Hey now, we are flattered and honored to be given the thumbs up by the coolest music trade going, bar none, HITS (what, you think Billboard is cool?). Check out their smoking hot HITS Daily Double column daily.
Here’s the Blogcritics salute from the hypercool Roy Trakin:
- Blogcritics.org: Some of the best music writing around can be found in the digital realm, where the distance between journalist, artist and fan is obliterated within a community of shared ideas. Blogs, short for web logs, allow one and all to maintain an ongoing conversation with a potential audience, reflecting the Platonic ideal of a true synthesis/antithesis dialogue. Tireless Cleveland rock journalist Eric Olsen, author of Billboard’s comprehensive Encyclopedia of Record Producers, has one of the best blog sites around, with a full array of pundits aboard, each represented by their own site, and all at least somewhat monetized, by the way, with links to buy the stuff being written about on Amazon.com, no small innovation by itself. I was also turned on to similar destinations, from the relatively mainstream Slate arts and culture pundit Jan Herman to more obscure Spy-like sites such as gawker.com (specializing in “celebrity” sightings like Conde Nast’s James Truman riding the subway) and gothamist.com. All feature comprehensive links to other bloggers and cited news sources. It’s enough to make you excited about a world in which everyone can at once be both critic and consumer. It also brings me back to the reason I first got into this – as a young, impressionable suburban kid forming my own opinions by reading the likes of Newsday film critic Joseph Gelmis and sportswriter Stan Isaacs, back in the days when hard copy still meant something.
- ROY TRAKIN is a pop culture critic, pop and rock music aficionado, published author and online talk show host, not to mention diehard Mets/Knicks/Jets fan. Since 1992, this Brooklyn-born, L.I.-raised Jewish American prince has been exiled in the depths of the San Fernando Valley (north of the Boulevard, natch), paying off the SBA loan on the earthquake-damaged, still-hasn’t-recovered-its-full-value house he shares with his indispensable wife of 18 years, Jill Merrill, and two auteur theorist kinder, Taylor, 12, and Tara, 10.
He graduated from Colgate with a degree in philosophy following a senior thesis titled, “Showing the Fly The Way Out of the Fly Bottle,” a comparison of Wittgensteinian language theory with the dialogic method of Freud, which brought together two sponsoring professors who hadn’t spoken to one another in 10 years. He then received an MFA in Film from Columbia, where he studied under the great film critic Andrew Sarris and made a now long-lost student feature, Mystery Girls (based on the New York Dolls song of the same name and starring a blow-up doll), which was praised by Hitchcock biographer Raymond Durgnat as “looking like a dog had directed it.”
Trakin was also briefly the lead singer in the New York-based punk-rock group The Geeks, who played at CBGBs, broke up shortly after the Sex Pistols and have influenced everyone from the Plasmatics to the Beastie Boys and Marilyn Manson. Since 1986, Trakin has been a Senior Editor of HITS magazine, the music industry’s influential trade magazine/tip sheet/money-laundering operation. Trakin has contributed to every rock magazine that ever mattered, but no longer exist, including Musician, BAM, Creem, Details, New York Rocker, Soho Weekly News, and several distinguished dailies such as the L.A. Times, Newsday, N.Y. Daily News and USA Today. Other publications for which he’s written – both online and traditional hard copy – include the Village Voice, Grammy magazine, React, PopSmear, Addicted to Noise and Stuff.
He has previously written the biographies Sting and the Police (Ballantine Books ’84), Tom Hanks: Journey to Stardom (St. Martin’s Press ’95) and Jim Carrey Unmasked (St. Martin’s Press ’95). He also served as an editorial assistant on John Lennon Remembered: Strawberry Fields Forever (Bantam Books ’80) with Vic Garbarini and Barbara Graustark. More recently, Trakin hosted the world’s first online interactive pop music chat show/pickup area, “Rant & Roll,” for Prodigy and America Online’s L.A. Digital City (which USA Today called “one of the new wave of online talk shows”… Hey, I know it’s not much but they also compared it to Leno and Letterman, OK?)
For almost two years, he co-hosted the KLSX-FM L.A. music radio talk show, “C Notes” with E! Entertainment’s David Adelson, where his guests have included everyone from Brian Wilson to Limp Bizkit, Randy Newman to Orgy, Mike Stoller and Earl Palmer to Alice Cooper and Al Martino. In his spare time, he adopts the identity of Meshugge Knight to manage L.A. Magazine’s “best Jewish rap duo,” M.O.T. (Members Of The Tribe), featuring MCs/tummlers extraordinaire Ice Berg and Dr. Dreidle, whose critically acclaimed Sire/Warner Bros. album, “19.99,” can be ordered from Amazon.com. They (and he) are available for weddings and bar mitzvahs.
Roy is currently one of the Senior HITS editors responsible for putting together the website hitsdoubledaily.com, and recently broke the exclusive jailhouse interview with imprisoned rap entrepreneur Suge Knight. He enjoys sharing the scraps from his daily meal with editorial colleague Bud Scoppa, who makes him feel young.
And then there is a repository of twenty year’s worth of his excellent rock writing. Check it out.