Vickie Chang

Senior editor at SpinMedia's (formerly BUZZMEDIA) PureVolume, freelance writer for other (usually pop culture-y) things. Hi.

Had the pleasure of speaking with some precocious underclassmen for the latest UC Riverside Magazine cover story on their amazing undergrad research programs. Read on here

Interviewed TSOL frontman/author Jack Grisham on his third and latest provocative book, Code Blue:

OC WEEKLY: Was there anything else to your inspiration behind presenting it as a children’s book? JACK GRISHAM: Just that Bukowski book—but I’ve always liked that stuff. I grew up as a kid on R. Crumb comics and stuff so I’ve always thought of having a child’s book not for children.
'Cause all the Grimms' fairy tales aren't for children … I mean, I'm not saying Code Blue is for children [laughs], but it’s along the lines? You know, people getting killed, death and stuff. The subject matter that is heavy like that but not really made for children.
Anyway, I’m just trying to rationalize pushing soft-core necro porn to people. [Laughs] 
Click here to read on.

Interviewed TSOL frontman/author Jack Grisham on his third and latest provocative book, Code Blue:

OC WEEKLY: Was there anything else to your inspiration behind presenting it as a children’s book?

JACK GRISHAM: Just that Bukowski book—but I’ve always liked that stuff. I grew up as a kid on R. Crumb comics and stuff so I’ve always thought of having a child’s book not for children.

'Cause all the Grimms' fairy tales aren't for children … I mean, I'm not saying Code Blue is for children [laughs], but it’s along the lines? You know, people getting killed, death and stuff. The subject matter that is heavy like that but not really made for children.

Anyway, I’m just trying to rationalize pushing soft-core necro porn to people. [Laughs

Click here to read on.

…And sometimes I interview bands and there’s no transcribing required. It’s nice. Here’s my PureVolume video Q&A with letlive. — http://bit.ly/19JO90N

Really neat video component to my “Kustom Kulture II” OC Weekly story. Chatting with Paul Frank, CR Stecyk III and Greg Escalante behind the scenes.

New cover story for OC Weekly on the second installment of an influential low-brow art show: “Kustom Kulture II opens this weekend at the Huntington Beach Art Center. Featuring interviews with Juxtapoz founders Greg Escalante,Robert Williams and C.R. Stecyk III; Paul Frank; Robert Williams; Billy Gibbons and more:

OC WEEKLY: So your animal characters—were they inspired by the fact that this little green rat was running around when you were a kid?

PAUL FRANK: Yeah! I have a company called Park La Fun—all of my characters are even more inspired by Ed Roth, I think, than ever—there’s just something … [trails off] the teeth. There’s something cool, like a sarcasm. I love to always incorporate teeth into my characters when I can, and I really get that from Roth—a sense of humor, a little mischievous. [Gestures to a Rat Fink figure over on a table] Like, look at Rat Fink! He’s like, “Hee hee hee” [taps fingers together]; you don’t know what he’s up to!

I’m just really inspired by the school of “just do it,” you know? Just figure it out yourself. You want to do something, and so you do it. You ask questions, and you try. I think that’s the underlying theme of the whole Kustom Kulture. I don’t recall a lot of these artists going to a traditional art school, at least not most of them. But they just did it because they want to and because they have a passion for it—and I really think that’s the best way to learn.

Don’t get me wrong: Education is important, and you should know the rules before you break them. 

Click here to read on.

Just placed second at the Southern California Journalism Awards for the Online Feature category: “The Punk Rocker Who Would Be Judge” (The Atlantic, April 2012).

Congratulations to all the winners!

Got to chat with some of the world’s most renowned scientists and researchers on the science of happiness and how to get it (uh, maybe) for my cover story for University of California Riverside's latest quarterly magazine for students and alumni.

Click to read on.

My brief Q&A with Justin Lee, who played (the also brief) Annyong Bluth on Arrested Development. Part of OC Weekly's fab cover story package celebrating the return of A.D.:

OC WEEKLY: I have to ask: Do you have a favorite chicken dance?
JUSTIN LEE: Oh, God. I’ll say they’re all awesome, and who knows if Annyong will ever have a chicken dance? …

OC WEEKLY: Do you have one ready, just in case?
JUSTIN LEE: No, but I wonder what that would look like. My favorite is definitely GOB’s. Because it’s not even a chicken. Chickens don’t clap!

Click to read on.

Nominated for a Southern California Journalism Award for my Atlantic story on the Vandals' Joe Escalante and his run for judgeship in Los Angeles: “The Punk Rocker Who Would Be Judge” —

Chatted with TSOL frontman Jack Grisham about his new book of disturbing short stories:

I ask Grisham if his own two daughters ever read his books.

"Sometimes. They get to hear little bits of them. Like, the clean part. There are some clean parts," he adds.

Grisham goes on to describe some of said clean stories in Untamed: Something about a pissed-off angel who falls in love but is bitter about the indentured servitude that comes with the job description.

"… And so he’s not happy about it, and he’s a real shit, so he tortures some old lady at an old folks’ home and …," Grisham says.

"That’s a clean story?," I ask.

"Yeah! That’s kinda clean. They’re supposed to be fun. Stories are supposed to be fun and you’re supposed to think a bit and you know … That’s the whole point of it. There are a couple of clean ones."

Grisham trails off.

"I mean, I don’t know. Shit," he laughs. "Maybe not."

Click here to read on.

I chatted with Goldenvoice founder Gary Tovar and forced him to whittle down his Coachella must-see list to just five acts. His picks (and festival advice!) and more at the link:

We ask Tovar how Goldenvoice plans on topping [last year’s Tupac hologram], and he exclaims right away: “We don’t try to top! We just go year by year. This year will have its own special appearances.”

“It’s like having multiple kids—they’re all different, and you like them all the same,” Tovar jokes. “Each Coachella is its own separate entity. I want people to be not so much meat-and-potatoes—don’t just go and see the headliners! Go off and see some small groups in the afternoon, there’s just so much good stuff.” Click here to read on

Had the pleasure of attending Beck's dizzying reinterpretation of Davie Bowie's “Sound and Vision”:

The first two rows sat on a revolving, turntable that slowly moved as Beck performed on a stationary stage. On the outermost rim of the set-up were over 150 top-tier musicians—including a string section, several choirs, the Dap-Kings, a yodeler, a Swedish cow horn, a CalArts gamelan ensemble, a Peruvian charango group, an array of gongs, members of the USC marching band … an eclectic and impressive array all conducted by Beck’s father, David Campbell.

Beck took the stage with some sweeping Sorcerer’s Apprentice movements: He carefully circled the outer rim of the stage with an outstretched arm. His band of 150-plus released a gorgeous cacophony of sound as he passed. Beck answered the noise with his own noise from an acoustic guitar and it all spiraled into an entrancing eight-minute cover of “Sound and Vision.”

Click to read on.

Wrote up the limited edition vinyl release of rare Vicious Circle (early incarnation of TSOL) tracks for OC Weekly. Got the chance to speak with singer Jack Grisham:

"This release was a mixed bag for me—history-wise, I’m glad the  recording came to light, it’s a dark violent piece of Orange County that probably shouldn’t be forgotten, but emotionally it hurts," shares Grisham today. "I’m not  proud of what that music represented to a lot of us—it represented payback, aggression, and hurt, lots of hurt."

Click here to read on.

Just wrote up the news that TSOL's Jack Grisham is getting his novel, An American Demon, turned into a movie. I talk to Grisham about the news here for the OC Weekly:

"While the film, now titled again after the book, is still in its earliest planning stages, Grisham says they haven’t given any thought to the cast. When asked if he had any idea who could possibly play him, he lets out a bout of laughter. ‘Yeah, who knows? Gotta get a guy that looks kinda girlish-y—that’s how I looked when I was young—but also vicious at the same time. On message boards, that’s why everyone’s making fun of it: ‘You gotta get Adam Lambert to play you.’ Yeah. I’m pushing for Justin Bieber though."

Read on here.

Placed second at last night’s National Entertainment Journalism Awards for my story on Joe Escalante, "The Punk Rocker Who Would Be Judge," in the Best Personality Profile category. Congrats to all the winners!