Jason Fine isn’t just another music guy. He’s the king of the music guys. As the Editor-in-Chief of Rolling Stone, he’s one of the most influential men in the music industry — one of America’s preeminent listeners. He’s also a dad and the creator of “In My Room,” the Instagram video series RS debuted after the lockdown, which has already featured Brian Wilson, Marcus King, Steve Earle, John Fogerty, and Angelique Kidjo. For Fine, music represents a path to normalcy and joy. No wonder he’s turned to his record player for support.
You’re stuck at home. I assume you’re listening to a lot of music. What’s been on repeat of late?
I’ve been listening to music a lot. I’ve been playing vinyl records at home, which has been fun. When I was in the city and this was all sort of settling in, I found I was listening to a lot of dystopic New York City music — Talking Heads, LCD Soundsystem, Velvet Underground. Now I’m gravitating a lot to records that have openness and spaciousness that feel wide open. There are these John Coltrane recordings — an extension of Impressions — that have this incredible expansiveness. Then there’s Tame Impala, Yo La Tengo, Spoon, Sonic Youth.
Beyond music, you’re obviously a very, very serious reader. What are you reading to your kid? Are you re-reading kid’s books or trying to get him interested in the stuff that inspires you?
We’re reading The Snow Leopard by the brilliant writer and Buddhist philosopher Peter Matthiessen. The other day we got to this part where Matthiessen is on the journey to see the snow leopards and they’re around him and he’s aware of their presence — and he realizes it’s enough. He doesn’t need the snow leopards because they’ve seen him. He was really into it. He got into the meditative quality of the thing. It was really cool.