Jeffrey Morgan (writer)

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Jeffrey Morgan
Photo Credit Tom Robe.jpg
Jeffrey Morgan in the recording studio, 1977 Photo credit: Tom Robe
Pen name Machine Rock
Occupation Writer, Biographer, Editor
Period 1966 - present
Genre Rock Criticism, Satire
Subject Rock 'n' Roll
Literary movement Postmodern, Gonzo
Notable works Authorized biographies of Alice Cooper and The Stooges, Creem, Mister X, Jeffrey Morgan’s Media Blackout
Notable awards Superior Scribing Award, 2005

Jeffrey Morgan is a Canadian writer and editor who is best known for being the authorized biographer of both Alice Cooper and Iggy Pop & The Stooges.



Morgan became the de facto Canadian editor of rock music magazine Creem after he was recruited by its editor, Lester Bangs, in the spring of 1974.[1][2]

  • Morgan's first published record review, of David Bowie's 1965 Pye Records single "Can't Help Thinking About Me", was published in the August 1975 issue.[3] Morgan's writing then went on to appear in every issue of Creem until the magazine's demise in November 1988.[4]
  • In 2003, at the request of photographer Robert Matheu, Morgan renewed his relationship with the magazine by writing reviews and interviews[5][6] for Matheu's new Creem website every month for five years until its demise in 2008.

Other writing[edit]


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.[7] 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[8] and George Harrison.[9]

  • While attending York, Morgan studied electronic music with James Tenney, who performed on Terry Riley's album In C.[10]
  • During this time, Morgan was the host of The Air Pirates Show on York's campus radio station CHRY-FM.[11]
  • 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[12] and that of the more vociferous alter ego he created in April 1975, "Machine Rock".[13][14][15]
  • Six months later, Tee Vee Records in Canada released a compilation album titled Machine Rock: 23 Original Hits.[16] Ballard and Cohl briefly considered suing Tee Vee for damages until they found out that Morgan had not registered his alias as a trademark.[17]
  • During this period, Morgan was also the staff copywriter for CBS Records Canada, for whom he wrote back cover liner notes for 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!"[18]
  • In 1977, Morgan's poetry was published in Rolling Stone magazine (Our Lady of Perpetual Motion)[19] and Bakka magazine (Neuromantics I-V).[20]
  • 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.[21]


  • 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.[22]
  • During the mid-1980s, Morgan was the host of The Machine Rock Show on the Rogers Television community channel in Toronto.[23]
  • During the late 1980s, Morgan was the host of The Air Pirates Show on Ryerson University's campus radio station CKLN-FM.[24][25]



  • Between 2004 and 2009, Morgan wrote an award-winning[29] weekly newspaper column for Detroit's Metro Times titled Jeffrey Morgan's Media Blackout.[30] In 2010, the column relocated first to and then to Morgan's own website.[31]
  • In 2006, Morgan was asked to submit a list of his ten favorite Canadian albums for tabulation in Bob Mersereau's hardcover book The Top 100 Canadian Albums, which was published in 2007 by Goose Lane Editions.[32]
  • In 2008, Morgan wrote the introduction "What Is and What Will Always Be" for the hardcover book Sonic Boom: The Impact of Led Zeppelin.[33]
  • 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.[1]
  • 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.[34]


  • In 2010, Morgan wrote a review of the Bachman–Turner Overdrive song "Takin' Care of Business" for Mersereau's follow-up hardcover book, The Top 100 Canadian Singles.[35]
  • In 2012, a previously unpublished contemporary concert review of The Rolling Stones performing at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto on July 15, 1972, which was written by Morgan "the very next day in the heat of the moment",[36] was published in Portuguese in the limited edition hardcover book Rolling Stones em Portugal.[37] Morgan's review was illustrated with a previously unpublished photograph of the Stones playing Cobo Hall in Detroit, taken by Robert Matheu the night before on July 14, 1972.[38]
  • In 2013, Morgan wrote a feature review of the first Rush album Rush for Voyageur's hardcover book Rush: The Illustrated History.[39]
  • Also in 2013, Morgan "filmed a cameo appearance in which I read—and sing!—one of my favorite record reviews for a documentary by Carla Sinclair about Kate Reid which is coming to a theatre near you in 2014".[40]
  • In 2014, Morgan wrote the liner notes for the album Wicked by the 24th Street Wailers.[41]
  • Also in 2014, Morgan was interviewed by Punk Globe Magazine about his writing and photography [42]
  • In 2015, Morgan was interviewed by North Toronto Post magazine about his student days at Northern Secondary including his tenure as Student Council President, his rock photography, and his career as a rock critic and biographer.[43]

Alice Cooper[edit]

In 1992, Morgan began writing the authorized biography of Alice Cooper, which would take him seven years to complete.[44] 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.[45]

  • 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".[46]
  • 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.[47]
  • 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.[48]

The Stooges[edit]

In 2008, Morgan and collaborator[49][50] 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 edited by Morgan and published in hardcover by Abrams on October 1, 2009.[51]

  • After reading the biography, Iggy Pop wrote Morgan: "Jeffrey, you're a smartass--watch it!"[52]


In 1974, York University's weekly newspaper Excalibur published Morgan's photographs of Elton John[8] and George Harrison.[9] In 2013, Morgan exhibited both photos on his website.[53][54]


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"[64] called Thrilling Women under the collective band name of the Air Pirates, in tribute to the original Air Pirates. The album featured vocalist Paul Robinson of The Diodes, guitarist Toby Swann of Battered Wives, and saxophonist Andy Haas of Martha And The Muffins.[65]

  • 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).[66]
  • In 2011, Bongo Beat released the complete album Thrilling Women: The Lost Air Pirates Sessions - Toronto: 1977 - 1980.[67]


In 1966, DC Comics published Morgan's first writing in the comic book letters section of Batman #182.[68]

  • Later that decade, Morgan began writing numerous letters to the Marvel Comics Group, many of which were printed during the early 1970s in the letters section of such Marvel comics as Fantastic Four #95,[69] The Amazing Spider-Man #82,[70] Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos #78,[71] The Avengers #73[72] and Conan the Barbarian #5.[73] 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,[74] 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,[75] 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).[76] 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).[77]
  • In 1973, Morgan began writing letters to Creem, which led to his hiring, a year later, by Lester Bangs.[1][78]
  • 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.[64][79]
  • Morgan wrote volume two of Dean Motter's Vortex Comics series Mister X,[80] 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.[81]
  • In 2008, again at Motter's behest, Morgan wrote the introduction[82] to Volume One of Dark Horse Comics' hardcover omnibus Mister X: The Archives.[83]
  • 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.[64]
  • In 2012, Morgan announced that he was writing the introduction to a proposed deluxe edition of Howard Chaykin's "considerably filthier"[84] graphic novel prequel and sequel to Black Kiss, Black Kiss 2, eventually to be published by Image Comics.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Robert Matheu, Brian J. Bowe (2009). Creem: America's Only Rock 'n' Roll Magazine. HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-137456-2. 
  2. ^ Mentor. Editor. Lester. A Personal Appreciation - Creem (August 2003)
  3. ^ Creem (August 1975). Can't Help Thinking About Me. p. 70. 
  4. ^ CREEM Magazine archive - November 1988
  5. ^ Chapter And Verse: The Rick Wakeman Interview, Part 1 - Creem (June 2004)
  6. ^ Chapter And Verse: The Rick Wakeman Interview, Part 2 - Creem (July 2004)
  7. ^ List of Northern Secondary School alumni#Arts and literature
  8. ^ a b Excalibur (November 28, 1974). Portrait of the Superstar as an Automobile. p. 17. 
  9. ^ a b Excalibur (December 12, 1974). Preston Steals Show at Harrison's Non-Event. p. 19. 
  10. ^ Jeffrey Morgan interview - M3 Event
  11. ^ "The Air Pirates Show" - CHRY-FM
  12. ^ Jeffrey Morgan in the Musical Periodal Index of Library and Archives Canada
  13. ^ Machine Rock in the Musical Periodal Index of Library and Archives Canada
  14. ^ Is Meat Loaf The Orson Welles Of Rock? - StageLife (February 1978). pp. 22.
  15. ^ A Solid Gold Rush - Cheap Thrills (January 1977). pp.7.
  16. ^ Machine Rock: 23 Original Hits - Tee Vee Records #1038
  17. ^ Canadian Trade-marks Database
  18. ^ CBS Records Canada's 25th Anniversary (1979). The Silver Years. p. 54. 
  19. ^ Rolling Stone (July 28, 1977). Our Lady of Perpetual Motion. p. 75. 
  20. ^ Bakka Magazine (Spring–Summer 1977). Neuromantics I-V. pp. 77–84. 
  21. ^ The 13th (or 14th) Annual Pazz & Jop Critics Poll
  22. ^ Larry Canale, ed. (1986). Digital Audio's Guide To Compact Discs. Bantam Books. ISBN 0-553-34356-4. 
  23. ^ "The Machine Rock Show" - Rogers Cable 10
  24. ^ "The Air Pirates Show" - CKLN-FM
  25. ^ CKLN-FM#CKLN alumni
  26. ^ Carry On Screaming: Diamanda Galás Live at Massey Hall
  27. ^ "The Air Pirates Show" - CFCR-FM
  28. ^ Between Thought and Expression (April 14, 1992). untitled booklet. p. 14. 
  29. ^ 2005 Superior Scribing Awards
  30. ^ Jeffrey Morgan's Media Blackout - Volume One
  31. ^ Jeffrey Morgan's Media Blackout - Volume Two
  32. ^ Bob Mersereau (2007). The Top 100 Canadian Albums. Goose Lane Editions. ISBN 978-0-86492-500-8. 
  33. ^ Frank Reddon (2008). Sonic Boom: The Impact of Led Zeppelin. Enzepplopedia. ISBN 978-0-9784446-0-0. 
  34. ^ Phil Sutcliffe (2009). Queen: The Ultimate Illustrated History of the Crown Kings of Rock. Voyageur Press. ISBN 978-0-7603-3719-6. 
  35. ^ Bob Mersereau (2010). The Top 100 Canadian Singles. Goose Lane Editions. ISBN 978-0-86492-537-4. 
  36. ^ The Rolling Stones em Portugal (2012). Exilio na Rua Carlto. pp. 50–51. 
  37. ^ Rolando Rebelo (2012). The Rolling Stones em Portugal. Zebra Publicações. ISBN 978-9-89839-128-5. 
  38. ^ The Rolling Stones em Portugal - List of Contributors
  39. ^ Martin Popoff (2013). Rush: The Illustrated History. Voyageur Press. ISBN 978-0-7603-4364-7. 
  40. ^ Heal Myself - Kate Reid documentary
  41. ^ Liner Notes by Jeffrey Morgan
  42. ^ Rock Writer And Biographer The One And Only: JEFFREY MORGAN
  43. ^ North Toronto Post (February 2015). The School of Rock 'n' Roll: How a few music essays led to life as a rock critic and CREEM editor. p. 34.
  44. ^ Jeffrey Morgan interview - Music Vice
  45. ^ Alcohol and Razor Blades, Poison and Needles: The Glorious Wretched Excess of Alice Cooper, All-American
  46. ^ From Alice Cooper to Marilyn Manson: The Significance of Adolescent Antiheroes
  47. ^ Alice Cooper: 2011 Rock Hall inductee
  48. ^ The Bizarre and Influential World of Alice Cooper - BBC World Service
  49. ^ WORLD EXCLUSIVE! Keith Richards and Johnny Depp hire CREEM hacks to polish first draft of Pirates Of The Caribbean: Treasures Of The Lost Abyss!!! - Creem (November 2004)
  50. ^ TOUR OF DUTY: The Iconoclastic Rock 'n' Roll Imageworks of Robert Matheu
  51. ^ Robert Matheu (2009). The Stooges: The Authorized and Illustrated Story. Abrams. ISBN 978-0-8109-8289-5. 
  52. ^ With Friends Like These...
  53. ^ Elton John at Maple Leaf Gardens on November 18, 1974
  54. ^ George Harrison at Maple Leaf Gardens on December 6, 1974
  55. ^ CREEM (March 1975). Let Us Now Praise Famous Death Dwarves. p. 38. 
  56. ^ Lou Reed at Massey Hall on October 18, 1974
  57. ^ Mediascene (September 1975). Barry Smith: A Penetrating Preview of a New Project. p. 10. 
  58. ^ Queen: Too Rich To Rock? - StageLife (May 1977). pp. 35.
  59. ^ CREEM (May 1979). Rock 'n' Roll News. p. 10. 
  60. ^ Amanda Lear in Chinatown on October 31, 1978
  61. ^ Shin Sugino at York University
  62. ^ Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone Magazine (June 1988). The Party Over There. p. 72. 
  63. ^ Nancy Baker at the 2012 World Fantasy Convention
  64. ^ a b c Jeffrey Morgan (2011). The Brides of Mister X and Other Stories. Dark Horse Books. ISBN 978-1-59582-645-9. 
  65. ^ The Air Pirates
  66. ^ "A Darkened Stretch"
  67. ^ Thrilling Women: The Lost Air Pirates Sessions - Toronto: 1977 - 1980
  68. ^ Batman "Letters To The Batcave" (August 1966)
  69. ^ Fantastic Four "Fantastic Four Fan Page" (February 1970)
  70. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man "The Spider’s Web" (March 1970)
  71. ^ Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos "Tell It To Fury" (May 1970)
  72. ^ The Avengers - "Avengers Assemble" (December 1970)
  73. ^ Conan the Barbarian "The Hyborian Page" (May 1971)
  74. ^ Captain America "Let's Rap With Cap" (February 1970)
  75. ^ Stan Lee and Jeffrey Morgan - Toronto, July 1968
  76. ^ National Lampoon Index - Vol. 1, No. 22
  77. ^ National Lampoon (January 1972). The Word From The Bird. p. 37. 
  78. ^ Mentor. Editor. Lester. A Personal Appreciation - CREEM (August 2003)
  79. ^ The Star*Reach Bibliography
  80. ^ Grand Comics Database Mister X - Volume 1, Number 1 (June 1984)
  81. ^ Grand Comics Database Mister X - Volume 2, Number 1 (April 1989)
  82. ^ Mister X: The Archives (2008). Motivation By Obsession: The Architect + The Archetype. p. 7. 
  83. ^ Dean Motter (2008). Mister X: The Archives. Dark Horse Books. ISBN 978-1-59582-184-3. 
  84. ^ Chaykin revisits sex, death and movies with 'Black Kiss 2' - USA Today (August 2012)