Ever wonder about who those people are behind the bylines you read in music magazines? Well, Neil Daniels did in a big way. He was so intrigued that the journalist in him assembled All Pens Blazing,
Volumes 1 and 2, digests filled with interviews he conducted with dozens of different rock journalists. Here, in the first couple paragraphs of the author's introduction to Volume 1, Daniels talks about his book.
About thirteen months ago I started to a run a series of exclusive interviews with
writers on my website www.neildaniels.com. This section of my website has since
expanded into an interesting albeit still relatively small archive. Most of the
interviews are with music writers but there are also some interviews with
respectable authors like Kim Newman and Ramsey Campbell. My ongoing aim
with ‘Interviews With Writers’ is to understand the publishing industry (both
books and magazines) as well as to take advice from published authors and
experienced journalists of pop culture; it’s a learning tool for the aspiring writer
more than anything else. More interestingly, there’s also a chance for the writers
to digress and talk about some of the artists they’ve interviewed, books they’ve
read, plus their favourite authors, musicians, gigs and albums, etc.
I was flicking through an old issue of Kerrang! not too long ago and
thought: wouldn’t it be great to get in touch with a lot of these scribes and
interview them about working for the world’s most famous heavy metal magazine
during the Eighties?
The author was serious about this first volume and went onto create a second. They are tremendously entertaining and reveal much about the names you've seen in every magazine from
Creem and Guitar Player to Rolling Stone and Classic Rock.
Consequently, I began to build up a solid list of contacts and
fortunately many of those writers agreed to be interviewed. The difference this
time was that I didn’t want to just add them to my website but actually publish a
collection of interviews dealing specifically with writers of heavy metal and hard
rock. My list of interviews expanded day by day, from writers who began their
careers working at Sounds and Melody Maker to contemporary writers who began
their careers writing for webzines. Of course, Internet rock journalism is a
contentious issue and has been criticised for the decline in the quality of rock
journalism. Long gone are the days when readers would buy every album
positively reviewed by one journo or when readers could recall the entire list of
staff writers on a particular rock magazine. I’ve personally bought albums by
artists I’ve never heard of just because a favourite writer of mine reviewed their
music positively. Star names like Charles Shaar Murray, Nick Kent, Mick Wall
and David Fricke, et al, are no longer being born. There were also a number of
writers back in the golden age of rock journalism who were not especially great
wordsmiths but had an incredible knowledge of the music and their enthusiasm
shone in every paragraph. Nevertheless, I didn’t want to be prejudiced so I
decided to include writers from all eras and formats.
Click here for
Steven Rosen's interview with All Pens Blazing author Neil Daniels
Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. © Steven Rosen, 2010