Writing

A collection of my written work for various publishers and media

The Riot Fest Interview: Jason Lubrano of Iron Chic

The Riot Fest Interview: Jason Lubrano of Iron Chic

It’s been a rough few years for Iron Chic. Two years after the release of 2013’s The Constant One, the band split with founding guitarist Rob McAllister, who unexpectedly passed away in January 2016. The group channeled their grief and feelings about anxiety, depression, relationships, substance abuse, mortality, life, and death into a new record—You Can’t Stay Here, due October 13 on SideOneDummy Records. We spoke with vocalist Jason Lubrano on Monday of last week about the band’s tumultuous time, and how they arrived at making their darkest record yet.

Read more, Riot Fest, October 2017

Diarrhea Planet’s Würst Interview Ever

Diarrhea Planet’s Würst Interview Ever

Wurst Music & Beer Fest runs this Friday through Sunday on the corner of Randolph and Ogden in Chicago, featuring some great bands and even greater bratwurst. The gig takes place right outside the Plumbers Local 130 building, so naturally we’ve got Diarrhea Planet headlining the first night. Riot Fest spoke with guitarist/vocalist Jordan Smith about the Nashville scene from whence they came, the band’s future plans, what they love about Chicago and, of course, that amazing band name.

Read more, Riot Fest, September 2017

The Riot Fest Interview: Wil Wagner from the Smith Street Band

The Riot Fest Interview: Wil Wagner from the Smith Street Band

This past April, The Smith Street Band released its Jeff Rosenstock-produced fourth album, More Scared of You Than You Are of Me. The group has been known for its passionate fanbase that stretches far beyond its native Melbourne, Australia, driven by frontman/guitarist Wil Wagner’s intensely personal lyrics. Riot Fest spoke to Wagner about the band and its fans, and what it’s like to be huge at home while still being able to play more intimate gigs all over the rest of the world.

Read more, Riot Fest, August 2017

The Lawrence Arms Said Goodbye to Youth With 'Oh! Calcutta!'

The Lawrence Arms Said Goodbye to Youth With 'Oh! Calcutta!'

I only knew of The Lawrence Arms as a symbol before I knew they were a band.

In high school, a lot of the punks I knew wore Lawrence Arms t-shirts – the iconic, classic “King” design. Yellow on a black shirt. I didn’t know what they were, but I liked that shirt. I wasn’t a punk. I liked punk, but since I’m from a middle-class far northwest suburb of Chicago, I didn’t have much to rebel against. I was comfortable. I spent most of my free time at the local Steak ‘n Shake, in front my computer or not taking my part-time job at a big box retailer seriously.

Read more, Riot Fest, July 2017

Top Five Acts We're Excited About at Pitchfork 2017

Top Five Acts We're Excited About at Pitchfork 2017

Pitchfork Music Festival returns to Union Park in Chicago for it's twelfth year (except 2005's "Intonation Music Festival" tag) July 14-16. As usual, it's three full days diverse acts, food, shopping and pre-and-post events. Here's five of the must-see artists at the 2017 installment.

Read more, Scene Point Blank, July 2017

The Riot Fest Interview: Dessa

The Riot Fest Interview: Dessa

Dessa is a rapper, a singer and an essayist with the Minneapolis hip hop collective Doomtree. As a solo artist, she recently collaborated with the Minnesota Orchestra and served as The Greene Space‘s first Artist-In-Residence. As a writer, she’s contributed to MPR, the Star Tribune, literary journals and has published two short collections of her own with a third due next year.

Read more, Riot Fest, June 2017

The Riot Fest Interview: James Alex From Beach Slang

The Riot Fest Interview: James Alex From Beach Slang

Beach Slang has been a band in transition. Despite personnel changes over the past year, and frontman James Alex recording as a “quiet” version of the band, they’re still continuing to play together– their headlining tour this summer culminates at Riot Fest. We spoke with Mr. Alex about these changes, being a huge Jawbreaker fan, and what’s next in store for the band.

Read more, Riot Fest, June 2017

White Reaper: The World's Best American Band

White Reaper: The World's Best American Band

You’d think that a band that titled their album The World’s Best American Band may be getting ahead of themselves. But not every band is White Reaper. They might have just done it.

Read more, Scene Point Blank, April 2017

Hear Cory Branan's Death Record, 'Adios'

Hear Cory Branan's Death Record, 'Adios'

On his first record in two-and-a-half years, Cory Branan is thinking about death. The album's title literally means goodbye. There are songs that address it head on, and there are others where the references are a little more oblique—but the end of things seems on his mind.

Read more, Noisey, April 2017

You're Making Hot Dogs All Wrong

You're Making Hot Dogs All Wrong

There’s no better time than summer to sink your teeth into a hot, juicy frank. But preparing them can be a pain in the ass. You can wind up with a dry, bland interior and rubbery, slippery outside. Or, your tube steak can feature a shriveled, leathery "crust" with an inside that's far too chewy to be enjoyed properly. Here are five foolproof chef tips for making perfectly cooked dogs every time.

Read more, Men's Journal, August 2016

WWE's Dolph Ziggler's Training Secret: Empty Stomach Cardio

WWE's Dolph Ziggler's Training Secret: Empty Stomach Cardio

Dolph Ziggler has been a WWE mainstay over the past decade, known to fans for stealing the show with his awe-inspiring performances. On August 21, he faces WWE Champion Dean Ambrose for title at WWE’s SummerSlam. Ziggler, 36, (whose real name is Nick Nemeth), spoke to Men’s Journal about how he stays fit and trains for his performances. His secret? Empty stomach cardio. Here's what that's all about and three more of his training secrets.

Read more, Men's Journal, August 2016

Chad Gable's Upward Journey: From The Olympic Mat to the WWE Ring

Chad Gable's Upward Journey: From The Olympic Mat to the WWE Ring

Chad Gable, along with his partner Jason Jordan are turning heads in the WWE with their tag-team American Alpha. After a year in NXT, WWE’s developmental territory (think minor league baseball, but for professional wrestling), the duo has been called up to the main roster on SmackDown Live, and recently made their primetime debut.

Gable, 30, real name Charles “Chas” Betts, competed for Team USA as a Greco Roman wrestler in the 2012 Olympics. He spoke to Men’s Journal about his Olympic experience and the transition to the squared circle.

Read more, Men's Journal, August 2016

Ride with a View: 7 Bucket-List Roller Coasters

Ride with a View: 7 Bucket-List Roller Coasters

Roller coasters are a time-honored summer tradition — what started as simple wooden rides with attached cars have evolved to towering behemoths testing riders' stomachs and even their consciousness. In some instances, these rides can now be so fast that you experience multiple Gs of force and weightlessness. As coasters get higher, faster, and more thrilling, so does the challenge to make their peaks and views even more breathtaking. Here are a few destination coasters worth checking out — whether you’re in it for the views from the top, the G-force rush, or both.

Read more, Men's Journal, July 2016

Should You Invest in Jose Cuervo?

Should You Invest in Jose Cuervo?

Sure, your better tequila-infused memories probably involve a dimly-lit tequila library or carefully savoring a glass from a handsome bottle of Casa Dragones. But chances are, you probably also have a fond memory (or eight) of a night spent with Jose Cuervo. Now the industry-leading spirit maker is reportedly seeking to raise about $750 million in an initial public offering.

Read more, Men's Journal, May 2016