Long Form Music Journalism
June 30, 2014 8:19 AM   Subscribe

Link me to riveting, long form music journalism online! I want to read case histories of musicians with troubled lives, like these articles about Elliot Smith and Ben Todd. Or maybe a peek at a subculture I barely knew existed, like Kid Rock's Cruise or Nathan Rabin's many recaps of The Gathering. I'll also accept a straight-ahead profile, as long as it's as well written as Elizabeth Gilbert's piece on Hank-3.

I don't care what genre it is; I don't listen to any of the artists in the articles I just linked. I'm looking for pieces that explore a person, or a band, or a scene, rather than "oral history of a classic album" or "thinkpiece about a genre," but really I just want to read some fascinating writing and gawk at people with deeply weird lives.
posted by Juliet Banana to Writing & Language (8 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
You might want to pay for (or find a library that subscribes) to Rock's Back Pages.
posted by Ideefixe at 8:28 AM on June 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

"Upon this Rock" by John Jerimiah Sullivan about a Christian Rock festival.

"Who's That Girl" by Lynn Hirschberg on an attempt to make a pop idol.
posted by Gortuk at 9:42 AM on June 30, 2014

Best answer: Also by the amazing John Jeremiah Sullivan - The Final Comeback of Axl Rose.
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:10 AM on June 30, 2014

Alec Wilkinson's article about the late Gil Scott-Heron is painful to read but worth it.
posted by otio at 11:50 AM on June 30, 2014

Wu-Tang, Atomically (Grantland)
posted by cashman at 1:00 PM on June 30, 2014

Best answer: Spin has a good profile of Bobby Liebling of Pentagram. "Troubled" fits, to say the least.
posted by evisceratordeath at 6:34 PM on June 30, 2014

Dear Charlie: a fantastic article about Charlie Rich and the fans who wrote to him back in 1974. (found via Longreads)
posted by SisterHavana at 10:08 PM on June 30, 2014

Best answer: The Ballad of Geeshie and Elvie was amazing; I found it via a Metafilter post.

Greil Marcus is good: here he is on Keith Moon (1978), Elvis Costello (1982 interview), Bob Dylan (1998).

There was a series of Best Music Writing books, but it seems to have died out. There are some related links to good stuff (apparently runners-up) at the Village Voice: Da Capo's Second-Best Music Writing 2011: 112 Of Last Year's Most Notable Music Stories.

The Da Capo Best Music Writing books are worth looking up at your library (I know you said "online", but just throwing it out there - I thought of them because you mentioned Elizabeth Gilbert, and the 2003 book has her "Play it Like Your Hair's on Fire", a profile of Tom Waits); if nothing else, you can run the table of contents (and author list) through your favorite search engine and see which items might be online.

(The 2003 Da Capo also had "In the Secret Country : Walter Mosely, doo-wop, and '50s L.A." by Greil Marcus, which was FANTASTIC, but I don't think it's online anywhere. Check your library's online magazine collection, though - the original appeared in Los Angeles magazine, August 2002, and if your library has a magazine database that includes that issue, you can read it online.)
posted by kristi at 11:08 AM on July 2, 2014

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