Before the worst president in American history incited a deadly insurrection at the White House, singer-songwriter Nathan Bell asked me to write the liner notes for his latest album, Red, White and American Blues (it couldn’t happen here).
Greg Cox: Making His Own Band
In the summer of 2018, I had coffee with a guy named Greg Cox — an R&B singer in Charlotte, North Carolina, whose self-released debut LP Etc. had just dropped on my desk and blown my mind.
Lou Reed + John Cale: Fifteen Minutes with You
In July 1990, I landed my first magazine cover: a story on Velvet Underground co-founders Lou Reed and John Cale, who’d reunited to perform and record Songs for Drella, a tribute to their mentor, the late pop artist Andy Warhol.
Vic Chesnutt: Famous By Association
In 1996, seven years after I wrote my first profile of the late Vic Chesnutt for Option magazine, I flew down to his Athens, Georgia, home to do this full feature for Rolling Stone.
Ani DiFranco: Return of the Righteous Babe
Early on in what’s come to be slandered by the right as “cancel culture,” Ani DiFranco angered fans by planning an artist retreat at a former plantation. The irony was that DiFranco had spent her entire career as a stanch political ally, not just of Black Americans, but of all people of color, all gender identifications, the poor — basically, all people marginalized by the dominant culture. She survived the controversy with her fanbase intact.
Whitney Houston: A (Very) Personal Tribute
By the late ’90s, Whitney’s “children” regularly passed through the green room at MTV, where I was then working as vice president of music editorial on the daily show TRL. Like Whitney, I was at the top of my game — or, so it seemed.
Beck: The Rolling Stone Interview
My first Rolling Stone cover story, in 1997, was sort of a Part 2 of an earlier cover story I did on Beck for Option in 1994.
The One That Got Away: Billy Joe Shaver (1939-2020)
The prospect of sitting down with Billy Joe Shaver and talking about his music had been exciting for me. After all, so many of his songs had been an important part of my teen years.
The Pixies: Democracy, Cuban-style
Thirty years ago this August, The Pixies released their third album, Bossanova. That year, I sat down with Black Francis over rice and beans at a Cuban restaurant in Manhattan.
The Voice of an Angel: Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (1948-1997)
In 1991 I had the great honor of getting to meet and interview Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, the world’s greatest singer of qawwali, a devotional vocal style associated with the mystical Islamic practice of Sufism. Sadly, in 1997, I was tasked with penning his obituary.