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Jeffrey Morgan in the studio, 1977

Photo credit: © Tom Robe




Fatefully born on the same day that “(We’re Gonna) Rock Around The Clock” by Bill Haley & His Comets was released, JEFFREY MORGAN is best known for being the authorized biographer of both Alice Cooper and The Stooges.




Morgan became the de facto Canadian Editor of CREEM: America’s Only Rock ’n’ Roll Magazine after he was recruited by its editor, Lester Bangs, in the spring of 1974. Morgan began there as a photographer with a 1974 black and white photograph of Lou Reed and Alice Cooper singing “Goodnight Ladies” together on stage at Massey Hall, which Bangs used to illustrate his infamous March 1975 cover story “Let Us Now Praise Famous Death Dwarves.”


Morgan’s first published record review, of David Bowie’s 1965 Pye Records single “Can’t Help Thinking About Me,” ran five months later in the August 1975 issue. Morgan’s writing then went on to appear in every issue of CREEM until the magazine’s demise in November 1988.


In 2003, at the request of “photographer extraordinaire” Robert Matheu, Morgan renewed his relationship with the magazine by writing reviews and interviews for Matheu’s new CREEM website every month for five years until its demise in 2008.


THE 1970s


After being discovered by Bangs but prior to his first publication in CREEM, Morgan graduated from Northern Secondary high school where he served in his final year as President of the Student Council. Morgan then spent the balance of 1974 honing his craft as a rock critic and rock photographer for York University’s weekly newspaper Excalibur, where he reviewed and photographed concerts by Elton John and George Harrison.


While attending York, Morgan studied electronic music with James Tenney, who performed on Terry Riley’s album In C.


During this time, Morgan was the host of The Air Pirates Show on York’s campus radio station CHRY-FM.


From 1975 to 1978, Morgan was the editor of a free monthly Canadian rock magazine initially titled Cheap Thrills then StageLife and finally Roxy. All three incarnations were published by Concert Productions International, which was a major promoter of rock concerts and tours in North America run by Bill Ballard and future Rolling Stones concert promoter Michael Cohl. In addition to editing the magazine, Morgan also wrote for it extensively both under his own name and that of the more vociferous alter ego he created in April 1975, “Machine Rock.”


Six months later, Tee Vee Records in Canada released a compilation album titled Machine Rock: 23 Original Hits. Ballard and Cohl briefly considered suing Tee Vee for damages until they found out that Morgan hadn’t registered his alias as a trademark.


During this period, Morgan was also the staff copywriter for CBS Records Canada, for whom he wrote back cover liner notes for The First Lady of the Guitar, an album of baroque music by classical guitarist Liona Boyd. After reading them, however, Boyd demanded that Morgan’s notes be deleted before the album was released, exclaiming: “You can’t print this! He makes me sound like a rock star!”


In 1977, Morgan’s poetry was published in Rolling Stone magazine (‘‘Our Lady of Perpetual Motion’’) and Bakka magazine (‘‘Neuromantics I-V’’).


In the late 1970s, Morgan was asked by Robert Christgau to participate in the Village Voice’s annual “Pazz & Jop” critics’ poll. In 1986, Christgau noted how Morgan skewed the “black caucus” vote by casting 30 points for James Brown’s album Gravity.


THE 1980s


During the 1980s, Morgan was a Contributing Writer for Wayne Green’s magazine Digital Audio and Compact Disc Review. In 1986, several of his reviews were reprinted in Digital Audio’s Guide to Compact Discs which was published by Bantam Books.


During the mid 1980s, Morgan was the host of The Machine Rock Show on the Rogers Television community channel in Toronto.


During the late 1980s, Morgan was the host of The Air Pirates Show on Ryerson University’s campus radio station CKLN-FM.


THE 1990s


During the 1990s, Morgan wrote reviews and biographies for Launch Media, including a concert review of Diamanda Galás on her Malediction & Prayer tour, which Galás posted on her website.


During the early 1990s, Morgan was the host of The Air Pirates Show on community radio station CFCR-FM in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.


In 1992, Morgan was asked to name the Lou Reed anthology that RCA Records was assembling with Reed. Morgan named the three disc box set Between Thought and Expression, after his favorite Velvet Underground song “Some Kinda Love.” In return, Morgan was thanked in the booklet liner notes to the anthology.


THE 2000s


Between 2004 and 2009, Morgan wrote an award-winning weekly newspaper column for Detroit’s Metro Times titled Jeffrey Morgan’s Media Blackout. In 2010, the column relocated to RocksBackpages.com and Morgan’s own website. Morgan remains on the Metro Times masthead as a Contributing Writer.


In 2006, Morgan was asked to submit a list of his ten favorite Canadian albums for tabulation in the hardcover book The Top 100 Canadian Albums, which was published in 2007 by Goose Lane Editions.


In 2008, Morgan wrote the introduction ‘‘What Is And What Will Always Be’’ for the hardcover book Sonic Boom: The Impact of Led Zeppelin.


In 2009, Morgan told the story of how Bangs discovered him in ‘‘Curse You, Lester Bangs!!!’’ which appears in the hardcover book CREEM: America’s Only Rock ’n’ Roll Magazine, published by HarperCollins.


Also in 2009, Morgan wrote a feature review of the Queen album Hot Space for the hardcover Voyageur Press book Queen: The Ultimate Illustrated History of the Crown Kings of Rock.


THE 2010s


In 2010, Morgan wrote a review of the Bachman-Turner Overdrive song ‘‘Takin’ Care of Business’’ for the follow-up hardcover book, The Top 100 Canadian Singles.


In 2012, a previously unpublished contemporary concert review of the Rolling Stones performing at Maple Leaf Gardens on July 15 1972, which was written by Morgan “the very next day in the heat of the moment,” was published in Portuguese in the limited edition hardcover book Rolling Stones em Portugal. Morgan’s review was illustrated with a previously unpublished color photograph of the Stones playing Cobo Hall, taken by Robert Matheu the night before on July 14 1972.


Also in 2012, Morgan announced that he was writing a feature review of the first Rush album Rush for Voyageur’s forthcoming hardcover book Rush: The Ultimate Illustrated History to be published in May 2013.




In 1992, Morgan began writing the authorized biography of Alice Cooper, which would take him seven years to complete. His finished biography, titled ‘‘Alcohol and Razor Blades, Poison and Needles: The Glorious Wretched Excess of Alice Cooper, All-American,’’ appears in the box set The Life and Crimes of Alice Cooper, which was published by Warner Bros. on April 20 1999.


Morgan also wrote the liner notes for two other Cooper albums: 2001’s Mascara and Monsters: The Best of Alice Cooper and the 2002 reissue of Welcome To My Nightmare.


In 2003, the International Journal of Academic Psychiatry cited Morgan’s authorized biography in their paper “From Alice Cooper to Marilyn Manson: The Significance of Adolescent Antiheroes.”


In 2011, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum further cited Morgan’s authorized biography as “Recommended Reading” about Alice Cooper, alongside Alice’s own 1976 autobiography Me, Alice.


In 2012, Morgan appeared with Cooper and record producer Bob Ezrin on the BBC World Service radio documentary ‘‘The Bizarre and Influential World of Alice Cooper.’’




In 2008, Morgan and collaborator Robert Matheu began co-writing the authorized biography of The Stooges. Their finished biography, titled ‘‘The Stooges, Yes’’ appears in The Stooges: The Authorized and Illustrated Story which was published in hardcover by Abrams on October 1 2009.


After reading the biography, Iggy Pop wrote Morgan: “Jeffrey, you’re a smartass—watch it!”




In 1975, Morgan met conceptual illustrator and graphic designer Dean Motter, with whom he would collaborate on a number of projects. Between 1977 and 1980, they recorded an “ambient electronic avant-garde progressive art rock album” called Thrilling Women under the collective band name of the Air Pirates. The album featured vocalist Paul Robinson of The Diodes, guitarist Toby Swann of The Battered Wives, and saxophonist Andy Haas of Martha and the Muffins.


In 2002, a song from the album, “A Darkened Stretch” was released by Bongo Beat Records on the compilation Driving In The Rain: 3AM (Songs To Get Lost With).


In 2011, Bongo Beat released the complete album Thrilling Women: The Lost Air Pirates Sessions - Toronto: 1977 - 1980.




In 1966, DC Comics published Morgan’s first writing in the comic book letters section of Batman #182.


Later that decade, Morgan began writing numerous letters to the Marvel Comics Group, many of which were printed during the early ’70s in the letters section of such Marvel comics as Fantastic Four #95; The Amazing Spider-Man #82; Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos #78; The Avengers #73; and Conan The Barbarian #5. More often than not, whenever one of Morgan’s letters wasn’t published, he received a compensatory Marvel No-Prize in the mail.


It was during this second letter writing phase that Morgan’s first known piece of satirical writing was published. In the letters section of Captain America #122, he had two consecutive letters printed: the first under his own name and home address and, directly beneath it, a second separately-sent letter from “Toronto, Ontario” which he’d signed with the name of deceased villain Baron Zemo. In it, “Zemo” implored Marvel writer/editor Stan Lee against resurrecting Cap’s former World War II teen partner Bucky Barnes in favor of himself: “I’m begging you, Stan—keep the kid dead and let me return!” Lee, who had met Morgan eighteen months earlier in Toronto, wrote the following editorial reply: “Sooo! The infamous Baron Zemo is alive and well in Toronto, ehhh? (TORONTO?!?).”


Over the next few years, Morgan’s style of comic book letter writing would become so distinctive that the iconoclastic American humor magazine National Lampoon parodied his letter writing style in their “Is Nothing Sacred?” issue (January 1972). In the Marvel pastiche ‘‘Son-O’-God Comics’’ which was written by Canadian associate editor Michel Choquette, the first letter in the fake letters section at the end of the story was attributed to having been written by “Stan Spooner, Toronto, Canada”. This parody letter accurately spoofed Morgan’s writing style in tone and spirit, right down to its similar use of a spiritual closing salutation (Morgan: Pacem in Terris; Spooner: Yours in Christ).


In 1973, Morgan began writing letters to CREEM, which led to his hiring, a year later, by Lester Bangs.


One of Morgan’s first instances as a comic book writer appeared in issue #16 (April 1979) of the alternative press anthology series Star*Reach. His 16-page cover story, “Murphy’s Law,’’ was illustrated by Ken Steacy.


Morgan wrote volume two of Dean Motter’s Vortex Comics series Mister X, the first volume of which ran 12 issues cover-dated June 1984 to August 1988. When Motter left the first, color series to work on other projects, he asked Morgan to assume the writing duties for a second, black and white volume, which ran 12 issues cover-dated April 1989 to March 1990.


In 2008, again at Motter’s behest, Morgan wrote the introduction to Volume One of Dark Horse Comics’ hardcover omnibus Mister X: The Archives.


In 2011, Dark Horse reprinted Morgan’s Mister X stories in a 320 page deluxe hardcover edition titled The Brides of Mister X and Other Stories.


In 2012, Morgan announced that he was writing the introduction to Howard Chaykin’s graphic novel prequel and postquel to Black Kiss, the “considerably filthier” Black Kiss 2, to be published eventually in a collected deluxe hardcover edition by Image Comics.





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