Susan Elizabeth "Susie" Mudd, Music Monthly publisher
Former publisher, owner and editor of a publication that reported on rock bands and musicians
Susan Mudd (Baltimore Sun / April 10, 2012)
The longtime Lauraville and Lutherville resident was 56.
"Whether Susie realized it or not, she had made her mark on the Mid-Atlantic music scene," said Paul Manna, who worked for Ms. Mudd as a columnist and later in advertising sales. "She was highly regarded by the music community and wanted people on her staff who believed in what she was doing."
"Her death is a great loss to the music community. She was a dear friend and big proponent of what we did at the 9:30 Club in Washington and at Merriweather Post Pavilion," said Richard Heincke, a concert promoter and owner of IMP Productions.
"She got so many local musicians their start in the world that she's had some bearing on," he said. "In the local Baltimore-Washington music scene, she was very influential. Her magazine was a regional force in the Northeast Corridor."
Born in Baltimore and raised in West Towson, Ms. Mudd was a 1973 graduate of Towson Catholic High School and earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from Mount St. Mary's University in 1978.
After a brief stint in the traffic department at 98 Rock, Ms. Mudd joined the fledgling music publication Maryland Musician as a reporter and columnist.
While Ms. Mudd preferred the bass, she did not play an instrument.
"The bass was her favorite instrument," said Ms. Mudd's niece, Kelly Connelly, who was a columnist and editor at Music Monthly. "She was more of an admirer of music than a participant."
Ms. Mudd's column, "The Red Rocket Report," featured news on local rock bands and took its name from her love of rock music and her penchant for wearing red clothing.
In 1981, she became sole owner of Maryland Musician, which she renamed Music Monthly after buying out her partner.
"Covering music created by Mid-Atlantic artists was her life's work and passion. She was as much known for her brash, no-holds-barred reviews as she was for shining light on local talent and giving people chances to contribute to the magazine as writers and photographers," said Ms. Connelly, who lives in Charles Village.
"She also covered the Baltimore Symphony as well as the jazz scene. She covered all types of music," she said. "She felt it was important for bands to get publicity in our publication."
Ms. Connelly said her aunt had a sharp eye for emerging talent and that Music Monthly played an important role in an era before the Internet took over publicizing musicians, bands and other celebrities.
"Often, Music Monthly was the first publication area artists received publicity from, and she took pride in playing a part in the success of such artists as Good Charlotte, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Tori Amos and countless others," she said.
"Susie never held her tongue about anything, and there was never a dull moment working with her," her niece said. "She was passionate about covering music and stuck to her guns. She was fearless when it came to giving it back to critics."
"She gave me my first job in the music business in 1991, and I owe her dearly. It was a big leap of faith and was a major turning point in my life," recalled Mr. Manna, who wrote "Maryland Artists on Stage," which were live concert reviews.
"I admired her tireless passion to keep her free publication around for us fellow music junkies. All Susie wanted was for her paper to survive each month," said Mr. Manna, who is now a concert promoter and owner of Baltimore's 24-7 Entertainment.
"As a free magazine, it's a tough business because you live and die on advertising, but Susie gave me complete autonomy. She struggled and sacrificed so much every single month trying to keep it afloat," he said. "Those who really knew her, know underneath her rough exterior was a very kind soul."
By 2008, the magazine's circulation had risen to 90,000. But beset with financial problems and the onset of health problems, Ms. Mudd made the decision to end publication of Music Monthly.
"It had become difficult for her to keep the independent publication afloat, so she stopped," said Ms. Connelly.
"She had a love of music that was tangible," said Cyndi Lewis, the former website and merchandising manager for Baltimore's Kelly Bell Band.
"Her words resonated with readers who anxiously waited for Music Monthly to come. She offered constructive criticism, and her opinions mattered," said Ms. Lewis. "She was the best friend Baltimore music ever had."
Ms. Mudd, who was living in Roland Park at the time of her death, was especially fond of her three bichon frises and was an avid Orioles fan.
A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday at Peaceful Alternatives Funeral & Cremation Center, 2325 York Road, Timonium.
In addition to Ms. Connelly, she is survived by three brothers, John Mudd of Towson, Dan Mudd of Montclair, Calif., and Tom Mudd of Haywards Heath, England; three sisters, Tricia Mudd of Towson, Amy Ciarlo of Timonium and Mary Ann Connelly of Onacock, Va.; and many other nieces and nephews.