Slip Slidin' Away: My Life as a Rock Journalist With the Houston Press
I had a hernia operation in the early summer of 2006, and had nothing to do all day but hobble around with cool cane a borrowed from Grandpa Hlavaty and play on the Internets for two months or so.
Photo by Marc Brubaker The author watching Free Energy at Fitz in 2011.
I had developed the injury while working at Domino's, but it was cool because their insurance helped pay for it, and the cool pills that came with the painful surgery.
That summer while trolling around on Craigslist for stray local writing gigs, I saw that then Houston Press music editor John Nova Lomax had put out a call for freelance music writers.
Hell, I had done a ton of stuff for Austin music blog HipsterPad (please do not Google it) and chimed in with a few MySpace blog posts along the way, so I sent in five clips to Lomax. I don't know what he and Olivia Flores Alvarez saw in my collection of sordid tales from Pearland, but they took me on. I was elated. I read the Press every week and through the listings and ads I planned my concert life.
This was my first piece, a little ditty about Buzz Ballads, a 32-song collection of modern rock cuts that was sold on TV.
This was basically the template for what would become Rocks Off over two years later, but in print. I did a few more things like this that are floating around too. I cringe when I read them now, because they were only sparsely funny. My "Drenched In Blog" archives are pretty demented too, written while on lunch breaks from my welding-parts sales job, starting in the summer of 2007 up until I came on full time in late 2008.
From then on there were hundreds of show reviews written, thousands of pictures taken, maybe a million words typed, and countless discoveries, disappointments, and fads.
Last week I told Press editor Margaret Downing and music editor Chris Gray that I was stepping down from my assistant music editor position to join the team down the street at the Houston Chronicle.
No one can say that I never saw enough shows, for better or worse. Sometimes a lot worse. I'm not sorry for going to shows that weren't hip, and I am not sorry for skipping things that were trendy. I stand by the fact that I saw legends like Michael Bolton, Yanni, and Kenny G.
By the way, Kenny G has a firm handshake. Though he wouldn't take a picture with me.