I began writing professionally about 25 years ago. As was befitting to someone with no degree and little practical training, I started as a rock critic. And I was a man on a mission. I wanted to share my enthusiasms with the world. My first piece for the then still-fabled-as-a-"writer's paper" The Village Voice was about the first solo album by the great singer and songwriter Peter Blegvad, a work I rather optimistically deemed "The Great Lost Pop LP Of 1983." (Some might recall that Thriller was a rather big record in 1983.) And so for a couple of years I went my merry way, extolling the virtues of Tom Verlaine, They Might Be Giants, Robert Wyatt, The Golden Palominos, none of whom went on to conquer the charts as a result of my exertions (except, to a certain extent, They Might Be Giants, I guess, and yes, that is odd). I don't think I published a negative review in the Voice until Doug Simmons sent me to cover a Tears For Fears show at Radio City Music Hall. (I don't know why Doug thought they'd be up my alley; maybe on account that they'd dedicated one of the tunes on their album to Wyatt.) The twee-anguished synth rockers actually brought out that fucking chimp from the "Everybody Wants To Rule The World" video when they did that song. I slagged them, titling my review "Schlock Therapy," and so began honing my alternate critical identity as a snarkster.