|This article relies on references to primary sources. (August 2013)|
|Editor in Chief||Jason Pettigrew|
|Publisher||Alternative Press Magazine, Inc.|
|Year founded||1985; 1988|
|First issue||June, 1985|
|Based in||Cleveland, OH|
Alternative Press is an American music magazine based in Cleveland, Ohio. It generally provides readers with band interviews, photos, information on upcoming releases, and music charts. It was founded in 1985 by Mike Shea, who is the current president.
Joe Scarpelli is the current general manager. Jason Pettigrew is editor in chief and Scott Heisel is managing editor.
The first issue of Alternative Press was simply a photocopied fanzine, distributed at concerts in Cleveland, Ohio beginning in June 1985 by AP's founder, Mike Shea. He disliked the music that was then being broadcast on radio stations and believed that bands playing underground music should be given more media coverage "all in the same spot", he said.
Shea began working on his first issue in his mother's house in Aurora, Ohio. Shea and a friend, Jimmy Kosicki, targeted the Cleveland neighborhood of Coventry. "I took my high school newspaper from Aurora High that looked nice and clean and offset print. I'd walk into these flower shops and Hallmark shops, and I'd say 'We're going to put out an entertainment publication, and it's going to be for kids and [the ad is] only $25.' And they'd look at my high school newspaper and say, 'It's really professional...' That's how we got enough money to make the first issue."
Financial problems plagued AP in its early years. Of the fledgling magazine's struggles in 1986, Shea said: "After the last few punk concerts we promoted that year failed to make any money to help finance the magazine, I had to start begging my mom for money to keep AP going: $1,500 here, $2,500 there. My mom was super-supportive of the whole endeavor, and she seemed to enjoy having a bunch of punkers over at all hours of the night putting together issues on her dining-room table and getting spray mount all over her nice tablecloths and on the carpeting, which resulted in our socks getting pulled off as we walked over it." However, by the end of 1986, publication had ceased due to its financial problems, not resuming until the spring of 1988.
Growth in the 1990s
With the growth of alternative rock in the early 1990s, circulation began to increase. AP's covers included bands such as Red Hot Chili Peppers and Soundgarden, prior to each band's mainstream success.
By 1994, the magazine was doing cover stories on Beastie Boys, Henry Rollins and Love and Rockets. Norman Wonderly, now the publisher, was credited by Shea as having "made most of these happen and the more Norman got what he wanted, the more artists wanted their cover shoots to look the way Norman wanted, and so on. It wasn’t always easy; there were some nasty phone calls exchanged between everyone, and there was always some publicist who wanted to give us one half-hour of shoot time so the artist could go shopping or some stupid thing. Did we sometimes protest too much? Maybe, but we were up against a lot; we were underfinanced and still underappreciated in some corners of the music business, so we had to fight scrappily and mean when it was called for. Nobody takes you seriously unless you take yourself seriously, and that’s what Norman brings to his position to this day."
At the time of its 20th anniversary in 2005, AP had grown to an average size of 112 pages per issue and now averages between 198 to 220-plus pages a month.
The magazine's monthly columns include "The AP Poll", "In the Studio", "AP&R (unsigned bands of the month)", "Chalkboard Confessional", "Musician of the Month", "My Favorite Gear", "Next Exit", "Gig Bag", "1000 Words", "Beauty and the Band", and "10 Essential."
The magazine has also sponsored a radio show aired on XM Radio, a podcast featuring in-depth discussions on various topics with people such as Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz and Kevin Lyman, and a compilation CD. AP is a major sponsor of Warped Tour, the Taste of Chaos tour, and its own "The AP Tour."
The magazine's CEO/founder is Mike Shea, with Joe Scarpelli as the general manager. The company is currently located in Cleveland, Ohio.