Steven Wells: "Arguably, The Last Great British Rock Writer"

By PW Staff
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 1 | Posted Jun. 30, 2009

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First: The memorial service for our friend and colleague Steven Wells will be 4 pm Wednesday at Smokin' Betty's, 11th and Sansom streets.

Second: Friends of Steven are archiving his work at a new website, thestevenwells.com. Visit it and take a look around.

Third: Some more great tributes to Steven over the weekend.

An obituary in the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Known for his highly intelligent, in-your-face style, Mr. Wells was a staff writer at Philadelphia Weekly (PW) and a contributor to dozens of other media outlets in the United States and England.

His work included concise and often biting analyses of punk, hard-core, and heavy metal music; dissertations on sports; and rants on everything from the problem with people who knit to the incompetent arrogance of political leaders.

His wife, Katharine Jones, a sociologist and college professor in Philadelphia, described her husband as a "cultural critic" posing as a music and sports journalist.

"He had something to say about anything and everything," she said.

The couple met in 2003 after she contacted him while researching a paper on soccer hooliganism. He, in turn, asked for her help for an article he wanted to do on the soccer-mom phenomenon in America.

He came to Philadelphia to do research. They met and fell in love. In less than a year he had relocated and they were married.

"He was incredibly smart, incredibly articulate," she said.

Then she laughed, recalling that "the first time we met we had this huge argument. I'm a vegetarian, and he hates vegetarians."

Another piece at the Guardian:

There are two kinds of music journalist: the ones who write about music because they want to communicate their love of music, and the ones who write about music because they are brilliant writers, extraordinary personalities and they have to write about something. Steven Wells, who has died of cancer aged 49, aka Seething Wells, Susan Williams, Swells, aka my writing partner for several years at NME and in comedy, was definitely the latter.

He was also, arguably, the last great British rock writer, in the tradition of Julie Burchill (whom he admired), a tsunami of excitement, wit, outrage and intelligence and, on occasion, actual genius. Steven understood that music writing is more than just giving points to albums, or even listening to albums; that music journalists should be as exciting, if not more exciting, than the people they are writing about; a point he proved hundreds of times, devastating the careers of people he felt - he knew - had no right to claim our hearts, minds and ears.

A tribute from Napalm Death:

British grindcore pioneers NAPALM DEATH have paid tribute to former NME journalist Steven Wells, who died on June 24, 2009 after a battle with cancer.

Commented NAPALM DEATH: "Steven was one of the first people to interview us for the NME back in 1988 and travelled with us to Russia in 1991 just after the fall of communism for the band's two groundbreaking shows we played there there. Always full of great wit, he will be sorely missed. RIP, mate."

From Life Just Bounces:

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1. glenn smith said... on Jul 28, 2009 at 05:51PM

“Steven Wells was one of the few good jounalists NME ever had. Even when you disagreed with him he was always worth reading.”

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