"Don't Quit Your Day Job" Records

Dave Marsh

Dave performed in the Rock Bottom Remainders (he's no longer with the band) and co-wrote the Great Rock 'N' Roll Joke Book. Dave joins the "Critical Mess" chorus on "Wild Thing" on the "Stranger Than Fiction" double CD.

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Biographical Information

Dave Marsh, rock critic, historian, anticensorship activist, and "Louie Louie" expert, has written more than a dozen books about rock and popular music, as well as editing several others. He cofounded Creem, the legendary Motor City rock and roll magazine that helped launch heavy metal, glam and punk, among other styles, and spent five years as an associate and contributing editor of Rolling Stone, where he was chief music critic, columnist and feature writer.

Marsh writes monthly record reviews for Playboy, and for the past decade has written and edited the monthly music and politics newsletter, Rock and Rap Confidential. He has lectured widely on music, politics, and censorship.

He compiled 50 Ways to Fight Censorship (Thunder's Mouth, 1990), and was coeditor with Don Henley of Heaven Is Under Our Feet: A Book for Walden Woods (Longmeadow Press, 1991), essays in honor of Walden Woods and Henry David Thoreau, written by everyone from Jimmy Buffet and Jimmy Carter to Janet Jackson and Jesse Jackson. Marsh also edited the first two editions of The Rolling Stone Record Guide, and Pastures of Plenty, the papers of folksinger Woody Guthrie.

In 1969, the nineteen-year-old Marsh dropped out of Detroit's Wayne State University to edit Creem. He departed in 1973 to become Newsday's pop music critic, music editor of The Real Paper, and then joined Rolling Stone as an associate editor. He and several others started Rock and Rap (then Rock and Roll) Confidential in 1983. (Marsh edited an anthology of material from the newsletter, The First Rock and Roll Confidential Report, in 1985.) From 1987 to 1992, Marsh served as acerbic rock critic for the weekly syndicated radio program, "Rock Today."

Marsh's first book, Born to Run: The Bruce Springsteen Story (Doubleday) was published in 1979. It made the New York Times best-seller list. he has also written Trapped: Michael Jackson and the Crossover Dream (Bantam, 1986), Before I Get Old: The Story of the Who (St. Martin's Press, 1983), Elvis (Times Books, 1982; Thunder's Mouth Press, 1992), The Book of Rock Lists (Dell, 1980), Sun City: The Making of the Record (Penguin, 1985), Rocktopicon (Contemporary, 1982), and Fortunate Son, a collection of his journalism and criticism (Random House, 1983). Glory Days: Bruce Springsteen in the 1980s, a sequel to Born to Run, appeared in 1987, and became a national hardcover bestseller.

The Heart of Rock and Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made (Plume/NAL, 1989) remains the world's lengthiest act of rock criticism; Louie Louie: The History and Mythology of the World's Most Famous Rock'n'Roll song; Including the Full Details of Its Torture and Persecution at the Hands of the Kingsmen, J. Edgar Hoover's F.B.I., and a Cast of Millions; and Introducing, for the First Time Anywhere, the Actual Dirty Lyrics (Hyperion, 1992), may be the strangest.

Marsh's most recent books are Merry Christmas Baby: Holiday Music from Bing to Sting (Little Brown, 1992), cowritten with Steve Propes, The New Book of Rock Lists, created with James Bernard, and Mid-Life Confidential: The Rock Bottom Remainders Tour America with Three Chords and an Attitude (Viking), a book about the experiences of the all-author rock band featuring Stephen King, Amy Tan, Dave Barry and Barbara Kingsolver, for which Marsh served as general editor and also wrote a chapter.

Marsh, now 47, lives in New York City and Connecticut with his wife, Barbara Carr, his daughter, Sasha Carr, and two cocker spaniels. He serves on the board of The National Writers Union and of the Kristen Ann Carr Fund for Sarcoma Research, named in honor of his late daughter.

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marsh.htm -- April 23, 2002
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