Bone gristle popping from continuous grinding
This could be my last day at the Village Voice. I’ve been working at this newspaper for just shy of three years now, and I’ve made it through countless staff purges and five different editors-in-chief. (It’s six if you count Eric Wemple, but I never laid eyes on the guy, so I don’t.) I’ve written 749 posts, probably millions of words. As far as I know, I’ve been blogging professionally about music longer than anyone on the planet, and I’ve certainly stayed in one place longer than anyone else. Something like half the staff here has either been fired or left since I started, and it’s pretty incredible that nobody’s seen fit to axe me. But nothing lasts forever. I’m leaving the paper this week, going to work for another spot. And I’m still not fired. My new gig is for a new online thing that’s launching this fall, and I wish I could tell you guys more about it right now.
I named Status Ain’t Hood after a line from Destiny’s Child’s “Soldier,” and the name was always supposed to be a joke on myself: of course I have no place writing about half the stuff I write about, but fuck it. It’s always been fun watching comments-section goons try to flip it on me: “Status really ain’t hood!” I got there first, assholes. In any case, this little experiment has given me the opportunity to piss off anyone who cares about music in one way or another. It’s also let me build an audience of people who love to argue about this shit, and I can’t even articulate how much I’ve loved the emails and comments that you’ve sent my way since I teased my departure on Friday. I’ve had a great run, and I’m thankful for everyone who’s read my stuff in the past three years.
As a music writer, I’m consistently amazed at the level of talent that’s come through this place in my time here. I’ve worked alongside and gotten to know a real monster set of rock writers: Robert Christgau, Chuck Eddy, Rob Harvilla, Zach Baron, Pete L’Official, Camille Dodero, Nick Catucci, Tricia Romano, Joy Press, Shawn Bosler, David Marchese, Max Berry. All these guys are complete beasts at what they do, and I’ve learned tons from every one of them. (I’d add Greg Tate to that list, but I was always too nervous around him to ever have a proper conversation. It took me months to get up the nerve to talk to Christgau, too.) There’s one guy I’d like to single out, though. Nick Sylvester is the reason Status Ain’t Hood ever had a chance to exist. I moved from Baltimore to New York with no idea what I’d end up doing; I figured I’d be lucky to be fact-checking at Entertainment Weekly or something. Nick talked me up and got my foot in the door. And during my first nine months or so here, I had to step my game up enormously because I was running opposite Riff Raff, the toughest competition imaginable. Nick is one of the two people to whom I’d like to dedicate this entire run. The other is my wife Bridget, for too many reasons to list here.
There’s no way I could acknowledge all the other people who have helped me out in one way or another. Grant Siedlecki drew and painted amazing pictures to go along with these posts. Voice staff writer Tom Robbins, along with Camille Dodero and Rob Harvilla, helped me get on staff here after I’d spent a couple of years getting freelance money for full-time work. Web News Editor Mike Clancy is just a great dude to work across from. The community of music writers here in New York has never been anything less than welcoming. Everyone who ever left a comment here, including the innumerable crazy American Idol fans, helped keep this space interesting. Everyone who ever wrote an online screed against me helped keep me on my grind. I owe a lot to people.
I don’t know yet whether today is my last day. My union, UAW local 2110, is right now renegotiating its contract with the Voice‘s owners. That contract will be up tonight at midnight, and there’s a good chance we’ll go on strike tomorrow. I’ve never been in this situation before, and I have no idea how likely a strike is, but I do know that I’ll be damned if I’m going to cross any picket lines, virtual or otherwise. I’ve got another job now, so I’ll be fine whatever happens. But for the sake of this newspaper’s editorial, art, classified, production, and ad sales staff, I hope mangement can come to a fair agreement with the union. These people all work unbelievably hard, and they do no deserve to have their health care and benefits eviscerated. If there’s a strike, today is my last day. If there’s not, I’ll be out the door on Thursday. Tomorrow is Quarterly Report day, and if everything works out, I’ll have that post up here tomorrow. But if the strike does happen, I’ll be reactivating Dip Dip Dive, my old blog, and the Quarterly Report will be up there instead.
Thank you all. It’s been real.