Robert Duncan (writer)

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Robert Duncan
Born (1952-11-05) November 5, 1952 (age 67)
Sheboygan, Wisconsin, U.S.
OccupationMusic critic, author, journalist, entrepreneur
SubjectRock music, jazz

Robert Duncan (born November 5, 1952) is an American music critic, author and entrepreneur.


Robert Duncan was managing editor of Creem [1] from 1975 to 1976 and a contributor to the magazine from 1974 to 1981. In 2001, Michael Goldberg wrote: “During the late '60s a group of extremely talented writers quickly defined what rock criticism was, and what it could be. Among the best were Lester Bangs, Greil Marcus, Ed Ward, R. Meltzer, John Morthland, Robert Christgau, Ellen Willis, Dave Marsh, Paul Nelson, Robert Palmer, Nick Tosches, Paul Williams, Billy Altman, Robot Hull and Robert Duncan.”[2]

In Creem′s 1977 Reader Poll, he finished third in balloting for "Best Rock Critic" behind Lester Bangs and Robert Christgau.[3] During this time he was also a regular contributor to Christgau's Pazz and Jop poll.[4] In 2019, Duncan appeared in the documentary Boy Howdy: The Story of Creem Magazine.[5] In 2016, he appeared in Ticket to Write, a documentary film about “The Golden Age of Rock Music Journalism.”[6]

He has written for various publications, such as Rolling Stone, Circus, Hit Parader, Life and City (San Francisco), and authored three books about rock music, musicians and culture, including The Noise: Notes from a Rock 'n' Roll Era (Ticknor & Fields, 1984), Kiss (Popular Library, 1978) and Only the Good Die Young: The Rock 'n' Roll Book of the Dead (Crown, 1986). His 1978 profile of Bruce Springsteen is anthologized in Springsteen on Springsteen: Interviews, Speeches, and Encounters (Chicago Review Press, 2013). His lengthy characterization of heavy metal as "dismal, abysmal, terrible, horrible, and stupid music, barely music at all"[7] has been cited multiple times by academics as evidence of the contempt most critics held for the genre.[8][9] Many of Duncan’s music articles are archived in Rock’s Back Pages.[10]

Duncan also writes poetry and novels. His poems have been published in “Maintenant, The Journal of Contemporary Dada Writing and Art.” [11]. His first novel, Loudmouth, based in part on his experiences in music, is scheduled to be published by Three Rooms Press (distributed by PGW/Ingram) in October 2020.

Since 2016, he has been writing “Center of the Universe,” a blog about an Italian restaurant in a small Northern California town.[12]

From 1992 to 2005, he was the singer, guitarist, songwriter and co-producer for the band 3DayBig&Tall[13]

He is also the co-founder, co-owner and chairman of the San Francisco-based advertising agency Duncan Channon and its record company Tip Records[14], which has released records by Gary Wilson [15], Donnie Finnell[16], and Easystreet[17].


Duncan is married to the artist and photographer Roni Hoffman[18]. They have two adult children.


Kiss (Popular Library, 1978)
The Noise: Notes from a Rock 'n' Roll Era (Ticknor & Fields, 1984)
Only the Good Die Young: The Rock 'n' Roll Book of the Dead (Crown, 1986)
Springsteen on Springsteen: Interviews, Speeches, and Encounters edited by Jeff Burger (Chicago Review Press, 2013)

Loudmouth (Three Rooms Press, coming October 2020)


  1. ^ admin (2013-06-06). "From the Archives: Robert Duncan (2001)". Retrieved 2019-09-17.
  2. ^ "+++ neumu [ the drama you've been craving ]". Retrieved 2019-09-17.
  3. ^ CREEM Magazine 1977 Reader Poll Results
  4. ^
  5. ^ Boy Howdy: The Story of Creem Magazine
  6. ^ Kahn, Carrie. "Noise Pop Film Review: Ticket to Write: The Golden Age of Rock Music Journalism". Retrieved 2019-09-17.
  7. ^ The Noise, pg 36-37
  8. ^ Robert Walser, ""Nasty, Brutish, and Short?" Rock Critics and Academics Evaluate Metal" in Running With the Devil: Power, Gender, and Madness in Heavy Metal Music. Wesleyan University Press, 1993. p. 20
  9. ^ Deena Weinstein, Heavy Metal: The Music and its Culture. De Capo Press, 2000.
  10. ^ "Articles, interviews and reviews from Robert Duncan: Rock's Backpages". Retrieved 2019-09-17.
  11. ^ admin. "MAINTENANT 13: A Journal of Contemporary Dada Writing and Art – Three Rooms Press". Retrieved 2019-09-17.
  12. ^ Duncan, Robert. "DuncanWrites - Center of The Universe".
  13. ^ "Duncan". SoundCloud. Retrieved 2019-09-17.
  14. ^ "The Tip". Retrieved 2019-09-17.
  15. ^ "True story: Gary Wilson signs to Tip Records". Retrieved 2019-09-17.
  16. ^ "Getting real with Donnie Finnell". Retrieved 2019-09-17.
  17. ^ "Easystreet: neo-disco inferno". Retrieved 2019-09-17.
  18. ^ "Roni Hoffman". Roni Hoffman. Retrieved 2019-09-17.

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