Kurt Loder is the film critic for Reason Online. He was born in Miami, where he remained for about a minute; was then relocated by his parents to Lima, Peru, for a few minutes more (his dad worked for an airline); then spent the next 17 years or so growing up on the Jersey shore. After two years frittered away in deciding that institutional higher education was not something he wished to pursue, he joined the U.S. Army for three years, defending his homeland in the beer halls of Bavaria, mainly from hostile drunkards. He also learned everything there really is to know about journalism in an Army training school in about two months.
Returning home, he eventually made his way to New York, where he secured a position, at derisory wages, editing a freebie rock-music weekly on Long Island. This was in the mid- to late ’70s, so he also drove nearly nightly into Manhattan, not far away, to marvel at the punk scene evolving in clubs such as CBGB and Max’s Kansas City. He saw the Ramones, Blondie and Talking Heads fairly early on and even got to know some of them -- a thrill for him, if not them. He also witnessed Blinding Headache and other terrible bands now long- and well-forgotten. It was a truly wonderful period.
In 1978, Loder escaped Long Island to take a job in Manhattan as an editor at Circus, a heavy-metal magazine with an intense interest in sweaty-chested young rock gods. Less than a year later, he got a call from Rolling Stone magazine to take over its “Random Notes” column. This involved endless attendance at stadium shows, club gigs and glittery parties beyond number. Loder was surprised that anyone would actually be paid to have so much fun, however health-imperiling. He remained at Rolling Stone for nine years, moving up to become a staff feature writer and eventually a senior editor. In 1984, he interviewed Tina Turner, who was releasing a comeback album called "Private Dancer," for a Rolling Stone cover story. The album was a worldwide hit, and when he encountered the singer again in Australia a short time later, he suggested the possibility of a Turner autobiography, which he would write. Which he did. The book was published in 1986 and became a New York Times best-seller. (It was turned into a movie in 1993, with Angela Bassett playing Tina.)
At the end of 1987, Loder was approached by MTV, wanting to know whether he ever had thought about being on television. He hadn’t, ever. Nevertheless, after a decidedly unpromising camera test, he was hired to host a weekly MTV news show called "The Week in Rock." The concept of a news show on MTV was hailed by most observers as a preposterous idea. However, "The Week in Rock" remained on the air for more than a decade, traveling around the country and to such overseas locations as London, Paris and Tokyo. After the show’s run reached a natural end, Loder continued doing MTV interviews with all manner of musicians and filmmakers and, in 2004, began writing weekly movie reviews for the channel’s website, MTV.com. More than 200 of those reviews are collected in his forthcoming book, "The Good, the Bad, and the Godawful," which will be published in November by St. Martin’s Press.
Today Loder still lives in Manhattan, with his Special Lady. No pets. His column, "Screener," can be read here .