Stupid, sexist, and wrong-headed in so many ways, except the way that says this guitaring New York singer-songwriter’s one and only album (which I assume must’ve just arrived randomly at the college newspaper office) wasn’t especially good. Also, inadvertently funny. maneater, 1981
And now, something completely ridiculous for the time capsule: Written in straight grey pseudo-objective journalismese, an attempt to explain to squaresville suburban Detroit weekly newspaper readers what exactly is this new wave punk rock stuff they keep hearing about. Some of the predictions are pretty amusing: “no new wave band will ever achieve the mass… Continue reading What is New Wave??
In high school I was clearly even more heartless than the guy who came up with that old joke about the harp seal who walked into a club. (Ba-dum bum.) My budding and thankfully short-lived Ayn Randian side shines all through this teenage travesty, which observant Stairway to Hell readers will note I later cannibalized… Continue reading Hate Speech About Harp Seals
College, senior year. I guess I just liked the exercise of reviewing a best-of collection — especially one I didn’t technically own. In retrospect, given the essentiality of their first four albums, seems like it’d be pretty redundant. As for Autoamerican, I’ve always been fine with a 45 of “Rapture.” Not sure I’ve ever even… Continue reading Blondie review, 1981
My first journalistic focus was sports, which I got the opportunity to cover during two college summer breaks for an upper Oakland County, Michigan suburban weekly inexplicably known as the Spinal Column. (Years before, even before I delivered the early-morning daily Detroit Free Press, my first hired job was carrying the Spinal Column on Wednesday… Continue reading A Tale of Two Ballplayers
University of Detroit, where I did my first year of college, was a Jesuit school; the only A+ I ever received in a class was Philosophy 101, taught by an amazing Jesuit priest. Every issue of the Varsity News featured an advice column called “Dear Abbot,” answered by the head of the monastery. In the… Continue reading A Fake Fatherly Advice Column
As far as I remember, the first singles roundup I ever wrote – for my college paper, senior year at University of Missouri-Columbia. Callow and corny, but my once-new wave tastes are already stretching across the map — including to protest rap, months before “The Message.” maneater, 1982
Fairly certain these ran in an April Fools’ issue of my high school newspaper in suburban Michigan, for which I was the editor at the time. Not only did I write all of them; I typed them into columns on an actual typewriter, picked the headline fonts, conjured the artificial adverts, designed the page, and… Continue reading Fake Letters to the High School Editor
I may have told some tall tales over the years about this college-newspaper review inspiring threats on my life that let me know writing about music should be my life’s calling, seeing as how no other writing ’til then had merited such a response. More likely, I just got an irate phonecall or two in… Continue reading REO Speedwagon live review, 1980
One rock-critic task I was never crazy about was when magazines would ask me to blurb a few of the “best albums of the year” for their year-end issues. The point of criticism isn’t to justify why a thing’s “good”; it’s to talk about what a thing does. So my prose, in those instances, would… Continue reading A 1981 Top Ten — from 1981!