By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
This isn’t to say that the meat of the music section was bad. Bill Bentley, an auxiliary member of the Texas mafia, which ran the paper’s culture sections for years, was a terrific advocate of rootsy American music before he went on to run the publicity department at Warner Bros.; and Robert Lloyd, now the television writer at the L.A. Times, cloaked his muscular intellectualism in a kind of Kevlar-reinforced whimsy that the younger writers at the paper tried to imitate for years. The late Craig Lee, leader of a great class-of-’77 band called the Bags, often felt pressured to be the official spokesperson for Los Angeles punk rock — before he settled at the Weekly, he covered local punk for the Times — but his interviews with visiting bands tempered the goofy edge of fanzine Q&As with apolished prose. R.J. Smith came in from TheVillage Voice and put the section under adult supervision for the first time, allying it pretty closely with the cerebral, treatise-oriented music section his mentor, Robert Christgau, had instituted at TheVoice. John Payne tilted the coverage toward Brazilian pop, Krautrock and screechy jazz, music for people who had become thoroughly sick of rock & roll. Kate Sullivan was the best writer the section has ever had the luck to employ — an amazingly graceful critic whose essays about the White Stripes and the Brill Building, but especially about how pop music functions in our lives, may still be read in 50 years.
But the beauty of the Weekly’s music coverage, then as now, lies chiefly in the magnificence of its background noise, the marginalia that skitter across your consciousness like an army of ravenous pill bugs — the late Jac Zinder’s insistence that the Venezuelan Rolling Stones were at least as important as the real ones; Falling James’ quiet, back-of-the-book enthusiasm for the touring garage band with the potential to change your life; Don Bolles’ surreal ability to capture the moment of not just Guns N’ Roses but also demented, guitar-carrying nuns; Greg Burk’s stubborn dedication to senescent heavy-metal guitarists; Jonny Whiteside’s tireless advocacy of twang; Alan Rich’s measured, Virgil Thompson–like enthusiasm for a string quartet well played.
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