Pioneering Webzine Addicted To Noise Folds

Much of its contents to live on in sonicnet.com.

Addicted to Noise, which pioneered multimedia music reporting and around-the-clock music news in a five-and-a-half year run that began in an ex-Rolling Stone writer's spare bedroom, will cease publishing next month.

Much of the content of ATN will be folded into sonicnet.com, which merged with Addicted to Noise in 1997.

The final issue of ATN, featuring an interview with Primal Scream's Bobby Gillespie and a retrospective essay on the webzine by Gil Kaufman, longtime writer (and sonicnet.com director of editorial projects), will be published Monday.

"The spirit of Addicted to Noise will remain very much alive in sonicnet," said Managing Editor Matt Melucci, who oversees the editorial content of both sites. "I don't feel that ATN was so much the actual product but the people who were working on it, and those people are still a part of sonicnet."

The magazine was founded in 1994 by former Rolling Stone staff writer and editor Michael Goldberg and initially was published from a bedroom in Goldberg's house. The first issued contained an interview with American Music Club frontman Mark Eitzel, a review of the Beach Boys box set Good Vibrations: 30 Years of the Beach Boys and a profile of rock poster designer Frank Kozik. The final issue will be the 66th.

ATN was one of the first Net magazines to offer audio samples and video interview clips with its editorial content. Goldberg said it also was the first site to feature an entire album by a major artist in RealAudio, with Neil Young's 1996 disc, Broken Arrow, including such epic electric rock songs as "Big Time" (RealAudio excerpt).

'Rock Journalism Had Just Dried Up'

Goldberg, who recently resigned as sonicnet.com's editor-in-chief, said Addicted to Noise brought depth, integrity and purpose back to music journalism at a time when it was focused on celebrity instead of art.

"Rock journalism had just dried up," he said. "Most of the stuff was professional but soulless. Reviews had become consumer reports. Interviews that got the artist to open up and talk about their work and what they were trying to do and what it was about just weren't there.

"I also felt like a whole piece of rock 'n' roll wasn't being documented — the kind of music that is eccentric, underground or overground, but has a spirit in it. I wanted that. I wanted there to be [a magazine] that dealt with that and put that in front of the world every day."

"You could find stories with a twist and no visible agenda in ATN that you couldn't in Spin or Rolling Stone or punk magazines," said Greil Marcus, an early contributor. "[There] was a passion and a skepticism, and in some ways that made ATN a real anachronism because it still kept the faith; it waved the flag in a way that had gone very much out of fashion."

From Primus To Pavement

Addicted to Noise covered artists in the international spotlight and in dingy basements, with cover stories on such artists as Wilco, Primus, Sonic Youth, Hole, Pavement, Ani DiFranco, Lou Reed, R.E.M., Ice Cube, Eminem and Neil Young.

Its daily slate of Music News of the World provided readers with breaking stories and championed serious journalistic standards over gossip. Music News of the World now appears on sonicnet.com as Sonicnet Music News.

ATN also offered a platform for columnists to dig under the surface and get to the heart of an artist's music.

While the magazine will cease to exist in its old format, its name and contents will carry on via sonicnet.com. In the summer, sonicnet.com will launch a recurring "Addicted to Noise" feature with opinion columns by such music writers as Greil Marcus, Dave Marsh, Simon Reynolds, Gary Giddins and Sonicnet Music News country editor Chet Flippo.