Born in Jersey City, New Jersey, the year the Beatles arrived in America, Jim DeRogatis began voicing his opinions about rock ’n’ roll shortly thereafter. He a full-time lecturer in the English Department at Columbia College Chicago, writes the “PopNStuff” music and culture blog for blogs.vocalo.org, and co-hosts Sound Opinions, “the world’s only rock ’n’ roll talk show,” with Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune. The hour-long weekly radio show originates at Chicago Public Radio and is syndicated nationally to some 94 public radio stations in 80 markets ranging from New York to Alaska.
DeRogatis spent 15 years as the pop music critic at the Chicago Sun-Times, worked as an editor at Request and Rolling Stones magazines, and has freelanced for too many other publications to count. He also is the author of several books about music, including Let It Blurt: The Life and Times of Lester Bangs, America’s Greatest Rock Critic and Staring at Sound: The True Story of Oklahoma’s Fabulous Flaming Lips (both for Broadway Books); Milk It! Collected Musings on the Alternative Music Explosion of the ’90s (Da Capo), and Turn On Your Mind: Four Decades of Great Psychedelic Rock (Hal Leonard). With his wife, Carmél Carrillo, he edited Kill Your Idols: A New Generation of Rock Writers Reconsiders the Classics (Barricade Books), and he recently edited and wrote the central essay for The Velvet Underground: An Illustrated History of a Walk on the Wild Side (Voyageur Press). His first book with Kot, The Beatles vs. the Rolling Stones: Sound Opinions on the Great Rock ’n’ Roll Rivalry, will be published by Voyageur in the Fall of 2010. Outside the music realm, he published Sheperd Paine: The Life and Work of a Master Modeler and Military Historian (Schiffer Books, 2008.)
DeRogatis lives on the North Side of Chicago, entirely too close to Wrigley Field, and jokes that he is not a musician, but he is a drummer. He has released several albums with his art-punk band Vortis, named after the Vorticist movement of James Joyce, Ezra Pound, and Wyndham Lewis, which advocated that one “perpetuate violent structures of adolescent clarity” throughout life—as fine a definition of rock ’n’ roll as he can imagine.