Greetings from the back of my truck as my dad, my cat, and myself cruise through the wasteland known as rural Oklahoma. We are miles from anywhere interesting, and I am willing to bet that the closest bar has more patrons than teeth — to borrow a phrase from my esteemed former colleague Chris Davis.
I use the word former because — as sad as it is to type — I have decided to move on from my position as Music Editor of The Memphis Flyer. It was a fun three years at the music desk, full of interviews that brought me out of my comfort zone, late nights of "research" at Murphy's, Minglewood, and everywhere in between, and correspondence that were mostly more on the side of "thanks for the article," rather than "eat shit, journo scum."
During my time as music editor, people would often ask me how I came up with a story. The answer is, it wasn't exactly difficult. Memphis music is so fertile, such a vast landscape, that the story ideas more often than not practically fell into my lap.
However it wasn't all "good job budrow" and pats on the back. I still get asked about my "guitar center rock" jab that I implored when writing about a certain New Daisy show a few years back. One disgruntled musician even told me I'd be a barista within six months when that one came out. Joke's on him. I don't even like coffee. And, since we're on the subject, I was originally going to use the term "butt rock." I'm still upset I didn't. Those that got the joke seemed to enjoy it.
I hope that after the six thousand-something music features I've written for this fine publication, you found at least one new unsigned band that you enjoy. I took it upon myself to do my best to champion local bands with a CD-R rather than the low hanging fruit that takes Memphis music to the far ends of the globe. There's nothing wrong with those bands, obviously, but groups like Chickasaw Mound (now known as Yesse Yavis), Dawn Patrol, and anything Alicja Trout ever touches will always be the pulse of the Memphis music scene, and I won't back down from that even if I'm no longer a voice in Memphis.
I also should take this time to thank my freelancers who bailed me out numerous times, especially Andrew Earles (go back and read his piece on Dwight Yoakam), and JD Reager. Neither one ever let me down. I hope to see both of their bylines in the Flyer going forward, and rest assured, I'll still be reading the Flyer.
It would also be foolish of me not to thank Susan Ellis for her endless patience and Bruce VanWyngarden for giving me my first editor job, and for not throwing me out of his office every time I crept in there to say "umm, hey boss, remember my band, Ex-Cult? We're going on tour ... again." Or when I had the audacity to start another touring band, or turn in articles from Argentina, etc.
As for me, as appealing as it may be to disappear into the abyss of Oklahoma, I'm taking my "talents" West. I'll let you take a guess as to where I end up. My final request of you, beautiful Memphis music fans, is to support all forms of local music. As someone who's seen first-hand what the rest of the country has to offer in terms of unsigned bands, I can assure you that Memphis is a gold mine. From underground hip-hop, to honky tonk, to heavy hardcore, Memphis has it all. Attend a record-release show and actually BUY THE RECORD. Go to a show on a weeknight. Go to a show on Beale Street, and for fuck's sake tip the band. Get out of your comfort zone. You'll be glad you did.