Eric Abbey, PhD, is a professor of English and literature at the Oakland Community College in Michigan. He is the co-editor of Hardcore, Punk, and Other Junk: Aggressive Sounds in Contemporary Music, and the author of Garage Rock and Its Roots: Musical Rebels and the Drive for Individuality. His latest book, Distillation of Sound: Dub and the Creation of Culture, is close to home. Aside from his academic work, Abbey also works producing dub riddims and tracks for musicians around the world and owns Pocket Sound System.
How did you get to where you are today, professionally?
I took the longest route possible. I tell my students that I started college in 1994 and finished in 2018. This is the truth, as I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life when I graduated high school. I had always written, and loved English classes, but I was also a musician and wanting to do that as well. I got into multiple colleges but went to one just to go, so I could end the pressure of deciding. This did not work out as I hated it there, and I wound-up transferring to another school.
The best part of this transfer was it gave me a chance to decide what I wanted to do. I was playing music professionally and had a ton of English and Psychology credits. I had originally wanted to be a psychiatrist, but didn’t want to go to that much school, ha ha. Well, transferring to the new college I just wanted to graduate and move on. I looked at my credits and saw that I could get a degree in English, with a minor in psychology if I took a couple more classes so I did.