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 Los Angeles.
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 'zine, I sold a big chunk of my record collection to Rhino Records, the one in Claremont. (Selling my legit vinyl copy of Prince's Black Album for a mere $150 tells you how desperate I was.)
Initially the 'zine was a quarterly with a run of about 1,000 copies per issue. I wrote it, designed it, printed it, and distributed it to over 50 bookstores and record shops in Los Angeles and Orange County out of the back of my trunk.
About 18 months in, the publication grew to 10,000 copies per issue. I was able to convince legit record companies like Sub Pop and Matador to buy full-page ads. I eventually got an overseas distribution deal and was able to hire a few freelance writers.
Around this time, the founding editor of the OC Weekly mailed me a letter. It was actually an index card. It read, "Would you like to write for the Weekly?"
Get paid to write? Yes, please.
A couple weeks later, I got hired on as one of his staff editors. I managed the calendar section, I wrote cover stories and features, and I was given a weekly full-page column -- Boy About Town. It 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.
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 crash, my work has been published in over 75 publications including Cracked, LA Weekly, OC Register, Hollywood Records/Disney, 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.
My upcoming book, tentatively titled Sextet: 6 Stories About Drinking in San Dimas, 1986 - 1989 will be published by SideCartel Press later in the fall of 2021, just in time for Christmas.
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