aka Everett True, aka the ‘biggest rock star journalist in the world’ (according to Kurt Cobain)
At ACM our aim is always to inform and inspire. Our tutors are leaders in their chosen field, and every day they bring the most up-to-date knowledge from the industry back into our classrooms. So we’re very excited, for reasons that will become obvious, to announce that Dr Jerry Thackray has joined our world-class team of tutors, and is teaching at ACM Guildford and ACM London.
Jerry Thackray is an internationally-renowned music critic, who has edited and written for countless magazines and websites on three separate continents. He is better known under his (main) writing name Everett True as “the man who invented grunge” (Entertainment Weekly, 1991) and for pushing Kurt Cobain on stage in a wheelchair for Nirvana’s final UK performance at Reading Festival in 1992. He has written several books on rock music, including biographies of Nirvana, Ramones and The White Stripes. He was Assistant Editor of Melody Maker and Editor of Vox during the 1990s before going on to found influential independent magazines Careless Talk Costs Lives and Plan B.
Kurt Cobain called him the “biggest rock star journalist in the world”, while Karen O termed him “the coolest man in Britain”.
We spoke to the man himself to find out more.
Hi Jerry. What are your thoughts on music journalism in 2017?
I try not to think about it. Usually, I avoid magazines and websites where the journalism is carried out to a formula, preferring (mostly) instead to gain my fix from friends’ recommendations on Facebook and from a couple of trusted names. (Alexis Petridis at The Guardian; Ann Powers at NPR; Jessica Hopper when she quits working for The Man; Neil Kulkarni on his blog F.U.N.K.) Most of the greatest critics do not view themselves as critics. Most of the greatest critics are not critics but firestarters, insurrectionaries – people who query everything, and dislike Ed Sheeran. Remember this one truth and this one truth only and you’ll be ok: music writing is not writing about music first it is about music first. Music foremost. Music journalism adds layers, strips away b******* – strips away layers, adds b*******. Remember that pop music is myth-making and you’ll be closer to the heart of great criticism: trust not truth. At the heart of every great music critic is a music fan. Do not trust a critic who courts friendship.
You’ve worn a lot of different hats over the years. What are you working on at the moment?
I am currently working on an academic textbook on Music Journalism for Routledge written in conjunction with Professor Martin James.
I am currently teaching at ACM (London and Guildford) in Music Journalism and Music Culture.
This year I have been supervising dissertation students in Magazine Journalism, teaching ethics to university students in Southampton, and teaching British Youth Culture to American students in London.
Has the Internet empowered music journalists or made it harder to be heard? Or both?
Both. The opportunities are there, the problems facing aspiring music journalists remain the same. Making your voice heard, and developing a voice that deserves to be heard. Music is more available now and so cultural filters are needed more than ever.
Interested in studying at ACM and learning first-hand from industry professionals like Dr Jerry Thackray? Call our Admissions Team on 01483 500 841 or visit www.acm.ac.uk/open-days/ to book a place on an ACM Open Day today.