Wanna See My Smilin' Face On The Cover Of The Rolling Stone

To get to this music writer's lyrical roots, you gotta go back... way back, to Star Wars, Ted Nugent, and a decade's worth of stolen copies of Rolling Stone.

I can trace my interest in writing about music back to a single moment. I was messing around in my father's home office and I came across a magazine. "Oh really," you're probably saying, "did it have a centerfold?" Nope.


While some kids can claim the time they found their dad's stash of Playboy mags, I found something much better. The magazine I found caught my eye because its cover featured Luke, Leia, Han, and Chewbacca. I was about eight at the time, and the first chapter of George Lucas's Star Wars had been released a few months before. I was mad for anything having to do with the Star Wars universe (still am, actually), and so I did what any sensible kid would do; I hid that sucker under my mattress. Once I was sure my dad hadn't missed the magazine, I took some time to peruse it.


First, there was the weird name the mag sported. Rolling Stone. It seemed quite exotic at the time, and after reading what I could understand of the George Lucas interview (remember, I was in second grade), I looked through the rest of the pages. Oh ho, what was this? Stories about singers and bands with names such as Fleetwood Mac and Ted Nugent? At that point my musical upbringing consisted mainly of what my parents played on the stereo (Mom was a Beatles and Willie Nelson woman, while Dad favored The Kingston Trio and Simon & Garfunkel), so these fairly mainstream acts at the time were all new to me.


I continued to "share" my dad's Rolling Stone magazines until high school, when I got my own subscription after dad abandoned his, probably because music's progression into the 80's had left him stymied. I have had a subscription ever since. I didn't realize at the time that Cameron Crowe, whose stories I read as I devoured every issue, was only a dozen or so years older than I was. Years later I saw his semi-autibiographical film Almost Famous, and realized that I should have started writing way earlier than I did.


I actually stumbled into writing about music as a freshman at the College of Charleston in 1992. I had enrolled after finishing a three-year hitch in the army. I went to Savannah one weekend to see John Mellencamp (or John Cougar, or John Cougar Mellencamp, or whatever he was calling himself in those days), and while recounting the experience to a friend who worked at the student newspaper, he suggested that I write a review of the show.


"Sure," I said, and did just that.


I have to admit that seeing something I had written in print was a thrill (still is). The real "ah-ha!" moment though, came when I realized that I could get into shows and get sent free CDs as long as I (wait for it...) wrote about what I thought of said shows and CDs. Really? Yeah, I'm in.The rest is history. I've always said I'd do it until it stopped being fun. Twenty years later, I'm still having a blast. So yeah; Rolling Stone magazine was the gateway drug that led to my addiction to all things musical. The sickness was further intensified by my first rock concert a few years later, but that's a story for another time.