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by Jason Gross

4 Jun 2010


Thanks to the magic of spam filters, there was one entry missing in my writer’s survey that definitely needed to be there.  Here’s some practical thoughts from one of the best editors that I’ve ever worked with.

CHUCK EDDY (Author – Stairway to Hell: The 500 Best Heavy Metal Albums in the Universe  and The Accidental Evolution of Rock’n’Roll; former music editor – Village Voice; former senior editor – Billboard; contributor – lots and lots of other places.)

These are just suggestions. Some of them, I probably don’t even follow myself.

by Jason Gross

24 May 2010


Last Thursday, PopMatters posted the first part of my survey of advice from over 100 music journalists.  The second part will appear on Tuesday and the other two parts will each appear each in a week’s time- they’re going through list alphabetically so you’ll have to wait a bit for the “W” writers for instance. 

Hope you enjoy some of the material there.  As I said in the intro there, it’s not a complete list because I couldn’t get everyone to answer that I wanted to and also because after I finished, I thought about some writers I should have asked but forgot to.  Oh well… Maybe you’ll learn something from some of the contributors there.  I know that I did and some of the writers in the survey have already written back to say that they did too.

In addition to the writers who contributed, I also wanted to thank these wise souls who recommended other writers for this project: Harry Allen, Nick Green, Linda Kaumeyer, Albert Mudrian, Chris Weingarten.

by Jason Gross

12 May 2010


Pretty soon, PopMatters is going to post a survey I did of over a hundred music journalists who are all answering this question—“what’s the best advice you can give someone who’s new to the field?”  As you’d imagine, some of the answers are pretty funny—the phrase ‘abandon hope all ye who enter here’ came up more than once. But seriously folks, there’s a lot of good advice there.

After compiling all the answers, I wondered if I had anything to add, especially some things that didn’t seem to be covered otherwise. So, here’s a few tips that I hope might be helpful.

by Jason Gross

20 Apr 2010


This Guardian article sums it nicely: “Bauer Media, publisher of Kerrang!, Mojo and Q magazines, is asking its freelance writers and photographers to sign away all rights to their work.”  Times are tough for the publishing business but the contracts that Bauer is now offering not only means that writers loose all rights to their works but they would also be liable in the instance of a lawsuit. 

Truth be known, I’m one of the many writers who said no.  I’ve written for MOJO a number of times over the past several years and was very proud of that- it’s a quality publication and I was glad to help out in that regard.  I’d like to write for them again.  Nevertheless, I want to write for a publication which treats writers fairly so I can’t do work for them now, not when they’re trying to force these unfair contracts down peoples’ throats.  Hopefully this will get resolved soon as they realize the value of writers who’ve contributed to them and can help to keep making it a great magazine.

by Jason Gross

30 Mar 2010


Recently, a colleague on a mailing list noted something about a Pitchfork review. For a recent reissue of Elliott Smith’s From a Basement on the Hill album, the record was anointed with an 8.4 rating. However, the same record got a 7.2 rating from Pitchfork when it originally came out in 2004. What’s up with that? Similarly, each new edition of Rolling Stone‘s record guides has starred ratings which give some older records a better or worse rating than they’ve had in previous guides. It’s an old problem in the review biz we’re talking about here.

First off, everyone changes how they feel about certain records over time. A record that we’ve loved years ago might be meaningless to us now and similarly, a record that we scoffed at might now hold a special significance for us.  Also, some records might vex us a little as we go hot and cold on them- for me, that happens with Wire’s first two albums, where one day I love Pink Flag and another day I think that Chairs Missing is a much better record.

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