Geoff Wilbur, Music Journalist
I was a widely published music journalist from 1989 until 2003, covering nearly all styles of music, including nearly a decade as a publisher of my own family of magazines, the various editions of Geoff Wilbur’s Renegade Newsletter.
After more than a decade “hiatus,” I began publishing again in October 2015, launching Geoff Wilbur’s Music Blog.
Staff Writer and Contributing Writer Roles:
I began my career in 1989, writing for the Boston University Daily Free Press weekly entertainment section, the Muse. I continued to write for the Muse for two years, until 1991.
Shortly after starting to write for the Muse, still in 1989, I believe, I began writing for College Monthly, eventually rising to Music Director. I continued writing for College Monthly (based in Worcester, Mass.) from 1989 through 1994, continued as it was published from Staten Island in 1996, and wrote for its CollegeBound.Net version in 1997/98.
I was also published as a contributing writer for Boston Rock, with several reviews published over two or three years beginning in 1990.
In 1990 and 1991, I was a significantly contributing staff writer for New Jersey-based Tough Tracks magazine.
I reviewed a couple of CDs for the short-lived east-coast publication The Mighty Decibel in the early/mid-‘90s.
I also wrote for Lansing, Michigan publication The Capital Times for a few years starting in 1992.
And I did layout and editing for the Capital Area Blues Society’s Blues Ambassador newsletter in Lansing, Michigan for a couple years, 1997-1999.
Geoff Wilbur’s Renegade Newsletter:
In 1993, I launched Geoff Wilbur’s Renegade Newsletter. You can read more about that publication here on the GWRN section of my website. It was headquartered in East Lansing, Michigan 1993-1998, in Newport, Rhode Island 1998-2002, and in Johnston, Rhode Island 2002-2003.
GWRN was a family of quarterly publications, with each edition targeting a different geography (or, later, segment of the music industry). I published 98 print issues of Geoff Wilbur’s Renegade Newsletter, beginning with print editions in Grand Rapids and Lansing, Michigan. (You can see a list of the 98 issues here.)
Local Editions: The first issue was the July 1993 Grand Rapids Edition. The second issue was the September 1993 Lansing Edition. The last Grand Rapids Edition was published in October 1996. The last Lansing Edition was published in September 1999. These local editions were a healthy mix of national “signed” acts, local music coverage, and top national and international unsigned/independent bands/musicians. For mail-based subscribers, a “Street Edition” with the same mix of signed and unsigned content continued to be published on the Lansing Edition’s schedule through March 2001.
The Industry Edition: Within a year of publication, I realized many of the significant number of issues I was sending to my industry contacts and others in the music industry were being widely read within the industry. As a result, I began publishing the Industry Edition in August 1994, featuring only unsigned/independent acts and being sent by mail to the music industry. Because our reviews were descriptive rather than critiquing in nature, with the goal of connecting bands/musicians with those who might enjoy or be suited to working with them, we were able to accept band advertising, allowing bands an inexpensive way to get their names/logos in front of an industry readership, while the descriptive nature of the publication maintained the journalistic integrity. (The idea was that it would be ridiculous to think a band could buy a “more descriptive” review.) The final Industry Edition was published August 2002.
The Country Music Industry Edition: In January 1997, I began publishing the Country Music Industry Edition. Because the country music industry readership had very little overlap with the rest of the music business – in both personnel and musicians/bands in which they were interested – it made sense to produce a separate edition for the country music industry. When I stopped publishing the Grand Rapids Edition, it was replaced in the printing schedule by the Country Music Industry Edition. The final Country Music Industry Edition was published in Summer 2002.
Online Edition: In 1995, a web hosting company approached me about publishing an online edition. Initially, it was an online version of one of the local print publications. The first issue of the Online Edition (Summer 1995) was the July 1995 issue of the Grand Rapids Edition placed online. Soon, however, the Online Edition began to include and increasing amount of original content. And after the final Street Edition was published, the Online Edition became solely original content. The final Online Edition was published in Winter 2002/2003.
For several years after that, I maintained a GWRN mailing address with the thought that I would begin publishing again as my “day job” moved me around the country, but that has not happened. At the time of final publication, I had planned to rename the magazine to highlight my name more (since the point of including my name was to let my music contacts know it was my publication) and eliminate the “Renegade” name, whose goal was to make the publication more appealing to readers in the local markets.
Since 2013, I have been sharing my discoveries via Twitter. (Click here to see my Twitter account, where I tweet about music, sports, and the telecom industry.) Then, in October 2015 I launched Geoff Wilbur’s Music Blog.
There are multiple ways to keep up with Geoff Wilbur’s Music Blog, which I’ve summarized on this page of the blog’s website. Please click through, sign up, enjoy the reviews, and discover some great music.