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That Was Ten Years Ago?

What were you doing ten years ago? I was busy at The Arizona Republic, mostly designing special sections but also writing a bit on the side. Mostly I did pieces on travel, movies and music for my own department (which uncomfortably existed between the marketing and editorial areas of the paper), but for a short while I was allowed to do regular music reviews for the newsroom. This year-end list was published in the December 28, 1998 issue of The Rep (the paper’s now-defunct weekly entertainment tabloid):

Arizona Republic, December 28, 1998

Kind of reads like a weblog entry, huh? Writing was a new and thrilling thing for me back then. Basically I was just flying blind and attempting to counterpoint all the bone dry AP-style reportage so prevalent throughout the paper. Although I absolutely loved music and writing about it, the experience was difficult. Most of the newsroom people were apathetic towards the idea of a marketing guy (much less an artist!) contributing to their domain. I got no guidance and very little support from them. Whenever I’d request of the music editor a new CD to review, the response was either “oh, I was planning to review that” (consequently, nothing would appear) or complete silence. It was logical that most of the music I wrote about wound up being lesser-known releases that I wrangled myself.

Being a wannabe music critic was fun while it lasted — but after two years of regular weekly contributions, I got fed up and put a halt to doing anything at all for the newsroom. It was the Spring of 2000, and The Rep was on what must have been their fifth or sixth music editor. En route to meet him, I thought “if this guy doesn’t acknowledge me or even volunteer a halfhearted smile, I will never do anything for them again.” He never smiled.

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