Perfect Sound Forever

Ed Ward (1948-2021)

Remembering a great, frustrating/frustrated writer
Tribute/Interviews by Jason Gross
(June 2021)

If you know Ed Ward's name, you've probably heard it attached to his work at Rolling Stone, Creem and NPR. But there was also his adventures in New York, California, Texas, Germany and France, all of which he called home at one time or another. And then, along with his pioneering music writing, mention should be made that he was also an expert food critic and historic chronicler. Oh, and he helped to co-found a certain little music festival called SXSW. Even after knowing him for the last 25 years of his life, it turns out that there was even more to this brilliant, frustrating guy than I imagined.

As a way to work through the grief of his loss, I wrote up many of the stories I experienced with him or heard from him, but I knew that there were a lot of gaps, not just about his earlier years but even the time that I knew him, or thought I knew him. To find out more about Ed, I consulted with writers, musicians and friends who confirmed, in different ways, that he was kind of a know-it-all who did seem to know it all and could be as maddening as he could be generous when he wanted to. His legacy is his writing and his radio work and his far-flung connections, plus all the bad blood and wild stories. Right now, his Austin friends and family are gathering up with work that will make quite a collection and be part of that legacy, hopefully along with all of these stories and remembrances below.

The worst I heard from these respondents was that they hadn't even heard that Ed died and I was the one breaking the news to them. The best thing I heard from this group was "thank you for helping to honor Ed."

Other good sources about Ed Ward:

Also see this virtual memorial from July 2021 organized by Jon Lebkowsky:

Special thanks to Alex Tobin, Henry Carrigan, David Fox, Andy Schwartz and Mark McKenna for their help.

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