It started with fanzines as a teenager in Southern California. Once I was old enough to drive, I’d take my mom’s ’88 Honda Accord to go interview bands in seedy Hollywood clubs and studios. The most memorable was a band called Dogstar, for which Keanu Reeves played bass. He was very polite.
I went off to college in rural Ohio and interned at the Los Angeles Times and Ray Gun during breaks. My favorite assignment during that time came from Robert Hilburn, my childhood writing idol, who told me to find a band climbing the college music charts that might make for a good underdog success story. After graduating, I landed in New York on the launch staff of a new Condé Nast magazine all about shopping while moonlighting for the Village Voice. I eventually left to pursue music — making it, writing about it, promoting it — in Chicago. I got a gig covering music for the Chicago Tribune and ran an indie public relations firm from an office above the rock club where I was hanging out all the time, anyway.
In 2004, I was hired as a Senior Editor onto the launch staff of Time Out Chicago editing Music and Shopping, among other beats. A few years later, I left for the Chicago Tribune to be a Midwest correspondent on the Travel desk. Within six months, the economy collapsed, the paper went bankrupt, and my beat was upgraded to Mexico and the Caribbean. Around this time, craft cocktail bars were becoming a thing, but no one was writing about them. So I raised my hand.
In 2011, I accepted a quick-turnaround cover story to write about the best cocktails in Chicago (the research was insane) and left the Tribune to write about spirits and cocktails full-time. While on the beat, I was fortunate to travel a ton while amassing an impressive home bar.
In 2013, I was recruited by Leo Burnett Chicago to lend a journalistic voice to the agency’s flagship brand, Marlboro. While there, I helped launch an ERG dedicated to mindfulness, and pitched in on new business. In my off-hours, I kept up with drinks coverage for publications including T Magazine and Punch.
In 2018, I left Leo Burnett to fill in the TKs.