Born in Jersey City, New Jersey, the year the Beatles arrived in America, Jim DeRogatis began voicing his opinions about rock ’n’ roll shortly thereafter. He is a full-time lecturer in the Professional Writing Program of the English Department at Columbia College Chicago and continues to write about popular music for WBEZ Chicago at its Vocalo blogs. Together with Greg Kot of The Chicago Tribune, he co-hosts “Sound Opinions” —“the world’s only rock ’n’ roll talk show”—originating at WBEZ and distributed nationally on public radio via PRX.
DeRogatis spent 15 years as the rock critic at The Chicago Sun-Times and is the author of several books about music: Let It Blurt: The Life and Times of Lester Bangs, America’s Greatest Rock Critic; The Velvet Underground: An Illustrated History of a Walk on the Wild Side; Staring at Sound: The True Story of Oklahoma’s Fabulous Flaming Lips; Turn On Your Mind: Four Decades of Great Psychedelic Rock, and Milk It! Collected Musings on the Alternative Music Explosion of the ’90s. Outside of the musical realm, he published Sheperd Paine: The Life and Work of a Master Modeler and Military Historian in 2008, and in 2010, he and Kot issued their first book together, The Beatles vs. the Rolling Stones: Sound Opinions on the Great Rock ’n’ Roll Rivalry, written in the fun but combative style of the radio show.
DeRo has played in punk-rock bands since age 13 but jokes that he is a drummer, not a musician. He lives on the North Side of Chicago with his wife Carmel (with whom he edited the 2004 anthology Kill Your Idols: A New Generation of Rock Writers Reconsiders the Classics), near their daughter Melody.