Houston Calling

Milk It!

February 6th, 2005 · No Comments

Since I am a huge fan of a lot of bands that have come out of Chicago in the past 10 years or so (Fig Dish, TripleFastAction, Local H, The Webb Brothers, Ness, Caviar, Hushdrops, Made to Fade, to name a few), I have often kept an eye on the Chicago press, and especially the writings of Jim DeRogatis, music writer for the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper.

I recently picked up a few books from well-established and mainstream music writers. There’s Ben Fong-Torres (self-absorbed Rolling Stone writer and damn lucky, in my opinion), Lester Bangs (great, but very all over the place), Steve Albini (good writer), and DeRogatis. I know there are others I am leaving out, but this is about one in particular.

I just finished reading a collection of DeRogatis’ work. Entitled Milk It!: Collected Musings on the Alternative Music Explosion on the 90’s, the book features articles on Nirvana, Hole, Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins, Urge Overkill, Liz Phair, L7, PJ Harvey, Elastica, Tortoise, The Muffs, the Elephant 6 collective, Lollapalooza, Creation Records, Ride, Blur, Oasis, My Bloody Valentine, Spiritualized, Stereolab, and many more. This guy’s covered it all.

Yes, he also briefly worked for Rolling Stone, but was fired because he refused to lower his standards and give a good review to a crappy record (Hootie and the Blowfish), enfuriating publisher Jann Wenner in the process. That story, and some inner workings on Rolling Stone (which I will more than likely chronicle later), are worth the price of the book. Believe me, cancelling your subscription (should you still have one) will be high on the priority list. Get this instead. And this. And what about this?

Being a music journalist, the man has stepped on plenty of toes and bruised a lot of egos over the years. In fact, Billy Corgan (the “Great Pumpkin”) once barred him from attending Smashing Pumpkins’ shows in Chicago. And while I won’t agree with his critique of every band (he rails on Sonic Youth a bit harshly and seems to often take into account bands’ attitudes or clothing choices more than their music), he should be commended for being able to walk the thin line between music critic and music fan. The book is entertaining and informative.

You can purchase your copy online at Amazon.com.

Visit the writer’s website at www.jimdero.com.

More information on Fig Dish, TripleFastAction, Local H, The Webb Brothers, Ness, Caviar, and Hushdrops can be found here.

Now Playing in My iPod: Pitty Sing [website]

Tags: Music