Michael Azerrad

I grew up in New York State. When I was seven, entranced by the three tom-tom thumps that announce the chorus of “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” I started playing drums in rock bands. My first rock concert was Three Dog Night — my grandfather took me. I got into punk rock on May 8, 1977, the day I got both Television’s Marquee Moon and Talking Heads ’77; that summer, a friend came back from a vacation in England with a big pile of singles by bands like the Clash, the Sex Pistols and the Damned. My life was never the same.

Then I went to college in New York City, where I got a degree in Latin, a language which has served me in good stead in my professional life in many ways.

After goofing off for a few years I eventually blundered into rock journalism, and wound up writing a couple hundred articles for Rolling Stone while writing for MTV News and a bunch of other magazines. A professional highlight was interviewing Ray Charles on the phone and making him laugh.

Then I wrote Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana (Doubleday/Main Street, 1993). After a satisfying foray into the dot-com side of things, I started writing Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981-1991 (Little, Brown, 2001). Then I was editor-in-chief of eMusic. Now I’m a writer again, and couldn’t be happier about that.