Scott Raab (BA ’83) is nothing if not irreverent, and he makes no apologies.
His unabashed style has led to a prolific career.
He’s scored a who’s who of celebrity interviews: Tupac Shakur, Taylor Swift, Phil Spector, Paul Giamatti, Dennis Rodman, Sarah Silverman, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and many more — a “Rolodex” of contemporary celebrity by any measure.
He’s written columns and essays for dozens of publications, including The New York Times, GQ and Esquire.
He’s published four books —“Real Hollywood Stories,” “The Whore of Akron: One Man’s Search for the Soul of LeBron James,” “You’re Welcome, Cleveland” and most recently, “Once More to the Sky: The Rebuilding of the World Trade Center.”
And he was a co-producer of the ESPN film documentary “Believeland,” a film helmed by another Clevelander, director/filmmaker Andy Billman.
Raab starred in the sports doc — famously recut to feature the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 2016 NBA Championship — with his son, “A dream come true,” Raab said.
His history with CSU is a complicated one, where he claims he “stumbled to a BA in English, on and off, and I never once thought to take a journalism course. So, of course, this was the one of the trajectories my career headed in.”
Now four books into a career, Raab has careened across the pop culture landscape and is still never at a loss for words —though he does wax poetic about being “semi-retired, with some occasional screeds, bleats and plenty of cuss words!”
Raab was “mad about Bukowski, Kafka and Blake” during his CSU days and believes in the late Charlie “Bird” Parker’s dictum: “If you don’t live it, it won’t come out your horn.” To that end, when he had a shot to “partake” with the likes of Rolling Stones’ guitarist Keith Richards, he didn’t blink.
Despite his success, Raab never strays far from that “earthy,” direct, dyed-in-the-wool Cleveland kid that he still is deep down inside.
“With the experience of being a Viking, the first story I ever wrote for GQ, 25 years ago, was about [former basketball coach] Kevin Mackey after he left Cleveland State,” said Raab of imbroglio often being at the center of his storytelling.
“This experience isn’t abstract. It formed me in a lot of ways. And gave me an attitude where you might feel nervous or you might feel intimidated by diving into something [expletive] cringy or uncomfortable, but what difference does that make? You’re still going to show up and do the best you can,” he said.
“I learned all of that at CSU and I am grateful for all it has given me.”