Woodstock: 40 Years On anthology box set. Co-producers Andy Zax and Mason Williams compiled “Woodstock — 40 Years On” from the original multitrack tapes recorded during the festival. Their research also allowed them to put the songs and artists in the correct order of performance, and the accompanying booklet includes the correct sequence complete with full set lists. Andy can be found on Twitter at @andyzax.

Music Journalism A-Z – Scott Yanow

Scott Yanow

Photo: Here's a picture of my sweetie Scott Yanow that I took today.  This picture will be on the back cover of his new book, The Great Jazz Guitarists that will be coming out this spring!  It's his 11th book.Scott Yanow is a prolific American jazz historian and journalist. He is known for his many contributions to the Allmusic Website (See Scott’s Biography and Desert Island selections). He has written ten books on jazz and produced extensive library of jazz recording reviews for over 30 years. He has also created over 600 liner notes for various record labels.

His CD reviews are found at LA Scene a monthly West Coast jazz paper.

Books

  • Jazz On Film
  • Duke Ellington
  • Swing
  • Bebop
  • Afro-Cuban JazzISBN 0-87930-619-X (2000)
  • Trumpet Kings
  • Classic Jazz
  • Jazz: A Regional Exploration
  • Jazz On Record 1917-76

The talented Dutch photographer Jaap van de Klomp traveled the world taking beautiful photos of the graves of scores of jazz immortals. The pictures along with 180 jazz musician biographies became the book,  Jazz Lives – Till We Shall Meet And Never Part.

Charlie Parker

Scott’s 11th book, The Great Jazz Guitarists Publisher: Backbeat Books will be coming out very soon! Scheduled Release Date: 4/2/2013

The Great Jazz Guitarists

Music Journalism A-Z – Additional Authors

I have looked high and low for a music journalist whose last name begins with X. I could not find anyone.

David Byrne speaking at the 2006 Future of Mus...
David Byrne speaking at the 2006 Future of Music Policy Summit hosted by the McGill University Schulich School of Music in Montreal, Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So I decided to take this opportunity and go back through the alphabet of music journalists that I didn’t get to write about first time. I had some tough choices to make for the Music Journalism A-Z series when I decided I would only feature one music journalist by first letter of their last name.

There are many other music journalists that deserve major recognition for their accomplishments and invaluable insights.

The first music journalist I want to mention  is David Byrne. Most people freely associate him as a musician, songwriter, or as a visual artist. He writes a regular journal that I subscribe to,  David Byrne’s Journal. David Byrne is a technology leader who assuaged our collective consciousness. He articulates a much-needed voice  of expression for artistic intelligentsia. He has authored nine books to date.

  • True Stories (1986)
  • Strange Ritual, Chronicle Books (1995)
  • Your Action World (1999)
  • The New Sins (Los Nuevos Pecados) (2001)
  • David Byrne Asks You: What Is It? Smart Art Press (2002)
  • Envisioning Emotional Epistemological Information with DVD (2003)
  • Arboretum, (2006)
  • Bicycle Diaries (2009)
  • How Music Works (2012)

The letter C proved challenging as there were two other music journalists of renown I wanted to write about, Robert Christgau and Nate Chinen.

Christgau is the cornerstone of music criticism and his Consumer Guide has helped me purchase  fantastic recordings over the decades.

Nate Chinen constantly turns me on to new jazz sources via his blog and music reviews in the New York Times.

English: on the
English: on the “Music in the ’00s” panel, 2010 Pop Conference, EMPSFM, Seattle, Washington. (Photo credit: Joe Mabel)

The next music journalist I wanted to circle back to is David Fricke, Senior Editor at Rolling Stone. He authors the “Fricke’s Picks” column in the Rolling Stone record review section.

He is responsible for the 100 Greatest Guitarists Of All Time special edition issue and column that gets a lot of views on my music blog post as a two-part series that I wrote about last year.

The letter G had several music journalists I could have also written about and that have my undying respect. Those journalists include Gary Giddins, Mikal Gilmore, Ralph J. Gleason and Peter Guralnick. I had just written about Peter Guralnick in January so I faded on him for this month.

Gary Giddins has been a long-time columnist for the Village Voice and unarguably the world’s preeminent jazz critic who has won an unparalleled six ASCAP–Deems Taylor Awards, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Peabody Award in Broadcasting, as well as a lifetime achievement award from the Jazz Journalists Association. He’s also received the Raiph J. Gleason Music Book Award.

Mikal Gilmore is a friend on Facebook. I enjoy his posts and love the articles he writes for Rolling Stone Magazine. He has two interviews with Bob Dylan that are must reads in the latest Rolling Stone Special Issue.

Ralph J. Gleason had a powerful influence on me as a music author of depth and substance. He contributed for many years to the San Francisco Chronicle, was a founding editor of Rolling Stone magazine, and was co-founder of the Monterey Jazz Festival. He represented both pop and jazz music with equal intensity. I especially love his liner notes for the pivotal jazz recording Bitches Brew by Miles Davis.

I debated for too long about featuring Nat Hentoff for the letter H. I struggled to do him justice in my draft blog post. I thoroughly enjoy his music sociopolitical bent. He is a jazz subject matter authority and my kinda liberal 😉

Richard Meltzer wrote one of my all time favorite rock music epics, The Aesthetics of Rock. I’m on my second copy now 😉

It was a total toss of the coin between Robert Palmer and Jon Pareles of the New York Times. I can’t get enough of Mr. Pareles writing. I’m drawn to his prose like a moth to a flame.

Jon Pareles Writer Jon Pareles (L) interviews singer/musician Chris Cornell at the New York Times TimesTalk during the 2012 NY Times Arts & Leisure weekend>> at The Times Center on January 7, 2012 in New York City.

I still feel like I could write about 25 more music journalists in this post. What a great well of knowledge to draw upon.

Music Journalism A-Z – Paul Williams

Paul Williams

Paul Williams is the Father of Rock Criticism. He created the first magazine of pop music criticism and rock culture, Crawdaddy!, when he was a seventeen year-old college student. I loved reading that magazine growing up.

Mostly self-penned in the beginning, and then a vehicle for such incandescent writers as Sandy Pearlman, Richard Meltzer, and Jon LandauCrawdaddy!chronicled rock’s growing self-awareness and communicative power, helping to coalesce a nascent progressive underground which would irrevocably change the music, and provide a template for any aspiring writer. I should know. Finding issue #7 at a “head shop” on St. Mark’s Place in the winter of 1966 was a life-changing experience, showing me a new way to understand the music I loved, and how I might repay the favor through my own words.

— Lenny Kaye

In 1995, Paul Williams suffered a traumatic brain injury in a bicycle accident, leading to early onset of dementia, and a steady decline to the point where he now requires full-time care.

The burden on his immediate family has been immense.

You can find out more about how Paul is doing by reading his wife Cindy Lee’s blog, Beloved Stranger, about her life with a brain injured spouse.

Then, if you can, please visit the donation page they have set up, and contribute.

Music Journalism A-Z – Aidin Vaziri

Aidin Vaziri

I love to cultivate new music influences. One benefit in blogging this series is to learn more about music journalists I have not experienced yet like Aidin Vaziri.

Aidin Vaziri is a Pop Music Critic for the San Francisco Chronicle. He was featured in the book  “Best Music Writing 2009,” that was edited by Greil Marcus.

Click on the buttons to read his blog and past SF Chronicle articles.

Many of the music journalist’s I have covered have written for the New York Times so it’s refreshing to read the West Coast perspective. San Francisco is such a vibrant music city. Aidin writes about music with conviction and honesty. He’s a straight shooter.Aidin Vaziri

Aidin is adept at interviewing many famous musicians passing through San Francisco. Since turnabout is fair play he was interviewed by The Bold Italic an online San Francisco Magazine. Click on his picture below to read how he parries and thrusts with the questions for a change 😉

Aidin

You can keep up with Aidin Vaziri via Twitter here

Music Journalism – A-Z – Jaan Uhelszki

Jaan Uhelszki

Jaan Uhelszki is an American music journalist and co-founder of the music magazine CREEM. Like Gloria Stavers and Lillian Roxon whom I have featured in this series she is one of the first women to work in rock journalism.

america's only (mostly) living staff

In 1976 she left CREEM and moved to Los Angeles to work for Record World magazine. She would go on to become founding news editor of online magazine Addicted to Noise before heading up Microsoft Music Central’s news department.

She holds the unique distinction in being “the only journalist to have ever performed in full makeup with Kiss”?

Uhelszki has been a contributing editor for Rolling Stone Online. She presently works as Relix’s editor-at-large. Jaan is also a regular contributor to my favorite UK music magazines Uncut and Classic Rock. She has also contributed articles to The Morton Report.

Uhelszki writes liner notes for Sony Legacy RecordingsRhino Records, and Time-Life. She has written essays for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees The Pretenders, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Patti Smith, and The Stooges. Jaan Uhelszki regularly appears as a music authority on VH1’s “Behind the Music” series, as well as on radio shows and at industry panels and workshops, where she works as a media trainer.

From Linked In…

Media Trainer

Jaan Uhelszki Media

2000 – Present (13 years)Berkeley, CA

Specializing in training musicians, actors, and executives how to master the interview and avoid the pitfalls. Part therapy, part self-empowerment, part charm school all designed to enhance your verbal and non-verbal communication skills and make you a more compelling you. One-on-one sessions all individually tailored for your particular needs. You would be shocked to know who I’ve trained.

Music Journalism – A-Z – Nick Tosches

Nick Tosches

Writing in a lineage that includes Dante, William S. Burroughs, Charles Bukowski, Hubert Selby, Jr., and Hunter S. Thompson, Nick Tosches may be America’s last real literary outlaw. 

nick tosches

Nick Tosches is an American journalist, novelist, biographer, and poet. Tosches began his writing with poetry and rock-‘n’-roll magazines. He wrote for CREEMFusion, and Rolling Stone. Like many of the music journalists featured in this series he started on very common publication grounds.

Books

Nick Tosches first book was released in 1977 under the title Country: The Biggest Music in America The book is arranged like a fan’s scrapbook, leaping across time and subject

Nick Tosches’s next book, Hellfire a biography about Jerry Lee Lewis considered by many his music book masterpiece.

The number one greatest music book ever ‘Observer’

Quite simply the best rock and roll biography ever written ‘Rolling Stone’

A collection drawn from 30 years of his writings, The Nick Tosches Reader, published in 2000 by Da Capo Press.

Nick Tosches joined Vanity Fair as a contributing editor in 1996.

Nick Tosches

Music Journalism A-Z – Gloria Stavers

Gloria Stavers

My first recollection of reading a music journalist with any regularity was Gloria Stavers, editor in chief of 16 Magazine. Stavers was credited with being one of the first women rock and roll journalists. Her vibrant personality carried across as both a fan and a knowledgeable source of information.

FinalSEPostGS

I find it ironic that I also had a teeny bopper phase that helped to formulate my experience with music. It is the reason I curb my tongue when it comes to Justin Bieber. I had a paper route in those days as a Norwalk Hour news carrier. I would strap a transistor radio to the handle bars and listen to the WMCA Good Guys or the WABC All American disk jockeys on AM radio out of New York City. I always made it a point to buy the latest monthly issue of 16 Magazine at Espositos Variety in South Norwalk where I picked up my papers to deliver. I would devour that magazine cover to cover. 16 Magazine was one of the best informed sources about the British Invasion. I had that paper route two years from 1964 through 1966. So I had plenty of pocket-money to buy 16 Magazine plus lots of comic books 😉

Tony Barrow, the Press Officer to The Beatles, credits Stavers with providing “significant help” towards the task of fast-tracking the band to the top of the US charts. In the months before their first visit to the US, a real volume of the editorial space in 16 was given over to The Beatles. Paul McCartney remembered Gloria as being “very dignified, professional and totally business-like. She inspired respect from us all”.

16 Magazine: Aug

Tributes

I urge you to visit the Gloria Stavers Tribute Blog created by Karen Steele. You’ll find great pictures of Gloria Stavers like this one there along with other invaluable writings and memorabilia.

November '65

Record Store Day 2013 – This Year’s Ambassador is Jack White!

Looking past the doldrums of Winter 2013 to a better Spring and Record Store Day 2013 which this year will be Saturday April  20th.

I think it’s just the best that Jack White is voted Record Store Day Ambassador 2013. He always supports this event and I have purchased several of his exclusive Record Store Day collectibles the past few Record Store Days.

Jack you are the man! Here is what Jack White has to say officially about Record Store Day…

Years ago someone told me that 1,200 high school kids were given a survey. A question was posed to them: Have you ever been to a stand-alone record shop? The number of kids that answered “yes” was… zero.

Zero? How could that be possible? Then I got realistic and thought to myself, “Can you blame them?” How can record shops (or any shop for that matter) compete with Netflix, TiVo, video games that take months to complete, cable, texting, the Internet, etc. etc? Getting out of your chair at home to experience something in the real world has started to become a rare occurrence, and to a lot of people, an unnecessary one. Why go to a bookstore and get a real book? You can just download it. Why talk to other human beings, discuss different authors, writing styles and influences? Just click your mouse. Well here’s what they’ll someday learn if they have a soul; there’s no romance in a mouse click. There’s no beauty in sitting for hours playing video games (anyone proud of that stop reading now and post your opinion in the nearest forum). The screen of an iPhone is convenient, but it’s no comparison to a 70mm showing of a film in a gorgeous theater. The Internet is two-dimensional…helpful and entertaining, but no replacement for face-to-face interaction with a human being. But we all know all of that, right? Well, do we? Maybe we know all that, but so what?

Let’s wake each other up.

The world hasn’t stopped moving. Out there, people are still talking to each other face-to-face, exchanging ideas and turning each other on. Art houses are showing films, people are drinking coffee and telling tall tales, women and men are confusing each other and record stores are selling discs full of soul that you haven’t felt yet. So why do we choose to hide in our caves and settle for replication? We know better. We should at least. We need to re-educate ourselves about human interaction and the difference between downloading a track on a computer and talking to other people in person and getting turned onto music that you can hold in your hands and share with others. The size, shape, smell, texture and sound of a vinyl record; how do you explain to that teenager who doesn’t know that it’s a more beautiful musical experience than a mouse click? You get up off your ass, you grab them by the arm and you take them there. You put the record in their hands. You make them drop the needle on the platter. Then they’ll know.

Let’s wake each other up.

As Record Store Day Ambassador of 2013 I’m proud to help in any way I can to invigorate whoever will listen with the idea that there is beauty and romance in the act of visiting a record shop and getting turned on to something new that could change the way they look at the world, other people, art, and ultimately, themselves.

Let’s wake each other up.

– Jack White III

Last Shop Standing

I also discovered this interesting movie trailer about the rise, the fall and the rebirth of the independent record store shop.