Rolling Stone : Stories from the Edge

Rolling Stone : Stories from the Edge is a 4-hour, 2-part documentary from HBO about Rolling Stone Magazine. It tells the story from the magazine’s start in 60’s San Francisco and runs through the most recent US Presidential election.

I remember liking RS in high school (which was the mid-late-80’s ). My folks weren’t Rolling Stone people but I have a friend whose parents were and I usually read it when I was at his house.

There was a lot for me to enjoy in this documentary:

  • The nostalgia of 60’s San Francisco is a well-trod path, but the John Lennon bits were interesting since I just came off of that massive Bob Spitz Beatles biography.
  • Hunter S Thompson is someone I’ve always known as the “gonzo journalism” guy, but I didn’t realize all of that was done under the Rolling Stone banner. These are crazy stories. Hearing the now is like hearing someone tell stories about all of the parties they “got supppper fucked up and trashed the Denny’s” Except in this case, the Denny’s is the Democratic National Convention.
  • I actually remember some of the magazine’s coverage of the Reagan years and new wave music, but none of their 90’s boy band writing. Thank goodness. That was the height of ‘zine culture for me and I was way more into reading The Big Takeover than the bullshit dinosaur Rolling Stone. Turns out I missed some great writing.
  • Ice-T and the “Cop Killer” controversy also gets a deeper look. This is something I remember well so it is cool to hear Ice-T talk about it now.
  • The UVa rape case was a huge editorial failure on the part of RS and the interview with the publisher and the article author are really well done.


  • A lot of it was also a handjob to Baby Boomers. I get frustrated at the way a whole generation will take credit for simply being alive when large cultural shifts happened. You know how that Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine show sure did a great job of telling us how important Dr, Dre and Jimmy Iovene were? This RS thing is kind of like that. Yes, the magazine had an effect on culture, but it’s silly to suggest that it was a driving force of the culture.

    Alabama Firecrackers

    I was cooking chili a could of weeks back and in my recipe research came across Alabama Firecrackers (as featured in Southern Living magazine). The recipe is easy enough, it just takes some time since you leave the crackers overnight in the oil and spice mixture.

    Ingredients:

    16 oz package of saltine crackers

    1/2 tsp onion powder

    1/2 tsp black pepper

    4 tbsp (2 packages) ranch dressing mix

    3 Tbsp red pepper flakes (if you can handle the heat, add more)

    2 cups olive oil

    Instructions:

    1. Using a large gallon Ziploc bag, pour in the olive oil, seasonings, and spices. Close the bag and knead to thoroughly mix the ingredients together.

    2. Place all 4 sleeves of crackers in the bag, re-seal, and gently turn the bag over several times to coat the crackers with the spice mixture. The more times you do this the better the coating.

    3. Let the bag sit overnight.

    4. Remove crackers and lay out on a baking sheet. Bake at 250°F for about 15 minutes. (Note: If you are short on time, the crackers still taste great skipping the baking Step 4.)

    Saltines hold up really well in all of that oil. I guess that makes sense since there is a whole pound of crackers in the bag. The red pepper flakes make them spicy, but not so aggressively so. They make a great partner to a bowl of chili and they’re not bad with a cube of mild cheese.

    Speaking of podcasts

    I thought this was a very interesting episode of Startup, Gimlet media’s pilot podcast. The people steering that ship are all ex-NPR folks so they come from a place over super-produced shows. It makes a difference. The hard work they put in makes for an exceedingly listenable experience.

    I took that episode to heart when I sat down to edit the most recent episode of Safe As Milk. I tried to streamline the talky parts and got extra-fiddly with the music breaks. I think it sounds really good. It would have been even better if I had uploaded the correct episode on the first try. It was a special kind of panic when I was driving and popped the new episode on over the stereo…and heard the beginning of the raw audio file I worked from.

    Over two hours of work tinkering with edits and I drop the ball by uploading the wrong damn file. [barf emoji]