For many years, my portfolio existed in analog form. Now, it finds a more durable digital form. Below you will find a collection of reviews, features and articles spanning the years 1993 to 2012. As you’ll see, the bulk of the early work focuses on music. Later on, I segued into cannabis, occasional political reportage and even some health & wellness coverage. I’m also linking to a few select articles on the Interwebs:
VICE: Punk Nomads
VICE: Republicans for the Win
The Daily Beast: Days are Numbered for Nestdrop, LA’s “Uber for Weed”
Leafly: Earlier this year, I became an occasional contributor to Leafly. The articles I’ve published through their site to date are linked to below:
- In a Milestone Vote, ASTM Welcomes the Cannabis Industry
- Kevin Sabet Takes on Roger Stone at Politicon
- Would a “Public Cannabis Bank” Really Work in California?
Back in my days as a music journalist, I drafted a press release for TVT on a forgotten industrial band named Hednoize. Since then, I have also forayed into press release creation for the Mendocino County Proposition Measure AF in 2016. In 2017, I also assisted in press for the Emerald Exchange, a hybrid farmers market/cannabis industry networking event in Malibu, CA.
In addition, I have begun a professional relationship with the Las Vegas-based medical cannabis service for patients and participating physicians, which started with this promotional brochure.
The earliest clips in my portfolio date back to a volunteer position reporting on the Macintosh New Music Festival. From participating clubs in Manhattan, my reporting was uploaded onto the internet in real time: a big deal for the then-nascent technology. Back then, we still had to explain to concertgoers what exactly the Internet was. As that decade progressed, I wrote for various websites alongside my print publications, some that remain (Amazon, Yahoo’s Launch service), others that have faded away (Music.com, MCY). In addition to the online articles posted above, I recently drafted copy for the West African Cultural Foundation website, which will be hosted in late spring of 2017.
During my sojourn with 99 High Tide Collective in Malibu, I designed and wrote their “Beyond the Buzz” newsletters. We sent these out through MailChimp to a legacy mailing list of just under 2000 people. To read some samples, click below:
- Harmonic Frequencies #1 (“You’re Invited to Our Grand Opening on 4/20!”)
- Harmonic Frequencies #2 (“Tommy Chong Rings in the 99 High Tide Era”)
- Harmonic Frequencies #3 (“Love, Gifts and Burning Man Specials, Oh, My!”)
- Harmonic Frequencies #4 (“A New Year, a New Sign, a New Gift… and a New Newsletter!”)
Below you will find selects from my portfolio dating back to the early ’90s. Many of these early clips document the American EDM industry in its early, decentralized days. With the 21st Century, I continued that beat until the early Teens, but started to diversify my portfolio with deeper dives into cannabis and occasionally politics. Explore my archives to your heart’s content.
The 1990s Portfolio
I got my first national byline in Grey Areas, a glossy, geeky alternative culture magazine published by a Deadhead stay-at-home mom. I parlayed that clip towards a small interview in a Rockers for Pot feature for High Times. However, my career only gained lift-off once the post-grunge electronica insurgence of the mid/late-’90s got underway. For much of the decade, I served as the de facto dance music journalist for Alternative Press. In addition, I freelanced for most of that era’s dance music resources – URB, Mixer, Sweater and any alt-weekly that would have me. This culminated with a brief yet life-changing position as interactive writer for the short-lived internet TV network den.net. I wrote website copy for their dance music show, natch.
During this time, with relatively few exceptions, my portfolio focused exclusively on music journalism/criticism. In 1997, I voted in the Village Voice Pazz & Job Critics Poll for the first and last time in my career. My attitude towards my profession could be summarized by a DJ I once encountered poolside during the Winter Music Conference of that year: “You know the movie, Married to the Mob? Well, I am Married to the Music.” And I was. I truly believed the music, and the culture surrounding it, could transform the world into a more tolerant, loving place. So I served as a passionate evangelist for it. Bear this in mind when you read through these old publications.
The 2000s Portfolio
As the new century progressed, so did my career. I worked as an assistant editor for MCY.com in New York City before moving back to LA in 2000. I expanded into longform feature writing with extended features for the Los Angeles Times. These pieces pushed me beyond my music journalism niche. In addition, my professional relationship with High Times culminated with my interview with former Mexican President Vicente Fox. This feature, the magazine’s first-ever interview with a head of state, former or current, stands as a historic milestone for both myself and the magazine.
However, I persevered with music up until 2012. Some of the artists I covered became mainstream celebrities, and I covered their rise. I have since maneuvered towards cannabis and its development into a legitimate industry.
I began to cut back on my music work as the century progressed, finally pulling away altogether in 2012 with a DJ Times cover story on UK dubstep producer Rusko. Before this, I had also written covers for the magazine on Bassnectar, DatsiK, Dada Life and Skrillex, among many others. Still, I managed to score a few hits before retiring – my article on the Pasadena hip hop collective Odd Future for High Times caused a minor fracas online when noted music producer Steve Albini commented on it in a BBS thread. In addition, I profiled dubstep music for both High Times and the Los Angeles Times before the sound went mainstream.
On a professional and personal level, I do not regret having moved on for a second. Overall, modern music is in pretty good shape – at least, no worse than it ever has been, I feel. I sincerely hope for a greater engagement with society from both musicians and the fans who support them, however. The industry, particularly in EDM, has insulated both in largely apolitical experiential bubbles, whether it’s Vegas upscale nightclubs or megafestivals. From what history tells us, musicians and artists possess greater ability to develop innovative solutions to the world’s problems than we give them credit for. If there is ever a moment where a specific musical movement demands a seat at that table, I might return to full-time reportage of this development. But for now, it remains a part of my past.
Over time, I found a few editors that granted me stories outside of my bailiwick. This led to some of my favorite pieces in my portfolio. Some were fun; others challenging. All of them rewarded me in one way or another.
Until its demise, I contributed frequently to a nightlife trade publication called Club Systems International, later renamed Club World. Helmed by one-time Billboard dance music columnist Kerri Mason, this magazine also hosted the Club World Awards, the first-ever nightlife awards ceremony, for which I wrote copy.
For the magazine itself, I specialized in technical features which detailed the a/v specifics of a nightclub build – audio, interiors and video, if the club had it. These pieces required an enormous amount of persistence and care to get right. The magazine continually entrusted me with these features despite the occasional difficulties that came with the job.
After a four-year hiatus, I returned to High Times in 2007 to do some of my best work for the magazine. In addition to the Vicente Fox interview, I also penned my first grow story, and co-wrote a piece on Cheech & Chong’s reunion which became one of the magazine’s top-selling editions of the new century. I extend gratitude towards my editor-in-chief Chris Simunek. His faith in my abilities allowed me to segue into work that, as we say in the industry, “touches the plant.”
Currently I am finishing work on a very exciting ghostwriting project. Afterwards, I will revisit a photonovel which I classify as “political hauntology.” I am pursuing opportunities in public relations, branding and ghostwriting.