Mike Edison

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Mike Edison
BornMichael Alan Simberg
(1964-08-02) August 2, 1964 (age 55)
New Brunswick, New Jersey
Occupationwriter, musician
Nationality United States
Genrejournalism, literary memoir, humor
Subjectpop culture, American counterculture, music, drugs, sex, food and wine, professional wrestling

Mike Edison is a New York-based writer, editor, musician, social critic, and spoken word artist. He was one of many publishers/editors of the marijuana counterculture magazine High Times, and was later named editor-in-chief of Screw, the self-proclaimed "World's Greatest Newspaper." In his memoir I Have Fun Everywhere I Go, Edison recounts his adventures across twenty years of druggy adventurism and his parallel careers as a magazine editor, writer, and musician. His most recent books include the sprawling history of American men's magazines, Dirty! Dirty! Dirty!: Of Playboys, Pigs, and Penthouse Paupers, An American Tale of Sex and Wonder, the political satire Bye, Bye Miss American Pie, and several collaborations including Restaurant Man with Joe Bastianich and The Carnivore's Manifesto with Slow Food USA founder Patrick Martins. Edison also hosts and produces the weekly Heritage Radio Network series Arts & Seizures.[1]

Early life[edit]

In his memoir, Edison describes growing up in a dysfunctional Jewish household in suburban New Jersey, and discovering marijuana at the age of fourteen. Soon after he had his first LSD experience. He later attended the New York University Film School, and Columbia University, dropping out of both to pursue a career as a musician and writer.

Career: Pro wrestling, sex, and the American counterculture[edit]

Edison earned his first magazine publishing job in 1986, as editor of Wrestling's Main Event, by defeating the incumbent editor in a bloody Loser Leaves Town match.[2]

Between 1985 and 1988 he authored 28 pornographic novels, and in his career on the seamy side of the publishing business, he has written about German whorehouses and Spanish coke dealers for Hustler,[3] and has published a series of erotic “confessions” for Penthouse Letters. He was also a frequent contributor to Screw magazine, penning chronicles of 42nd Street, then the adult entertainment mecca of New York City.

In the late 1980s Edison began writing a featured column about television and politics, "Shoot the Tube," for marijuana and counterculture magazine High Times. In 1998 Edison was named publisher of High Times, and soon after took control of the editorial side of the magazine as well.[4]

As editor and publisher, he caused a furor among staffers by putting Black Sabbath singer Ozzy Osbourne on the cover, and then leaking to the New York Post's Page Six gossip column[5] that thousands of dollars of pot had gone missing from the photo shoot. After taking the magazine to new heights in sales and advertising,[6] he was instrumental in producing High Times' first feature film, High Times' Potluck.[7] Edison left High Times in 2001.[8]

Following High Times, Edison became the editorial director for upstart Jewish culture magazine Heeb, for whom he went undercover and exposed Jews for Jesus as a Baptist organization.[9] He also covered the 2003 harassment trial of Screw magazine founding editor and publisher Al Goldstein.

Edison left Heeb later that year in protest over a cover story on The Passion of the Christ, a rebuttal to the Mel Gibson film.

In 2003, Edison was named editor-in-chief of Screw (replacing Al Goldstein), where he began writing 17 years before as a freelancer. In late 2006 he announced that he was leaving the editor-in-chief position. Soon after Screw ceased publication.

Edison lives and works as a writer, editor, journalist, and musician in New York City. He continues to write frequently about sex and American culture, and he is the senior editor of music publisher Backbeat Books, a division of the Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group. He has contributed to many publications and websites, including Spin, The Daily Beast, "Huffington Post", and the New York Press, for whom he covered professional wrestling and classical music.

Edison has also written bios, press releases, and liner notes for numerous bands, including The Stooges, the Ramones, the New York Dolls, Was (Not Was), Zappa Plays Zappa, and Robert Gordon and Chris Spedding.


I Have Fun Everywhere I Go[edit]

His 2008 memoir is I Have Fun Everywhere I Go: Savage Tales of Pot, Porn, Punk Rock, Pro Wrestling, Talking Apes, Evil Bosses, Dirty Blues, American Heroes, and the Most Notorious Magazines in the World (May 2008, Faber and Faber/Farrar, Straus & Giroux). Reviewing the book, Bookforum called Edison “Cooler than Toby Young and more credible than James Frey,”[10] while the SF Weekly called I Have Fun “high-spirited sleaze, overeducated yokelry, and intensely American egalitarian humor.”[11] Edison has also been criticized for spending too much time “settling old scores with his enemies,” particularly his former co-workers at High Times, which he refers to as “that dope rag.”[12]

In addition, Edison has recorded a "beatnik bop and punk rock boogaloo, outerspace soundtrack and spoken word" CD, a companion piece to the book, also called I Have Fun Everywhere I Go. The CD, a collaboration with rock musician and producer Jon Spencer, has been called “a revolutionary turn for the spoken word record,” and has been compared to “Lenny Bruce, Jack Kerouac, and Richard Pryor.”[13]

Dirty! Dirty! Dirty![edit]

Edison's 2011 book Dirty! Dirty! Dirty!: Of Playboys, Pigs, and Penthouse Paupers, An American Tale of Sex and Wonder was described by journalist and historian Rick Perlstein as "foul-mouthed popular history at its most entertaining." Largely a history of American men's magazines, beginning in the 1950s with Hugh Hefner and Playboy and winding its way through the 1960s and 1970s following Hefner's less genteel proegeny, Hustler publisher Larry Flynt, Penthouse publisher Bob Guccione, and Screw founder Al Goldstein, the book covers approximately sixty years of American popular culture and free speech as "viewed from the darkside of the newsstand." Also prominently featured in the book are comedian Lenny Bruce and pornographer Ralph Ginzberg among others. In November 2011 Ian's Pizza in Chicago honored Edison by naming a pizza after him, the Mike Edison Dirty Pie.[14]

Bye Bye, Miss American Pie[edit]

In the run up to the 2012 presidential election Edison released Bye Bye, Miss American Pie. The book was described as "the first bawdy political satire of the 21st century ... Myra Breckinridge meets Breakfast of Champions." [15]

You Are a Complete Disappointment[edit]

In 2016 Edison published his second memoir, You Are a Complete Disappointment — A Triumphant Memoir of Failed Expectations (May 2016, Sterling Publishing). The title comes from his father’s very last words to him, delivered on his deathbed. In the memoir, which covers the period before Edison’s first memoir, I Have Fun Everywhere I Go, Edison discusses growing up in New Jersey with a narcissistic, bullying father, and how he learned to escape from an abusive situation. Eventually he finds forgiveness with the help of a therapist, whom he refers to (“with her permission”) as "Dr. Headshrinker", comparing her to Jennifer Melfi on the television series The Sopranos, and a rescued kitten named Jeepster, after the song by Marc Bolan. Edison also returns to familiar themes featured in his other books, including space travel, rock and roll, and professional wrestling, using the concept of “kayfabe” —wrestling argot for “the portrayal of staged events as real or true” — to discuss his father’s obsession with his own polished public image. Previously Edison has used kayfabe to discuss the self-perpetuated myth-making of Hugh Hefner in Dirty! Dirty! Dirty!

You Are a Complete Disappointment received good reviews. Booklist wrote that “Edison’s memoir about his troubled relationship with his straitlaced dad is a work of humor and pathos.”[16] The Star-Ledger called You Are a Complete Disappointment “a total delight,” adding that “Edison knows what he's doing on the page, is skilled at engaging the reader and is a likeable guy as he lays bare his insecurities, pain and loves.”[17]

Videos and trailers[edit]

Edison has created book trailers and video promotion for his work, collaborating with noted visual artist, Guggenheim grant recipient Tricia McLaughlin for the first-ever 3D book trailer for "Dirty! Dirty! Dirty!",[18] in addition to a widely-seen performance video, “Hugh Hefner Hates Girls,” featuring musicians Jon Spencer and Dee Pop.[19] For his first book, "I Have Fun Everywhere I Go", Edison created the “legendary bong guitar video” which has been described as “the most watched non-fiction book trailer of all time,” [20] with over 500,000 views on YouTube.[21]

Food and wine[edit]

Edison was the collaborator with restaurateur and viticulturist Joe Bastianich on his 2012 best-selling memoir Restaurant Man of which author Bret Easton Ellis has said "There is no fussiness and not a single boring sentence." [22] Edison and Bastianich also collaborated to create The Great Led Zeppelin Wine Pairing, a series of "wine and music pairings." In 2014 Edison collaborated with Slow Food USA founder Patrick Martins and released The Carnivore's Manifesto, about "eating well, eating responsibly, and eating meat." The Atlantic magazine named The Carnivore's Manifesto as one of the "Best Food Books of 2014.[23]


Edison is the long-time drummer for New York cult-garage band the Raunch Hands (Crypt Records) as well as being a collaborator of punk rocker GG Allin, with whom he wrote a number of songs and recorded two albums. He currently leads his own band, the Edison Rocket Train.

In 1984 Edison joined the Rock Against Reagan Tour, opening shows in San Francisco, Washington, DC, and Dallas for New York hardcore band Reagan Youth.

In late 1984 he and three NYU classmates formed the New York post-punk band Killdozer, who released one self-produced LP entitled "There's No Mistaking Quality" before changing their band name to Sharky's Machine in order to avoid confusion with Madison, Wisconsin's postpunk band Killdozer.

Edison joined the Raunch Hands in early 1990 and accompanied them that year on a tour of Japan, later relocating with them to Madrid, Spain. Now residing in New York City, and Gijon, Spain, the band records and performs only sporadically.

In 1992, while living in Madrid, Edison joined Spanish hardcore punk band The Pleasure Fuckers, and played with them through 1995.

In 2001 he formed his own band Edison Rocket Train, switching to vocals and guitar. The Edison Rocket Train has released one full-length CD, Yes! Yes!! Yes!!!, and several singles, including the traditional gospel number “This Train,” and the pro-wrestling themed “I Like to Hurt People,” featuring Handsome Dick Manitoba of proto punk band the Dictators. The Edison Rocket Train continues to perform and record.

In addition, Edison has worked closely with the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion as their "Minister of Information," writing the band’s press releases, industry propaganda, and fan communiqués. Edison wrote the extensive liner notes for a series of seven deluxe reissues by the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, including the 2010 compilation Dirty Shirt Rock 'n' Roll: The First Ten Years.[24] Jon Spencer has also played on and produced recordings by the Edison Rocket Train.

Spencer also performs frequently with Edison, backing him for spoken word performances with Edison's group the Rocket Train Delta Science Arkestra — which has also featured ex-Capt. Beefheart guitarist Gary Lucas — and more recently the Space Liberation Army in which Edison also plays electric organ and Theremin. Edison has also appeared frequently with Lucas's band Gods and Monsters.

Selected discography[edit]

  • Sharky's Machine, Let's Be Friends (Shimmy Disc, 1987)
  • Sharky's Machine, A Little Chin Music (EP, LSD/Berlin, 1988)
  • GG Allin, You Give Love a Bad Name (Homestead, 1987)
  • GG Allin, Res-Erected (ROIR, 1998)
  • Raunch Hands, Million Dollar Movie (Crypt,1+2 Records, Barn Homes/Japan, 1990)
  • Raunch Hands, Fuck Me Stupid (Crypt,1+2 Records, Barn Homes/Japan, 1992)
  • Raunch Hands, Got Hate If You Want It: Live at Cavestomp (Crypt, 2002)
  • Raunch Hands, Bigg Topp (Licorice Tree, 2007)
  • The Pleasure Fuckers, Ripped (Sympathy for the Record Industry, 1993)
  • Edison Rocket Train with Handsome Dick Manitoba, "I Like to Hurt People" (Carbon 14, 2002)
  • Edison Rocket Train, Yes! Yes!! Yes!!! (Steel Cage, 2003)
  • Mike Edison, How Punk Rock Ruined My Life: The Best of Mike Edison, Vol. 1 (free digital download, www.rockettrain.com, 2005)
  • Mike Edison and the Rocket Train Delta Science Arkestra, I Have Fun Everywhere I Go (Interstellar Roadhouse, 2008)


  1. ^ Arts & Seizures hosted by Mike Edison & Judy McGuire Archived 2014-10-17 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Wrestling's Main Event, Pumpkin Press, October 1986, "Bloody Office Battle: Editors Fight to a Finish"
  3. ^ Hustler Magazine 1993
  4. ^ High Times Magazine, 1998-2001
  5. ^ New York Post, January 267, 1999
  6. ^ Village Voice, Press Clips, October 27, 1999
  7. ^ Washington Square News, October 5, 2003, "Dropout Produces Pot Film"
  8. ^ New York Post, Page Six
  9. ^ Heeb Magazine, 2003, also The Jewish Telegraph Agency www.jta.org
  10. ^ Andrew Hulktrans (26 Feb 2011). "I Have Fun Eveywhere You Go".
  11. ^ "Long Live The Wrestle". SFWeekly.com. 26 Feb 2011.
  12. ^ Publishers Weekly
  13. ^ BPM Magazine, April, 2008
  14. ^ http://bakeanddestroy.net/2011/10/mike-edison-does-chicago/
  15. ^ Mike Edison Takes on Political Hypocrites, Mr. Skin, 18 September 2012
  16. ^ https://www.booklistonline.com/You-Are-a-Complete-Disappointment-A-Triumphant-Memoir-of-Failed-Expectations-Mike-Edison/pid=8063929
  17. ^ http://www.nj.com/entertainment/index.ssf/2016/05/you_are_a_complete_disappointment_is_a_total_delig.html
  18. ^ https://vimeo.com/29725531
  19. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wE1i_oQ8se0
  20. ^ <http://www.thenervousbreakdown.com/medison/2012/02/mike-edison-the-tnb-self-interview/
  21. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcCrTahsLg0
  22. ^ Restaurant Man
  23. ^ https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2014/12/the-best-food-books-of-2014/383713/
  24. ^ Jason Diamond (26 Feb 2011). "Mike Edison: Rock n' Roll Liner Notes as Art". Jewcy.com.

External links[edit]