Amy Wolff: I spent my teenage years listening to music and sneaking out of the house to see punk, hardcore and ska bands at the Trocadero in Philly, Spankys in East Stroudsburg, and abandoned warehouses around Pennsylvania. I photographed the bands playing, too, but it was always a choice. Enjoy the show or work the show.
Art played a huge role within my love for music. I collected album artwork, posters, flyers and zines. Small in size, self-published and generally free or a few dollars at most, zines were raw and unpolished, much like the music I liked at the time. Photocopied on plain white paper, folded in half, bound by staples, zines were distributed by hand at shows or purchased in indie music stores. Zines like riot grrrl covered and celebrated the feminist movement in music and society. Even Bust and Bitch began as zines. For a short time, my friend and I made a zine called “Nailbiter.” Without social media, these tangible objects were all I had to get an insider look and stay connected to the niche community I loved.
Rolling Stone, however, provided a much broader look at the music community. In the late 90s, this monthly, over-sized, 10”x12”, colorful, glossy, artfully designed magazine gave me news, gossip, in-depth story-telling and lots of photos. I had a love/hate relationship with the cover photography, but they were memorable. In 1998, David LaChapelle’s image of Madonna fully encapsulated her “Ray of Light” phase. I didn’t understand this phase of hers, but there it was. He got it.
RS had memorable ads, too. Think of the last magazine article you read? Do you remember any of the adjacent full-page ads? I remember paging through RS looking for Absolut Vodka ads. Developed by TBWA, that is one of the most iconic campaigns ever. I can still picture my young teenage self, sitting in my bedroom, flipping through the magazine dreaming of traveling the world shooting bands or producing ad campaigns and seeing my work in the pages of RS.