Jeffrey Morgan (writer)
Jeffrey Morgan in the recording studio, 1977 Photo credit: Tom Robe
|Pen name||Machine Rock|
|Occupation||Writer, Biographer, Editor|
|Period||1966 - present|
|Genre||Rock Criticism, Satire|
|Subject||Rock 'n' Roll|
|Literary movement||Postmodern, Gonzo|
|Notable works||Authorized biographies of Alice Cooper and The Stooges, Creem, Mister X, Jeffrey Morgan’s Media Blackout|
|Notable awards||Superior Scribing Award, 2005|
- Morgan's first published record review, of David Bowie's 1965 Pye Records single "Can't Help Thinking About Me", was published in the August 1975 issue. Morgan's writing then went on to appear in every issue of Creem until the magazine's demise in November 1988.
- In 2003, at the request of photographer Robert Matheu, Morgan renewed his relationship with the magazine by writing reviews and interviews for Matheu's new Creem website every month for five years until its demise in 2008.
After being discovered by Bangs but prior to his first publication in Creem, Morgan graduated from Northern Secondary high school where he served in his final year as President of the Student Council. Morgan then spent the balance of 1974 honing his craft as a rock critic and rock photographer for York University's weekly newspaper Excalibur where he reviewed and photographed concerts by Elton John and George Harrison.
- While attending York, Morgan studied electronic music with James Tenney, who performed on Terry Riley's album In C.
- During this time, Morgan was the host of The Air Pirates Show on York's campus radio station CHRY-FM.
- From 1975 to 1978, Morgan was the editor of a free monthly Canadian rock magazine initially titled Cheap Thrills then StageLife and finally Roxy. All three incarnations were published by Concert Productions International, which was a major promoter of rock concerts and tours in North America run by Bill Ballard and future Rolling Stones concert promoter Michael Cohl. In addition to editing the magazine, Morgan also wrote for it extensively both under his own name and that of the more vociferous alter ego he created in April 1975, "Machine Rock".
- Six months later, Tee Vee Records in Canada released a compilation album titled Machine Rock: 23 Original Hits. Ballard and Cohl briefly considered suing Tee Vee for damages until they found out that Morgan had not registered his alias as a trademark.
- During this period, Morgan was also the staff copywriter for CBS Records Canada, for whom he wrote back cover liner notes for an album of baroque music by classical guitarist Liona Boyd. After reading them, however, Boyd demanded that Morgan's notes be deleted before the album was released, exclaiming: "You can't print this! He makes me sound like a rock star!"
- In 1977, Morgan's poetry was published in Rolling Stone magazine (Our Lady of Perpetual Motion) and Bakka magazine (Neuromantics I-V).
- In the late 1970s, Morgan was asked by Robert Christgau to participate in The Village Voice's annual Pazz & Jop critics' poll. In 1986, Christgau noted how Morgan skewed the "black caucus" vote by casting 30 points for James Brown's album Gravity.
- During the 1980s, Morgan was a contributing writer for Wayne Green's magazine Digital Audio and Compact Disc Review. In 1986, several of his reviews were reprinted in Digital Audio's Guide To Compact Discs which was published by Bantam Books.
- During the mid-1980s, Morgan was the host of The Machine Rock Show on the Rogers Television community channel in Toronto.
- During the late 1980s, Morgan was the host of The Air Pirates Show on Ryerson University's campus radio station CKLN-FM.
- During the 1990s, Morgan wrote reviews and biographies for LAUNCH Media, including a concert review of Diamanda Galás on her Malediction & Prayer tour, which Galás posted on her website.
- During the early 1990s, Morgan was the host of The Air Pirates Show on community radio station CFCR-FM in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
- In 1992, Morgan was asked by Rob Bowman to name the Lou Reed anthology that he was assembling with Reed for RCA Records. Morgan named the three disc box set Between Thought and Expression, after his favorite Velvet Underground song "Some Kinda Love". In return, Bowman thanked Morgan in his booklet liner notes to the anthology.
- Between 2004 and 2009, Morgan wrote an award-winning weekly newspaper column for Detroit's Metro Times titled Jeffrey Morgan's Media Blackout. In 2010, the column relocated first to rocksbackpages.com and then to Morgan's own website.
- In 2006, Morgan was asked to submit a list of his ten favorite Canadian albums for tabulation in Bob Mersereau's hardcover book The Top 100 Canadian Albums, which was published in 2007 by Goose Lane Editions.
- In 2008, Morgan wrote the introduction "What Is and What Will Always Be" for the hardcover book Sonic Boom: The Impact of Led Zeppelin.
- In 2009, Morgan told the story of how Bangs discovered him in Curse You, Lester Bangs!!! which appears in the hardcover book CREEM: America's Only Rock 'n' Roll Magazine published by HarperCollins.
- Also in 2009, Morgan wrote a feature review of the Queen album Hot Space for the hardcover Voyageur Press book Queen: The Ultimate Illustrated History of the Crown Kings of Rock.
- In 2010, Morgan wrote a review of the Bachman–Turner Overdrive song "Takin' Care of Business" for Mersereau's follow-up hardcover book, The Top 100 Canadian Singles.
- In 2012, a previously unpublished contemporary concert review of The Rolling Stones performing at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto on July 15, 1972, which was written by Morgan "the very next day in the heat of the moment", was published in Portuguese in the limited edition hardcover book Rolling Stones em Portugal. Morgan's review was illustrated with a previously unpublished photograph of the Stones playing Cobo Hall in Detroit, taken by Robert Matheu the night before on July 14, 1972.
- In 2013, Morgan wrote a feature review of the first Rush album Rush for Voyageur's hardcover book Rush: The Illustrated History.
- Also in 2013, Morgan "filmed a cameo appearance in which I read—and sing!—one of my favorite record reviews for a documentary by Carla Sinclair about Kate Reid which is coming to a theatre near you in 2014".
- In 2014, Morgan wrote the liner notes for the album Wicked by the 24th Street Wailers.
- Also in 2014, Morgan was interviewed by Punk Globe Magazine about his writing and photography
- In 2015, Morgan was interviewed by North Toronto Post magazine about his student days at Northern Secondary including his tenure as Student Council President, his rock photography, and his career as a rock critic and biographer.
In 1992, Morgan began writing the authorized biography of Alice Cooper, which would take him seven years to complete. His finished biography, titled Alcohol and Razor Blades, Poison and Needles: The Glorious Wretched Excess of Alice Cooper, All-American, appears in the box set The Life and Crimes of Alice Cooper which was published by Warner Bros. on April 20, 1999.
- Morgan also wrote the liner notes for two other Cooper albums: 2001’s Mascara and Monsters: The Best of Alice Cooper and the 2002 reissue of Welcome To My Nightmare.
- In 2003, the International Journal of Academic Psychiatry cited Morgan’s authorized biography in their paper "From Alice Cooper to Marilyn Manson: The Significance of Adolescent Antiheroes".
- In 2011, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum further cited Morgan’s authorized biography as “Recommended Reading” about Alice Cooper, alongside Alice’s own 1976 autobiography Me, Alice.
- In 2012, Morgan appeared with Cooper and record producer Bob Ezrin on the BBC World Service radio documentary The Bizarre and Influential World of Alice Cooper.
In 2008, Morgan and collaborator Robert Matheu began co-writing the authorized biography of The Stooges. Their finished biography, titled The Stooges, Yes appears in The Stooges: The Authorized and Illustrated Story which was edited by Morgan and published in hardcover by Abrams on October 1, 2009.
- After reading the biography, Iggy Pop wrote Morgan: "Jeffrey, you're a smartass--watch it!"
- In 1975, Morgan's first appearance in Creem was as a photographer with a 1974 black-and-white photograph of Lou Reed and Alice Cooper singing "Goodnight Ladies" together on stage at Massey Hall, which Lester Bangs used to illustrate his infamous March 1975 cover story Let Us Now Praise Famous Death Dwarves. In 2013, Morgan exhibited a second portrait from this concert on his website.
- Also in 1975, Morgan's portrait of comic book artist Barry Smith was published in Jim Steranko's magazine Mediascene.
- Between 1975 and 1978, Concert Productions International published many of Morgan's photographs in their rock magazines, often without credit, including portraits of Bowie, Reed, and Freddie Mercury.
- In May 1978, Creem published Morgan's portrait of Amanda Lear. In 2013, Morgan exhibited the photo on his website.
- Also in 1978, Morgan received a Photography Grant from the Ontario Arts Council for a portfolio of work done at York while studying with photographer Shin Sugino.
- In 1988, author Nancy Baker commissioned Morgan to photograph her for the June 1988 issue of Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone Magazine. In 2012, Morgan's portrait was used as the backdrop for Baker's appearance at the World Fantasy Convention.
In 1975, Morgan met conceptual illustrator and graphic designer Dean Motter, with whom he would collaborate on a number of projects. Between 1977 and 1980, they recorded an "ambient electronic avant-garde progressive art rock album" called Thrilling Women under the collective band name of the Air Pirates, in tribute to the original Air Pirates. The album featured vocalist Paul Robinson of The Diodes, guitarist Toby Swann of Battered Wives, and saxophonist Andy Haas of Martha And The Muffins.
- In 2002, a song from the album, "A Darkened Stretch", was released by Bongo Beat Records on the compilation Driving In The Rain: 3AM (Songs To Get Lost With).
- In 2011, Bongo Beat released the complete album Thrilling Women: The Lost Air Pirates Sessions - Toronto: 1977 - 1980.
- Later that decade, Morgan began writing numerous letters to the Marvel Comics Group, many of which were printed during the early 1970s in the letters section of such Marvel comics as Fantastic Four #95, The Amazing Spider-Man #82, Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos #78, The Avengers #73 and Conan the Barbarian #5. More often than not, whenever one of Morgan's letters wasn’t published, he received a compensatory Marvel No-Prize in the mail.
- It was during this second letter writing phase that Morgan’s first known piece of satirical writing was published. In the letters section of Captain America #122, he had two consecutive letters printed: the first under his own name and home address and, directly beneath it, a second separately-sent letter from "Toronto, Ontario" which he’d signed with the name of deceased villain Baron Zemo. In it, "Zemo" implored Marvel writer/editor Stan Lee against resurrecting Cap’s former World War II teen partner Bucky Barnes in favor of himself: "I’m begging you, Stan--keep the kid dead and let me return!" Lee, who had met Morgan eighteen months earlier in Toronto, wrote the following editorial reply: "Sooo! The infamous Baron Zemo is alive and well in Toronto, ehhh? (TORONTO?!?)".
- Over the next few years, Morgan’s style of comic book letter writing would become so distinctive that the iconoclastic American humor magazine National Lampoon parodied his letter writing style in their "Is Nothing Sacred?" issue (January 1972). In the Marvel pastiche Son-O’-God Comics which was written by Canadian associate editor Michel Choquette, the first letter in the fake letters section at the end of the story was attributed to having been written by "Stan Spooner, Toronto, Canada". This parody letter accurately spoofed Morgan’s writing style in tone and spirit, right down to its similar use of a spiritual closing salutation (Morgan: Pacem in Terris; Spooner: Yours in Christ).
- In 1973, Morgan began writing letters to Creem, which led to his hiring, a year later, by Lester Bangs.
- One of Morgan's first instances as a comic book writer appeared in issue #16 (April 1979) of the alternative press anthology series Star*Reach. His 16-page cover story, Murphy’s Law, was illustrated by Ken Steacy.
- Morgan wrote volume two of Dean Motter's Vortex Comics series Mister X, the first volume of which ran 12 issues cover-dated June 1984 to August 1988. When Motter left the first, color series to work on other projects, he asked Morgan to assume the writing duties for a second, black-and-white volume, which ran 12 issues cover-dated April 1989 to March 1990.
- In 2008, again at Motter's behest, Morgan wrote the introduction to Volume One of Dark Horse Comics' hardcover omnibus Mister X: The Archives.
- In 2011, Dark Horse reprinted Morgan's Mister X stories in a 320-page deluxe hardcover edition titled The Brides of Mister X and Other Stories.
- In 2012, Morgan announced that he was writing the introduction to a proposed deluxe edition of Howard Chaykin's "considerably filthier" graphic novel prequel and sequel to Black Kiss, Black Kiss 2, eventually to be published by Image Comics.
- List of newspaper columnists
- List of Canadian writers
- List of Canadian poets
- List of Canadian musicians
- List of Northern Secondary School alumni
- List of York University people
- Robert Matheu, Brian J. Bowe (2009). Creem: America's Only Rock 'n' Roll Magazine. HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-137456-2.
- Mentor. Editor. Lester. A Personal Appreciation - Creem (August 2003)
- Creem (August 1975). Can't Help Thinking About Me. p. 70.
- CREEM Magazine archive - November 1988
- Chapter And Verse: The Rick Wakeman Interview, Part 1 - Creem (June 2004)
- Chapter And Verse: The Rick Wakeman Interview, Part 2 - Creem (July 2004)
- List of Northern Secondary School alumni#Arts and literature
- Excalibur (November 28, 1974). Portrait of the Superstar as an Automobile. p. 17.
- Excalibur (December 12, 1974). Preston Steals Show at Harrison's Non-Event. p. 19.
- Jeffrey Morgan interview - M3 Event
- "The Air Pirates Show" - CHRY-FM
- Jeffrey Morgan in the Musical Periodal Index of Library and Archives Canada
- Machine Rock in the Musical Periodal Index of Library and Archives Canada
- Is Meat Loaf The Orson Welles Of Rock? - StageLife (February 1978). pp. 22.
- A Solid Gold Rush - Cheap Thrills (January 1977). pp.7.
- Machine Rock: 23 Original Hits - Tee Vee Records #1038
- Canadian Trade-marks Database
- CBS Records Canada's 25th Anniversary (1979). The Silver Years. p. 54.
- Rolling Stone (July 28, 1977). Our Lady of Perpetual Motion. p. 75.
- Bakka Magazine (Spring–Summer 1977). Neuromantics I-V. pp. 77–84.
- The 13th (or 14th) Annual Pazz & Jop Critics Poll
- Larry Canale, ed. (1986). Digital Audio's Guide To Compact Discs. Bantam Books. ISBN 0-553-34356-4.
- "The Machine Rock Show" - Rogers Cable 10
- "The Air Pirates Show" - CKLN-FM
- CKLN-FM#CKLN alumni
- Carry On Screaming: Diamanda Galás Live at Massey Hall
- "The Air Pirates Show" - CFCR-FM
- Between Thought and Expression (April 14, 1992). untitled booklet. p. 14.
- 2005 Superior Scribing Awards
- Jeffrey Morgan's Media Blackout - Volume One
- Jeffrey Morgan's Media Blackout - Volume Two
- Bob Mersereau (2007). The Top 100 Canadian Albums. Goose Lane Editions. ISBN 978-0-86492-500-8.
- Frank Reddon (2008). Sonic Boom: The Impact of Led Zeppelin. Enzepplopedia. ISBN 978-0-9784446-0-0.
- Phil Sutcliffe (2009). Queen: The Ultimate Illustrated History of the Crown Kings of Rock. Voyageur Press. ISBN 978-0-7603-3719-6.
- Bob Mersereau (2010). The Top 100 Canadian Singles. Goose Lane Editions. ISBN 978-0-86492-537-4.
- The Rolling Stones em Portugal (2012). Exilio na Rua Carlto. pp. 50–51.
- Rolando Rebelo (2012). The Rolling Stones em Portugal. Zebra Publicações. ISBN 978-9-89839-128-5.
- The Rolling Stones em Portugal - List of Contributors
- Martin Popoff (2013). Rush: The Illustrated History. Voyageur Press. ISBN 978-0-7603-4364-7.
- Heal Myself - Kate Reid documentary
- Liner Notes by Jeffrey Morgan
- Rock Writer And Biographer The One And Only: JEFFREY MORGAN
- North Toronto Post (February 2015). The School of Rock 'n' Roll: How a few music essays led to life as a rock critic and CREEM editor. p. 34.
- Jeffrey Morgan interview - Music Vice
- Alcohol and Razor Blades, Poison and Needles: The Glorious Wretched Excess of Alice Cooper, All-American
- From Alice Cooper to Marilyn Manson: The Significance of Adolescent Antiheroes
- Alice Cooper: 2011 Rock Hall inductee
- The Bizarre and Influential World of Alice Cooper - BBC World Service
- WORLD EXCLUSIVE! Keith Richards and Johnny Depp hire CREEM hacks to polish first draft of Pirates Of The Caribbean: Treasures Of The Lost Abyss!!! - Creem (November 2004)
- TOUR OF DUTY: The Iconoclastic Rock 'n' Roll Imageworks of Robert Matheu
- Robert Matheu (2009). The Stooges: The Authorized and Illustrated Story. Abrams. ISBN 978-0-8109-8289-5.
- With Friends Like These...
- Elton John at Maple Leaf Gardens on November 18, 1974
- George Harrison at Maple Leaf Gardens on December 6, 1974
- CREEM (March 1975). Let Us Now Praise Famous Death Dwarves. p. 38.
- Lou Reed at Massey Hall on October 18, 1974
- Mediascene (September 1975). Barry Smith: A Penetrating Preview of a New Project. p. 10.
- Queen: Too Rich To Rock? - StageLife (May 1977). pp. 35.
- CREEM (May 1979). Rock 'n' Roll News. p. 10.
- Amanda Lear in Chinatown on October 31, 1978
- Shin Sugino at York University
- Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone Magazine (June 1988). The Party Over There. p. 72.
- Nancy Baker at the 2012 World Fantasy Convention
- Jeffrey Morgan (2011). The Brides of Mister X and Other Stories. Dark Horse Books. ISBN 978-1-59582-645-9.
- The Air Pirates
- "A Darkened Stretch"
- Thrilling Women: The Lost Air Pirates Sessions - Toronto: 1977 - 1980
- Batman "Letters To The Batcave" (August 1966)
- Fantastic Four "Fantastic Four Fan Page" (February 1970)
- The Amazing Spider-Man "The Spider’s Web" (March 1970)
- Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos "Tell It To Fury" (May 1970)
- The Avengers - "Avengers Assemble" (December 1970)
- Conan the Barbarian "The Hyborian Page" (May 1971)
- Captain America "Let's Rap With Cap" (February 1970)
- Stan Lee and Jeffrey Morgan - Toronto, July 1968
- National Lampoon Index - Vol. 1, No. 22
- National Lampoon (January 1972). The Word From The Bird. p. 37.
- Mentor. Editor. Lester. A Personal Appreciation - CREEM (August 2003)
- The Star*Reach Bibliography
- Grand Comics Database Mister X - Volume 1, Number 1 (June 1984)
- Grand Comics Database Mister X - Volume 2, Number 1 (April 1989)
- Mister X: The Archives (2008). Motivation By Obsession: The Architect + The Archetype. p. 7.
- Dean Motter (2008). Mister X: The Archives. Dark Horse Books. ISBN 978-1-59582-184-3.
- Chaykin revisits sex, death and movies with 'Black Kiss 2' - USA Today (August 2012)