About Me

Playing a cheap red'n'white plastic guitar years before Jack White made it cool

I’m an author, freelance journalist, sub-editor and lecturer, based in London. I’ve been writing about music and related cultures for over thirteen years, working for titles like MOJO, The Guardian, NME, Kerrang!, The Times, Rolling Stone, The Evening Standard, Melody Maker and many more. I’ve done stints as commissioning section editor at Plan B, Careless Talk Costs Lives and Sleazenation, and co-founded and co-edited (with genius photographer Steve Gullick) Loose Lips Sink Ships magazine.

I’ve written three books to date: Spray Paint The Walls: The Black Flag Story, Ninja Tune: 20 Years Of Beats & Pieces, and Psychic Confusion: The Sonic Youth Story. You can find more information on these tomes, along with extracts from them, in the Books section of this website.

For five years, from the launch of the station until presenter Phill Jupitus moved on from the show, I was on-air record reviewer for BBC 6music’s Breakfast Show. I miss playing records that really shouldn’t be heard at 8:30 in the morning, and I miss Phill. I don’t miss such an early start on a monday morning, however.

I’ve been teaching a module on Music Journalism for post-graduate students at City University since 2004. I’ve also worked as a freelance sub-editor for some time, and take an unseemly pleasure in gently helping overlong text fit into a space that’s too small for it. “Word Tetris”, I call it.

If you would like me to write / edit / sub-edit / lecture / play noisy and wonderful records for you and you have money you would like to give me in return (an old-fashioned concept, perhaps, but I’m rather fond of it), please contact me at stevietonychick@gmail.com.

14 Responses to About Me

  1. Martin Boyle says:

    Hi Stevie. Just wanted to drop you a quick line, essentially to say ‘keep up the great work’. I regularly chance upon a review, or article, that sees me reference the name of the writer due to my enjoyment of the writing. That name is often yours. This email is prompted by your lovely piece in DIS on Neutral Milk Hotel. Once again, a keenly observed, even-handed take on a band we both clearly admire.

    We have actually met on a couple of occasions, some years ago now, when you were writing for NME (you may still?), and I was writing/producing Beware The Cat – a fanzine long since departed.

    Anyway, just thought I’d take a moment to congratulate you on the continued excellence of your work and hope that life is treating you well.


    Martin Boyle

    • steviechick says:

      Hey Martin! Lovely to hear from you – Beware The Cat was always one of my favourite zines, and I’m sure I still have my copies somewhere in my swarming trash-heap of an office… Thanks for the kind words, and I hope life is treating you rad as well!

      best, Stevie

      • martin boyle says:

        Sounds like you have more copies of BTC than I do! Just while I’ve got you (and I promise this wasn’t the reason for me contacting you!), you might like to check out fellow BTCer Dan Carney’s band ‘Dark Captain’ (formerly Dark Captain Light Captain). I won’t try to sell them to you, but think it’s something you’d really enjoy. Check this out from their debut ‘Miracle Kicker’ – ‘Jealous Enemies’ http://youtu.be/_NTByM1-MS0

        The other one’s from their second ‘Dead Legs and Alibis’ – ‘Right Way Round’


        Hope you like!

        Sent from my iPhone

      • steviechick says:

        Thanks Martin – will check em out! Am very familiar with the name so I think I may have come across them before…

  2. Tone says:

    Hey Stevie, Luv’d yr Specials top 10 story, awesome insight into their classic trax!
    Heres my tribute to the boys in their hay day https://youtu.be/1TMkbwZNwA0

  3. Pingback: Curtis Mayfield – 10 of the best | manwithoutqualities

  4. Laís says:

    Hi Stevie! I want to talk with you about a music journalism course. Can you email me? 🙂 lais.eiras@gmail.com

  5. Hey Chap.

    Just wanted to say i looked at your end of year album list on The Guardian site. I am now a massive fan of the Salami Rose Louise album.



  6. Chris Goodwin says:

    Hi Stevie,

    Your (infamous amongst the fanbase) article “Shit 7” has resurfaced again. As a fan of the band, I agree they didn’t receive the love that other indie bands of the time did. Have you ever listened to the band in a retrospective light or heard their comeback album “Instant Pleasures?”

    I appreciate that everyone has their own tastes, but negative journalism can affect people’s lives (Caroline Flack is the most recent example, amongst others) and wonder if your motivation was to get noticed by the mainstream tabloid press… times were definitely different in the 90’s. If you were so sure what makes a good band, why weren’t you fronting one at the time? Just a thought!

    Hope life is being kind to you, as you undoubtedly are to all those trying to make a living from music.



    • steviechick says:

      Hello Chris,

      I’m honestly surprised to learn a live review I wrote over 20 years ago is still “infamous”. I actually don’t remember what I wrote in it, other than that Going For Gold has a good chord change in it, which I still believe to be the sole “redeeming” quality of Shed Seven’s discography. I actually believe the only reason the “fandom” still consider the review to be “infamous” is the headline, which is pithy and hilarious, and which I’m sad to say I cannot take credit for. The review itself was an honest response to what was, in my opinion, a dreary and dull show by a band who I felt had very little going for them. Your opinion is no doubt different, and that’s fine. If you don’t want to read other people’s opinions, my advice to you is to not read music criticism, as the entire heart of it is articulating those opinions, and if you’re the sort to be upset by differing opinions, well, there be monsters.

      I had no intention whatsoever of trying to get tabloid attention. It was just a review in a music paper, not particularly savage or memorable beyond the headline, and I wrote several such reviews a week, most of which were positive, as I always preferred writing about the music I loved. I find your citing of Caroline Flack to be laughable and in very poor taste, as a negative concert review is in no way comparable to the kind of abuse of which she was on the receiving end. But if you wish to pursue this angle, I remember Shed Seven’s (lumpen, entirely unremarkable) drummer making wildly sexist remarks back in the day about how women couldn’t and shouldn’t play the drums, which seems like a much more desperate attempt to get tabloid attention. I wonder if you judge those remarks with the severity “the fandom” regards a 20+ year old review?

      The odd negative review aside, I’ve had the good fortune to support and write about artists from many genres and places for almost 25 years now, and as much as it is how I make my living, it is also, for me, a very heartfelt way of attempting to give back to the music and artform I love so deeply. I’ve not knowingly listened to Shed Seven’s music since that gig in whatever Corn Exchange they were playing that night, because there’s an entire universe of music I’ve not heard yet (nor not had shoved in my ears via a Dixon’s advert) that I’d rather explore. I listened to them, I didn’t they were very good, I said my piece as honestly and fairly as I could, and then I moved on. That they still give you and the fandom pleasure is great – that’s the beauty of music – and I’m sure they value the support of loyal fans like yourself.

      All the best.

      • Chris Goodwin says:

        Hi Stevie,

        Fair play to you responding to my message, it’s a shame you’ve not revisited the band since your first encounter. I don’t think the band were too bothered at the time or even now having enjoyed great success with recording or touring.

        I do think that the consequences of unnecessarily negative and disparaging press is very relevant (hence the example) where individual journalists criticise others when merely expressing personal opinions about an individual or bands artistic talents. I think if you are going to be over critical you should be capable of doing it better yourself (think football punditry) particularly if you choose to be harsh in your judgement and choice of words.

        I was a little disappointed that you chose to resort to mud slinging without quoting the source / referencing the interview in question but that’s kind of par for the course in an industry where you’re only accountable to yourselves.

        Maybe revisit the band? You might stick to your initial assessment or you might not… What’s to lose? There’s plenty of time in lockdown!

        Good luck with your work,


      • Andrew Jones says:

        If i may….The Caroline Flack reference was crass and inappropriate.

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