John Morthland, Austin-Based Rock Critic, Passes At 68
March 10, 2016 at 11:57 AM (PT)
SXSW won't be the same without him.
JOHN MORTHLAND, whose music journalism career began when he interviewed the ROLLING STONES backstage as a 16-year-old when they played his hometown of SAN BERNARDINO, CA, in 1964, then went on to write for ROLLING STONE before moving to DETROIT as Managing Editor at CREEM, passed away in AUSTIN, TX, at the age of 68 after several months of declining health.
MORTHLAND began writing for ROLLING STONE in the summer of 1969 after enrolling at CAL-BERKELEY -- including coverage of the infamous ALTAMONT concert. After a sojourn in EUROPE, he became an editor at CREEM, moved to NEW YORK and then to TEXAS in 1984, the year his definitive book, "The Best Of Country Music," was published by DOUBLEDAY.
MORTHLAND wrote for TEXAS MONTHLY, COUNTRY MUSIC and BRANIFF AIRLINES in-flight magazine and served as literary executor of LESTER BANGS' estate, editing the 2003 anthology, "Main Lines, Blood Feasts, And Bad Taste: A LESTER BANGS Reader." He also worked as a panels coordinator for SXSW in the early '90s.
Wrote friend ANDY SCHWARTZ on FACEBOOK about missing his annual lunchtime road trip to KRUEZ MARKET BBQ in LOCKHART at this year's SXSW: "We have lost a fine writer, a SOUTHERN food gourmand, a music lover TO THE BONE, and a very good man."
His ex-colleague JAAN UHELSZKI posted about their days together at CREEM, where they were roomates: "He mostly kept his cool, never got mad, and the only time he was upset was when he'd smoke his CHESTERFIELDS down to the nub. Along with ED WARD, he was my favorite writer. I wish I would have told him more."
Survivors include his mother, who lives in KILLEEN, TX. A memorial will be held on MONDAY, MARCH 21st at the PALM DOOR ON SIXTH (508 E. 6th Street, AUSTIN, TX 78701), from 6:30-9:30p (CT).