Ryan Cooper is a music journalist who has been covering and commenting on the punk scene in one medium or another since 1989.
A room full of records and a pile of ticket stubs puts Ryan in the position to know about punk rock, and small-press 'zines taught him to write about it. Since the late '80s, he has been going to shows, listening to records, and writing about it in a wide assortment of small-press publications and some large publications as well. The internet has made him a full-time blogger, writing about music and other topics all over the web. In the 'zine days, he wrote for Article 1 and Vox Metallum, and his work appeared in Alternative Press. Now you can find him here and in book form in Read By Dawn: Volume 3 on Bloody Books and Punk Rock Saved My Ass on Medusa's Muse. He also founded and runs the Freelance Astronaut Federation, a Detroit-based writer's collective.
Aside from the hands-on education Ryan got from writing for years, he has a BA in communication and writing from Western Michigan University.
From Ryan Cooper:
From the moment a friend first played me Never Mind the Bollocks some time in the mid '80s, I was into punk music. Shortly after that, I became hooked on writing about it. Although I never had the ability to play in a band (as if that stopped many punk artists), I found I had the ability to spread the word about music.
The small-press 'zine movement of the late '80s made punk journalism easy. When punk bands were first starting out playing basements, selling dubbed tapes and homemade t-shirts, they were always willing to grab any press they could - even if your publication only had 20 readers, it was 20 new people to expose to their sound.
Punk veterans always remembered their roots back then; one night after a show, Mike Watt spent 20 minutes talking to me for the 'zine I worked on. What'd we talk about? Flannel shirts. That was my first big interview.
With the birth of the internet, it's gotten much easier to spread the word; it's still just as much fun.