Back in the day, when I wrote music reviews

I used to write music reviews. It was a dope gig. I was able to write whatever I wanted about whatever bands I wanted. I made connections in these wonderful music and writing communities. 

The drawback? Why did I stop? It didn’t pay. Seldom freedom like that does. 

Life moved forward, my day job became more demanding, I stopped writing my poetry, I started to look at writing the reviews as an obligation that I had to fit into my already hectic day. I had started to get jaded. I started to feel a distance from the music. I stopped listening to music as a fan, but as an evaluator. I picked it apart, I tried to analyze and articulate why I liked it instead of just enjoying it and telling everyone about it. When I went to shows I was stressed, I needed to get up front so that I would have at least one really good photo to run with the review, I would take notes the whole time, I would be watching the audience as much as the band. And instead of being entrenched in the passion and visceral reactions that make us all go to these shows in the first place, I was focusing on just how I was going to tell you what you missed or what you might see if that band hadn’t been to your city yet. 

I made the decision, I needed to say goodbye. That farewell was one of the hardest things I had to write, writing about music (for a living) was always a dream. So I said goodbye to that as a real option. I said goodbye to the readers, the bands, the label owners, the PR agents that I had developed friendships with. But it was what I needed to do. I needed to fall in love with music again.

Over the years, I get inspired to go back, look through those reviews, look at my portfolio, and I miss it all. I miss the new music, the shows, the connection with people over three cords. So, I suppose that I have succeeded in falling in love with music again.

Now, in the pandemic, I have gotten emails from a few of the bands who I had reviewed in the past, I found excerpts of my reviews on Spotify profiles, found my name mentioned in interviews and I must admit, it stings a bit. There is that awesome twinge of nostalgia and that prideful feeling that people that I respected actually cared and respected what I was doing, that I was doing my small part for the punk community that I love so deeply. But there is also the sting that I couldn’t make it work, that I gave it up, that comes in sharp.


Surrender :: reprinted in Quail Bell


This is the first
    ride home
      I ever enjoyed.
                We leave
over the George Washington Bridge
              drive through darkness
                                       surrounded            by lights
   the bridge    :    the city
             in the rearview mirror
he stares    through    the windshield
            his hair hangs in his eyes
  I   push   :   play
            Cheap Trick :   I Want You to Want Me
sit Indian-style
             back against the passenger door
        eyes closed
                       my hair thrashing        in the wind.

Showdown :: Reprinted in Ripasso

Listen :: Propagandhi :: Showdown

I watch him
as the security guard
                  shouts in his face.
I watch him
lean     even     closer
                A hug,
               I was giving
              my friend
              a hug.
    Officer Rent-A-Cop
    doesn’t back away
           stares back into
    Mark’s slate blue eyes.
                                  A boy
                                 hugging another boy?
                                 That just ain’t right.
                                   He has a drawl
I didn’t know we cultivated
in Pennsylvania.        Maybe he learned
it at mall cop night school.

stand in a semi circle
behind Mark   :
knowing he won’t
                       back down.

piece of shit
                   Mark mumbles.

                        What did you say to me,
       I   called   you,
      a   homophobic
      piece   of   shit.

Justin steps toward Officer Rent-A-Cop
           Mandy yanks him back
                                   Officer Rent-A-Cop spins around
                  stares at Justin then Mandy
                                                     You rainbow colored
then to Dave then to me                  tattooed freaks
             Sharon, to Kevin, to Hughes,               have anything to add?
        to Steph, to Jaime, to Jibo, to Chris.     
                                                                                        I didn’t think so.