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In Memoriam

I recently wrote two obituaries in The New York Times on two amazing musicians with very different sensibilities: Johnny Ventura and Nanci Griffith. Johnny Ventura was a mainstay of modern merengue, while Nanci Griffith was one of the great folk-music voices of recent decades. They were both grounded by their homes–the Dominican Republic and Texas, […]

posted 16 August 2021 in Articles, Outside. no comments yet

Ben Day and Aqua Net

In recent weeks, I wrote two articles for the New York Times arts section: one was about daily newspaper cartoonists grappling with how to address the pandemic in their strips, while the other was a playlist of 15 essential hair-metal videos. My thanks to the cartoonists who took the time to speak with me: Lalo […]

posted 18 May 2020 in Articles. no comments yet

Two Remarkable Women

This past week, I had obituaries printed in The New York Times for two very different, very accomplished women: Marie Fredriksson and Rose Mackenberg. Marie Fredriksson was one-half of Roxette, the Swedish pop group that was intensely successful in the United States between 1989 and 1991; she died on Monday after a long illness. I […]

posted 13 December 2019 in Articles. no comments yet

R.I.P. Kim Shattuck

I was very sad to hear of the death of the mighty Kim Shattuck, the creative force behind the Muffs–the band never achieved the commercial success of some of their pop-punk peers in the early 1990s, but they made some excellent albums and Shattuck had one of the all-time great rock screams, right up there […]

posted 7 October 2019 in Links, News, Outside. no comments yet

Back to the Garden

Fifty years ago today was the beginning of “an antiquarian exhibition: 3 days of peace & music”–better known to you and me as the Woodstock festival. I wasn’t there, but I feel like I’ve been soaking in it my whole life anyway. I had the privilege of contributing to a special New York Times section […]

posted 15 August 2019 in Articles. no comments yet

I Know Times Are Changing

A few weeks ago, I was driving across North Carolina to interview a photographer–but halfway to my destination, I needed to pull over someplace where I could do two crucial interviews for an article I was writing for The New York Times about Originals, the next album drawn from Prince’s vaults. That’s how I ended […]

posted 6 June 2019 in Articles, Outside. no comments yet

Kurt Cobain, 25 Years Later

Kurt Cobain died twenty-five years ago today. When I heard the news, I was sitting at my desk at Details magazine, where I was working as a music editor. (The office was on the corner of Broadway and Canal Street; I had a great panoramic view of Brooklyn, lower Manhattan, and New Jersey, when I […]

posted 5 April 2019 in Archives, Articles. no comments yet

Aretha Franklin at the Kennedy Center

Three days before Aretha Franklin died, I got a call from an editor at the New York Times, asking if I could put together an oral history of the Queen of Soul’s amazing 2015 performance of “Natural Woman” at the Kennedy Center (honoring Carole King). The catch was that since she didn’t have very long […]

posted 10 September 2018 in Articles, Outside. no comments yet

Neil Tennant Q&A

In early March, I wrote an article for The New York Times about the American debut of The Most Incredible Thing, a ballet based on a Hans Christian Andersen story, with choreography by Javier de Frutos and a score by the Pet Shop Boys. It was a pleasure to report for many reasons–not least getting […]

posted 27 April 2018 in Articles. no comments yet

Sittin’ on the Dock of the Ballet

Hello! In case you missed them, I wanted to call your attention to two pieces I wrote for The New York Times in recent months. The first one was on the 50th anniversary of Otis Redding’s “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay.” I spoke with an extraordinarily cool range of people for the article: […]

posted 4 April 2018 in Outside. no comments yet