This week I sat down to talk to Jon Hunt, whose l’etoile column “We Will Rock You” I’ve enjoyed for years. Jon is always ready to stick up for an underdog, whether it’s defending lady pop stars to the grave or asking hard questions about why fewer black artists than ever have Billboard #1 hits. We had a great discussion about Chuck Klosterman, the shared experience of being A&E editors at the Minnesota Daily, and how he shows up in the movies of his ex-wife, Diablo Cody.
What’s missing in music writing today?
Passion, I think. We all love to write lists or even “listicles” once in a while but what I almost never see is just that overwhelming PASSION for the stuff that characterized the writing of Bangs or Eddy or Klosterman or Hopper. People just seem distanced from their music listening somehow, like it’s just a thing that’s on in the background that they do, ho hum. They don’t seem willing to get into physical brawls about it. THEY SHOULD.
What advice would you have for people who want to tackle tough subjects/ unpopular opinions online?
Just tackle ’em, don’t look back. Read a lot, make sure you aren’t saying something totally stupid, make sure you understand the myriad of positions being presented at least a little bit, but don’t be afraid to say something and then get into arguments about it. People will eventually turn to ad hominem attacks and then you can bug out. But it’s worth trying. I’m not sure anybody’s minds are changed but to me, it’s better than keeping quiet.
You said your daughter is a badass fiction writer. What you have you learned from watching her develop her talents?
That it’s both easier and harder these days. Easier in that everybody has the ability to have their voice heard, and even though sexism is still totally rampant, she’s in a group of women that can beat the hell out of that. Harder in that people tend to just kind of read THE INTERNET instead of writers and books and things so there’s less VOICE out there.
Can you also include the podcast you referenced?
YES. It’s called “Shades of Cool” and it’s actually a radio show every Wednesday night at 7 p.m. EST on WUAG in North Carolina, which you can stream on wuag.net. It’s the best rock show in the country bar none. My friend Ian Wagner is the host and he knows more about music than I ever will.