Kurt Loder

Last updated

Kurt Loder
Born (1945-05-05) May 5, 1945 (age 74)
OccupationFilm critic, author, columnist, television personality [1]
Years active1972–current
Known forCorrespondent on MTV News

Kurtis "Kurt" Loder (born May 5, 1945) is an American film critic, author, columnist, and television personality. [1] He served in the 1980s as editor at Rolling Stone , during a tenure that Reason later called "legendary". [2] He has contributed to articles in Reason , Esquire , Details , New York , and Time . [1] He has also made cameos on several films and television series. [1] He is best known for his role at MTV News since the 1980s and for appearing in other MTV-related television specials. [3] He has hosted the SiriusXM radio show True Stories since 2016. [4]

<i>Rolling Stone</i> American magazine focusing on popular culture, based in New York City

Rolling Stone is an American monthly magazine that focuses on popular culture. It was founded in San Francisco, California in 1967 by Jann Wenner, who is still the magazine's publisher, and music critic Ralph J. Gleason, which became famous for its coverage of rock music, and for political reporting by authors such as Hunter S. Thompson. In the 1990s, the magazine broadened and shifted its focus to a younger readership interested in youth-oriented television shows, film actors, and popular music. In recent years, it has resumed its traditional mix of content.

<i>Reason</i> (magazine) American libertarian monthly magazine

Reason is an American libertarian monthly magazine published by the Reason Foundation. The magazine has a circulation of around 50,000 and was named one of the 50 best magazines in 2003 and 2004 by the Chicago Tribune.

<i>Esquire</i> (magazine) American mens magazine

Esquire is an American men's magazine, published by the Hearst Corporation in the United States. Founded in 1933, it flourished during the Great Depression under the guidance of founders Arnold Gingrich, David A. Smart and Henry L. Jackson.


Early life

Loder was born in Ocean City, New Jersey. [1] He graduated in 1963 from Ocean City High School in Ocean City. [5] He spent two years in college "and just hated it." He was drafted into the United States Army and joined its journalism school. [6]

Ocean City, New Jersey City in Cape May County, New Jersey, U.S.

Ocean City is a city in Cape May County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city's population was 11,701, reflecting a decline of 3,677 (-23.9%) from the 15,378 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn declined by 134 (-0.9%) from the 15,512 counted in the 1990 Census. In summer months, with an influx of tourists and second homeowners, there are estimated to be 115,000 to 130,000 within the city's borders.

Ocean City High School

Ocean City High School (OCHS) is a four-year comprehensive public high school located in Ocean City, in Cape May County, New Jersey, United States, serving students in ninth through twelfth grades as the lone secondary school of the Ocean City School District. Students from the Corbin City, Longport, Sea Isle City and Upper Township school districts attend Ocean City High School as part of sending/receiving relationships.

United States Army Land warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Army (USA) is the land warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the seven uniformed services of the United States, and is designated as the Army of the United States in the United States Constitution. As the oldest and most senior branch of the U.S. military in order of precedence, the modern U.S. Army has its roots in the Continental Army, which was formed to fight the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783)—before the United States of America was established as a country. After the Revolutionary War, the Congress of the Confederation created the United States Army on 3 June 1784 to replace the disbanded Continental Army. The United States Army considers itself descended from the Continental Army, and dates its institutional inception from the origin of that armed force in 1775.


Loder stated that he "just fell into" his field, elaborating that his "entire journalism background is four weeks... That's it. Nothing else. You can learn journalism in four weeks. It's not an overcomplicated thing. It's very, very simple." [6]

Loder lived in Europe for the next several years, doing what he later called "scandal sheet" "yellow journalism." [6] He returned home to New Jersey at the end of 1972 and worked with a local newspaper and then an Ocean City-based magazine run by the sister of the city's famous writer Gay Talese. He left in the summer of 1976 to work with a free Long Island rock weekly called Good Times. He received about $200 a week. [3]

Yellow journalism and the yellow press are American terms for journalism and associated newspapers that present little or no legitimate well-researched news while instead using eye-catching headlines for increased sales. Techniques may include exaggerations of news events, scandal-mongering, or sensationalism. By extension, the term yellow journalism is used today as a pejorative to decry any journalism that treats news in an unprofessional or unethical fashion.

New Jersey State of the United States of America

New Jersey is a state in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It is a peninsula, bordered on the north and east by the state of New York; on the east, southeast, and south by the Atlantic Ocean; on the west by the Delaware River and Pennsylvania; and on the southwest by the Delaware Bay and Delaware. New Jersey is the fourth-smallest state by area but the 11th-most populous, with 9 million residents as of 2017, making it the most densely populated of the 50 U.S. states with its biggest city being Newark. New Jersey lies completely within the combined statistical areas of New York City and Philadelphia. New Jersey was the second-wealthiest U.S. state by median household income as of 2017.

Gay Talese

Gay Talese is an American writer. As a journalist for The New York Times and Esquire magazine during the 1960s, Talese helped to define literary journalism. Talese's most famous articles are about Joe DiMaggio and Frank Sinatra.

After meeting a fellow "music geek," David Fricke, "the two of us began driving into Manhattan virtually every night to wallow in the flourishing punk rock scene at CBGB's, Max's, etc. This was, fortunately, cool with the wives. I mean, we'd still be sitting upright at four in the morning through fist fights, mass nod-outs, and sets by bands with names like Blinding Headache, played to audiences of three people, of which we'd be two-thirds. I don't think I can quite convey how great days those were". [3]

David Fricke is a senior editor at Rolling Stone magazine, where he writes predominantly on rock music. His career has spanned over 30 years. In the 1990s, he was the magazine's music editor before stepping down.

They both joined Circus in 1978 and moved to Manhattan. Loder went on to become one of its official editors. The staff had a fun, relaxed atmosphere and considered the magazine to be second or third tier. Loder later said that "Whatever was said to be 'happening' in commercial pop music was... on the cover of Circus. Disco? Run with it. Shirtless teen popsters? Put 'em on the cover... a, shall we say, ardent enthusiasm for pix of nubile youths. Metal, of course, was really the mag's meat." He also remarked that "it was a foregone conclusion that writing of any technical ambition, about new acts of any real excitement or interest, would make it in the mag only by the sheerest accident." Loder briefly experimented with inhalant-based drugs at Circus; he stopped after experiencing a "gushing" nosebleed without any feeling left in his face. [3]

Circus was a monthly American magazine devoted to rock music. It was published from 1966 to 2006. In its heyday the magazine had a full-time editorial staff that included some of the biggest names in rock journalism, such as Paul Nelson, Judy Wieder, David Fricke, and Kurt Loder, and rivaled Rolling Stone in sales and surpassed Creem. In 1974, a sister publication was launched, titled Circus Raves, but by 1977 that venture had been merged into Circus Magazine, thus making Circus Magazine a biweekly.

Manhattan Borough in New York City and county in New York, United States

Manhattan, often referred to locally as the City, is the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City and its economic and administrative center, cultural identifier, and historical birthplace. The borough is coextensive with New York County, one of the original counties of the U.S. state of New York. The borough consists mostly of Manhattan Island, bounded by the Hudson, East, and Harlem rivers; several small adjacent islands; and Marble Hill, a small neighborhood now on the U.S. mainland, physically connected to the Bronx and separated from the rest of Manhattan by the Harlem River. Manhattan Island is divided into three informally bounded components, each aligned with the borough's long axis: Lower, Midtown, and Upper Manhattan.

Inhalant range of chemicals whose volatile vapors or pressurized gases are concentrated and breathed in via the nose or mouth to produce intoxication

Inhalants are a broad range of household and industrial chemicals whose volatile vapors or pressurized gases can be concentrated and breathed in via the nose or mouth to produce intoxication, in a manner not intended by the manufacturer. They are inhaled at room temperature through volatilization or from a pressurized container, and do not include drugs that are sniffed after burning or heating. For example, amyl nitrite (poppers), nitrous oxide and toluene – a solvent widely used in contact cement, permanent markers, and certain types of glue – are considered inhalants, but smoking tobacco, cannabis, and crack are not, even though these drugs are inhaled as smoke.

Loder started a nine-year run at Rolling Stone in May 1979. RockCritics.com has called him "one of Rolling Stone's most talented and prolific feature writers." [3] Reason has called his tenure "legendary." [2] While at Rolling Stone, Loder co-authored singer Tina Turner's 1986 autobiography I, Tina . He then contributed to the screenplay adaptation for the film What's Love Got to Do with It . [1]

Loder joined MTV in 1987 as the host of their flagship music news program, The Week in Rock. [1] It was later expanded and renamed to MTV News in which he was an anchor and correspondent. [1] Loder was one of the first to break the news of Kurt Cobain's death; he interrupted regular programming to inform viewers that Cobain was found dead. [7] Loder authored a 1990 collection of his Rolling Stone work called Bat Chain Puller. [1]

Loder has guest-starred as himself on Kenan & Kel , The "That '90s Show" episode of The Simpsons , Girlfriends , Duckman , Saturday Night Live , and Portlandia . [1] He has appeared in several films. He was also parodied in the South Park episode "Timmy 2000". [1]

In 2011, St. Martin's Press published Loder's The Good, the Bad and the Godawful: 21st-Century Movie Reviews, which collected his film reviews from MTV.com and Reason.com.

In 2016, Loder began hosting the music-based radio talk show True Stories on SiriusXM. [4]

Personal views


Loder identifies himself as a libertarian [8] and summarizes his position as "free love and free markets". [8] He called former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg "a scary guy" [9] and called it "amazing that people don't rise up with pitchforks." [9] Loder opposed President George H. W. Bush in the 1992 election and he believes that MTV News played a small role in Bush's loss. [6] Loder believes that his views came from his childhood experiences, saying: [2]

I grew up on the Jersey Shore, on a little barrier island. The Atlantic Ocean was on one side, the bay was on the other. Everyone there hunted and fished and clammed and got crabs out of the bay. And one day my brother told me someone had come down from the Bureau of Petty Harassment or something and they measured the temperature of the water and had decided it was a little too warm and a certain type of bacteria might incubate in it and there was a chance that might harm the clams. And so, from now on, no one was supposed to take clams out of the bay anymore. Which everyone ignored. And no one died. That was before the government got tenacious about this stuff. So I thought that was pretty stupid right there. [2]

In a 1989 live show, Loder saw Skid Row front man Sebastian Bach wearing a T-shirt reading the anti-gay slogan "AIDS Kills Fags Dead." Loder reacted with an article in which he stated, "In the land of homophilia, if Axl Rose owns the restaurant and Public Enemy are the diners, we have a new busboy." Bach considered Loder's words "complete bullshit," saying that he had only used the shirt to dry himself off and strongly opposes the message on it, and later issued several public apologies. [10]

Loder was highly critical of Michael Moore's documentary Sicko , saying it was "heavily doctored." [11] He argued, "When governments attempt to regulate the balance between a limited supply of health care and an unlimited demand for it they're inevitably forced to ration treatment." [2]


Loder defines news as "anything that's interesting." He is critical of the idea of new journalism and argues that it has been used as a rhetorical shield for lazy journalism. [6] He believes that new technology has fragmented American culture to the extent that no cinematic or musical success can unify it, as with past rock bands such as The Beatles. He also strongly supports copyright laws. He generally considers himself to be supportive of new media despite his role at MTV, once joking, "MTV is part of Viacom, which controls Paramount, and so on and so forth. It's the evil empire." [2]

Loder's philosophy on the people he reports on is that:

You shouldn't make friends. It's not a good thing to be friends with people you're covering. There's just no point in doing it. It's tempting, but they're not going to consider you their friend anyway. They just know that you're somebody that can do something for them. So you shouldn't really flatter yourself that they want to be your buddy. They don't... They want you for some reason or other, and you just have to fend that off all the time. And you can't really cover people critically that you're friends with. How would that work? That would be bad. So you always have to keep that in mind. [6]

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 "Kurt Loder Biography (1945–)". Film Reference. Retrieved May 7, 2013.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 'You Can't Turn Back the Ocean'. By Nick Gillespie. Reason . February 2008.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 Running Away With the Circus. By Steven Ward. rockcriticsarchives.com Retrieved December 13, 2008.
  4. 1 2 "Lady Gaga, T.I. & Metallica Help Launch SiriusXM All Music Talk Channel 'Volume'".
  5. "THE ULTIMATE NEW JERSEY HIGH SCHOOL YEARBOOK: T–Z AND ALSO...". The Star-Ledger , June 27, 1999. Accessed August 4, 2007.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6
  7. Karas, Matty ( June 1994). "Kurt Cobain's death: MTV's Persian Gulf War". 'American Journalism Review, Vol. 16. Quote: "...police report details recited by anchor Kurt Loder in the first hours of coverage..."
  8. 1 2 Gavin, Patrick (December 11, 2011). "Kurt Loder: From MTV to libertarianism". Politico .
  9. 1 2 Ahmed Shihab-Eldin (2013). Kurt Loder Talks Film, MTV, And More. HuffPost . Event occurs at 12:36-12:40. Retrieved November 12, 2013.
  10. "SEBASTIAN BACH Says He Lied When He Said He'd Stopped Drinking" Archived January 21, 2008, at the Wayback Machine . BlabberMouth.Net. October 21, 2006. Retrieved December 13, 2008.
  11. Loder, Kurt (June 29, 2007 ). "'Sicko': Heavily Doctored". MTV News.