I've got a whole city to hold down

February 05, 2004

You say goodbye, I say hello

Change is afoot for the Chicago Reader's music section--again. Not long after Jim Shapiro (formerly best known as the drummer in Veruca Salt) succeeded Keith Harris in the music editor's chair, the weekly's lead music column is also changing hands. In a move announced last fall, Peter Margasak will hang up the Post No Bills column; now word is out that Margasak's successor is Bob Mehr.

Mehr comes to the Reader on the rebound from an ugly firing at the hands of his former employer, the Seattle Weekly. You can dig the gruesome details here (third item), here, and from the horse's mouth here; in short, Mehr's successor (sometime Reader contributor Michaelangelo Matos) was hired, flown to town, and announced to the rest of the staff before Mehr himself was given the courtesy of being canned. It's probably safe to assume Matos won't be writing for the Reader anymore.

As for Margasak, he'll stick around to write longer stories, or so he told Chicago mag's Steve Rhodes in October (second item). Though we've oft found common cause with those who consider Margasak's writing dull and his subject matter too esoteric--"Nobody covers jazz trombone like Peter Margasak," Jim DeRogatis snickered on XRT recently--we'll miss his breadth. If nothing else, the cover of section three won't likely be as hospitable to jazz, hip-hop, international, and electronic acts; judging by everything we've ever read by the guy, Mehr's taste is very white, male, middle-aged and rockist. (Seriously.)