Not a Goodbye to County Grind but a See You Later

Categories: Goodbye
Reed_Fischer_County_Grind.jpg
Photo by Crissy Borges, I think.
Notepad, pen, earplugs, overpriced cocktail, pastel-colored T-shirt? Check.
On my final day as New Times Broward-Palm Beach's music editor, I can say with certainty that County Grind is much more than just the name of this blog. What began as my play on the phrase "county line," which ties our multicity coverage area together, also sums up an adventurous way of life for South Florida music fans. I've witnessed every possible interpretation of the "county grind" unfold, and I've loved my two years here as much as any period of my professional life. (And all of you should come party with me on Saturday for my last night in town at the Green Room.)

I was introduced to this county grind almost as soon as I first visited South Florida back in January 2010 to formally interview for the job. Past Miami New Times' Music Editor Arielle Castillo and her boyfriend, Anthony, picked me up from my hotel in Fort Lauderdale, and we trekked up to Respectable Street in West Palm Beach to catch Monotonix and the local openers Surfer Blood and Love Handles. Not only was this an introduction to many locals who would become valued colleagues -- photographer Ian Witlen and eventual Miami New Times Music Editor Sean Pajot were in attendance -- but Monotonix frontman Ami Shalev epically broke his leg.

The night was a 140-mile round trip for Castillo, and it was far from the first time anyone in attendance had put that type of mileage on their vehicles in an evening. As I found out, there are countless others who probably wouldn't be eligible for Progressive Insurance's "Snapshot Discount" with all of the trips on area highways executed in the wee hours of the morning after a stop at Tacos Al Carbon or Howley's.

Thus, an Urban Dictionary entry for county grind might look like this:
county grind

A choice to ignore the large expanses of I-95 and the Florida Turnpike that exist between you and a delightful experience.

"Jamal is hitting up Leonard Cohen at BankAtlantic Center, and then driving up to Respectable Street after to catch Guy Harvey's video shoot?! Dude must be on his county grind."
I survived two years of this county grind, but it proved too much for my 1997 Dodge Stratus. It died a smoky, black death in Palm Beach Gardens on my birthday last year, and many others have succumbed over the years. People on the county grind live a tough, caffeinated, and occasionally violent existence, and the wisest ones have turned to yoga. 

Many will never stop slagging on South Florida's music scene, but this much is true: The folks here who love music have no choice but to be on their county grind. All night. All day. Being in a band here means adopting the touring lifestyle just to play "local" shows and having a day's drive just to play a gig outside the state.

The county grind means taking the Tri-Rail from Jupiter to Fort Lauderdale and then biking down Broward Boulevard just to do a music internship. It's the familiar feeling of a promoter being in Miami when needed in Lake Worth. It's editing photographs in between naps to meet a morning deadline -- a deadline that sure seems a lot closer after driving home as the sun comes up.

It's enduring $25 parking, the crankiest members of the Palm Beach Sheriff's Office, the sad state of radio, the hangovers, the tourists, closed clubs, the sunburn, the disgustingly hot summer, the hurricanes, and a whole lot of people who don't understand that there's a whole lot of amazing music happening here right now.

Here's the Jameses' "Rat People," which will always bring me fond memories of "F-L-A." Thanks for making a snowbird feel welcome here, and keep in touch over at my new spot at the Minneapolis City Pages music blog, Gimme Noise, starting January 18.

The Jameses - "Rat People" by countygrind


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13 comments
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Matthew Hendley
Matthew Hendley

On behalf of my baby brother ten years from now, he says thanks. Reed you, love.

Stefan Kamph
Stefan Kamph

Good luck to you, Reed! New Times (and its off-campus housing) will never be the same.

Eric Barton
Eric Barton

You'll be sorely missed here at New Times, Reed. I could say that you're among the most talented writers, hardest working editors, and nicest guys we've ever had working for this fair publication. And that would all be true. But instead, I'll add this anecdote:

When you proposed covering the Kiss Kruise, I figured what you were looking for was a free weekend vacation. Hell, you deserved some time on the lido deck, so I said yes. But then you turned around a feature story, a boatload of blogs, and produced perhaps the best event coverage this paper has ever done. I should've know that's what you'd do, because that's the kind of work you always did.

Cheers.

Fancy
Fancy

For an ancient generation, there was the fall of Achilles. Another generation remembers the moment that Frazier fell to Ali.

I was there for our generation's defining moment: the demise of Reed's Dodge Stratus, at the foot of an I-95 off ramp in Palm Beach Gardens.

John L.
John L.

Well said, Reed. See you Saturday!

Samuel David Litt
Samuel David Litt

You'll actually have a music scene to cover in Minneapolis. South Florida is pretty much the worst place in America (aside from Alaska and Hawaii) for music.

Fat Hand
Fat Hand

Congrats on a job well done Reed Fischer. I look forward to reading about the Minneapolis music scene.

Space Between Words
Space Between Words

 Great send off piece! Thank you for all the support (and car mileage) you've given to the South Florida music scene and Space Between Words! You'll be missed.

ErinHilburn
ErinHilburn

Best of luck on your new adventure, Reed! Thank you for always giving me great feedback, and your all-around awesomeness. 

Melissa McCart
Melissa McCart

Make us a snow angel in your first snowstorm home. We'll miss you. Thanks for the inspiration.

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