Alan is the author of The Holy or the Broken: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley and the Unlikely Ascent of "Hallelujah," which New York Times called "thoughtful and illuminating." He is also the co-author of Gregg Allman's best-selling memoir, My Cross to Bear, which Rolling Stone named one of the best rock & roll memoirs of all time.
Alan was the founding music editor (1993-'94) and editor-in-chief ('94-'97) of the urban culture monthly Vibe. In that time, Vibe's circulation climbed from 200,000 to 600,000 and the magazine was nominated for four National Magazine Awards. Alan then served as the editor-in-chief of Spin magazine from January 1999 until March 2002.
Before coming to Vibe in 1993, Alan was a Senior Writer at Rolling Stone, where he began working in 1989. He has interviewed and profiled artists including U2, Neil Young, Eminem, Johnny Cash, Jay-Z, the Rolling Stones, and Prince. Alan's writing has appeared in such publications as the New Yorker, GQ, Entertainment Weekly, Mother Jones, the Oxford American, and Mojo.
In 1997, Alan edited the New York Times best-seller Tupac Shakur. He also edited 1999's highly acclaimed The Vibe History of Hip-Hop. Alan's 2006 The Skills to Pay the Bills, an oral history of the Beastie Boys, was called "essential" by New York magazine. He has written liner notes for numerous albums and DVDs by such artists as the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, Van Morrison, and the Who, and his essays on subjects from Bruce Springsteen to the roots of hip-hop have appeared in many other books.
Alan is one of the country's leading commentators on issues relating to music and culture, and has appeared on Today, Charlie Rose, The O'Reilly Factor, Entertainment Tonight, ESPN, and BBC-TV. Alan has taught at Yale, and lectured at colleges including Northwestern, the University of Pennsylvania, and New York University. He is a member of the nominating committee for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.