Pat McGuire ’02
Filtering out those good music vibes
Pat McGuire '02 left Transylvania in an adventuresome state-of-mind. In fact, after graduation he told himself that only three things could keep him in one place for long: running out of money, getting married, or finding a job offer he couldn’t pass up.
The money hasn’t bottomed out, “Though I came close a couple of times,” he admits. He hasn’t gotten married—“Not yet, but I’m an optimist.” The job offer situation, however, is another story.
In June 2007, McGuire became editor-in-chief of FILTER magazine, a 100-plus page upscale quarterly based in Los Angeles and a major player in the music magazine business. He started with the publication in the fall of 2003 as an unpaid marketing intern and part-time reviewer for the magazine’s Web site, after spending his first year out of Transy wandering from South Korea to San Diego to Colorado. So far, at least, the job has been rewarding enough to cause him to unpack his bags and make L.A. his home.
McGuire had worked on the marketing side of the publication for over two years, adding an occasional feature story to his portfolio of reviews, when he was given the opportunity to move into the editorial department.
“When my boss called me in and shut the door, I thought I was in trouble,” McGuire says. “But then he offered me the co-editorship, just out of the blue.” A year later, McGuire moved into the top editorial spot. He now has responsibility for the magazine’s overall editorial content, working with a staff of editors, an art director, and a large group of free-lance writers and photographers.
With a degree in drama, plus an English minor, McGuire didn’t arrive at FILTER’s doorstep with either a business/marketing or journalism background. He’s gotten ahead at the organization through initiative, hard work, a love of music, a willingness to learn, and an engaging personality that serves him well in the entertainment scene.
“I think my work ethic and the fact that I get along with people pretty well—they valued those things as much as any writing skill I may have,” he says. “They had trust and faith in me, and gave me the opportunities.”
FILTER magazine—motto: “Good music will prevail”—focuses primarily on up-and-coming bands and the musicians that form them, and the national and international concert and festival scene. The publication’s name comes from wanting to filter out the good bands from the vast multitude of groups now performing.
FILTER’s inclusion of other art and entertainment themes besides music recently gave McGuire the opportunity to interview film director Spike Jonze in his L.A. home for an article about his new movie, Where the Wild Things Are. He also interviewed singer Karen O of the band Yeah Yeah Yeahs, who is heard on the film’s soundtrack.
Even though he’s been settled in Los Angeles for six years now after his initial year of wanderlust, McGuire scratches his travel itch by attending music festivals in far flung locations, as part of his job. He recently returned from a festival in Poland, where he checked out a number of new bands.
For McGuire, the urge to move on down the road began just after commencement, when his Transy graduation present from his parents was a plane ticket to South Korea. He spent three weeks there with classmates Aaron Turner ’02 and Jonah Park ’02, then headed for San Diego in the fall, where he worked at the Globe Theater in the gift shop and ticket office. McGuire spent the summer of 2003 living in a tent in the middle of Colorado, taking photographs for a whitewater rafting company, before heading for L.A. in the fall.
If that sounds like the peregrinations of someone searching for a role in life, McGuire gladly pleads guilty. His participation in the Transy drama program helped him understand himself, but didn’t lead to a specific career track. Even now, he doesn’t necessarily see his FILTER position as the end of his search. For his openness to trying new things, McGuire gives a lot of credit to Transylvania drama professor Tim Soulis.
“I learned everything about myself from my years at Transy,” McGuire says, even the fact that he didn’t know exactly what his life path would be. “Dr. Soulis helped me realize that if you don’t know what you’re going to do, you may as well have a good time doing it. That’s the way I’ve lived my life ever since.”
And even though he’s about as far away from Lexington as one could get and still be in the continental United States, McGuire still feels the tug of his alma mater. He enjoys an extraordinary five straight generations of family heritage at Transylvania that includes his parents, Kevin ’71 and Karen ’73 McGuire, his grandparents, Franklin ’45 and Rachael ’45 McGuire, his great-grandfather, Homer Pharis Gamboe ‘18, and his great-great-grandfather, William Smallwood Gamboe 1896.
“The generations of my family give me a very personal connection with Transylvania,” McGuire says. “It was always a place spoken of in my home with reverence and fond memories my whole life. I grew up three blocks from campus, on West Short Street, and took swimming lessons from Jack Ebel (’77 ) at his all-sports camp as a six-year-old. It was always in the cards for me to go to Transy.”
—William A. Bowden