Starting in 1997, Chicago-based entertainment writer/photographer Andy Argyrakis began contributing to some of the country’s most prestigious newspapers, magazines and websites, while working with an endless array of prominent musicians, celebrities and record labels. His travels have taken him all over America and beyond, from the front rows of concerts and award shows, to a spot on the red carpet, stage or studio, giving the public a virtual backstage pass along the way.
It all started when he landed a high school entertainment column (which morphed into a college column and several larger features) in the Chicago-based Daily Herald newspaper (where he appeared regularly until graduation), followed by an extensive two year stint as a entertainment reporter for the College Press Network, a national news wire distribution service. Other college market publications followed, including celebrity interviews, music reviews, and photography for the syndication service Tribune Media Services Campus starting in early 2000.
Andy’s extensive time spent within the Tribune company led to regular appearances with the general Tribune Media Services wire outside the college market and the Chicago Tribune that same year. Since then, he’s racked up six “Friday” section cover stories, countless nationally syndicated stories, various entertainment columns in the “On the Town” and “At Play” sections, pieces in Sunday’s prestigious “Arts & Entertainment” and “Q” sections, plus additional writing and photography appearances in the Tribune’s Redeye publication, Metromix website and Chicago Now website.
Additional outlets include Illinois Entertainer (an ongoing source for several cover stories, features and concert reviews/photography), Concert Livewire (the home of his weekly “This Week’s Picks” concert preview column), WatchGmcTV.com (where he serves as a senior editor, photographer and occasional video blog/television correspondent) and CCM (which includes his “What’s New With” and “Rock Spotlight” columns, plus his “Tour Snapshot” concert photography spread).
Other sporadic writing/photography appearances include the national Paste Magazine and the national Christianity Today (where he sits on a year-end panel of gospel music critics), alongside articles in the national Relevant Magazine, New York’s The Aquarian and Chicago’s Daily Journal (home to his “In Focus” celebrity column and coverage of PBS’ “Soundstage” series). Andy also regularly contributed articles and photos to now defunct publications like the national U. The National College Magazine, the national magazines Hear/Say Now and Burn Lounge, Los Angeles’ Mean Street and Dispatch, plus Chicago’s Image Magazine.
He’s also participated in a slew of correspondent trips all across America, including article and photography coverage of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction, Grammy Awards, Country Music Television Awards, Music City Walk of Fame Induction, Dove Awards and World Wresting Entertainment’s Hall of Fame Induction. Additional red carpet premieres include Broadway tours of Dolly Parton’s “9 To 5,” Elton John’s “Billy Elliot,” Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons’ “Jersey Boys,” Cyndi Lauper’s “Kinky Boots,” along with the Hollywood blockbuster “The Break-Up” (starring Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston), Jennifer Lopez’s “Sweetface” clothing line launch, the Michael Jackson memorial unveiling (presented by his parents Katherine and Joe Jackson) and the surviving members of The Jackson 5’s keys to the city of Gary, Indiana ceremony.
Festival review and photography coverage includes Chicago’s Lollapooloza, Farm Aid, Crossroads Guitar Festival and Pitchfork Music Festival, Manchester’s Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, Austin’s SxSW Festival, New York’s CMJ Music Marathon, Milwaukee’s Summerfest, Atlanta’s Music Midtown, Kansas City’s Billy Graham Crusade, New Jersey’s Field Day Festival, along with New Orleans’ Voodoo Music Experience and Jazz & Heritage Festival. And amidst it all, he continues to review and photograph all of today’s top tours, such as U2, The Rolling Stones, Madonna, Paul McCartney, Lady Gaga, Coldplay, Beyonce, The Police, Bruce Springsteen, Radiohead and Katy Perry (a mere dozen from a list rapidly approaching 2,000).
Andy’s also contributed to several books, writing various essays for the following Salem Press titles: Great Lives from History: The 20th Century (Bill Cosby, Barbra Streisand), The Nineties In America (“Country Music,” “Boy Bands” and “MTV Unplugged”), Modern Scandals (“Actor Joan Crawford’s Daughter Publishes Damning Memoir, Mommie Dearest” and “Lip-Synching Duo Milli Vanilli Lose Grammy Award”), The Incredibly Wealthy (Steven Spielberg, Donald Trump) and Musicians and Composers of the 20th Century (Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince, Phil Collins, Tina Turner, Elton John, Smokey Robinson, Quincy Jones, Diana Ross, Carlos Santana, Carole King, Babyface and Mary J. Blige).
Other projects including the writing of The Guess Who’s On Tour program book editorial and contributing annually to Ravinia Program Magazine, the official publication of the historic Chicago-area venue. CD linear note credits include Mister Bolin’s Late Night Revival (a tribute to The James Gang/Deep Purple guitarist Tommy Bolin by members of Mr. Big, Foreigner, Boston, Tesla and Rainbow), Kevin Chalfant’s Back To Square One (dedicated to the Chicago Bears’ Roger Stillwell) and Mitchell Rose’s Love To Me (the first solo CD from the Goodman Theatre musical alum).
In additional writing realms, Andy’s worked with several record labels (Warner Brothers, Atlantic, Curb, EMI, Universal, Roadrunner, Razor & Tie, Koch, Drive-Thru, Vagrant and Tooth & Nail, to name a few) constructing numerous publicity bios for the likes of The Guess Who, Sinead O’Connor, Isidore (The Church’s Steve Kilbey and Remy Zero’s Jeffrey Cain), Skillet, Less Than Jake, Blessid Union of Souls, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Collin Raye, Fastball, The Rocket Summer, Kevin Chalfant, Group 1 Crew, Santana’s Leon Patillo, The Freddy Jones Band’s Marty Lloyd, UFO’s Paul Chapman, Joanne Cash (Johnny Cash’s sister), Matthew West and Sleeping At Last (amongst many others).
A list of tours with both writing and photography involvement include: Voices of Rock Radio (including singers from Survivor, The Romantics, The Storm, .38 Special, Foghat and The Ted Nugent Band), Madina Lake supporting Projekt Revolution (featuring Linkin Park, My Chemical Romance, Taking Back Sunday and Placebo), Arlo Guthrie & Friends (including dates with Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and Willie Nelson), The Elms supporting Peter Frampton, The Guess Who’s Canadian tour rehearsals, Bayside supporting Anberlin, The Black Mollys supporting Winger, Kevin Chalfant & The Storm (including dates with members of Journey, Ides of March and Night Ranger, plus “Cheers” star George Wendt) and Two Fires (including dates with Ted Nugent, Ronnie Spector, Alan Parsons and Joan Jett).
On the photography end, other credits beyond all the aforementioned include Pollstar, Chicago Sun-Times, Billboard, Downbeat, MTV.com, Celebrity Access, Vibe.com, plus promotional shots for Fuse TV, Live Nation, Nikon, Virgin Records, The Chicago Theatre, The Guess Who, George Winston, Chicago (the band), Paula Cole, Kevin Max, Enuff Z’nuff, UFO’s Paul Chapman, Steve Dahl’s Celebrity Poker Tournament and Skillet’s music videos for the hits “Rebirthing” and “Whispers In the Dark.”
“I’ve had a lot of amazing opportunities in the last decade and a half, but I’m not one to rest on laurels or spend too much time looking back at past memories,” insists Argyrakis. “My most important work is always what’s happening right now and also what’s coming up around the corner. Considering writing about and photographing the music and entertainment world is my life’s passion, every day is an adventure that I can’t wait to start all over again.”
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