I am thrilled that New Jersey’s Aquarian/Arts weekly has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!
Aquarian debuted in 1969, but I discovered it when I was a teenager, circa 1980. I’d walk to the Quick Check across the street from my high school to buy the magazine when I was 16 or 17 to see what bands were playing. Not that the information did me any good, as we didn’t have “all ages” shows back then. So, the big thing, for me, was seeing what bands were in record stores signing autographs, or performing at Great Adventure.
Other than getting music news, the Aquarian played a role in my career — on a few levels. It was the first newspaper to ever publish a letter that I wrote. At age 17, I trashed another letter writer who put down punk rock. My letter had to be at least 500 words (hand-written, as there were no home computers for the middle class in 1981) because it took up an entire column! I defended punk rock and told the world that teenage girls knew that The Clash stood for much more than “Mick Jones is so cute.” And what great people The Plasmastics were because they were so loyal to their fans.
When I was 19, I started designing crossword puzzles by hand (the American Society of Mechancial Engineers later published one in their newsletter). Again — by hand — because there were no home computers to do these things on. While my idea for a rock ‘n’ roll crossword puzzle was declined back then (they later had someone else do them!) I got to speak on the phone with the founder, James Resinbrink, pitching my idea!
By age 28, I made it in the Aquarian again. This time, it was modeling for a Fender guitar promotion ad for Long & McQuade Music (a Canadian music chain, and the only store in the U.S. was in New Jersey!)
I was dressed in a black teddy, in the best shape of my life, with cherry red lipstick, and the headline to the ad read, “How Would You Like to Take This Baby Home?” And in a subhead, underneath, “Of course we mean the guitar!” Ooh-la-la!
Friends that I haven’t heard from in years called me up to say how “killer” that ad was!
A few years later, my friend, actor, Scott Schiaffo, had a feature in the Aquarian because he was the Chewlies man in Kevin Smith’s film “Clerks.” During this time, 1994 (I was 30), I was on a compilation tape with Scott, called, “See It Feel It Hear It Vol. 1.” I read my own poetry, with Scott playing guitar in the background. Scott promoted this tape in his article and once again, my name was in print in The Aquarian.
And finally, in 2002, at age 39, I had my own goth column in the Aquarian! I got to interview amazing people like: The Nuns, Diamanda Galas and Lydia Lunch!
During that time period I also did CD reviews and part-time copy-editing for The Aquarian.
The goth column was a short run, but I didn’t mind because I was working full time at another newspaper and also deejaying in NYC.
Who knows if I’ll ever be a part of The Aquarian again. It’s not something I’m actively pursuing, as I’m pretty burnt out on writing about music since during my career I’ve also written for music.com, Punk Magazine (which is also in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame) and participated in a column called “On That Note” for The Montclair Times.
There may have been more things of significance with my involvement with the Aquarian that I’m forgetting due to the fact that just so much that has always been going on in my life.
But, wow, I’m so happy that a music newspaper from New Jersey, that played a role in my life made it big time!
My husband and I will save the special pull-out section, as an ad for his 1980s band, Pharoah is also in there!