RIP Tim Perlich and NOW Mag’s Unholy Union

Toronto’s oldest and second-best-of-two weekly papers has been the home of reviewer Tim Perlich’s music writing for as long as I can remember, and been pretty big-wiggy (a lot of page space, his own column) for some time. So it’s a surprise to read that he is not there anymore, and probably canned. A good surprise.

Perlich is a reviewer of the worst type, in my opinion – very informed, with wide and sophisticated taste (all good) with a snide meanness of spirit and a profound snobbery (all bad). I don’t pretend to know the guy, and admit that maybe he’s a swell cat in real life, but I felt a little happy to hear that NOW canned him, for just a second. He was awful. He hated everything: anything you might like, he hated.  The only stuff he liked was stuff he found used in a Goodwill bin, on vinyl, which you just Absolutely Had To Hear – too bad you never could. He seemed to know a lot, but he wrote like a real jerk. That venn-diagram from last year – that’s him.

I hated Perlich’s reviews, and frequently felt compelled to compose angry letters to NOW about them (I only refrained because I knew he wouldn’t give a shit.) But when I heard about his firing, as I say, I only felt happy for a second – because it occurred to me that NOW Magazine in general shares that nastiness, that superior tone. They can’t have fired him for being a dick – they’re a dick magazine. Which makes you wonder.

The other thing mitigating my happiness? I hated him, but I still looked to see what he was saying. I was curious whenever he liked something (“What is it that this fucker likes?”) – so that’s something.We’ll see how long before he’s working elsewhere, or starting some website. I myself wouldn’t read it, but if someone tells me he’s doing something new, I’ll go, Ahh, that’s where that fucker is.

That’s something.


9 Responses to “RIP Tim Perlich and NOW Mag’s Unholy Union”

  1. 1 G March 5, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    I’m pretty damn glad he’s gone. NOW’s music section is already so much better without him.

  2. 2 Marc March 6, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    I have to disagree.

    Now’s music section has gone down. I don’t even bother to read it anymore. In fact, there’s nothing there to read, or worth reading.

    Perlich’s Picks was one of the reasons I picked up the mag.

    The Picks were always interesting, informative and edjamacating at the very least. I didn’t always agree, I sometimes found the writing pompous and elitist, but never boring. I was upset when they stop printing them, and now they’re gone. Personally, I miss them.

    As for Perlich, you may not have liked the man (and frankly I’m not that much of a fan either), but isn’t being happy or glad that he’s gone part of the same meanness that you so decry in him?

  3. 3 G March 6, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    “but isn’t being happy or glad that he’s gone part of the same meanness that you so decry in him?”

    Tim Perlich is paid to review music, and instead he uses one liners to attack stuff he doesnt like. I’m not, I can only try to comment on his work so he would improve himself, and there were tonnes and tonnes of letters saying the same thing over the years, and he would never make the effort to change. Thus, I don’t feel one bit bad that the problem has been removed.

  4. 4 Marc March 12, 2009 at 9:47 am


    That’s only half of the truth.

    You’re right insofar as Tim did make a habit of, rather predictably, sloughing off many mainstream acts, although not all (Lucinda Williams is one example I can think of), with not always witty, and often mean, one liners. They’re adults, and wealthier than he is. They can take it.

    If you don’t like his review, you can read plenty of others elsewhere.

    What Tim did do to earn his keep was review, and sometimes shine a light for people who are not record nerds, on some of the more obscure but nonetheless meritorious acts.

    He did support local and Canadian acts in general.

    He has reasonably good taste, and shared his opinions frankly, which is also something that he was getting paid for.

    So I feel that your persistent and unfair attacks on him (I’ve seen them elsewhere online too) are akin to kicking someone when they’re down. That’s not too cool.

    Perhaps you have good reason for disliking him so intensely – people who tell the truth often are disliked – but you should at least have the good sense to not descend to the levels of which you accuse him.


  5. 5 Viktor March 12, 2009 at 9:51 pm

    Hooray. At long last that hack got what was coming to him. This is FANTASTIC news. He has NEVER been an interesting read.

  6. 6 MissThePicks March 14, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    With Tim gone, NOW’s music section seems to be headed downhill quick!

    Case in point, removing PERLICH’S PICKS (a great column despite the knock’s above) yet printing the SOUND CHECK feature is clear evidence. Asking dweebie hipsters what they thought of some show (arguably that “no one cares about”!!) is COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT DRIVEL. To quote last weeks insights:

    – “I used to stalk one of the guys in the band”
    – “I liked how BL guitarist looked like SC rockin out”
    – and my favourite…”I’m here because my boyfriend is in one of the bands”

    Ha, ha, ha!!! We used to enjoy insight from a WELL INFORMED WRITER who is PASSIONATE ABOUT MUSIC (of ALL types – stop knockin it just cuz YOU don’t like it!!)

    Now you’re getting “USELESS OPINIONS”, about “BANDS NO ONE CARES ABOUT” and coverage that provides “NO INSIGHT INTO WHAT THE BANDS SOUND LIKE”. Weren’t those the same complaints you had before?! Why have you all stopped whining?? Tim’s gone but the problems you identified remain…

  7. 7 G March 23, 2009 at 12:11 am

    “people who tell the truth often are disliked ”

    It seems he was specifically fired for a typical live review of his (he was known to often show up for a show for a couple songs then leave and then print an entire review – so much for your ‘truth’) where he mocked a crippled man for being crippled. Classy.

    So dont give me this ‘supported local acts in general’ crap – this is true of countless other reviewers who dont waste my time with their self important snobbery and outright lying.

  8. 8 cheaplaffsmahoney May 27, 2009 at 11:22 am

    Yeah, he did know his stuff which was great. And if you worked in the music biz and had something he wanted he was your friend. I knew him in a professional and semi-personal sphere until I left the music industry. The next time I saw him after that, he acted like he had NO recollection of me. I think that speaks volumes of his lack of character — and that will always come up to bite you on the ass.

  9. 9 Flaneur June 26, 2009 at 2:01 am

    He really was the first to champion a whole lot of musicians. He wrote about Nirvana, Devendra Benhardt, Neko Case, Eleni Mandell, and so many others before they had managers and record deals (and then held them to very high standards afterwards). It’s rare to find a critic who actually discovers and champions new acts based entirely on their music and not on middle management — he did that, and I hope in the long run he gets the credit for that.

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