Letter from the Editor

It’s not that I wanted a month off. I love writing to all of you. But this stellar issue was created and curated by our very own music editor, Nic Harcourt, so I thought it fitting that he tell you who he is, where he came from and what makes music the passion of his life (other than his six-year-old twins). And for the record, Nic didn’t want his picture up here—so I had to leave mine:

“Growing up in England in the early ’60s, my first musical memories are of my parents’ excitement about the Beatles. They bought me a kid’s Beatles guitar for Christmas when I was six, and my first album, Help!, when I was eight, which was a good place to start, I reckon. In the next few years, I heard artists like Donovan, Dusty Springfield and Jimi Hendrix on pirate radio (Radio Caroline) and listened to a transistor radio under the sheets at night, with books and a flashlight. I loved that the deejays’ passion came across and that they talked about the storms buffeting the boat from which they were broad­casting—somewhere in the North Sea. Little did I know a seed had been planted.

As I discovered my own tastes in music and moved through my teens, I listened to T. Rex, Sweet and the whole glam era. Next, I discovered my dark soul through hard-rock artists like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. Then it was punk and the Buzzcocks and the Clash. And the excitement has never ebbed. I consider myself a lucky, lucky man to have found a career where I share my love of music, first in radio and now with a monthly column here at LA. When senior editor Jod Kaftan first suggested he and I approach Annie Gilbar about doing a music issue, it seemed such a simple idea. And the idea was simple—the execution was a whole other story.

Music means so many different things to people. It was important for us to get a good mix of ideas, to look at history and legacy, which you’ll find in ‘Canyon Jam,’ about the resurgence of Laurel Canyon. It was also a must to look at the incredibly diverse and thriving indie-roots scene that exists today in Los Angeles, and you’ll find that in Matthew Fleischer’s ‘Right Here, Right Now.’ I interviewed the multitalented and culture-bending M.I.A., who winters in Los Angeles, and spoke with Jack White, a true musical renaissance man. We also met with Jeff Ayeroff, who gave us insight into his career as a creative guru (and label honcho), back when music was consumed in more complex ways than free MP3s.

Out of all these ideas and conversations, I’ve learned there is more music being made by more people from a vast variety of backgrounds—and being consumed more voraciously—around the world today than ever before. The businesspeople still have to figure out how to monetize the new paradigm, though. As Joni Mitchell told me, ‘You’ve got kids gypping you out of your retirement fund.’

And so this is our first music issue: My gratitude to senior editor Jod Kaftan, who made me look good and was my partner in crime; to Rip Georges, whose design sense in putting the whole thing together was impeccable; and to the many hardworking staffers for their efforts in setting up Q&A’s and photo shoots (and transcribing my long-­winded interviews!). A huge thanks to Annie for letting us cultivate this issue and, most important, to all the musicians who write, record and perform along the way. Whether it makes you laugh or cry, tap your feet, nod your head or jump around in wild abandon, music feeds the soul. Eat up.”

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