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

hlavatybru.jpg
Photo by Marc Brubaker
The author watching Free Energy at Fitz in 2011.
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.

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.

A-ha.

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.


Location Info

Map

Grand Prize Bar

1010 Banks, Houston, TX

Category: Music


Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
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 topcommenter

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

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 topcommenter

Pearland represent!

Now Trending

Houston Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...