WITH THAT SAID: i understand and often agree with the sentiments and gripes which seem to dominate any conversation regarding jann wenner's rock n' roll baby. "it's irrelevant. we get it, rolling stone, you got a major hard-on for bob dylan and bruce springsteen. write about someone else who's, uh, releasing SOMEthing this year." "they put the girls from the hills on the cover. THE HILLS. are they fucking serious?" "whatever dude i just read pitchfork." i've piped up in the defense of rolling stone in several of these interactions: i was just as nauseated as the last person when i saw frilly panty-clad heidi montag and lauren conrad posing a pillow fight tableau on the cover of RS, but jason gay's story was a compelling commentary on american consumerism and entertainment and how definitions of fame, fortune, talent and the core of creativity have changed. i don't agree with half of pitchfork's reviews and rarely read it, though i will concede that they trump RS with their incredible online presence and self-imposed authority on live acts and independent music in the united states. you can bitch and moan and complain about how rolling stone has lost touch with its initial mission and how editorial judgement may or may not have determined the death sentence for the iconic magazine, but you can't deny that it's still there. i maintain that jenny eliscu is one of the most talented writers to ever hit the masthead over there and i think that austin scaggs is capable of relating to musicians and fans from all walks of life and that vanessa grigoriadis works like a dog to get an expose out. you can't deny that. rolling stone is rolling fucking stone and that's just it, man.
where's this all going? while i was still at RS the decision had been made that the magazine would shrink from its standard tabloid pages to a smaller more eco-friendly size. kudos, RS, right? i was kind of bummed about the size change, but i got it and applauded them for the change. fast forward to this week, where i picked up the new issue with kings of leon on the cover and noticed this:
i don't know if you can see this from the picture, but it's FUCKING. TINY. the latest issue clocks in at a measly 74 PAGES. it's smaller than current issues of people magazine, for christ's sake. and BOB DYLAN, AGAIN, gets the first headline on the cover. there's good stuff in there, don't get me wrong, but rolling stone, 74 PAGES?! you're a biweekly! is there some huge issue coming up in the near future that's required more editorial attention? i don't get it. this is the magazine that discovered annie liebowitz, revolutionized the interview and transported readers from the couches in their living rooms to the dressing rooms, hotel lobbies and stage doors that were passed through by the most notable musical acts in modern american history. it makes me really sad to think that this magazine that i've loved so much is slowly disintegrating before my very eyes.