Sunday, August 11, 2013

Rock & Roll Regrets part one - I Turn Down a Job Writing for the New Musical Express


"Regrets, I've had a few 
But then again, too few too mention"
- Paul Anka, My Way, for Frank Sinatra, 1968


I'm not an individual that's given to a lot of regrets.  I spent enough years on the planet earlier in my existence constantly, relentlessly looking back: wishing things had been different, turning over bad decisions in my mind to the exclusion of moving that existence forward.  In the words of Warren Zevon, from 1978's sublime "Accidentally Like A Martyr" - "The days slide by / Shoulda done, shoulda done, we all cry."

That being said, here's part one of my Rock & Roll Regrets:

In July 1978 the New Musical Express, one of the premier English rock weeklies of the time (along with Melody Maker and Sounds), included my punk fanzine, Teenage Rampage, in an article on amateur rock jounalists and heaped accolade upon accolade on our little Ohio publication.  (see reproduction below)

Subsequently, sometime in September '78 I got a letter from one of the editors at the NME (as everyone, including The Sex Pistols - "I use the NME / I use anarchy" - referred to it) offering me the position of Midwest Correspondent for the magazine.  My responsibilities would have included covering national touring acts when they passed through Ohio and to be on the lookout for local talent the NME could talk up to their English readers.  (They had plenty of top-flight pro correspondents on the East and West Coasts, but their Great Midwest contacts were kinda spotty.) 

In retrospect, this would have been a perfect way for me to hype Romantic Noise, my close friend and sometimes-employer Willie Phoenix's then-current punk-power-pop assemblage.  But I was so bogged down in the day-to-day drama of my marriage falling apart, working a 40-hour work-week at K-Mart, keeping my own band going, playing roadie for Romantic Noise, and writing for the local Columbus music mag, Focus, that I just let the NME offer dwindle away, to fall by the wayside (in the words of Artful Dodger). 

That last misstep, choosing to continue writing for my hometown rock weekly that would go bankrupt & belly-up within a year rather than mount stories for The New Musical Express, one of the most powerful rock & roll magazines of its time - home to rock writers extraordinaire Charles Shaar Murray, Mick Farren, Tony Parsons and Julie Burchill - is particularly galling to me from my 20/20 hindsight catbird seat here in the 21st century.  I could have started a rock writing career at that point that may well have blossomed into something very real and compelling, or at least coulda paid a few bills.

Two words spring immediately to mind regarding that decision - bonehead and idiot.  Readers, feel free to fill in a third.

This is part one of three of my Rock & Roll regrets.  


© 2013 Ricki C.


(readers, employ your zoom feature)

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