- For the cartoon character, see The Outbursts of Everett True.
(born Jerry Thackray
in 1961) is a British music journalist, who grew up in Chelmsford, Essex. He became interested in rock music after hearing The Residents, and formed a band with school friends.
In 1982, he went to a gig by The Laughing Apple and met the group's lead singer Alan McGee. According to McGee: "there used to be this guy who'd stand at the front of all the gigs and dance disjointedly". They became friends and when McGee started the Communication Blur club, he offered Thackray the role of comp?re, stating that Thackray "was the most un-enigmatic, boring, kindest, shyest person you could ever meet - and it just appealed to my sense of humour to make him compère." He was originally billed as "the legendary Jerry Thackray", eventually shortened to simply "The Legend". McGee also offered him a column in his new fanzine, also called Communication Blur
, but Thackray left after two issues, because he objected to McGee's proposal to put a flexidisc of The Smiths on the front cover. He instead started his own zine, The Legend!
, under which name he recorded the single "73 in 83", the first to be released by McGee's Creation Records. In 1984, he released a second single, "Legend Destroys the Blues", but his performing career did not take off. He puts this down to the fact that he "didn't like to perform a song more than once", although he has continued to make occasional appearances.
In 1983, Thackray began working at the New Musical Express
. In 1988, he was sacked from the paper, and instead took a job at its rival, Melody Maker
. He was told to adopt a new pseudonym, as the "Legend!" name was too closely associated with the NME. He chose "Everett True", from the early twentieth century cartoon The Outbursts of Everett True
Within months, he was sent to Seattle to cover the emerging grunge scene. He helped to publicise the music and befriended many of the bands. In 1989, he performed guest vocals on a single with Calvin Johnson and Tobi Vail's band The Go Team as "The Legend!". In 1991, he introduced Kurt Cobain to Courtney Love at a Butthole Surfers and L7 gig. The three became close friends, and, for example, in 1992, True wheeled Cobain on stage at the Reading Festival.
During his time on the weeklies, True became one of the UK's most controversial music journalists - some appreciated his enthusiastic tone, while others were bored and irritated by the supposedly narcissistic, self-serving nature of his work.
Leaving MM in the late 1990s, he became editor of Vox
, reverting on this occasion to his real name. It has been claimed that the band theaudience were formed after founder member Billy Reeves bet True £100 that he could form a band and get it signed.
In 1998, True returned to Seattle, where he worked for a year as music editor for The Stranger
before heading for Australia, where he freelanced at Melbourne broadsheet, The Age, writing about public transport and having Roger Daltrey furiously smash a guitar thinking about him, live in concert. He also recorded an album under the name The Legend featuring well-known Hobart guitarist and personality Julian Teakle. Back again in the UK, he set up the magazine Careless Talk Costs Lives
in 2002. Issues of this publication began at #12 and counted down, claiming that "we have set out to replace the decaying music press in Britain, so by issue zero we will either have achieved our objectives or given up trying". By the twelfth issue (#1), it was clear that it would not achieve its ambitions, and True instead founded Plan B
Between 2004 and 2009, True helped oversee Plan B
alongside others, notably Frances Morgan, Chris Houghton and designer Andrew Clare. He has also contributed to many magazines and newspapers, including The Times
. He has written many books, including ones on The Ramones, The White Stripes and his latest, an account of his time with Nirvana. In 2008, he relocated with his family to Brisbane in Australia (where he now lives), apparently on a whim: "It was a nice day when we stepped off the plane," he told several interviewers. Up until the start of 2009, he wrote a weekly column for VillageVoice.com and The Guardian
- at the latter, getting into notable conflict with Australia's notoriously sensitive music street press with his very first column. There was also a fair amount of controversy over some unguarded remarks True made on Twitter with regard to the usage of Kurt Cobain's image in the new edition of Guitar Hero
. These led to immediate furious denials from all the parties involved (Grohl/Novoselic and Courtney Love) that they had anything to do with the matter.
True currently contributes columns to Sweden's Go Magazine, NYC's Bust magazine and Australia's on-line newspaper Crikey. A more up-to-date biography has been posted at the website for Brisbane's forthcoming Unconvention seminar. True also fronts two Brisbane bands The Deadnotes and The Thin Kids and has a highly-regarded blog, Music That I Like.