Alternative Press Magazine: An Inside Look
Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly and People are magazines that I am damn sure at least the majority of you out there have heard of.
Let me be straight with you from the beginning on this one: if you can find it at your local grocery store’s puny newsstand, you won’t find it here.
There are a plethora of fantastic publications out there that are doing their part to contribute culture to the entertainment world. The tragedy is that for all they strive for, they often remain largely overlooked.
The purpose of this column is to shed light on those entertainment publications that deserve attention but maybe aren’t receiving as much as they should be.
Alternative Press Magazine is the first topic on this menu of obscurity. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a perfect way to start out the quest for alternative media. The concept of ‘alternative’ is even part of its title.
First, a quick history lesson: AP was spawned in 1985 by Mike Shea who, on page 38 of the current issue, claims that the desire to write about punk and new-wave music was borne of a case of mono. After fanzine experimentation, Mom and Grandma supplied ambitious Mike with the money to run AP’s first issue.
As AP nears its 20th birthday, it now covers all the basic ground that any music magazine does, except it still focuses primarily on punk and alternative music. You’ll find new release announcements, movie reviews and an intensive guide to help readers ‘shop for all the music that matters’ in ‘AP Record Store.’
November 2003’s issue welcomes ‘the post-hardcore power generation’ by featuring both Thursday and Thrice. AP couldn’t bear to decide between Thrice and Thursday for their November issue’s cover, so they didn’t. Issue number 184.1 features Thursday and issue number 184.2 says hello to Thrice. Beyond the different covers, the issues are completely identical. Don’t buy both, unless for some reason you make like AP and refuse to decide between the two bands.
In keeping with its somewhat underground status, AP pays homage by featuring up-and-coming artists like Criteria and Murder by Death in ‘Low Profile: Keep Your Eye On … ‘
After a brief check-in report with Jim Adkins of Jimmy Eat World and a split decision on whether Dashboard Confessional’s Chris Carrabba has still ‘got it,’ AP mixes it up with advice on getting your band noticed in ‘How it Really Works: The Inside Dirt on Music-Industry Secrets.’ ‘Behind the Seams: Merch Madness’ then chronicles a day in the life of an AFI merchandise salesman.
Now we’re having fun.
Enter Jack Black, super stud of ‘School of Rock.’ The interview is in classic Black style: spastic, without direction or censorship.
AP then proceeds to help readers find rarities with ‘AP-Bay.’ This section features the rarest records and merchandise from the likes of Weezer, The Used and The Bouncing Souls.
A couple pages later and we find an article dispelling myths about goth rock. After ‘Goth-damn’ sticks up for Scarling and Evanescence’s Amy Lee, AP gets on with their pride and joy articles, exploring how Thursday and Thrice manage to edge into the mainstream without compromising their freedom of expression.
Sandwiched between Thursday and Thrice are thorough interviews with the Distillers and Coheed and Cambria.
After ‘AP Record Store’ pawns all varieties of punk, indie and rock album recommendations to readers, the issue wraps with the ’10 Essential Devil’s Night Soundtracks’ in honor of Halloween. Black Sabbath and Morbid Angel top the list.
Even in its 18 years of existence, AP lacks the recognition it deserves. A cohesive publication that effectively unites rock, punk and all the subdivisions of alternative music, AP is also fun and informative without being intimidating or offensive.
By this, I mean AP is neither generic nor outrageous. It stands up for the bands you may or may not have heard of and just has fun with its subject matter.
Furthermore, there is something for everyone. AP features video game and movie reviews in addition to music and even addresses the gender gap with the AP Poll question, ‘Is Emo A Boy’s Club?’
For more information on AP, visit www.alternativepress.com.
Welcome to media that matters. Tune in next time; we’ve got plenty of alternative movie and music sources to explore. A teaser for something to look forward to: celebrity interviews, anyone?