The words you’re now reading mark a major milestone in my career, as they open the 100th installment of this column.
When I started working here at the world’s most notorious magazine over 18 years ago, I was a mere production intern. In fact, during my entire first decade at High Times, I labored behind the scenes in total obscurity—designing ads, archiving issues and shipping files to the printer. On rare occasions, I’d interview a heavy metal band for our Buzz section, but other than that, no one outside our o ce had ever heard of me. As my ambition to become a professional writer steadily grew, however, I realized that needed to change. So in 2000, taking a cue from my buddy Chris Eudaley (who had begun referring to himself as “Pot Star”), I adopted a nom de plume—a nickname I’d acquired that refl ected my a nity for dark music and attire: Bobby Black.
In the following several years, I wrote with more frequency and gradually developed my own gonzo-style voice. Then in 2004, I got my big break: HT had shifted gears a bit—becoming more of a literary journal, and relegating most of the “pot porn” stories to a spino mag we called Grow America. The editors were looking for fresh new content, and it was at this opportune moment that I pitched the idea of writing a monthly column.
Since graduating from college into a full-time job at High Times, I’d been living every pot smoker’s dream—blazing with celebrities, hanging backstage with bigname bands, travelling to Amsterdam for the Cannabis Cup—and a column would be the perfect way to share the awesome arsenal of untold adventures I’d accumulated. These stories would be told not from the perspective of an objective journalist, but through the eyes of that young stoner from Brooklyn who was lucky enough to land one of the coolest jobs on the planet. I decided to call it “Almost Infamous”—inspired by the film Almost Famous, in which a high-school kid goes to interview his favorite rock band and ends up touring with them and working for Rolling Stone. Much to my delight, the editors granted my request.
For my first column, I wrote about the time I met Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi and smoked a bowl with the Prince of Darkness himself, Ozzy Osbourne. It ran in the back of Grow America #6; as it turned out, that would be the imprint’s final issue—soon after, it was absorbed back into High Times. Thankfully, my new column survived that merger. Since then, I’ve written about a vast array of topics: from politics, paganism and porn stars to concerts and comic books; from artists and activism to heavy metal, Halloween and Howard Stern; from Ron Jeremy and Roger Waters to Alex Grey and Alice in Chains … I’ve partied at the Playboy Mansion, gotten tattooed on a Lollapalooza tour bus, and even interviewed Cheech & Chong on the Stony Awards green carpet—and you’ve been right there with me all along.
While I’ll never consider myself in the league of such literary legends (and former High Times columnists) as Paul Krassner and Charles Bukowski, I’m immeasurably proud to at least be in their company. I’m also incredibly thankful to those here at HT who had the faith in me to give me that opportunity, allowing me to add my own small chapter to the ongoing legacy of this most unique and iconic publication. Lastly, thanks to you—my loyal Blackolytes—for making it all worthwhile. You rock.
To commemorate this stony milestone, I’ve compiled my entire back catalog of columns and packaged them all into a special Best Of HT edition. That’s right—all 100 columns, in their original formats, conveniently assembled into one neat fi le formatted for download to your desktop, smartphone or tablet. Now you can go back and reread your favorite story or check out ones you might’ve missed. For all the details go to hightimes.com/infamous100.
It’s been a wild, weed-filled ride—one that I hope you’ve enjoyed taking with me, and will continue to enjoy for many more issues to come. Thanks for reading, guys. See you next month.