David Fricke

Rock & Roll Journalist, Critic & Broadcaster Senior Editor, Rolling Stone Magazine

The rhythm of David Fricke’s words invite us into the private thoughts of Rock Music’s pioneers and icons including Keith Richards, Elton John, Def Leppard and more. Forty years and counting, Fricke is a renowned Grammy-nominated Rock music journalist, critic, and broadcaster. His Rolling Stone “first time ever” cover stories have given us VIP accountings of Lou Reed (1989), Metallica (1991) and the White Stripes (2005)in addition to the definitive accounts of Pink Floyd's breakup (1987) and Led Zeppelin's reunion (2007). He is known for historic interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, and Patti Smith.

With a backstage pass from destiny, Fricke has humbly walked into uncommon moments in common places, giving us intimate insights into the minds of Rock legends with humor and creativity. Writing from the road and recording studios, going deep in conversation with veteran musicians and newcomers, Fricke has seen the biggest stars in the tiniest spaces: the Stones in rehearsals; Metallica in the studio; U2 and Foo Fighters in bars.

A trusted bard, people simply want to talk to Fricke. While speaking to Paul McCartney in London for a cover story, the former Beatle responded to a question about songwriting by grabbing a guitar and singing – a never-recorded tune written with John Lennon when they were teenagers in Liverpool.

BIO

The Rolling Stones literally paved Fricke’s path, as he followed his fascination with music and Rock
Music in particular to become one of the most renowned music critics and journalists of our time.
What began with an unrequited desire to play drums in elementary school grew into a desire for guitar
lessons after seeing the Rolling Stones perform on television in 1965. He bought his first record in the
spring of 1966 – the Stones’ “Paint It, Black” – and, two years later, his first issue of Rolling Stone:
Number 19 with the Stones’ Mick Jagger on the cover.

Fricke recently collaborated on the MET catalog Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock & Roll scheduled
to be released April 2019. An exhibit of the same name will open in April as well at the Metropolitan
Museum of Art and co-organized by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Fricke’s essay Guitar Gods
covers a central component of the exhibition. The essay features material from Fricke’s interviews
with Guitar icons Clapton, Page, Beck, Derek Trucks, Trey Anastasio, and Tom Petty.

Fricke is also the host and curator of The Writer’s Block at Sirius XM Radio. He has spent more than
three decades as a senior writer and editor at Rolling Stone. His first record review was published in
1979 (Frank Zappa’s Sheik Yerbouti). By 1985, he had joined the staff.

He gave first-hand accounts of Live Aid in 1985 and Yoko Ono’s first concerts since the death of John
Lennon (1986). His interview with Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain; the first Rolling Stone story, after his death
in 1994, with his widow Courtney Love is widely cited as well as the first-ever interview with Cobain’s
daughter, Frances Bean, in 2015.

Fricke is widely published and cited in newspapers and magazines across South America and Europe.
He also wrote the 1988 Def Leppard biography Animal Instinct; was the American correspondent for
the legendary British music weekly Melody Maker from 1980 to 1996. He has written more than 100
essays and liner notes for historic reissues and box sets by the Beatles, the Beach Boys, Jimi Hendrix,
the Velvet Underground, and Nirvana, among others.

Awards and nominations include a Grammy nomination for his liner notes to the 2005 box set, There
Is a Season, by the Byrds and three ASCAP-Deems Taylor Awards for excellence in music journalism,
including one for “Shelter From the Storm,” the 2001 Rolling Stone essay about the healing power of
music after 9/11. He has appeared in dozens of music films and documentaries, notably 2002’s I’m
Trying to Break Your Heart: A Film About Wilco and 2013’s Jimi Hendrix: Hear My Train A’Comin’, a
PBS/American Masters special.

The Rolling Stones literally paved Fricke’s path, as he followed his fascination with music and Rock
Music in particular to become one of the most renowned music critics and journalists of our time.
What began with an unrequited desire to play drums in elementary school grew into a desire for guitar
lessons after seeing the Rolling Stones perform on television in 1965. He bought his first record in the
spring of 1966 – the Stones’ “Paint It, Black” – and, two years later, his first issue of Rolling Stone:
Number 19 with the Stones’ Mick Jagger on the cover.

Fricke recently collaborated on the MET catalog Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock & Roll scheduled
to be released April 2019. An exhibit of the same name will open in April as well at the Metropolitan
Museum of Art and co-organized by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Fricke’s essay Guitar Gods
covers a central component of the exhibition. The essay features material from Fricke’s interviews
with Guitar icons Clapton, Page, Beck, Derek Trucks, Trey Anastasio, and Tom Petty.

Fricke is also the host and curator of The Writer’s Block at Sirius XM Radio. He has spent more than
three decades as a senior writer and editor at Rolling Stone. His first record review was published in
1979 (Frank Zappa’s Sheik Yerbouti). By 1985, he had joined the staff.

He gave first-hand accounts of Live Aid in 1985 and Yoko Ono’s first concerts since the death of John
Lennon (1986). His interview with Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain; the first Rolling Stone story, after his death
in 1994, with his widow Courtney Love is widely cited as well as the first-ever interview with Cobain’s
daughter, Frances Bean, in 2015.

Fricke is widely published and cited in newspapers and magazines across South America and Europe.
He also wrote the 1988 Def Leppard biography Animal Instinct; was the American correspondent for
the legendary British music weekly Melody Maker from 1980 to 1996. He has written more than 100
essays and liner notes for historic reissues and box sets by the Beatles, the Beach Boys, Jimi Hendrix,
the Velvet Underground, and Nirvana, among others.

Awards and nominations include a Grammy nomination for his liner notes to the 2005 box set, There
Is a Season, by the Byrds and three ASCAP-Deems Taylor Awards for excellence in music journalism,
including one for “Shelter From the Storm,” the 2001 Rolling Stone essay about the healing power of
music after 9/11. He has appeared in dozens of music films and documentaries, notably 2002’s I’m
Trying to Break Your Heart: A Film About Wilco and 2013’s Jimi Hendrix: Hear My Train A’Comin’, a
PBS/American Masters special.

SPEECH TOPICS

In between The Liner Notes - The Other Side of Music

The Message in the Music: the power of music to transform, inspire and heal

A Conversation with David Fricke

Books & Media