Michael Goldberg has been a music writer and editor for decades. He was a senior writer at Rolling Stone and founded the first internet rock & roll magazine, Addicted To Noise, in 1994. This November, he’s re-issuing some of his work for those publications (and many, many more) in Addicted To Noise: The Music Writings of Michael Goldberg. He’s also just released Wicked Game: The True Story of Guitarist James Calvin Wilsey, a bio of a musician who worked closely with Chris Isaak.
How did you get to where you are today, professionally?
In 1967, when I was 14, the first issue of Rolling Stone was published. I read it standing in the Tides, a bookstore in Sausalito. After that I bought every issue. Pretty quick I decided I wanted to write about music. I was the arts editor at the Tamalpias High School paper. When I was 17 I published one issue of Hard Road, a Bay Area music magazine. I was friends back then with one of the sons of Tom Donahue, the man who created the first underground rock radio programming at KMPX in San Francisco in the late ‘60s. One day when I was walking from my car to the Donahue house with my friend Toby Byron (who co-founded Hard Road with me), I saw Jerry Garcia standing at the top of the driveway. I went up to him and told him we were starting this new rock magazine and asked him if we could interview him for the cover story. He said yes. A week later we were sitting in his house in Larkspur (Mountain Girl answered the door when we knocked), with my reel-to-reel tape recorder running, interviewing Garcia. I took photos of him there as well and we used one on the cover.
After college at UC Santa Cruz I wrote for the underground paper in Santa Cruz, Sundaz!, moved back to the Bay Area and wrote for Francis Ford Coppola’s City of San Francisco magazine and the Berkeley Barb and the San Francisco Chronicle’s Sunday Datebook entertainment section and eventually wrote freelance articles for Rolling Stone and Esquire and New Times and New West and the New Musical Express and New York Rocker and Trouser Press and Creem and Musician. For 8 or 9 years, from 1975 until late 1983, my focus was on getting hired by Rolling Stone. I interviewed many, many musicians. The Ramones, Crime, Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart, Tom Waits, Talking Heads, Iggy Pop, The Go-Gos, Stevie Nicks, Maria Muldaur, Jerry Jeff Walker, Commander Cody, B-52s’s, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott… and many, many more