City Pages music writer Peter Scholtes has pretty much lived local music. He’s written oral histories on the Twin Cities’ hip-hop scene and the downtown music club First Avenue, and he’s devoted thousands of column inches to Twin Cities artists like Brother Ali and Faggot, and in 2006, gave some of us our first glimpse of Reggaetón. He even dressed up as masked rapper MF Doom for Halloween one year.
But this week it’s coming to an end: After more than nine years at the Minneapolis weekly, Scholtes — once dubbed “the hardest-working man at City Pages” by publisher Mark Bartel — is calling it quits.
Paul Schmelzer :: ‘Hardest Working Man at City Pages’ Departs
After penning freelance music reviews for bands like Fugazi and the Cardigans in the mid-’90s and zines and comics in ’96 and ’97, Scholtes was hired full-time as a music writer in 1998, writing arts features, reviews, A-List entries and, for the past few Decembers, the year-end music review. And his work was recognized: He won accolades from Greil Marcus and hip-hop historian Jeff “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop” Chang and earned mentions in the Da Capo Best Music Writing annuals in 2001 and 2007.
“Along with [former Star Tribune music writer Chris] Riemenschneider and a bunch of other journalists, radio heads, bloggers, and message board operators, I felt like I was part of a movement to make the local music scene more conscious of itself,” he told me in an email.
But in recent months, his job has changed. In February he was reassigned from writing A-List entries and stories for the music section, and he began doing more news, with the occasional music story. According to the paper’s author archives, this year he’s written fewer stories than any year since 1997. He wouldn’t say if these were factors in his exit. But you’ve got to wonder why he’s leaving a gig that in his farewell email to colleagues Monday he called, “the only job I ever looked forward to in the morning when I woke up.”
Scholtes’ departure adds to a list of familiar bylines that have left the paper this year, a group that includes Britt Robson, G.R. Anderson, Mike Mosedale, Beth Hawkins, Rob Nelson, Michael Tortorello, Jim Walsh and editor Steve Perry.
Scholtes says he’s pleased that City Pages will continue hosting his blog, Complicated Fun, but beyond that he offers no hint at his next career step.
In the immediate future — on Thursday, to be precise — he turns 38. To celebrate, he’s taking Thursday and Friday off to fly to Las Vegas with his girlfriend to see the city and the Grand Canyon for the first time. He won the trip at the City Pages holiday party last year.