There are some writers who inspire me to read their work no matter what the subject. Roger Ebert makes poetry out of film criticism. Cameron Crowe's attention to detail places you in the moment like few journalists. Ann Powers' use of words is as lyrical and moving as the music she writes about. To this list I add Jeff Giles.
I became friends with Jeff because of a Billy Joel record guide he wrote on his long-lost Jefitoblog and some Springsteen bootlegs I mailed him. Soon thereafter, I began writing the Basement Songs series on my own blog, thunderbolt, which Jeff championed and helped find a wider audience, first by providing links on Jefitoblog, and then by asking me to bring it to Popdose.com. In addition to being an excellent Editor-in-Chief, Jeff has never wavered in his support of my (or any Popdose writer's) personal endeavors and using the site to help those projects get attention.
Releasing a movie on DVD? Hell yeah you should use Popdose to promote it. You just published a comic? No doubt, write about it on the site and help build an audience. Raising money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation? You damn well better utilize Popdose's resources because we're all behind you.
It's that last one that's always meant the most to me.
As a writer, Jeff inspires me through his master of language and the uncanny ability to take something complex or stupid and make it accessible for everyone. What he writes is fun and alive, whether he's head over heels in love, pissed off, or just having a laugh. Time and again I read a piece by Jeff and I'm given pause, thinking, "Son of a bitch, I wish I could write like that."
When it came time to ask someone to write the foreword to BASEMENT SONGS, there was only one person I thought of: Jeff Giles. For the book, Jeff wrote a beautiful opening that sets the table perfectly. Each time I read it I'm humbled and appreciative. The many times I've thanked Jeff for writing the foreword, he says that the honor was all his.
No sir, the honor was all mine.