Alternative Press

Alternative Press

Infobox Magazine
title = Alternative Press

image_size = 200px
image_caption = "Most Anticipated Albums of 2007" issue
editor = Jason Pettigrew
editor_title = Editor In Chief
frequency = Monthly
category = Alternative/Rock Magazine
company =
publisher = Alternative Press Magazine, Inc.
firstdate = June, 1985
country = USA
language = English
website = []
issn = 1065-1667|

"Alternative Press" (or commonly referred to on the website and in the magazine as AP) is an American music magazine based in Cleveland, Ohio which primarily focuses on pop punk, post-hardcore, indie rock, ska, hardcore and alternative rock and their attendant subgenres, providing readers with band interviews and photos, information on upcoming releases, and music charts. It was founded in 1985 by Mike Shea, who is the current president.

Norman Wonderly is publisher and Katherine Poecze is the general manager. Jason Pettigrew is editor in chief, Rachel Lux is managing editor, Scott Heisel is music editor, Tim Karan is associate editor.


The first issue of AP was just a photocopied fanzine, distributed at concerts in Cleveland beginning in June 1985 by AP's founder, Mike Shea, who disliked the music then broadcast on radio stations and believed that bands playing underground music should be given more media coverage "all in the same spot", he said.

Financial problems plagued AP in its early years. Of the fledgling magazine's struggles in 1986, Shea said: "After the last few punk concerts we promoted that year failed to make any money to help finance the magazine, I had to start begging my mom for money to keep AP going: $1,500 here, $2,500 there. My mom was super-supportive of the whole endeavor, and she seemed to enjoy having a bunch of punkers over at all hours of the night putting together issues on her dining-room table and getting spray mount all over her nice tablecloths and on the carpeting, which resulted in our socks getting pulled off as we walked over it." However, by the end of 1986, publication had ceased due to its financial problems, not resuming until the spring of 1988.

Growth in the 1990s

With the growth of alternative rock in the early 1990s, circulation began to increase. AP's covers included bands such as Red Hot Chili Peppers and Soundgarden, prior to each band's mainstream success. The magazine's first cover story on Nine Inch Nails in 1990 was said by Shea to be AP's "biggest-selling issue ever." Shea recalled getting a subscription order from "Spin" magazine publisher Bob Guccione, who wrote a note saying, “I enjoy your magazine tremendously, and at the risk of offending your alternative sensibilities, here’s a copy of the next issue, in which I wrote the cover story about Bon Jovi."

In 1991, Shea dissolved his partnership with Bobby Crist, in a dispute over Alternative Press' advertising and subscription sales agency at the time, Spectrum Media Group.

By 1994, the magazine was doing cover stories on Beastie Boys, Henry Rollins and Love And Rockets. Norman Wonderly, now the publisher, was credited by Shea as having "made most of these happen and the more Norman got what he wanted, the more artists wanted their cover shoots to look the way Norman wanted, and so on. It wasn’t always easy; there were some nasty phone calls exchanged between everyone, and there was always some publicist who wanted to give us one half-hour of shoot time so the artist could go shopping or some stupid thing. Did we sometimes protest too much? Maybe, but we were up against a lot; we were underfinanced and still underappreciated in some corners of the music business, so we had to fight scrappily and mean when it was called for. Nobody takes you seriously unless you take yourself seriously, and that’s what Norman brings to his position to this day."


Throughout its history, Alternative Press has featured many varied bands on its covers such as Gym Class Heroes, blink-182, Radiohead, Veruca Salt, Rage Against the Machine, L7, No Doubt, Weezer, Nine Inch Nails, Soundgarden, AFI, Blaqk Audio, Every Time I Die, From First to Last, Head Automatica, Paramore, and the Insane Clown Posse (who appeared on the cover of multiple issues)

Over the years, Alternative Press has supported a number of unknown new groups who have gone on to mainstream success, such as Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance, The All-American Rejects, Panic! at the Disco, Brand New, Hawthorne Heights, The Used, Taking Back Sunday, Avenged Sevenfold, Coheed and Cambria, and others. The magazine was the first national music publication to put Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails, Smashing Pumpkins and other alternative-rock icons on its covers.

At the time of its 20th anniversary in 2005, AP had grown to an average size of 112 pages an issue and now averages between 198 to 220-plus pages a month.

Critics such as David Thorpe, a music reviewer at the Something Awful website, have accused AP of pandering to the "Hot Topic crowd", while some have said that it has become more like its main competitors, "Rolling Stone" and "Spin" magazines. However, others retort that those magazines are actually adapting more to AP's style, citing as evidence recent cover stories by those publications on Fall Out Boy, Panic! At The Disco and My Chemical Romance – all three bands which AP discovered and first broke on a national level.

The magazine's monthly columns include:
*"The AP Poll"
*"In The Studio"
*"AP&R (Unsigned bands of the month)"
*"Chalkboard Confessional"
*"Musician Of The Month"
*"Gig Bag"
*"1000 Words"
*"10 Essential"

Its annual feature issues include "Most Anticipated Albums of the Year", which provides information about bands and their upcoming albums, and "100 Bands You Need To Know", informing readers of new bands and artists expected to become popular.

The magazine has also put its name on a radio show aired on XM Radio, a podcast featuring in-depth discussions on various topics with people such as Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz and Kevin Lyman, and a compilation CD. AP is a major sponsor of Warped Tour, the Taste of Chaos tour, and has started its own, aptly named "The AP Tour."


* [,-Circa-Survive,-As-Tall-As-Lions,-Envy-On-The-Coast&id=22 Alternative Press Tour '07 article in Redefine Magazine]

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