Sean Patrick Fitzell
Member since 2003.
Profile Views: 13,954
Fitzell lives in Brooklyn (in a neighborhood full of great musicians) and his work has also appeared in The Villager and Downtown Express newspapers and The Independent Film and Video Monthly magazine, among others.
My earliest musical memories involve sitting in front of a plastic Sears record player and spinning my mom’s collection of 45rpms—Buddy Holly, Elvis, the Big Bopper, and other 50’s classics. Later, I discovered the Beatles’ Revolver and The Doors, drawn to the new sounds and unexpected combinations.
During middle school, I started playing my brother’s drums after he left for college. I took some lessons, played with older musicians, and read drum and music magazines seeking new inspirations. This combination of influences turned me on to all manner of drummers and music: Bill Bruford (particularly with King Crimson), the drummers and music of Frank Zappa, Jack DeJohnette, 70’s progressive rock, 80’s metal, and jazz—always looking for the best players and most exciting, unique music.
It was hearing John Lurie’s Lounge Lizards and John Zorn’s Naked City and Spillane that changed my ears. The brashness and energy of the music, played with precision, and its combination of so many disparate styles and influences blew me away. From there it was a fast, slippery slope into “Downtown music.”
After 7 years as a professional contract archaeologist, I needed a career change. I enrolled in the journalism program at NYU and soon began writing about music. It wasn’t conscious at first, but made sense after having great interviews with people I admired, like drummer Jim Black and saxophonist Michael Blake. I even scored an interview with Zorn.
I don’t consider myself a critic, in the sense of evaluating everything sent my way. Instead, I choose to focus on and write about the music that inspires and excites me. And if I can turn some people on to things they may not have considered before, then I’m pleased.