Clubber’s last dispatch

This is the end. For three years I’ve been writing critical pieces about local music under the assumption that an honest, critical perspective on the Sacramento scene would be useful and appreciated. Of course, it hasn’t always worked out that way. Over the years, I’ve been called a bad writer and a brainless critic. Those who have run out of constructive things to say about my writing have downloaded my music and told me that I’m a terrible musician, that I have no talent, that I’m pretty much just lame. If my photo ran with this column every week, I’m sure I’d be called ugly as well.

It’s to be expected, I suppose. After all, Sacramento is too small to have much in the way of competing press outlets, so bands I’ve given a mediocre review to often have little or no recourse, save writing a nasty letter to the editor. I can understand the impetus. As any writer with a critical perspective will tell you, it’s a mostly thankless job.

I’ve tried to do the best job I could writing about live music, but perhaps the best one can accomplish in such a position is noble failure. I’ve tried to get out of Midtown and cover the suburbs, the parking lots, the art galleries and the all-ages clubs, but frankly, I still spent more time in my regular haunts than I probably should have. As a result, I probably wrote too much about “old people” music than my younger, screamo-influenced readers might have liked. I have no defense other than the fact that I’m 34, not 16. Oh, and I’m lazy.

As for SN&R, the timing of my departure from this regular column fits in perfectly with a long-overdue makeover for the paper’s arts section. The coming weeks will reveal a variety of new weekly columns—including the triumphant return of Jackson Griffith, former SN&R arts editor, with a new music column. As for regular weekly reviews of live music, that’s over for now, although some of the new columns certainly will pick up live music stories. You’re not completely free of me yet, though, as I’ll continue to contribute music and arts features from time to time, as well as the quarterly Local-CD Roundup.

I’m not sure that the local music scene has been particularly interested in a critical perspective, and perhaps the lack of a regular critical edge will be welcome. The bottom line is I’ve learned more about music from writing the Clubber column than I thought possible, and I’ve met wonderful musicians along the way.

One thing I’m looking forward to this year is February Album Writing Month. If you’re a songwriter, I’d like to encourage you to join me in attempting to write 16 songs in 28 days. Last year, Jeff Pitcher and Josh Schramm were the only musicians representing this region. This year, I hope there are many more. Sign up for free at

In any case, it’s time for me to just see some bands I like and spend some time enjoying music, without the thinking cap screwed so tightly into my skull. It’s been fun being your Clubber, but mostly what I feel right now is deep relief. Best wishes, and I’m sure I’ll see you somewhere along the way.