I hear you're originally from Detroit. Why did you decide to migrate South?
After graduating from Michigan State University in 1986, I received only one internship offerâ"so I decided it was in my best interest to take it. The position was at a Knoxville publishing concern called 13-30, later renamed Whittle Communications. The entire company was based on the principal that advertisers will believe anything you tell them, as long as you wear a bow tie. Crazy, but it worked. Until it stopped working. But it was there, working at Moviegoer magazine, that I discovered my love of conducting phone interviews with B-level celebrities hyping their worthless projects. Thus, another career in journalism was born.
Then you left for Los Angeles and the movie business, right? Was this to write screenplays, act or direct (or something else entirely)?
Actually, it was all three: I wrote, directed, and starred in the short-lived 1990 FOX sitcom, â“RoboDude and Kippy.â”
I think you also wrote for a monster truck magazine. Do monster trucks have a special place in your heart?
Only the ones that breathe fire and wave their forelimbs in a menacing fashion.
You were the first professional journalist employed by Metro Pulse. What made you choose to work for the Pulse over other Knoxville papers?
They had a budget. In the early '90s, the city was seemingly rampant with free papers vying to succeed. Most of them were what you'd call â“uneven.â” Metro Pulse was the only one that looked like someone was making a serious effort at publishing a true alternative weekly. I had always wondered why Knoxville didn't have one already, so it got my attention. When I found out it was being published by Ashley Cappsâ"mastermind behind the great Ella Guru's nightclubâ"I decided to put aside my career of freelancing for the Weekend Journal and devote myself to Metro Pulse . I wormed my way in by writing a column called â“Bar Spyâ” about the kinds of dives that most smart people avoidâ"the ones with steel doors and bars over the windows.
What have you done since leaving?
My wife Hillari and I moved to California, where I forced my square print-oriented brain into the round hole of the Internet, first at CNET's music download site in San Francisco and then at Comcast's G4 network site in Los Angeles. When we discovered that we were going to reproduce two years ago, Hillari and I decided to move back to Knoxville, where I found employment at HGTV.com.
Do you hope to bring anything new or different to Metro Pulse now that you're coming back?
Yes. In fact, I would like to start with â“Street Talk.â” Do you usually send your questions out the day before the column is due? We'll need to discuss a new deadline schedule for you.
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