THE ROCKET DAYS

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ROCKET's first issue (left), a collectors item. We had the unauthorized "pigs head" pictures (a fan sold them to us) plus "Blondie Nude." 

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The cluttered-cover lines were mandatory. Catch as many fans as possible with their fave's names. More girls bought, so GUY covers.

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I eventually interviewed all four members of KISS. Ace Frehley was the first. What did we have in common? The Bronx. 

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I got Billy Joel when "The Stranger" became his breakthrough album. One of my many "photos and interview" pieces. Hall & Oates was another.

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We had a creative art department. Not enough copy? They could stretch it with a clever layout. Carmine Fortunato and friends.

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First issue. We needed pix. I called myself Reid Brooker in the newspaper ad, to prioritize who was responding with pix like THESE.

ROCKET SMUT AND CONTROVERSY

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First issue. I found a photographer who had a familiar face in his portfolio. I bought both Debbie pix. A few skin mags used them, sans credit or $$$.

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I took photos as I interviewed Amanda Lear. The topless shot was from her album -- it got the issue banned in Australia. 

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My interview. John Michael Cox Jr., a gay photographer took the color shot. He insisted, "Andy, go topless, your teen female fans will LOVE IT." He did too.

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 How do you get EXCLUSIVE pix of Freddie? Send in your gay photographer who had the connections. John Michael Cox Jr. again.

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Harris Publications had a line of men's mags, and a friend of mine, Peter Dvrackas edited those. He oversaw ROCKET and we knew rudeness sells!

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Every issue boasted 16 color mini "posters." Yeah. "Pages." The photographer made it seem Andy Gibb had posed nude. No, no, no....

SOME ROCKET PAGES...

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ROCKET did get lots of top names. With Hall and Oates, I again doubled as interviewer and photographer (the color shot in Hall's apt.)

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Renaissance. I usually hired photographers to do concert pictures. Taking pix while doing the interview, was easy enough for me to do. 

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With 100 pages to work with, ROCKET covered a wide range of topics. I thought the new Christian rock labels deserved coverage. 

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I always had room for every type of rock. Dr. Hook sang it all: C&W, raunch, oldies, etc. I did take the concert photo bottom right.

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I gave 2-page breaks to newcomers (Katy Moffatt, City Boy etc.), and to creative talents I admired, including eccentric genius Andy Pratt.

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We had several opening pages of news and oddness, including a photo of Marie Prevost's corpse (Nick Lowe's song was...newsworthy).

THE JOHN LENNON TRIBUTE MAGAZINE

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The 70's ended and so did ROCKET magazine.  I continued to freelance with music interviews, record reviews and articles, as well as other types of writing. I got a call around 11:30 pm on the miserable night of December 8th, 1980. I was asked to do, with 72 hours, a tribute magazine on John Lennon. I had deep misgivings about something commercial. Still, I knew I could do it in good taste, a portion of the profits were going to go to charity, and I really needed the occupational therapy. I hadn't worked for this publisher before, so it was a whole new staff and art department. This was pre-Internet and basically everything came out of my own head, and from the tons of clippings and books that I'd collected as a Beatles and Lennon fan. Someone at the office said, "This is gonna be a huge seller," and I instantly walked out the door. They had to run down the hallway to get me. I returned, but I said, "Do NOT say anything like that to me again." The magazine seemed be received well, and we got a lot of fan mail. The publisher handed me a roll of stamps and asked me to reply to each one, which I did. I took a photo of the front and back cover, but I haven't actually flipped through the tribute magazine since it was published. 

A while later, I was offered the opportunity to be the "music editor" for OUI magazine, It involved taking photos, doing record reviews and interviews. As I did with ROCKET, I wanted to give some space to deserving singer-songwriters and quirky performers, not just superstars. So my fondest memories tend to be the interviews I did with Martin Briley, Mari Wilson and similar types. I also wrote pieces for other men's magazines that needed "redeeming social content." Some of it you'll find below. Although yeah, it was nice talking to some of the era's hot rockers, including Lita Ford. I'd been focusing on rock for a long time, and in the 80's, the music was getting...let's say...slightly shitty. I changed course, and my next editorship would be RAVE, the Playbill of the comedy club world.

Music Editor at OUI + VELVET etc.

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Interviews with Greg Kihn and Bryan Adams, typical of my monthly work as music editor for OUI. 

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Sparks interview, and a piece on the new trend in odd-looking and sounding rockers. Yes, I took the photos of Ms. Bow Wow Wow and Mari Wilson

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Yes, my photo of Elton John. I also took the photo of Annie Lennox for a record review I did. Top half is a Lita Ford interview that ran in OUI.

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An oddball men's mag, "Velvet Talks" featured a flexi-record in each issue. For "social value" I was around talking to Genya Ravan, and here Tim Curry

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I think this was also in Velvet Talks (I only saved tearsheets for hundreds of items I wrote, so I'm not always sure) My photos and yes, early morning drinking!

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Nick Lowe interview cont.. I had a record review/interview page in another men's mag of the day, but soon these mags were ALL girly-pix and no text. Bye, me. On to RAVE.