Like Conan O’Brien, today is my final day at my dream job. After six-and-a-half years as associate editor at Paste, I’ve finally decided that it’s time to move on.
It’s hard to briefly put into words all this gig has meant to me, but for starters, I don’t know where else I would’ve been given so much room to develop my voice and style as a writer and editor. I’ve also met hundreds of amazing people in my time at Paste—fellow staffers, freelancers, interns, artists, publicists, managers, label reps—and have made many close friends.
This job has taken me places my music-obsessed teenage self would have never believed—the legendary Sunset Sound studio with Ryan Adams, singing harmony with Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones at a mountaintop-cabin party, bunked up in a haunted farmhouse with The Avett Brothers, backstage with The Who’s Pete Townshend, bitching to Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne about a shitty gig my college band played, a swank Bowery hotel chatting up Conor Oberst and Jim James and M. Ward, cooking breakfast for Samantha Crain and her band, Mötley Crüe singer Vince Neil’s 46th birthday party at the Borgata in Atlantic City, trading pulls off a bottle of Jack Daniels with Béla Fleck in the North Carolina woods, watching Of Montreal’s Kevin Barnes emerge from a shaving-cream-filled coffin in the middle of the Everglades, playfully moshing to Shonen Knife with a bellyful of Texas barbecue, sipping rum out of a coconut on a beach in the Dominican Republic, and arriving at work to find messages from Paul Westerberg and Chuck D on my voicemail.
And it was incredibly thrilling to have a ringside seat as Paste grew from a 10,000-circ niche music journal into the respected, award-winning national magazine and website it is now. Shit, along the way, they even gave me my own baseball card…
What’s next for me? I’ll be continuing to work with Paste in a freelance capacity as a senior contributing writer, but I’ll be spending most of my time on a slew of new projects: managing two incredible up-and-coming bands, Nashville’s Shotgun Lover and Atlanta’s Tendaberry, both of whom will have debut EPs out in March (click on the band name to hear some demos); self-releasing my debut solo record, The Dead Art of Letter Writing, next month; and—with my filmmaker friend Scott Sloan—embarking on an epic roadtrip this summer to give American rock ’n’ roll a much-needed oil check. For 40 Days and 40 nights, we’ll take off across this country, seeing a different rock show every night (from high-school garage bands and indie upstarts to green-M&M- and large-bread-demanding arena rockers), cranking out a documentary and accompanying book about our adventure and just how much relevance and life is left in this 50-plus-year-old genre.
So that’s what I’ll be up to in my post Paste life for the foreseeable future—that and, if things pan out, patrolling an Argentine vineyard for dangerous jungle cats, armed with a high-powered assault rifle and, hopefully, a large canteen of Malbec. But that’s a whole other story.
Here’s a parting shot for you readers, a farewell of sorts. For the last two years, each member of Paste’s editorial staff has had to come up with a List of the Day once a week, every week of the year. For my final List of the Day, here are the best I’ve come up with—my 15 Greatest Lists
(please forgive any dead song links—imeem, my former mp3-stream site of choice, was recently bought by Myspace and destroyed. Way to go, Rupert Murdoch & co.)
15. Poultry Emotion: A 20-Piece Bucket o’ Classic Chicken Songs
14. Eight Songs to Soundtrack this Morning’s Michael Phelps Interview on NBC’s Today
13. Top 5 Not-So-Thinly-Veiled Sexual References to the Male Genitalia in Classic Blues and R&B
12. Back To Middle School: My Favorite Rap Songs Circa 1991
11. Let’s Get (Meta) Physical: Top 5 Top 5 Lists in John Cusack film High Fidelity
10. Fear of Flying: The Most Inappropriate Songs for In-Flight Radio
9. I’m Gonna Love You Just a Little Weirder, Baby: The 10 Most Bizarre Barry White-Referencing Articles on the Interwebs
8. Ten Songs I Sang in the Barrow County Jail
7. Eighteen Holes of Caddyshack: The Greatest Lines from the Greatest Golf Movie Ever Made
6. Seven Songs as Confusing as John Madden’s Telestrated Instant-Replay Diagrams
5. Remembering Hunter S. Thompson, the writer not the caricature
4. The Story of the 2008 Presidential Election in Song: A Playlist
3. The ‘60s & ‘70s Bands Rock Critics & Musicians Always Namecheck But That No One Else Really Ever Listens To 2009 Paste International Spelling Bee
2. Twenty Totally Awesome Fictional Bands Inspired by the Swine Flu
1. Dead Celebrities Crazy People Insist Are Still Alive But in Hiding