Other Writings

I’ve been writing about music professionally for over 20 years, specializing in pop and rock but also covering jazz, folk, classical, and other genres. My first published record review (actually a review of two records: Dig? by Bill Bruford’s Earthworks and the Fire Merchants’ self-titled debut) appeared in The Boston Phoenix in early 1990. It was one of many I would write for that newspaper. A short take on John Fahey’s God, Time and Causality in the late, lamented Musician magazine soon followed. At the time, I was working at Musician as a proofreader; later I’d become its assistant editor and finally its senior editor, cranking out plenty of words all the while.

Other publications I’ve written for include The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, Details, The New York Daily News, Interview, Guitar World, Harp, Newsday, CMJ New Music Monthly, Blender, Time Out New York, Mojo, Guitar One (where I was senior editor from 2005 to 2007), LAUNCH (where I was East Coast features editor from 1998 to 2001), Billboard, JazzTimes, and Guitar Aficionado. For a time in the early aughts, I also had a semi-regular music column in The New York Observer, and I reconnected with that publication in 2014 as a blogger for its website.

For a little over five years (May 2008 to July 2013), I edited and wrote the occasional piece for three different publications: Music Alive!, a music magazine for teachers and students in fifth through tenth grades; Teaching Music, the member magazine of NAfME, the National Association for Music Education; and WGI Focus, the magazine of WGI Sport of the Arts.

Exit Music: The Radiohead Story and 101 Great Playlists are the only full books I’ve written, but I’ve contributed to a few others, including VH1: 100 Greatest Albums and the fourth edition (2004) of The Rolling Stone Album Guide, for which I wrote or co-wrote about 50 entries—a huge thrill for someone who’d used the previous three editions as an everyday reference for years.

A choice selection of my past writing work can be found in Rock’s Backpages, a thoroughly wonderful online archive of music journalism. (Please note: Accessing most of the content on the Rock’s Backpages website requires a paid subscription.) Some clips of more recent vintage can be found on this page.