Position: Former AP Music Editor (2004-2014)
HQ: Cleveland, OH
I owe everything to Billie Joe Armstrong. No, really: Had I not seen the music video for Green Day's "Basket Case" on MTV during the summer of 1994 at the highly impressionable age of 12, I'd likely still be buying En Vogue and Boyz II Men CDs like they were going out of style. But there was something about that guitar sound, those drum fills, that manic energy that made me take notice and realize there was a whole other world of music out there, my dad's Phil Collins collection not withstanding.
I soon ended up diving headfirst into punk before falling head over heels for a nascent genre referred to as "emo," which featured lonely boys playing loud guitars and howling about heartbreak. It sounds so quaint now, but man, let me tell you, that shit was mindblowing in 1997. From there, I landed a job at an indie record store (15 Minutes Compact Discs in Rockford, Illinois—RIP), played drums for a handful of local bands, wrote for my brother's Xeroxed zine and ended up stumbling into an editorship as respected music-news website Punknews.org, devoting the majority of my collegiate life to making that site better. I went without a girlfriend for the majority of that time, too—talk about your strange coincidences...
Fast forward to 2004: As graduation approaches, I find an ad on AP's website for a copy editor. Not really knowing what one was, I asked classmate (and future co-worker) Rachel Lux for help with my application, and then next thing I know, I'm being asked to drive out to Cleveland for a job interview. I still don't know what Mike Shea & Co. saw in me, but thank heaven they did, because I was officially unemployed for only one month of my post-grad existence, starting at AP in July 2004. (Mike, my parents thank you, too, probably more so than me.)
Oh, right, back to Billie Joe Armstrong. The first issue featuring my name in the masthead was AP 195, featuring Green Day on the cover as they began to mount their comeback with American Idiot. Talk about full circle! It's crazy to think about everything I accomplished in the decade between Dookie and American Idiot, but it's even crazier to think of all I've been lucky enough to do in the six years since—I've gotten to travel the country with Warped Tour, Taste Of Chaos and the AP Tour; I've penned cover stories on everyone from multi-platinum megastars (Blink-182) to bands that have slept on my living room floor (the Gaslight Anthem); I've attended close to 1,000 shows for free, all in the name of rock journalism (and singing along as loudly as possible); and I'm able to come to work in a Glassjaw T-shirt and tattered shorts and listen to new music for eight hours straight while my 6-foot-tall Andrew W.K. I Get Wet album poster looms over me—and get paid for it. It's a tough job, but someone's gotta do it.
TOP FIVE ALBUMS EVER (IN NO ORDER)
- Weezer - Pinkerton
- Alkaline Trio - Goddamnit
- Jimmy Eat World - Clarity
- Jets To Brazil - Orange Rhyming Dictionary
- Green Day - Dookie