Addicted to Noise collects the best interviews, profiles, and essays Michael Goldberg has written during his forty-plus years as a journalist. From combative interviews with Frank Zappa and Tom Waits to essays on how Jack Kerouac influenced Bob Dylan and the lasting importance of San Francisco’s first punk rock club, Goldberg, as novelist Dana Spiotta wrote, “shows us how consequential music can be.”
Contained within these pages: interviews with Sleater-Kinney, Sonic Youth, Patti Smith, Lou Reed, Flipper, John Fogerty, Neil Young, and Rick James, along with profiles of Robbie Robertson, John Lee Hooker, James Brown, the Clash, Prince, Michael Jackson, the Flamin’ Groovies, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, X, Laurie Anderson, Stevie Wonder, George Clinton, Devo, San Francisco punks Crime, and more.
Plus short takes on Muddy Waters, Townes Van Zandt, Captain Beefheart, Professor Longhair, and others. As Greil Marcus writes in the Foreword, “You can feel the atmosphere: someone has walked into a room with a pencil in his hand—as the words go in perhaps the first song about a music critic, not counting Chuck Berry’s aside about the writers at the rhythm reviews—and suddenly people are relaxed . . . He isn’t after your secrets. He doesn’t want to ruin your career to make his. He doesn’t care what you think you need to hide. He actually is interested in why and how you make your music and what you think of it. So people open up, very quickly, and, very quickly, as a reader, you’re not reading something you’ve read before.”
Michael Goldberg is a journalist, novelist, and photographer. He has been interviewing and photographing musicians since he was seventeen. While a junior at Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley, California, he managed to interview the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia. He was a senior writer and associate editor at Rolling Stone magazine for a decade. In 1994, he founded the first web music magazine, the award-winning Addicted To Noise, and was a senior vice president at the SonicNet music site, and subsequently at MTV Online. His books include Wicked Game: The True Story of James Calvin Wilsey, Ture Love Scars, The Flowers Lied, and Untitled.
“Throughout these interviews and essays, Goldberg shows us how consequential music can be. His stance is both as passionate fan and learned critic as he grapples with these artists on their own terms, capturing them at crucial moments, challenging their personas and making the case for their work. He has written a captivating, essential, and personal history of the complications and revelations contained in the ideal of rock & roll authenticity.”—Dana Spiotta, author of Eat the Document, Stone Arabia, and Innocents and Others
“In Addicted To Noise, Michael Goldberg flies far above the pop/cult clichés of the rock journalist as sweaty fanboy or hyper-analytic smarty pants. The man just dug in and did the work as an informed, respectful and engaged interviewer. It shows in this compilation of interviews and profiles. Even the wariest artists let him in—backstage, at home, and deep in the midnight hour. There’s a piece for every fan’s passion, from Patti Smith to the Beach Boys or James Brown. Whether Goldberg is jousting with a twitchy Van Morrison or giving the riot grrrls of Sleater-Kinney some r-e-s-p-e-c-t, there’s a whole lotta love for the music, too. For Goldberg and the reader, all those years ‘on the bus’ make for one great ride.”—Gerri Hirshey, author of Nowhere to Run: The Story of Soul Music and We Gotta Get Outta This Place: The True, Tough Story of Women in Rock
“Michael Goldberg has his finger on the pulse, his foot to the beat, his hip to the rhythm, and his ears peeled for the cadences of rock & roll’s raucous jibber-jabber in an outrageously entertaining rollercoaster through several decades of pop and punk, funk and blues writing. With a byline peppering numerous major newspapers, newsweeklies, and magazines, Goldberg is truly a star turn in a golden age of rock reportage.”—Simon Warner, author of Text and Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll: The Beats and Rock Culture and editor of Kerouac on Record
“In Addicted To Noise, Michael Goldberg writes authoritatively and sensitively about some on music’s most fascinating and, yes, bewildering characters. He takes you right into the lives and minds of Prince, Rick James, Van Morrison, Laurie Anderson, Gil Scott-Heron, John Lee Hooker, Flipper, Sleater-Kinney, and several other true originals—and teaches you almost everything you need to know about them.”—Barney Hoskyns, author of Lawside of the Road: A Life of Tom Waits and God is in the Radio: Unbridled Enthusiasms 1980–2020
“All through these pages, you can hear the people Michael Goldberg is talking to and talking about reach the same conclusion. I can trust this guy, they say.”—Greil Marcus, author of Mystery Train, Lipstick Traces and numerous others