Greg Heller is a TV/podcast producer and music writer. He’s worked on Behind the Music, but perhaps his greatest claim to fame was a column in a local San Francisco newspaper. As Greg writes, “So divisive was that column, I not only got a legit death threat, but an SF club once held a night in my honor—‘Greg Fucking Heller Night’—complete with banners, t-shirts and a signature cocktail (the California Asshole).” That fearlessness has been a driving force in his career in music.
How did you get to where you are today, professionally?
Like so many, I grew up obsessed with music, which drew me to read about it, which led me to write about it. Published my first record review in 4th grade—The Psychedelic Furs “Midnight to Midnight”—complete with self-styled rating system (“scoops” as in ice cream… gave the Furs 4 outta 5).
Way later, post-college, I left Los Angeles for San Francisco to start a band with some friends and secured dual internships at both Rolling Stone (in their tiny ad-sales office) and a now-defunct weekly called BAM (Bay Area Music). BAM gave me the local live beat—“Night Fever”—which I used to ritually eviscerate SF bands with no thought as to how this might impact me or my band (both were unpopular). So divisive was that column, I not only got a legit death threat, but an SF club once held a night in my honor—“Greg Fucking Heller Night”—complete with banners, t-shirts and a signature cocktail (the California Asshole). They dared me to show up… I did (still have the tee). Though disliked by thin-skinned scenesters, that column put me on the map, and soon enough I was writing for the SF Chronicle, Alternative Press, Magnet, Bikini, etc. Somewhat accidentally… I had a career.