Happy Anniversary to Us!
Can you believe that it’s been 27 years since our beloved Founding Editor Lisa E Sullivan produced the very first issue of her dream fan-zine on a small typewriter in her bedroom and then hand-drew in the original masthead with a magic marker? She ran off a bunch of copies of the two-page First Edition, stapled them together, and handed them out to her friends who were in bands. From these humble beginnings arose what would go on to become one of the most powerful journalistic forces on the local music front of the time – Rivethead Magazine. From 1988 to 1993 we covered Houston music in a way that nobody else did, from the underground up. We actively sought out unknown bands and new talent, we sponsored concert bashes oftentimes for the benefit of charity or a worthy cause, our monthly show calendar soon became the go-to guide for what was happening around town on any given weekend, we began covering more and more national bands and big-arena shows, and eventually grew into a publication with a monthly circulation of 10,000 copies. Not bad by today’s standards, but if you think back to the limitations of the era in which we thrived, and working primarily within the 610 Inner Loop in Houston, that number is enormous.
Indeed, it is difficult to imagine how the Houston music scene of the later 80’s and early 90’s, a time generally agreed upon to have been golden for underground local hardcore, would have developed in the absence of Rivethead. Musicians and players from all the old-time bands will tell you that Rivethead was one of the most cohesive influences upon the entire scene. We made it possible to bands and artists to be exposed to one another, and to feed off (and sometimes upon) one another, to schedule shows together and we offered free promotion for those shows. We let you know what was hot and what was not, and provided access through interviews, reviews, and bad-ass photography to the common fan down in the pit. We were all things Metal, and more than a few that were not.
Most all of the credit for our early success must be laid directly at the feet of Lisa E Sullivan herself. This chick worked TIRELESSLY to put that inky rag on the stands around town every month, all this while holding a full-time waitressing job, and managed to build a legacy which still stands to this day, and to this month of our Anniversary. Much credit, too, is due to Gene Bartholomew and the late Joe Claytor, who were instrumental in those early days from transferring Rivethead from typewritten pages to an actual tabloid printed newspaper, introducing the first photographs and eventually adding color to our layouts and designs. Credit also must go to the local and national musicians of the time, who looked forward enthusiastically to seeing themselves or their musician friends written up in the latest issue. And lastly, credit must go to our readers, those who faithfully picked up Rivethead every month from the “free” rack at clubs, venues, and record stores, anywhere that Rivethead was available. If y’all hadn’t picked them up, if those stacks of papers would have sat there and eventually gone into the trash, then all the hard work of these three key people would have been for naught.
27 years have since gone by since that first issue, and Rivethead has changed greatly since the olden days. In fact, it’s not like we’ve been publishing or even active for most of that time. We sadly had to cease publication in 1993, ran a brief offshoot called “Riveted” for a few months but that too soon faded away. The name Rivethead was not heard again upon this Earth for the next almost 17 years, until in 2010 Lisa E decided to re-launch the brand as a Facebook page. She contacted me, Andrew C. Schlett, former staff member who at the time was living in Denver, Colorado, and asked if I would be interested in getting back involved. This whole story is laid out in my "(re)View From The Past" series of essays which you can find on the Editor’s Desk page, but suffice to say that as my association with the new Rivethead progressed it ultimately led me to moving back home to Houston and taking over as Editor/Owner directly from Lisa E herself. I am now the deed holder and Captain of this particular ship, I did not build this ship but it is mine to steer.
Circumstance, older age, unfamiliarity, lack of staff, all these things have combined to lead Rivethead in more of an Archival direction these days, at least in terms of our website. We continue to spotlight a pick show every month, and I strive to keep the Calendar reasonable full and comprehensive, but at the age of 51 I really no longer have the interest in (nor the stamina for) going out to shows every weekend, and so generally don’t. Most of my Rivethead time these days is spent scanning old back issues into the Archives, in hopes that they will be seen by those wishing nostalgia, or historical research, or the right to brag to their friends of their past glories. We do keep up with current bands, yes, both local and national, but we do so much more quietly now.
Our Facebook page remains somewhat active, chaired mainly by our own Wes Dodson, the man also responsible for almost all of our fantastic podcasts and the photojournalist behind the remarkable dead horse shoot at the reunion show in Warehouse Live, as well as numerous other contributory accomplishments. Rivethead would not be even half of what it is right now if not for Wes, and so I felt obliged to shout that good-buddy out here in this note.
A quick shout must also go out to the lovely and talented Wendy Jasper-Martinez. Another of our original staff members from back in the day, Wendy continues to contribute material, photographs, and interviews from her many and varied contacts within the metal world. Ranging everywhere from Adam Ant to Marilyn Manson, there is virtually nobody that Wendy doesn’t know in this business. Of all the original staffers at Rivethead, Wendy is the only one of us who went on to have an actual career at rock journalism; her portfolio and endless stories support this assessment.
In closing, let me again take the time to thank you, the reader, for helping us keep the name and legend of Rivethead Magazine alive. We do it entirely differently now than we used to, but we do it for the same unchanged reason: the simple and pure love of music. Because… the Music Matters.
Stay heavy, my friends.
Andrew C. Schlett
Editor, Rivethead Magazine
The Editor's Desk
BECAUSE THE MUSIC MATTERS!!!