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Eric Weisbard

Eric Weisbard

Eric Weisbard teaches American Studies at the University of Alabama.

He's the author, most recently, of Top 40 Democracy: The Rival Mainstreams of American Music (University of Chicago Press, 2014).

Since 2002, he's organized the annual EMP Pop Conference, a gathering of music writers of all kinds, and edited three collections of conference presentations: This Is Pop: In Search of the Elusive at Experience Music Project (Harvard University Press, 2004), Listen Again: A Momentary History of American Music (Duke University Press, 2007), and Pop When the World Falls Apart: Music in the Shadow of Doubt (Duke University Press, 2012). Weisbard's monograph in the 33 1/3 series looked at the Guns N' Roses albums, Use Your Illusion. He's also the editor of the 1995 Spin Alternative Record Guide (Vintage).

During the alt years, Weisbard worked as an editor and writer at Spin and as music editor and a longtime contributor at the Village Voice.

He curated the exhibit Disco: A Decade of Saturday Nights for EMP and has also been active as an associate editor of the Journal of Popular Music Studies.

Experience Music Project Pop Conference

List of articles in the library by artist

Tori Amos: Irving Plaza, NYC

Live Review by Eric Weisbard, Village Voice, The, April 1998

TORI AMOS believes in the rhythm method. ...

Laurie Anderson: Outside the Whale: Laurie Anderson plays Moby

Live Review by Eric Weisbard, Village Voice, The, October 1999

Songs and Stories From Moby Dick, BAM Opera House, Through October 16 ...

Aphex Twin: I Care Because You Do (Sire/Elektra)

Review by Eric Weisbard, Spin, July 1995

NO, MR TWAIN, I care because you do. I wasn't sure I did, for a minute — the largely drumless synth moans of 1994's oddly ...

Fiona Apple: When The Pawn... (Clean Slate/Epic)

Review by Eric Weisbard, Spin, December 1999

FIONA APPLE presents herself as damaged goods, both a woman wronged and a gleeful wrongdoer. That alone sets her above the teen-pop Mouseketeers; makes her ...

A Tribe Called Quest, The Beastie Boys, The Breeders, George Clinton, L7, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Smashing Pumpkins: Various Artists: Lollapalooza '94, Sam Boyd Stadium University of Nevada Las Vegas July 1,1994

Live Review by Eric Weisbard, Spin, September 1994

THE DIFFERENCE between Lollapalooza 1994 and Lollapolooza Past is that this year Perry Farrell and colleagues decided the music being offered couldn't just be loud, ...

Autechre: Beat and Variation

Comment by Eric Weisbard, Village Voice, The, August 1999

AUTECHRE, THE English duo of Sean Booth and Rob Brown, don't so much write songs as program ecosystems. ...

Barenaked Ladies: Theatre at Madison Square Garden, NYC

Live Review by Eric Weisbard, Village Voice, The, October 1998

"A ROCK 'N' ROLL show, for us, is a celebratory experience," said the unbearably revivalistic drummer-singer of the opening band Cowboy Mouth last Wednesday. In ...

Ben Folds Five: The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner (550/Epic)

Review by Eric Weisbard, Village Voice, The, May 1999

THE NOTORIOUS thing about the "college rock" I grew up on, over a decade ago, the same time Ben Folds was gestating in the university ...

David Bowie, Nine Inch Nails: David Bowie and Nine Inch Nails: Great Woods Amphitheater, Mansfield, MA

Live Review by Eric Weisbard, Spin, December 1995

THE MOMENT to remember was the two headliners playing together, the end of the Nine Inch Nails set fusing without pause into the beginning of ...

Vic Chesnutt: The Salesman and Bernadette (Capricorn)

Review by Eric Weisbard, Spin, January 1999

THIS IS THE best record of the year at making time stop. Vic Chesnutt tells a story. Maybe the tale pulls into it specific figures, ...

Kurt Cobain, Nirvana: Kurt Cobain: Revolutionary Debris

Comment by Eric Weisbard, Spin, April 1994

I STILL prefer to believe that Kurt Cobain's life was saved by rock'n'roll. ...

Sheryl Crow: Sheryl Crow (A&M)

Review by Eric Weisbard, Spin, November 1996

ALMOST ANY song here would sound just fine played next to Beck on the radio. Both artists are rejuvenating the LA singer/songwriter for a digital ...

DMX: Sample My Pit Bull

Profile by Eric Weisbard, Village Voice, The, January 2000

What follows is extraneous: outtakes and stray threads from my DMX feature in the new GQ. The dictates of celebrity profiles — establishing scene, nut ...

DMX, Jay Z, Method Man, Redman: Hard Knock Life Tour: Jay-Z, DMX, Method Man, and Redman: Continental Arena, East Rutherford, New Jersey

Live Review by Eric Weisbard, Spin, June 1999

New York State of Rhyme ...

Drive-By Truckers: Pizza Deliverance (Soul Dump/Ghostmeat)

Review by Eric Weisbard, Village Voice, The, December 1999

WE DROVE TO Pittsburgh the weekend before Halloween, to watch the leaves change and attend a three-day fest called the Haunted Hillbilly Hoedown. ...

Drive-By Truckers: The Mouth of the South

Profile and Interview by Eric Weisbard, Spin, July 2003

The Drive-By Truckers are hard-ass punk rockers from Alabama by way of Athens, Georgia. They drink too much. They love Lynyrd Skynyrd. And their Southern ...

Green Day: Young, Loud, and Snotty

Interview by Eric Weisbard, Spin, September 1994

GREEN DAY's unexpected rise from Gilman Street punk urchins to MTV poster children has not come without a price. Eric Weisbard wonders if they can ...

Green Day: Insomniac (Reprise)

Review by Eric Weisbard, Spin, December 1995

GREEN DAY'S success has returned to vogue one of rock's simplest and most crucial sounds, the uptempo party bash that dates to all those garage ...

Guns N' Roses: The Spaghetti Incident? Geffen

Review by Eric Weisbard, Spin, February 1994

LISTENING TO The Spaghetti Incident? is like hearing Use Your Illusion I and II refracted through cover versions. The first song, Axl Rose's pipe-bending 'Since ...

Hole: Celebrity Skin (DGC)

Review by Eric Weisbard, Village Voice, The, September 1998

COULDN'T SAY which color most becomes her, but Courtney Love's best vowel is u. She throws herself into them all, of course, like a stage ...

Michael Jackson: Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix (Epic)

Review by Eric Weisbard, Spin, August 1997

ANYONE CAN BE rebellious or avant-garde — even fanzine writers — but if you hope to be reckoned amongst the truly weird, it sure helps ...

Jane's Addiction: Hammerstein Ballroom, New York NY

Live Review by Eric Weisbard, Spin, February 1998

I'M SITTING in a second-story box on the opening night of the Jane's Addiction reunion tour, and suddenly Perry Farrell is floating overhead, lying face ...

Jellyfish, Lenny Kravitz: Jellyfish: Spilt Milk/Lenny Kravitz: Are You Gonna Go My Way (Virgin)

Review by Eric Weisbard, Spin, April 1993

"DO YOU like Queen?" asks my editor. "I hope not." ...

The Jesus & Mary Chain, Mazzy Star: The Jesus & Mary Chain/Mazzy Star: The Academy, New York City

Live Review by Eric Weisbard, Spin, January 1995

TWO BANDS, and for the whole evening not one word was exchanged between performers and audience; the spotlight never shined in the musicians' eyes. Wouldn't ...

Jurassic 5: Quality Control (Interscope)

Review by Eric Weisbard, Village Voice, The, July 2000

"IN THE sixties we believed in a myth – that music had the power to change people's lives," Stanley Booth writes in the afterword to ...

L7: Hungry for Stink (Slash)

Review by Eric Weisbard, Spin, August 1994

AFTER LISTENING TO Hungry for Stink long enough to decide I like it, I put on Bricks Are Heavy, which included 'Pretend We're Dead' and ...

Lambchop: Is a Woman (Merge)

Review by Eric Weisbard, Rolling Stone, March 2002

Arty big band with hidden charms ...

Jim O'Rourke, Jon Langford, Wilco: Chicago: Indie City

Report and Interview by Eric Weisbard, Spin, September 2000

Sick of a world ruled by Britney and Backstreet? Visit Chicago: a salt-of-the-earth midwestern town where old-world pleasures like community, cheap rent, cheap beer, gritty ...

Leadbelly, Nirvana: A Simple Song That Lives Beyond Time: Leadbelly via Kurt Cobain

Essay by Eric Weisbard, New York Times, The, November 1994

IMMEDIATELY after the suicide of Kurt Cobain, lead singer of the rock band Nirvana, last April, MTV broadcasted almost continuously an hourlong Unplugged special that ...

Le Tigre: Feminist Sweepstakes (Mr. Lady)

Review by Eric Weisbard, Spin, November 2001

OFTEN radicals get so entrenched they even distrust their own sense of pleasure. But Kathleen Hanna is such a great rocker that at the very ...

Limp Bizkit: Significant Other (Flip/Interscope)

Review by Eric Weisbard, Village Voice, The, July 1999

WHEN MTV and BET air the new Eminem video 'Guilty Conscience', they run into the small problem of the song's conclusion, where bad-angel Slim Shady ...

Los Lobos: Just Another Band From East L.A. — A Collection

Review by Eric Weisbard, Spin, November 1993

BOX SETS generally exhaust you with their completeness; greatest-hits albums worship a few select songs. ...

Ludacris, OutKast: OutKast/Ludacris: The Theater at Madison Square Garden, New York

Live Review by Eric Weisbard, Spin, June 2001

REMEMBER WHEN hip-hop shows were sloppy mishmashes of mistimed records and ten people bellowing at once? ...

Shelby Lynne: I am Shelby Lynne (Island)

Review by Eric Weisbard, Village Voice, The, April 2000

HERE'S WHAT intrigues me about Shelby Lynne, the country singer whose new album has been enjoying the sort of blanket media salivation only Dave Eggers ...

Mercury Rev, Sparklehorse: Mercury Rev/Sparklehorse: Irving Plaza, New York City

Live Review by Eric Weisbard, Spin, September 1999

HERE'S A TRACK worth savoring: Veteran modern-rock band collaborates with Chemical Brothers and incorporates into their music bowed saw, arching melodies, and a gaggle of ...

Moby: Tech no!

Interview by Eric Weisbard, Spin, March 1997

One-time electronic-music evangelist Moby has converted to alternative rock. Talk about bad timing. ...

Nirvana: The Ten That Matter Most '85-'95: Nirvana

Retrospective by Eric Weisbard, Spin, April 1995

What does it take to be named one of the top ten artists of the decade? Innovation, influence, imagination, integrity. It all adds up to ...

Pavement: Wowee Zowee (Matador)

Review by Eric Weisbard, Spin, May 1995

THINK ABOUT IT. A band works years to learn its instruments, play out, record, suffer the blows of fortune, regroup, play better than ever — ...

Primal Scream: Give Out But Don't Give Up

Review by Eric Weisbard, Spin, May 1994

YOU DON'T necessarily need the flash and appeal of the New York Dolls or Aerosmith in order to try to be the Rolling Stones and ...

Primal Scream: Give Out But Don't Give Up (Sire/Reprise)

Review by Eric Weisbard, Spin, May 1994

YOU DON'T necessarily need the flash and appeal of the New York Dolls or Aerosmith in order to try to be the Rolling Stones and ...

Puff Daddy: Forever (Bad Boy)

Review by Eric Weisbard, Village Voice, The, September 1999

The first thing I asked him to do was get me a tape from the studio. He came back with it in five minutes. The ...

Rage Against the Machine: Band Of The Year: Rage Against The Machine

Interview by Eric Weisbard, Spin, January 2000

The funk was deep. The rock was heavy. The politics were thick. Rage against the machine unleashed a rock-rap masterwork and a series of incendiary ...

The Ramones: Anthology: Hey Ho Let’s Go! (Warner Archives/Rhino)

Review by Eric Weisbard, Village Voice, The, July 1999

FROM THE punk oral history Please Kill Me to Joey and Johnny Ramone on Howard Stern, the mythology around the Ramones lately seems to emphasize ...

Lou Reed: Set The Twilight Reeling (Warner Bros.)

Review by Eric Weisbard, Spin, March 1996

LOU REED is old-school about albums; he looked the word up in a dictionary, found it meant a binder of blank of pages used for ...

Shonen Knife: Let's Knife (Virgin)

Review by Eric Weisbard, Spin, March 1993

ALMOST TEN YEARS since its recordings first invaded the U.S. as a Japanese import in late 1983, Osaka, Japan's punkiest Barbie doll fans are finally ...

Paul Simon: You're the One (Warner Bros.)

Review by Eric Weisbard, Village Voice, The, November 2000

PAUL SIMON has an image you wouldn't wish on a real estate developer. ...

Sleater-Kinney: All Hands On The Bad One (Kill Rock Stars)

Review by Eric Weisbard, Spin, June 2000

IT'S TIME TO DO BATTLE for the planet of the apes. On last year's The Hot Rock, Sleater-Kinney suddenly became sheepish about pounding folks over ...

Smashing Pumpkins: Adore (Virgin)

Review by Eric Weisbard, Village Voice, The, May 1998

TRUE, BILLY Corgan has removed most of the guitars, the pounding, the rat-in-a-cage rage from Smashing Pumpkins' new album. But don't worry: he remains stupendously ...

Sun Ra: Wooze and Spazz

Overview by Eric Weisbard, Village Voice, The, October 2000

IN HIS FAMOUS essay "Kafka and his Precursors," Jorge Luis Borges argues that Zeno, Han Yu, and Kierkegaard, though nothing alike, all now seem Kafkaesque. ...

Tricky: Juxtapose (Island)

Review by Eric Weisbard, Spin, September 1999

IT ONLY SEEMS like Tricky is making the same album every time out. 1996's Nearly God stripped out whatever commercial possibilities Maxinquaye's paradigmatic trip-hop held; ...

Tom Waits: Real Gone (Anti-)

Review by Eric Weisbard, Village Voice, The, November 2004

The eternal hustler works his gloomy-gus shtick and leaves the hipsters wanting more ...

Warren G: Regulate… G Funk Era (Violator/RAL)

Review by Eric Weisbard, Spin, September 1994

THE THING that gets me about 
Nate Dogg and Warren G.'s 'Regulate' is how, when MTV airs the video, you hear Nate Dogg sing the ...

Wu-Tang Clan: Wuclear Fission: A Nutcase and a Point Guard Rise Above Wu-Tang’s Solo Overkill

Overview by Eric Weisbard, Village Voice, The, February 2000

THE STUPIDEST, greatest, lovingest, most problematic-yet-simple moment in pop last year was a guy not content to be called Ol' Dirty Bastard letting it all ...

List of genre pieces

Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes From the American Indie Underground 1981-1991 By Michael Azerrad. (Little, Brown & Company. $25.95)

Book Review by Eric Weisbard, New York Times, The, August 2001

WHEN JOEY Ramone died this past April, the flood of appreciations must have surprised casual music fans. The Ramones, quintessential 1970's punks, had never sold ...

Interview: Stephen Dunifer

Interview by Eric Weisbard, Spin, May 1994

Broadcast cowboy, spends his Sunday nights hidden in the dark hills of Berkeley, California, illegally transmitting his version of alternative radio. Is he a transistor ...

A Golden Age: MTV Names The Only 10 Songs That Matter

Comment by Eric Weisbard, Village Voice, The, October 1999

A COUPLE OF weekends back, MTV presented a late-night Hard Rock A-Z special: wide-ranging sets of several videos in a row, with minimal VJ banter. ...

Conjunction Junction: The All-Music Guide Wants To Make Scrabble out of Babel

Report by Eric Weisbard, Village Voice, The, February 1999

THE ALL-MUSIC Guide bills itself as "an ongoing project to review and rate all music" – emphasis on the all. ...

Generation Ex: Some Get A Decade; We Get A Moment

Essay by Eric Weisbard, Village Voice, The, July 1999

THIS TIME IT'S personal. High school student Reese Witherspoon leaves teacher Matthew Broderick cursing his so-called life in Election. No shocker; couldn't be a teen ...

Keeping Up With the Napsters

Report by Eric Weisbard, Village Voice, The, May 2000

At Pho, a Thousand E-mails a Month Track the Great Digital Debate ...

Napsternomics: The Pop Solution to Downloading

Comment by Eric Weisbard, Village Voice, The, August 2000

HERE'S THE smallest of Napster's ironies: the service shut down last week by Judge Marilyn Hall Patel, then granted a stay of execution by the ...

Pop in the 90's: Everything for Everyone

Essay by Eric Weisbard, New York Times, The, April 2000

GEORGE STRAIT is a middle-aged country singer with an easy grin about him; even his boxed sets go platinum. Ice Cube is an intense rapper ...

Proxy Music: Electing the Pop Star in Chief

Essay by Eric Weisbard, Village Voice, The, October 2000

IN 1822, NOAH Ludlow dressed himself in a buckskin hunting shirt and leggings, donned moccasins and an old slouch hat, put a rifle on his ...

Smart, Lyrical, Even Genteel, But Is It Rock?

Essay by Eric Weisbard, New York Times, The, August 1999

FOR ONE breed of rock fan, last year's most important album was probably Lucinda Williams's Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, a dozen perfectly turned ...

The Graying of Indie Rock: What do you do for an encore after the spark is gone?

Essay by Eric Weisbard, Village Voice, The, March 1999

WHEN THE guy in Fuck announced his 37th birthday, people thought he was joking. The occasion was too cruddy: the rumpus-room attic of a gross ...

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