Klosterman, Chuck 1972-
KLOSTERMAN, Chuck 1972-
Born 1972, in Wyndmere, ND. Education: University of North Dakota, B.A., 1994.
Journalist. Fargo Forum, Fargo, ND, columnist, 1994; Akron Beacon Journal, Akron, OH, writer and film critic, 1998; Spin, New York, NY, senior writer, 2002—.
Fargo Rock City: A Heavy Metal Odyssey in Rural Nörth Daköta, Scribner (New York, NY), 2001.
Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto, Scribner (New York, NY), 2003.
Contributor to the New York Times Magazine.
WORK IN PROGRESS:
The pop culture path from Wyndmere, North Dakota (population 533), to New York City, by way of Akron, Ohio, isn't exactly clear cut. Nevertheless, in the past ten years Chuck Klosterman has forged it with two nonfiction meditations on everything from Motley Crüe to soccer coaching. Along the way Klosterman wrote "Gen-X" columns in Fargo and film criticism in Akron before making his way to the top of the heap: a senior writer position with Spin magazine in New York.
The first leap came in 2001 when Klosterman moved to Akron and wrote Fargo Rock City: A Heavy Metal Odyssey in Rural Nörth Daköta, a memoir about his coming of musical age in the seeming wasteland of '80s hair-metal bands. As Klosterman told Newsday's Peter Terzian in 2003, "Something becomes the soundtrack of your life.… It's not the artistic merit of [the music].… It has to do with how important it is to you." Robert Morast from Library Journal agreed, finding that Fargo Rock City "nicely blends metal music theory with compelling tales of self-realization.…[A] seriocomedic defense of a culture that was only cool to those who participated in it." Morast compared it to a "drunken discussion between two music fans."
Fargo Rock City's cult success brought Klosterman to the attention of an editor at the New York Times Magazine, and it wasn't long before he was out of Akron and in New York. His second book, Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto, is a collection of columns and profiles that rove widely across the pop culture landscape. The book's diverse topics cover such mainstays as MTV, reality television, and pop/rock music, but also include coaching kid's soccer. Evan Serpick of Entertainment Weekly praised Klosterman's "disturbingly thorough knowledge of pop culture," while Booklist's Mike Tribby suggested that it is the "unexpected connections" between subjects "that account for Klosterman's appeal." However, a Kirkus Reviews contributor felt Klosterman's pop culture insights into the American character fall flat, finding his "advocacy of junk culture" as "shrill" and "his long argumentative riffs … dated and unprovocative." Still, the Kirkus reviewer noted that Klosterman's "literary strength seemingly lies in an ability to salvage discussion of the genuinely trivial via an often charming ramshackle voice." Kyle Smith of People described Klosterman's pop culture knowledge as, "If MTVeejays … actually had something to say about pop culture, they'd sound like Klosterman" and Smith ended his review with the bottom line, "Dude, this rules!!!"
Following the publication of Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs in 2003, Klosterman hinted to Newsday that his next book "may be fiction."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, August, 2003, Mike Tribby, review of Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto, p. 1934.
Entertainment Weekly, August 1, 2003, Evan Serpick, review of Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, p. 82.
Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 2003, review of Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, p. 731.
Library Journal, April 1, 2001, Robert Morast, review of Fargo Rock City: A Heavy Metal Odyssey in Rural Nörth Daköta, p. 103.
Newsday, August 31, 2003, Peter Terzian, "Talking with Chuck Klosterman: Cuckoo for Pop Culture."
People, September 1, 2003, Kyle Smith, review of Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, p. 51.
Publishers Weekly, February 26, 2001, review of Fargo Rock City, p. 66.*