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Joel SelvinVIP, September 1996

Joel Selvin

Musicians, critics, artists and writers often form friendships and professional relationships that can be comfortable and combustible. They can be respectful and explosive. The aim of musicians and critics is always the same, however. To make and celebrate music.

Joel Selvin has been a fixture in the Bay Area music scene for 25 years. Through his writing he has championed the bands and the music of the area in national and international publications, as well as locally. From the flower power days. through disco, power rock arena shows, and the punk movement, Joel's been doing a great job observing and tracking the people and events that make the music scene. Writer and critic Joel Selvin has been chosen as our H.E.A.R. V.I.P. for the Month of September and we're proud to salute him!

Joel's involvement in the music scene extends well beyond writing music reviews and criticism. In addition to writing for the San Francisco Chronicle since 1972, Joel has published articles in Rolling Stone, The L.A. Times, Billboard and Melody Maker. His book, Ricky Nelson: Idol For a Generation was nominated for a Ralph J. Gleason Music Book Award. He has also written Monterey Pop (1991) and Summer of Love: The Inside Story of LSD, Rock & Roll, Free Love, and High Times in the Wild West (1994).

Joel's most recent book is THE MUSICAL HISTORY TOUR: A Guide to Over 200 of the Bay Area's Most Memorable Music Sites. Quick-paced and anecdotal, the book is a colorful blast-back to the days of the Barbary Coast, the beat generation, acid rock, and blues. Selvin shares riotous stories of people that took risks, defied the ordinary, and made history: The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, The Kingston Trio, Carol Doda, and yes, even Enrico Caruso. There are the stories, legends, and secrets behind the clubs, recording studios, famous homes, and final resting places of dozens of music greats from Charlie Parker to Otis Redding, Jimi Hendrix to Linda Ronstadt, and the Beau Brummels to Journey.

Joel 's also been active in the classroom, teaching classes at San Francisco State University, lecturing at the U.C. Berkeley Journalism Colloquium, Mills College, and The Blue Bear School of Music in San Francisco.

Joel and his talented musician wife, Keta Bill, are also active with ThunderRoads, an alcohol and drug rehabilitation center for youth. And last, but not least, Joel's a founding member of the infamous literary rock band "The Rock Bottom Remainders" with Amy Tan, Steven King and Matt Groening.

Music informs the life of H.E.A.R. We're enriched by the music scene in the Bay Area and supported by community members like Joel Selvin. We're glad Joel is our friend and comrade in arms and we're thrilled to honor him as our V.I.P.


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