Non-fiction writings

 
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December 27, 2016

Portland Punk Lifer Sam Henry Looks at 60

Conventional wisdom maintains that when punk started, the likes of the Sex Pistols and the Ramones leveled the playing field and put music back in the hands of the people—people who often picked up instruments and started bands before even learning how to play them. But, Sid Vicious aside, most of the first generation of punk musicians knew how to play, and play well. And one of the finest drummers to allow punk to derail his life and career was a Portland boy named Sam Henry.

"I was born legally blind," says Henry while leaning his face into a menu at Side Door. "So I had extensive ear training when I was very young, and I didn't know it. 

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April 27, 2016

A Rock and Roll Fairy Tale for Freaks and Geeks

Sing Street is a new wave rock & roll fairy tale set in early '80s Dublin. Fans of quality nostalgia fare like Freaks & Geeks will revel in its references.

A fifteen-year-old boy (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) seeks to escape the harsh reality of his brutal schoolmasters and splintering home. Under the tutelage of his hash-smoking, dole-surfing older brother, he discovers Duran Duran videos and Cure albums. In an effort to woo an aspiring model named Raphina (Lucy Boynton), the young man conspires to start a band of his own. 

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September 6, 2016

Five Things Geezer Butler Wants to Do After Retiring From Black Sabbath

Terence "Geezer" Butler helped build Black Sabbath's wall of sound with four mighty bass strings and a clever quill. He's the lyricist for all your Ozzy-era favorites, and boasts the second-longest tenure of any original member after guitarist Tony Iommi. WW caught up with Butler midway through The End tour to ask about his doomsday masterplan after the final curtain call.

1. Write a memoir, if I can remember anything.

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February 25, 2016

13 Reasons Why Black Sabbath is the Most Important Band That Ever Lived

Black Sabbath is currently in the midst of its final tour, appropriately titled The End. After Ozzy went solo in 1979, there was no reason to think that these guys would ever be on stage together again. The 1985 Live Aid set and Ozzy’s 1992 Costa Mesa concert encore whet fans’ appetites for an inevitable reunion that’s lasted fitfully since 1997. Now, following the 2013 release of their career benchmark number 1 album,13, the Sab Four is taking one last swing.

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December 7, 2015

Rush at 40: Still Breaking Boundaries, Still Down with the Nerds

Gary Lee Weinrib, better known to the rock world as Geddy Lee, was born to Holocaust survivors in the subdivisions of Toronto. He joined a fledgling version of Rush in 1968, and shortly thereafter, he dropped out of high school to make a career in music—and succeeded beyond all reasonable dreams or aspirations. He’s won Best Rock Bassist in Guitar Magazine six times. His band has recorded more consecutive gold and platinum albums than any other group besides The Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

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April 15, 2015

15 things never to say to a Portlander

You’ve seen a few episodes of Portlandia, so you think you can navigate the quirky culture of this town like a pro, right? Better read this first–here are 15 things never to say to a Portlander.

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July 8, 2014

Live Review: Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds at Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 7/5

Approaching the Schnitz on Saturday evening made it clear that Nick Cave's return to Portland was nothing short of a goth holiday. It was date night in black, and anyone who was turned away from his sold out Crystal Ballroom show in 2008 had made damn sure not to make the same mistake.

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August 20, 2013

Iommi Bloody Iommi

When Black Sabbath—heavy metal's widely acknowledged patient zero—announced a reunion of its original lineup in 2011, promising a tour and an album of all-new material to be produced by Rick Rubin, it seemed too awesome to be true. And it was: Drummer Bill Ward declined to accept the "unsignable" contract he was handed, leading to still-ongoing interband acrimony (Ward has been erased from photos on the Sabbath website) and causing Rubin to push Portland-born Rage Against the Machine drummer Brad Wilk onto the throne.

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April 1, 2013

R.I.P. Robert Zildjian, Founder of Sabian Cymbals

Cymbal-making was in Bob "RZ" Zildjian's blood. As the first generation of his family to be born on American soil, he helped shepherd in a new era of Western prosperity for the 350-year-old family brand. And when tradition got in the way of his career and aims for Zildjian, he cemented his reputation as a passionate innovator by founding Sabian -- now the second biggest cymbal manufacturer in the world.

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September 7, 2006

De-evolution Is Real!

"If anyone in 1980 had shown you 2006 in a crystal ball, would you have believed them?" asks Devo founder and bassist Jerry Casale? I'm sure my 7-year-old mind would have been disappointed by the lack of jetpacks, but otherwise he clearly has a point. Casale and Mark Mothersbaugh met at Kent State in the early '70s and went on to create one of the most influential art-rock bands of all time. Over 30 years later, their message is more relevant than ever, and their best music sounds far fresher than most of the nouveau new wave that's been foisted on us in the actual 21st century.

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