Two Decades of Xpress

/ Issue

Cover Design Credit:

Megan Kirby
This week, we look back at Mountain Xpress in the 90's -- the paper's first years. Who produced it? Why did they do it? What difference did it make? For answers, we turned both to former staffers and to civic activists.


  • Harvest Records celebrates a decade in business with Transfigurations II music festival

    -by Kyle Petersen
    Although “pretty much everybody” told them it wasn’t a good idea, Matt Schnable and Mark Capon opened Harvest Records in 2004. “We were just out of college and pretty headstrong…
  • Asheville in the ’90s: Club and concert scene

    -by Alli Marshall
    Asheville’s a great place to live, unless you suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out). Even if you catch the drum circle, a gallery crawl, three bands and a late-night…
  • Smart bets: Listen to This

    -by Kat McReynolds
    Gather 'round, folks — it's story time. Asheville Community Theatre's monthly storytelling series, Listen to This: Stories in Performance, closes its fourth season this week.
  • Smart bets: Moog Music workshop series

    -by Kat McReynolds
    If you've ever approached a synthesizer, stared into the abyss of knobs and then retreated without extracting a single sound, Moog Music may have the triple-dose antidote you need —…
  • LAAFF returns with an eye toward the future

    -by Alli Marshall
    “Never say die,” reads the poster for the Lexington Avenue Art and Fun Festival, which returns Sunday, Aug. 31, after a one-year hiatus. When the beloved (and, in recent years,…
  • Soul purpose: Local musicians unite for a quadruple album release

    -by Edwin Arnaudin
    A label-defying spirit will be in full effect Friday, Aug. 29, at Isis Restaurant & Music Hall with the celebration of new albums by The Secret B-Sides, Reed, HoveyKraft and…
  • Smart bet: Duncan Trussell

    -by Alli Marshall
    Comedian Duncan Trussell might be based 3,000 miles from Western North Carolina, but he's got serious ties to the region.
  • State of the Arts: MERGE at Castell Photography

    -by Kyle Sherard
    Cartier-Bresson, Kertész, Cunningham, Friedlander, Hugnet, Mann — together, these names read like a checklist from a MoMA photography exhibition. They just so happen to be among the more than two…
  • Smart bets: Malcolm Holcombe

    -by Alli Marshall
    Western North Carolina native Malcolm Holcombe plays a rare local show at The Grey Eagle on Saturday, Aug. 30.




  • Twenty years ago, Mountain Xpress launched

    -by Jeff Fobes
    In the Aug. 27 issue, we looked back at Mountain Xpress in the ’90s — the paper’s first years. Who produced it? Why did they do it? What difference did…


  • How Green Line put me on my career path

    -by Xpress Contributor
    I can trace my professional and personal roots back to the predecessor of the Mountain Xpress — Green Line. When people ask why I do what I do, part of…
  • The Julian Price-Xpress connection

    -by Xpress Contributor
    In the early 1990s, Julian Price and Jeff Fobes began working together to transform Jeff’s tiny monthly eco-newspaper called Green Line into the snappy, colorful, popular weekly — chock-full of…
  • Sedimentation Guide

    -by Molton
  • Corporate experience but with a new flair

    -by Xpress Contributor
    The years 1996-2003 were a great time to be in Asheville. Little did I know I was a part of the root-feeding system of a most successful alternative newsweekly. Mountain…
  • Twenty years, day in and day out

    -by Margaret Williams
    Having worked at Mountain Xpress for 20 years, I have seen many changes — in staff, in technology, in delegation of duties and, of course, in the growth of the…
  • How citizen-based reporting got the news

    -by Xpress Contributor
    In the early ’90s, more than 20 people filed for the Asheville City Council primary election. Instead of Mountain Xpress reporters interviewing the candidates, the paper asked for community volunteers…
  • We were dirt poor, but had a wealth of pride

    -by Xpress Contributor
    One of the first connections I made when arriving in WNC in 1991 was with Green Line and Jeff Fobes, and right away I got the go-ahead to do a…
  • Heady and hard to typify: Asheville clubs & music in the ’90s

    -by Alli Marshall
    Asheville’s a great place to live, unless you suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out). Even if you catch the drum circle, a gallery crawl, three bands and a late-night…
  • Chasing crack rabbits

    -by Margaret Williams
    Grace Slick sang, “One pill makes you larger, the other makes you small. And the ones that mother gives you don’t do anything at all,” on Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit,”…
  • Tapping into the local debate

    -by Xpress Contributor
    In the days before commenting on websites, Facebook and other social-media platforms, Mountain Xpress got readers talking each week. Every issue featured two, three and sometimes four commentaries, often from…
  • Mother upset by confrontation over dog

    -by Letters
    Recently, I asked my daughter to run to Lowe’s to pick up a mop bucket for me. As soon as she picked up her keys to go, our beloved rat…
  • Covering local government, one meeting at a time

    -by Xpress Contributor
    Talk about the people. Find the drama. Look where no one else is looking. That’s what Mountain Xpress publisher Jeff Fobes told me and Neal Evans when we started covering…
  • The day Hazel Fobes showed me up

    -by Xpress Contributor
    When I look back at the early ’90s, I can remember a lot of issues that everyone worked on. Specifically, though, when I think about Green Line and then the…
  • Pre-millennial Asheville: No renovation required

    -by Xpress Contributor
    In 1994, the year Mountain Xpress started, I was sharing a $365/month place in Montford with my sister. It was a narrow little flat in a Victorian-era home, its backyard…
  • An Xpress roll call

    -by Xpress Contributor
    Miles Building, Elwood Miles, hot summer days, sketchy Lex Ave (Welcome to Wally World), Grey Eagle in Black Mountain, Leni Sitnick, Julian Price, Be Here Now, Gatsby’s, Danielle Truscott, Marsha…
  • Twenty years before the masthead

    -by Peter Gregutt
    Time may not be strictly linear, but a weekly production schedule definitely is. That daunting fact had a good deal to do with my leaving Mountain Xpress almost as soon…
  • How do we know if fracking chemicals are safe?

    -by Letters
    North Carolina’s Energy Modernization Act prohibits disclosure of chemicals used in the process, according to your fine article on the subject [“Focus on Fracking: NC Officials Seek Public Comment on…
  • Xpress made the community’s housing a priority

    -by Xpress Contributor
    I moved to Asheville in 1989 and remember how excited I was to read the Green Line. As Western North Carolina director of the Self-Help Credit Union, I’ll always remember…
  • A journalist’s rite of passage

    -by Xpress Contributor
    I remember editor Peter Gregutt helping my writing recover from four years of grad-school jargon and two years of technical writing. I remember the excitement of working on emerging social…
  • Marshall’s loss of restaurant is Brevard’s gain

    -by Letters
    The fabulous Marshall restaurant Pork & Pie, which received three Best of 2014 awards in the Mountain Xpress, is relocating to downtown Brevard in October. The Xpress followed each award with the notation…
  • It must be a Coincident…

    -by Xpress Contributor
    When the Green Line, Asheville’s monthly environmental newspaper, decided to go weekly, all of us who worked on it got together to talk about what that would entail. How would…
  • Candidate says to give half of contribution to charity

    -by Letters
    I understand that Tate MacQueen, Democratic candidate for North Carolina’s 10th Congressional District seat, has asked his supporters to cut in half the contribution they were going to make to his…
  • We lost Green Line, but we gained Xpress

    -by Xpress Contributor
    remember being relieved and deeply pleased in the late 1980s, when Jeff Fobes and the WNC Greens formed and initiated Mountain Xpress’ predecessor publication, the Green Line. Asheville and Western…
  • Challenging the status quo, cleaning up local government

    -by Xpress Contributor
    Twenty years ago, law enforcement in Asheville and Buncombe County was unaccountable, environmental regulations were a joke and local government was a perpetual backroom deal. Mountain Xpress’ investigative reporting and…
  • On Wednesdays, everyone was reading it

    -by Xpress Contributor
    Mountain Xpress added to the vibrancy of an already out-of-control energy level around Asheville in the ’90s. Events and causes finally had a voice, and everyone pitched in to get…
  • Dear Jeff

    -by Xpress Contributor
    Dear Jeff… It is hard to believe that it has been 20 years since you began publishing the Mountain Xpress. During that period of time, Asheville has changed a great…
  • Congratulations, Xpress

    -by Xpress Contributor
    In 1994, the renaissance of downtown Asheville was still in startup mode. Jeff Fobes and his family were recent arrivals to the mountains. Vacant storefronts were plentiful, and no one…
  • Cheap rents, open mics and writing lessons

    -by Xpress Contributor
    People ask me how the Asheville of the ’90s compares to Asheville now. The easiest way for me to explain it is to tell them that, back then, if you…
  • Most program slots designated for those on Medicaid

    -by Letters
    I am writing this letter to bring to light an issue I am sure most parents are not aware of. My child has a history of severe ADHD (attention deficit…
  • Progress

    -by Brent Brown
  • Another of the Little Free Libraries is in South Asheville

    -by Letters
    Reading your great article on the Little Free Libraries [“Asheville’s Little Free Libraries Make a Big Community Impact,” Aug. 6, Xpress] caused me to feel left out. Though a registered…
  • We faced strong resistance from mainstream advertisers

    -by Xpress Contributor
    In a nutshell, the political climate in Asheville/Buncombe County in the early ’90s was quite polarized. We had the good ol’ boy network in place and a growing progressive arts-and-political…
  • Xpress made me (and a lot of others) a writer

    -by Tom Kerr
    People ask me how the Asheville of the ’90s compares to Asheville now. The easiest way for me to explain it is to tell them that back then, if you…