As there is a history of original music in Riverside, there is a history of original music media. The best writing about the early rock era probably came from the weekly KFXM or K/MEN promotionals you could pick up at Gillette's Records. In the regional newspapers you would get the general entertainment reporter...and when they came to talk to your band they might have known a little about your style of music (but it was a long shot). The Press-Enterprise finally got a promising hotshot in the early '80s but he turned out to be more interested in indie music anywhere else but Riverside. His replacement finally noticed that there was a real scene at home.
In the new century our hometown paper became part of a media conglomerate, and while many of us were lamenting the loss of local flavor the new owners hired a young east coast journalist to work a mundane beat (certainly nothing to do with her emerging talent writing about music). It wasn't too long before Vanessa Franko's name was introducing some exceptional stories about local music. The P-E had her cover a season of Coachella and suddenly our local music scribe was getting those desert festival stories picked up around the world via Associated Press.
I was an early fan. Before she went mainstream. Vanessa was a music nerd like me and it showed in the attention she gave to the stuff that mattered to serious fans of new original music. Her P-E articles began to make a real difference for regional bands reaching out for that next step up. Through the years I've had opportunity to talk to Vanessa on the phone but until now we've never been able to connect for that extended lunch. Good thing, though, as I now have the podcast going and can share this long anticipated chat with the rest of the local music community.
We decided on a Friday the 13th meeting at Packinghouse Brewing Company (a favorite local independent and kind enough to let us set up in the brewing room). The IPAs were tasty and the conversation so easy that I'm going to have to post it in two parts. Of course we've both thought of things that we forgot to bring up this time...we'll just have to cover those the next time.
- Ralph from Riverside