Jonathan Valania, writer and Philadelphia new music and cultural scene fixture, dies at 55

Jonathan Valania experienced a rocker’s swagger and a critic’s thoughts. Folks opened up to him, and then he told their tales to audiences massive and small — from time to time reverently, from time to time bitingly, often with perception. For 30 years, he was a existence on the Philadelphia new music and cultural scene.

Mr. Valania, 55, a musician, author, and incisive Philadelphian about city, died Saturday, Sept. 11, at home in Old Metropolis. He had been preparing to go to a live performance Saturday night time he experienced not been sick and his loss of life was unexpected, his longtime partner claimed. The induce is continue to unclear.

Born and raised in the Lehigh Valley, Mr. Valania was the front person for the Psyclone Rangers, an Allentown-based garage rock band that signed a important file-label offer, toured thoroughly, and launched a number of albums.

He settled in Philadelphia in the ‘90s and became a writerly fixture at the Khyber Move and the Trocadero and venues around the metropolis, composing typically audio journalism for publications from Philadelphia Weekly and The Inquirer to Rolling Stone.

He reviewed functions from Iggy Pop to Celine Dion, generally with a sturdy place of perspective and language that “sparked off the web page,” stated Sam Wooden, a former Inquirer reporter and pal of Mr. Valania’s for just about 30 many years.

In a 2001 Inquirer evaluate, Mr. Valania wrote: “Iggy Pop singlehandedly invented the notion of the direct singer as human cannonball, rolling shirtless in broken glass, hurtling himself into hostile crowds, and leaving driving the unsettling effect that there was nothing he would not snort, shoot up or try to fornicate with. He has also unleashed some of the most primal, brick-in-the-encounter rock and roll at any time committed to tape.”

Editor Eric Miller sent Mr. Valania all-around the globe writing tales for Magnet Magazine, which focuses typically on the alternate audio scene. Mr. Valania acquired invited to Seaside Boys genius Brian Wilson’s household in California and appears in the Wilco documentary I am Striving To Crack Your Heart, interviewing the band. (Wilco did not love Mr. Valania’s piece, and a previous member of the band later threatened to crack Valania’s fingers since of it.)

His function was impeccable, usually landing on Magnet’s deal with, explained Miller. He asked hard thoughts and experienced a relentless get the job done ethic.

“We had publicists say, ‘Oh, is Valania accomplishing it? I don’t know if this band could take care of it,’” Miller explained, adding that Mr. Valania was “larger than existence — he was 1 of those people people today that if you satisfied him, you’d under no circumstances ignore him. He was sensible, he was humorous, he was a fantastic writer. He established the standard, as far as we have been anxious.”

When Mr. Valania wrote for Philadelphia Weekly, he and colleagues would expend lunches dissecting their work. He experienced high expectations and addressed every assignment as if it ended up a significant one. He was not concerned to tell you if your get the job done skipped the mark, claimed Steve Volk, a colleague from those times and longtime pal.

“Jon was the guy around whom we have been orbiting,” Volk reported.

In the early 2000s, when the blogosphere exploded and digital media commenced reshaping the media landscape, Mr. Valania was at the vanguard. He at some point started Phawker, an on line news, lifestyle and commentary web-site, a system for his exclusive voice and other Philadelphia voices. It was a location where his new music sensibilities mixed with progressive politics.

“He needed to go out and do his personal matters, generate his individual model with Phawker,” stated Dan DeLuca, The Inquirer’s pop music critic and a friend. “He became a voice for the voiceless.”

Most a short while ago, Mr. Valania was a producer on In the Valley of Sin, a Fox Nation correct-crime docuseries he experienced researched for decades that chronicled a Washington point out scandal in which dozens of individuals were being arrested on bogus fees of abusing children.

Amy Z. Quinn fulfilled Mr. Valania by her site and then commenced functioning with him at Phawker.

“I can see him strolling down 3rd Road towards Cafe Ole — carrying a hat and sunglasses, the coolest matter on two legs,” Quinn said. And even though he had a persona that could occasionally feel a very little forbidding, “he had a extremely sturdy kind of individual ethic he was a extremely, very great male.”

He was committed to the youthful writers whom he edited, patient and invested in their successes.

Mr. Valania was deeply devoted to his family members and to JoAnn Loviglio, with whom he shared “a appreciate of terms and of audio, and paying out sunny times at the seaside, and crying at motion pictures (the two laughing-crying and the true offer), very long road outings out West, ramen and Peroni, corn from our preferred farm stand, and the most childish humor,” Loviglio wrote in an online tribute to Mr. Valania.

Mr. Valania was the kind of man or woman who responded to an inquiry from a pricey good friend as if it were being a deadline story.

“He would text me, ‘How soon do you require me?’” Volk explained.

Survivors and funeral arrangements were being not immediately readily available.

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