While mindlessly chipping away at an English major and grinding out 10-hour shifts at Tower Records (when there was a Tower Records), I'd spend all my free time pitching features and concert reviews to dozens of local publications around Southern California.
After getting enough "Thanks, but no thanks" responses from managing editors, I gave up on pitching and decided to publish something on my own. In order to raise the $750 is was going to take to launch a legitimate publication, I sold a big chunk of my record collection to Rhino Records, the one in Claremont. (Selling my vinyl copy of Prince's Black Album for only $150 tells you how desperate I was.)
Initially the 'zine was a quarterly with a run of about 500 copies per issue. I wrote it, designed it, laid it out, edited it, and distributed it to over 50 bookstore, record shops, and coffeehouses in Los Angeles and Orange County out of the back of my trunk.
About two years in, the publication grew to 8,000 copies per issue. I also took on the role of sales rep and was able to convince legit record companies like Sub Pop and Matador to buy full-page ads. I eventually got an overseas distribution deal, shipped a couple thousand copies to Europe and the UK, and had a little money left over to pay a few freelance writers.
Around this time, the founding editor-in-chief of the OC Weekly mailed me a letter. It was actually an index card. It read, "Would you like to write for the Weekly?" (He found one of my 'zines in a coffee shop.)
Get paid to write? Finally.
A week later, I was hired on as one of the Weekly's staff editors. Initially, I managed the calendar section and wrote cover stories, features, and a weekly full-page column -- Boy About Town. Boy About Town was a cross between Michael Musto's La Dolce Musto and the journal entries in Henry Rollins' Get in the Van. It even won a few awards. That column also led to a string of local television and radio guest appearence, which was fun. (Search the web for a facinating interview on KPFK FM about my investigative report on swinger clubs in Orange County.)
Once I started writing for the Weekly, my 'zine went from a quarterly to a bi-annual, to an annual. That said, I haven't published an issue since '98, but I'm always flirting with the idea of bringing it back for one last issue. Maybe once paper costs ease up.
After the Weekly, I wrote for a few more newspapers and magazines before I got my first legit online gig about a year before the the great dot.com crash of '99 at a website called Synge.com. (I wrote a cover story in the OC Weekly about the experience -- scroll down on my features page.)
Since the dot-com crash, my work has been published in over 70 publications including Cracked, LA Weekly, OC Register, Los Angeles Times, Angeleno, NatGeo, Spin, Citysearch, Ranker, Rolling Stone, Village Voice, Def Jam/Phat Farm, IAC (InterActiveCorp), Demand Media (now The Leaf Group), TV Time, WarnerMedia -- and those are just the publications people have heard of.
Interested parties will find my upcoming book of new material (tentatively titled Teenage Riots) is scheduled to be published by SideCartel Press in the Spring of 2023.
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