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New GearCast Episode – Jim Crockett Interview

Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Jim Crockett, the former Editor and President of Guitar Player magazine.  Jim has recently release a memoir of his time at Guitar Play entitled Guitar Player: The Inside Story of the First Two Decades of the Most Successful Guitar Magazine Ever.

Unlike other memoirs I have read from the music industry, Jim’s book isn’t about name dropping, in fact, it’s the complete opposite.  The book tells the stories of the people who made Guitar Player what it is.  Columnists, photographers, layout designers, and even early advertisers, all worked with Jim, and his daughter, Dara, to piece together the story of how Guitar Player came to be.  Now don’t get me wrong, many great guitarist are included, but they compliment the story instead of overshadowing it.

I truly enjoyed this read on two levels.  First as a guitarist, it was great seeing old covers I remember from my earlier days (I even have a few of those old copies on my shelf).  Second as a marketer, I love seeing the mutual respect Jim had with many of the biggest names in the industry and it’s truly fascinating to read how they worked together to build the publication and their brands.  On top of that, I love “vintage” ads… Not as much as I love vintage guitars, but close.

Possibly the most fascinating part of the book for me was reading about the grassroots movements used to bring a small country & folk magazine to the forefront of rock and roll.

In the interview, Jim recounts a great story of getting Gibson to fund a full color add on the back cover which meant the entire cover would be in color.  He ended his story by saying,“…all of the sudden we looked better than we were and the industry accepted that and the advertisers started coming in.”   It truly is a story of, in today’s terms, going viral two decades before the internet existed.

If you’re a guitarist and have ever picked up a copy of Guitar Player, this will be an enjoyable read for you.  You can pick up a copy on Amazon here.

You can hear the interview in its entirety below.

About the author

Tim Hemingway

I want to be a rockstar when I grow up, at least that is what I have been putting down as my career goal ever since I was first introduced to the Beatles at 11 or 12 years old. Shortly after my introduction to the Fab Four, I picked up an old classical guitar and started learning every Beatles song I could. It was right around that time that the nickname "GuitarGuy" Tim originated. While I don't remember the exact origin, it was basically how kids at school differentiated me from the other 4 or 5 Tims in our class. Starting in Jr. High, with an arsenal of Weezer and Green Day covers, my friends and I began "performing". Over the next 10 years I played guitar or bass in various alternative, punk and acoustic bands. Somewhere mid-way through college I realized that although I had the desire to be a rockstar, maybe I didn't have the songwriting abilities, so I moved my passion for music behind the console. I then spent several years working in a studio by day, and at night running everything from local concerts to community musicals. Without all of the boring details, my studio work eventually led me into advertising and marketing which is what I now do during the day. But when I come home at night, I still pull out my guitar and put on concerts for my kiddos (I’m raising up the next generation of Guitar Gods). I met up with the Rev while I was in grad school and was working on my thesis: Turn it up to Eleven: A Study of Guitar Hero and Rockband gamers. Why they play and how marketers can use this information. Yes, it is true. I have several academic publications about Guitar Hero. At that time in my life I had decided to pursue a career in marketing within the music industry, but the Rev had a better idea. He gave me a shot at reviewing gear, and ever since then I have been a regular here as part of the Live2playNetwork dysfunctional-family. When it comes to music, I'm a jack of all trades. While I'm not an expert at anything, in a pinch I can play guitar, bass, drums, sing, or I can mic up the drum kit, edit in Pro Tools, or solder up a new patch cable.

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