There are few things in life worse than a writer who isn’t writing. I know this, because I haven’t written anything since June 28, 2016 and my self-loathing hovers around a Bukowskian level as I attempt to explain myself. What was supposed to be a brief hiatus stemming from the demise of examiner.com snowballed into a two-year moratorium on a vocation that I had dedicated the last 12 years of my life to mastering.
Sure, I could have ended the drought numerous times if I wanted to, but something inside me just wouldn’t allow that to happen. The tsunami of self-doubt synonymous with the writing lifestyle had infiltrated my existence to the point that I began to question whether or not I could ever construct a sentence again. Seven years of interviewing my heroes and pouring my soul into covering up to four shows a week had come to an abrupt end, so rekindling my confidence was going to be an arduous task. It felt as if I was experiencing my very own Joey Gladstone moment in which I convinced myself to give up writing after being ignored by every major music publication on the planet despite having spent more than a decade doing what I felt I was born to do.
Something had to give. Something had to come along and remind me why I fell in love with such a thankless activity to begin with.
What came along wasn’t so much a friendly reminder as it was a sobering moment in which I realized that I either had to get busy living or get busy dying. All those years spent chasing Spin and Rolling Stone led me down a gravelly, dead- end path inhabited by sycophants who blacked out their obligation to cultural elevation sometime around the turn of the century. Thus, I shed all desire to assimilate into the mainstream, and decided that I didn’t need an anachronistic publication to reinvigorate my sense of purpose as a writer.
That, friends, is how the seeds for Music N’ Other Drugs were planted. I wanted a space where I could continue my journalistic duties without feeling like an extension of a major label’s PR division. I wanted a space where I could be honest and unmerciful regarding a band/artist without worrying what ad hominem attack the social media snowflakes would unleash on me next. Most importantly, I wanted a space where I could crank out thoughtful, fat-free pieces of prose aimed at raising the level of discourse on a subject instead of succumbing to an American culture predicated on crucifying anyone with an alternative viewpoint.
We’ve become so obsessed with diversity and political correctness in this country that the death of intellectual disagreement feels irreversible. What should be a nation that prides itself on respect and political compromise is actually a place where it’s OK to protect certain groups at the expense of others whose philosophies don’t fit into the progressive worldview. The Culture War outlined in Pat Buchanan’s speech at the 1992 Republican National Convention is at hand and may God have mercy upon your soul if you choose the wrong side.
Because of this, I wanted to foster an online environment in which opposing perspectives were not only tolerated, but welcomed. If you love David Lynch, hate Nu Metal, and refuse to come to grips with a world in which Taylor Swift is more familiar to people than Kate Bush, this could be the site for you. If you love Michael Bay, hate U2, and hail Post Malone as the next great MC, this could also be the site for you, as long as you don’t take anything written here personally.
So, with that in mind, I would like to formally introduce you to Music N’ Other Drugs, a space that will seek to “transcend the bullshit” of American pop culture, and, with any luck, challenge you to think critically when articulating your musical tastes in public.
I’ve been covering the music scene in WNY since 2009, and, in that time, I’ve gotten acquainted with all the other music-related outlets in this area. Some might consider them my competition, but I think we can continue to co-exist just fine given how different our approaches to music journalism are.
What do you think?