Monday, April 7, 2008


The most ludicrious job I've ever had was writing for Jancee Dunn.

I've long been a music magazine junkie: to this day, I read Rolling Stone pretty much cover to cover, as well as a number of other music magazines (notably the UK publications Mojo and Uncut) and even some non-music (!) mags as well.

I never really got so involved with the magazines themselves; in other words, I didn't really know the names of the writers, with a few exceptions. One was Anthony DeCurtis - who I was lucky enough to interview a few times (pretty much I came up with excuses to pick his brain and call it an "interview"). I also liked David Fricke. The other one was Jancee Dunn. I didn't know a thing about her, but her writing seemed to have a wide-eyed "wow" to it that I could identify with. She was really smart and a good interviewer who I felt was not really jaded, but also didn't do puff pieces.

When I was hired as a writer for MTV2, which at the time just played videos, my job was to write scripts for the VJs: a radio DJ named Chris Booker and Jancee Dunn. I'm writing for Rolling Stone writer Jancee Dunn? I figured: better start looking for the next job now. One guy talks about music on the radio, and she is an amazing writer. Should I write a script with some idle chatter for Kevin Smith too?

Anyway, Jancee was gracious when I met her at work, and was also gracious about ever reading anything I wrote. I'm sure she could have improvised every single time (which she did sometimes).

She always struck me as a very "together" person, unaffected by her "star" status as a VJ/writer. While I read the book, I was surprised to learn that she "stressed out" before interviews. I didn't know that her suburban roots were similar to mine, and she went through a similar crash course when she first got to NYC (in her case, her perm and makeup weren't working. In my case, I knew anything mullet-like had to go). Her book gives great insight into doing interviews with superstars (a situation very few people will find themselves in) but is also a moving story of her interesting path her life has taken.

In her book, she mentions being a fan of Kim Deal of The Breeders and The Pixies, who always seems to be having a great time on stage. I remember watching Jancee on MTV2 and thinking the same about her, and she even conveys that "good time" in her writing, but she has poignant moments too - whether it was when she was writing about Melissa Etheridge's children in Rolling Stone or about her sisters in her own book. If she can combine that sense of fun with that sense of sweetness, who knows, maybe the beaches this summer will have lots of Dunn books being passed around. Her debut novel, Don't You Forget About Me, is due in stores on July 29.

No comments: