If you ever wonder what sets apart the folks who successfully pave thier way through creative endeavors, Jesse Jarnow cut his teeth “beginning in 2nd grade, when he edited ‘2nd Grade News’ by writing it out longhand and Xeroxing it,” and worked on homemade ‘zines and school papers ever since.
His first published piece ran in John Dwork’s now defunct Grateful Dead fanzine, Dupree’s Diamond News, and his first regular gig began with the early days of jambands.com. Jesse Jarnow has now graced the pages (both pulp and processor) of Relix, Paste, the London Times, the Village Voice, the AP, Salon and many more. While it ain’t easy given his prolific output, you can try keep to up with his frenzied pace at the Frank and Earthy blog, his Frow Show radio program on WFMU or his Twitter feed. As longtime readers and fans, we’re excited to have Jesse at HT today to shed some light on the ins and outs on his life as a music scribe.
Ryan Dembinsky: More so than the vast majority of music critics out there, you seem to really strive to carefully construct your record reviews, no matter how long or short, often crafting elaborate sentences, including deep references and devising thoughtful comparisons. Could you walk us through the process of reviewing an album from start to finish?
Jesse Jarnow: Thanks! It’s a bit different each time, depending on how long before deadline I get a copy of what I’m reviewing. Ideally, it’s about a month. For albums I’m psyched about, I’ll first listen straight through on headphones. But, most new music I get goes into a thousand-or-so-song playlist that I run on shuffle most of the time. It’s a combination of everything I’ve gotten recently — music by new bands, random downloads, live stuff, outtakes, compilations, old stuff I’m just discovering… just, everything.
READ ON for more of our Writer’s Workshop with Jesse Jarnow…