Rising Like A Discotheque

Rolling Stone Editor Sid Holt broke my heart.

I was twenty-four-years-old.

I’d moved to New York City just a few months prior with two goals: to snag a record deal, and write for Rolling Stone magazine.

I wasn’t much for networking. Still, I knew well enough to canvas the Syracuse University Alumni Center for names. They hooked me up with Peter Wilkinson, ’83.

I called Peter and arranged to meet him at The White Horse Tavern (“Where Dylan Thomas drank himself to death,” he told me) a week later on April 21, 1995 — just two days after the Oklahoma bombing.

Pete — a contributing writer (“They give me all the death stories,” he told me) to this day — offered to hook me up with the intern coordinator. ‘Intern coordinator!?!’ I thought. ‘I have a newspaper column with my picture and everything!!!’

My wounded pride notwithstanding, I took the name, and made the call.

Rolling Stone, it ends up, was all set on interns. Men’s Journal, though, could use my help.

Bam! I was in the door.

By now, the story about how a young editor told me, “Hey, I hear Rolling Stone need freelance writers for their online service,” and I walked down the hall with a folder full of clips, stuck out my hand, and introduced myself is a well worn legend. The story you don’t know is about Sid Holt.

So I’m seated at a big, rectangular table in a conference room in 1290 Avenue of the Americas high above (well five stories above) Sixth Avenue (which is actually Avenue of the Americas — go figure) with all of the Wenner Media interns. There are kids from Rolling Stone (Doc Martins and flannel), Us (fluorescent sweatshirts and matching knit socks), and Men’s Journal (just me in my tattered khakis and a blue cable knit sweater).

Sid Holt walks in, sits at the head of the table and says, “Just so you know: I’m in my mid-thirties, I’m married, I have two kids, I live in Connecticut, and I don’t go to concerts or movies anymore.”

Cue the sound of a rapidly deflating balloon.

‘Don’t go to concerts anymore!?!’ I thought. ‘And you work for Rolling Stone!?!’

Deep breath.

‘Don’t go to movies anymore!?!’ I thought. ‘And you work for Rolling Stone!?!’

Fast forward. Present day. Jeans, t-shirt, sport coat, Chuck’s. I’m seated at my generic, off-white desk twenty-nine stories above Times Square. It’s seven o’clock. Abbi’s in Nashville on business. A water main has blown up across town. I tuck my headphones into my ears, dial up a tune, and head for the elevator.

The doorman greets me as I stride through the summer humidity towards my 27-story glass, concrete and stone apartment building. I wait for the elevator, and then ride to the fifth floor. Inside, I turn on the air conditioning, grab a beer from the fridge, slip a DVD into the player, and collapse onto the couch.

There was absolutely nothing rock ‘n roll about my Wednesday night, save — maybe — for the sliver moon rising like a discotheque through the cloud-streaked sky.

Still, it totally rocked.

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