People choose to become music journalists for a handful of reasons. But there is the only real reason: People become music journalists because they want to ride in airplanes with rock stars.
Sure, they won’t admit it. They will carefully hide any indication that they want, more than anything, to be that kid from Almost Famous, plummeting to a seemingly certain death in a jet with his favorite band. But these people – from the lowly alternative weekly clubs editor to the author of the latest cover story for Rolling Stone – hunger for it, and the longer they are in the business, the stronger that desire becomes.
It’s not about bragging rights; it’s just that the relationship between musicians and journalists consists of so much image control and is filled with so much suspicion that the opportunities for real, human experiences with an artist are so unlikely that it seems the only time you might get an honest response is in a moment of true existential terror.
So it was with great joy that I bought a plane ticket last month to accompany punk troubadour Rocky Votolato to Reno for a single performance. The resulting story is one of my favorite pieces of journalism out of all I have written.
Fortunately, we didn’t have to take a nosedive for me to get to the root of Votolato’s existential fear. Votolato turned out to be one of the most honest and accessible artists I have ever interviewed. I fear that I used up my one chance at a real (forced) connection with an artist on the one guy who would have given it to me anyway. Oh well.
Enjoy the issue.