If writing this in the first person is unprofessional, I apologize. I feel silly writing about myself in the third person.
I marshal the middle between Mathers and McLuhan.
My main interests are figurative language use (hence the Hip-hop) and the evolution of technology (hence the media theory). My main goal as a writer is to entertain and as a scientist is to find novelty. I’m more of the former than the latter and more of a fan than a critic. This site is where all of these things play out. It’s where I think aloud about all of the above.
I’m an aging BMX/skateboard zine kid. That’s where I learned to turn events and interviews into pages with staples. The pages and staples have long since given way to text-links and scrollbars, but the rest is basically the same. I still ride bikes, and I still skateboard. I do still commit quite a bit to actual pages, too.
My main project from 1997 to 2007 was frontwheeldrive.com (see below). With this site, I established myself as what Disinformation called, “One of the Internet’s leading interviewers of subculture and new-science icons.” I was assistant editor of Paul D. Miller a.k.a. DJ Spooky’s edited collection Sound Unbound: Sampling Digital Culture and Music (MIT Press, 2008). My first book is an anthology of interviews entitled Follow for Now: Interviews with Friends and Heroes (Well-Red Bear, 2007). Disinformation named it one of the most important books published in 2007, and Erik Davis called it, “a crisp and substantial remix of the major memes of the last decade or so.” I hold a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from the University of Texas at Austin and a master’s degree in Communication Theory from San Diego State University. I’m also a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Illinois-Chicago, a member of the Adjunct Faculty at Loyola University Chicago, and working on several books.
Prior to graduate work, I earned a bachelor’s degree in Social Science, and spent over twenty years working as a writer, editor, and designer both on- and off-line. I have written about technology, science, music, and culture for everything from glossy national magazines and regional weeklies to hometown newspapers and homegrown ‘zines, and I have written, edited, designed, and consulted for such diverse organizations as Microsoft, Nike, The MIT Press, WIRED, MSN Music, OMNI, 21C Magazine, Steven Johnson’s How We Get to Next, ESPN, DIG BMX Magazine, X-Games, SLAP Skateboard Magazine, Vital Skate, Figure/Ground, h+ Magazine, Disinformation, Reality Sandwich, Splitsider, HiLoBrow, Gomma Magazine, Ride BMX Magazine, The United States Army, Skateboard.com, Xbox Games, and Zero Skateboards. I have also guest lectured at such universities as The University of Washington, San Diego State University, The University of Illinois at Chicago, and The University of Texas at Austin, as well as spoken at events like SXSW Interactive, SF MusicTech Summit, SXSW Music, Geekend’s Boston Roadshow at DMA 2011, and Geekend in Savannah. I also do illustrations for the Hong Kong Review of Books, and I am a member of the Futurist Advisory Board at the Lifeboat Foundation. Though my work has been featured on numerous websites, in many magazines, and in a few books, roychristopher.com is now home to most of my writing.
Other interests include disparate sub-genres of unpopular music (mostly Hip-hop, Punk Rock, and Black Metal), media and literary theory, and various other social sciences. I can be found attempting to stay on my skateboard at the local skatepark or parking lot at least two evenings a week, and rock climbing at least as often. I’m also infinitely intrigued by dinosaurs, dumptrucks, bunny rabbits, and the moon.
And here’s me talking to Jeff Newelt at at SXSW Interactive in 2011:
Thank you for indulging me,
Roy Christopher: moc.rehpotsirhcyornull@cyor
Publicity contact: For interviews, press inquiries, and speaking engagements, please contact Jessie Duquette: moc.wonrofwollofnull@eissej
About this website: After over ten years of making photo-copied zines (e.g., The Unexplained, NED, Caper, and Front Wheel Drive), I registered frontwheeldrive.com in 1997. A few false starts later, it evolved into an archive of interviews and reviews that explored the peaks of theory and technology and the depths of the cultural underground. Following our interests and curiosity wherever they led, my small but dedicated staff (Tom Georgoulias, Brandon Pierce, Mark Wieman, et al.) and I kept the site up-to-date with in-depth reviews of books, films, music, and art from all the edges of culture — and interviews with the minds that created them. Scott McCloud described the site as “nicely designed and packed with ideas (a rarity on both counts),” and Mark Dery called it “brutally cool.” Though frontwheeldrive.com ceased operations in late 2007, the best of its content is archived in my book Follow for Now, and all of the above continues on this very site.
Reclamation: In September of 2012, this site slipped from my control. The Following kind folks helped me get it back: Jeff Newelt, Michele Foreman, Doug Armato, Brian Peterson, Chris Bentley, Val Renegar, Steve McCann, Alex Burns, Matt Bailie, Elizabeth Usery, Sean Cashbaugh, Katie Newcomb, Mark Wieman, Sidney Brinson, Eric Larson, Ryan Lane, Matt Youngmark, Kath O’Donnell, Matt Schulte, Adam Menz, Alaina Nims, Ed Lawrence, Austin Tolin, and Nate Sanders. I am hereby permanently grateful to them.
Backend: This site’s content is managed by WordPress using elements of the Arthemia theme by Michael Hutagalung, elements of the theme fSpring designed by Fredrik Fahlstad, and small parts of a few others, all of which I adapted, hacked, and kludged together into what you see here. I’ve done my best to optimize it for all browsers, but it looks best in anything but Internet Explorer.
Books: All of the books featured on the site are sold through a partnership with Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon. It’s the biggest, best bookstore on the planet.