Hello and welcome to REPLY ALT, the only and therefore greatest email newsletter about music in the known universe. I’ve been running a series here over the last few weeks called SELLOUT STORIES where I post extended chats with some of the people who make appearances in my BELOVED and BESTSELLING new book SELLOUT. Please see past episodes with Chris #2 of Anti-Flag, Norman Brannon of Texas Is the Reason, and Riley Breckenridge of Thrice. They’re all on Spotify and Apple and blah blah blah.
Today’s guest is Sarah Lewitinn, who leads much of SELLOUT’s chapter on My Chemical Romance. Sarah has internetted her way into a ton of career opportunities. In the early days of the web, she used AOL to befriend Mikey Way, which eventually led to a brief stint managing My Chem. She also used her message board savvy to network her way into an internship at SPIN where she gained a following for her off-the-cuff online writings under the moniker Ultragrrrl. Obviously, using the internet to leverage yourself into gigs seems fairly intuitive now, but at the time, she was sort of a pioneer in the online-to-IRL-career pipeline. In fact, I’m not sure how much of this conversation will even make sense to a person who grew up on social media. Much of what we talked about involves the trials (and benefits) of networking during the dial-up days.
Among other topics, we discussed making your voice stand out on the internet, why culture might have been better off with gatekeepers, how the role of A&R reps has changed over the last two decades, and Sarah’s famous controversial hill to die on: that My Chemical Romance is the Nirvana of their generation.
Obviously, only true posers have not read SELLOUT yet, but on the off chance you haven’t or in case you’ve been meaning to pick up ten additional copies, visit my website at SELLOUT.BIZ. (I paid $20 for that URL and I’m gonna get every penny’s worth!) But if 450-page books are too daunting for you and you’re looking to just read the part about Sarah, good news, Rolling Stone ran that section here:
Oh and speaking of Rolling Stone, apologies to their social media manager but this was a very good typo and they should’ve left it up. RIP to this banger tweet: