Slip Slidin' Away: My Life as a Rock Journalist With the Houston Press


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I took this photo of Bob Dylan in 2009 without permission.
Those Rolling Stones bastards never came to town while I was on the clock here, which chaps my ass. I always wanted my name attached to a Stones show, and not because I rushed the stage and was beaten to death by Keith Richards.

But I did get to see and review, nearly very ACL, SXSW and Fun Fun Fun Fest since 2007. My body is "down" with sweating. I was there the day that the gates for Free Press Summer Fest 2009 opened, along with the rest of the Rocks Off crew. Look at that thing now, the festival has its own beer, and people come from all over the country to attend it. I remember when the only thing fancy about the Fancy Pants tent was a plate of Ruffles and A/C.

No teary-eyed rehash of the past seven years would be complete without reminding everyone that for the past three years I have been an honorary Juggalo, anointed in late 2010.

I suppose at first it was for shits and grins, but the deeper I got into ICP's "Dark Carnival," the more I realized there is a distinct, almost Dickensian, class-warfare battle going on between the Juggalo family and the rest of society. Plus it is easier to tell people I am part-Juggalo than a concealed handgun license holder.

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Photo By Marc Brubaker
Ever seen The Deer Hunter?
Big thanks to photographer and friend Marc Brubaker for coming along on that ride with me from that first show in 2009 on.

It's out of my system now, but I still have some empty two-liters of Faygo at my desk that I just packed up. ICP's record label even sends me Christmas cards now.

Speaking of Christmas, someone else around here is going to have to listen to Sunny 99.1's holiday music come December.

I have a detailed list of shows I have covered at the end of this blog, along with links where applicable, if you make it that far. I still don't know how a major publication entrusted some of these reviews to me, especially with how green I was in the beginning. Have you ever seen early Seinfeld episodes, when Kramer wasn't "Kramer" yet? Sort of like that.

There are also countless local acts I witnessed, and I have my favorites, like Venomous Maximus, Robert Ellis, Buxton, grandfather Child, Fat Tony, B L A C K I E, Roky Moon & BOLT (RIP), Basses Loaded, Ryan Scroggins, Chase Hamblin, Hell City Kings, Insect Warfare, American Heist, thelastplaceyoulook, Something Fierce, Cop Warmth, 10th Grade Cutie, Featherface, The Burden, Balaclavas, Benjamin Wesley, Tontons, Bagheera, Life As Lions, Good Job Underground, //TENSE//, Muhammadali, Black Congress, Hamammatsu Tom & Whatever He Calls It That Night, Young Girls, The Homopolice, NO TALK, and many others that I am forgetting now.

-- Getting an angry call from music industry titan Irving Azoff after writing about the Eagles at ACL in 2010. It was honor to be cursed at by him.

-- Geeking out with Henry Rollins about the Stooges during an interview that went 30 minutes over schedule.

-- Spending almost two hours on the phone with Ian Astbury, for an interview that went about an hour and a half over schedule, talking about 21st century shamanism and the current hellish political landscape.

-- Being one of the last journalists to interview the late Jay Reatard before he passed away. I had his number in my phone for a long time; it felt wrong to delete it.

-- Writing about the Stone Temple Pilots imploding in the Woodlands, and having music rags from around the country quote me like I was some sort of authority.

-- The time Method Man and Redman poured water on me and my camera at the House Of Blues. Was this the same night one of them was shooting a pellet gun out of their tour bus, or am I imagining that?

-- Nearly meeting George Strait at Reliant Stadium last month, but being foiled by an overzealous CultureMap photog. Next time George. Next time.

-- Having Eric Burdon nuzzle me like a kitty while high on wine.

-- The time I hired former Houston Texans linebacker Connor Barwin to review concerts.

-- Talking about guns and social media with Ted Nugent after a concert at Nutty Jerry's in his dressing room while he ate chicken soup.

-- Busting into that same dressing room months previous to meet Chuck Berry

-- Smoking and drinking on Billy Bob Thornton's bus while comparing each other's tattoo work.


Location Info

Venue

Map

Grand Prize Bar

1010 Banks, Houston, TX

Category: Music

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17 comments
Craigley
Craigley

That rag could use some talent!  I like your style - our generation's Ken Hoffman!

nokutanluna
nokutanluna

Insect Warfare namedrop! :D

Good luck with your future endeavors, Craig.

andrewkarnavas
andrewkarnavas

Craig, your Creed concert reviews have a special place in my heart. Yesseah! Shine on you crazy diamond.

Noah Ramon
Noah Ramon

After that, my own eloquence escapes me, so I'm just going to say : Sir, you fucking rock. Thanks for all the cool stuff.

WestSideBob
WestSideBob topcommenter

You've been eyes and ears for those of us who couldn't attend various events for numerous reasons.  My record collection is greater for your reports.  You opened my ears to new groups and music I probably would not have auditioned on my own.  Thanks and Vaya con Dios.

conatonc
conatonc

Good luck, Craig! I've had loads of fun reading your writing over the years and I look forward to continuing as you move to the Chronicle.

I would've written this on Friday, but the Houston Press website infected my school-issued (I'm a teacher) laptop with some pretty serious malware, so, uh, thanks for the parting gift?

Justin
Justin

I sincerely thought you were the luckiest guy ever for all the cool shit you "overheard in the crowd", turns out it was just more great writing.

Brilliant!

mtorres123
mtorres123

Damn you Hlavaty for making me cry in the middle of Boston Market as I read this...

Thanks for the wisdom and encouragement, sir. You are a true amigo. And sorry for the snoring.

dustin.kalman
dustin.kalman

Best of luck to you Craig. Always enjoyed your writing and talking to you when I'd see you around at shows when I was with the Houston Press Street Team and after I left.

MadMac
MadMac

Good writing, good sir. You gave me a window on shows I would never/could never attend. Thanks again and I wish you continued success.

stonerbuddybongloader
stonerbuddybongloader

Good luck, man! Thanks for all the great morning after reads...especially on the ones that I didnt make it to!

dermgerm
dermgerm topcommenter

Good luck in your travels down the block, juggalo bruddah. And for the Strait side, cowboy, you may be riding away, but you're carrying Press love with you.

Yah, that feels right.

You saw Katy Perry and Mariah Carey?? I'm jelly!

MadMac
MadMac

Pearland represent!

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