|Publisher||Wasted Talent Ltd|
|First issue||6 June 1981|
Kerrang! is a UK-based magazine devoted to rock music, currently published by Wasted Talent (the same company that owns electronic music publication Mixmag). It was first published on 6 June 1981 as a one-off supplement in the Sounds newspaper. Named after the onomatopoeic word that derives from the sound made when playing a power chord on a distorted electric guitar, Kerrang! was initially devoted to the new wave of British heavy metal and the rise of hard rock acts. In the early 2000s it became the best-selling British music weekly.
Kerrang! was founded in 1981. The magazine commenced publication on 6 June 1981 and was edited by Geoff Barton, initially as a one-time supplement in the Sounds newspaper, which focused on the new wave of British heavy metal phenomenon and on the rise of other hard rock acts. Angus Young of AC/DC appeared on Kerrang!'s first cover. Launched as a monthly magazine, Kerrang! began to appear on a fortnightly basis later, and in 1987 it went weekly. The original owner was United Newspapers who then sold it to EMAP in 1991.
During the 1980s and early 1990s the magazine placed many thrash and glam metal acts on the cover (like Mötley Crüe, Slayer, Bon Jovi, Metallica, Poison, and Venom) but later discarded them when grunge acts such as Nirvana rose to fame. Readers often criticise the magazine for repeating this process every time a new musical trend becomes popular.
The term "thrash metal" was first referred to in the music press by Kerrang! journalist Malcolm Dome while making a reference to the Anthrax song "Metal Thrashing Mad" in issue number 62, page 8 published on 23 February 1984. Prior to this Metallica's James Hetfield referred to their sound as power metal.
Kerrang!'s popularity rose again with the hiring of editor Paul Rees circa 2000 when the nu metal genre, featuring bands including Limp Bizkit and Slipknot were becoming more popular. Rees went on to edit Q magazine and former Kerrang! reviews editor Ashley Bird was appointed editor from 2003 to 2005. Following his departure, Paul Brannigan took over as editor in May 2005.
With the emergence of emo and metalcore, Kerrang! began to heavily feature this musical trend. The revamp was not welcomed by all readers and many complaints were received about Kerrang!'s sudden emphasis on emo and metalcore music. However, following this change, Brannigan took the magazine into its most commercially successful period with a record ever ABC for the title of 80,186 copies.
In 2008, EMAP sold its consumer magazines to current owner Bauer Media Group. Brannigan left Kerrang! in 2009 and Nichola Browne was appointed editor. She later stepped down in April 2011. Former NME features editor and GamesMaster deputy editor James McMahon was appointed as editor on 6 June 2011.
In April 2017, Bauer sold Kerrang! magazine, its website, and the K! Awards to Mixmag Media, publisher of dance monthly Mixmag, along with assets related to defunct style magazine The Face, which Mixmag plans to relaunch as a digital-first title. It is suggested that the new owners will relaunch Kerrang! as a monthly title. Bauer will retain ownership of Kerrang! Radio and the Box Plus Network will continue to operate Kerrang! TV as before.
In March 2018, following a magazine redesign, Kerrang! announced it would be expanding to the United States, with an office in New York run by Ethan Fixell. The goal would be to generate US-centric content, events, and brand partnerships.
Kerrang!'s website, www.kerrang.com, was launched in summer 2001 by Dan Silver. Kerrang!'s parent company Emap acquired the domain name from a Norwegian cybersquatter by the name of Steingram Stegane for a token sum of £666.
Kerrang!'s website is dedicated to finding out more information to do with the magazine and also the latest information on the current bands and upcoming events. The website hosts Kerrang!'s online shop, podcasts, message board, TV and radio segments ensuring even more opportunities to sell associated merchandise and products. In 2001, Kerrang! launched its own online forum with the "rants and raves" section taking up most of the traffic. Though initially extremely popular, the number of users began to peter out around 2005 with the number of people online dropping to as low as 10 when previously it had been closer to the 100 figure.
Since 1993, the magazine has held an annual awards ceremony to mark the most successful bands in the interests of their readers. The awards became one of Britain's most recognised events by the now defunct Guinness Book of British Hit Singles & Albums, often listing some of the winners in their annual round-up of the previous year. The event is presented by major music celebrities, with many others outside the industry who attend the event.
After a year hiatus, the Awards were relaunched in 2018, with notable guests that included Johnny Depp, Joe Perry, Tony Iommi, Corey Taylor, and Dave Grohl, among many others.
In 2000, EMAP launched Kerrang! as a digital radio station, across the United Kingdom. This was principally a 'jukebox' station, playing a back-to-back sequence of rock and alternative music. On 10 June 2004, Kerrang! 105.2 was launched as a regional radio station in Birmingham with an advertising campaign by London-based creative agency ODD. The radio had a number of specialist programmes dedicated to the many subgenres of rock music. The radio output included interviews with those affecting popular culture and society as well as those involved with music. It stopped broadcasting on FM as of 14 June 2013 and once again became a digital station, with listeners able to tune in on DAB or the Kerrang! Radio app. With this broadcasting change came a move in Kerrang! Radio's offices from Birmingham to London. Absolute Radio is now broadcasting on its FM frequency.
In 2001 EMAP launched Kerrang! TV. As with the radio station, the television channel covers the more mainstream side of the rock music as well as classic rock bands including Aerosmith and AC/DC, and classic heavy metal bands such as Guns N' Roses and Metallica. Kerrang TV is now a joint venture between Bauer Media Group and Channel 4.
The Kerrang! Tour ran from 2006 to 2017. The line-up for each year was usually announced in October of the previous year and was held throughout January and February of the following year. Relentless Energy Drink sponsored the Kerrang! Tour for several years. It is currently unknown if the tour will ever be revived.
- 2006, featured Bullet for My Valentine, Hawthorne Heights, Still Remains and Aiden.
- 2007, featured Biffy Clyro, The Bronx, The Audition and I Am Ghost.
- 2008, featured Coheed and Cambria, Madina Lake, Fightstar and Circa Survive.
- 2009, sponsored by Relentless Energy Drink from this year; featured Mindless Self Indulgence, Dir En Grey, Bring Me the Horizon, Black Tide and In Case of Fire.
- 2010, featured All Time Low, The Blackout, Young Guns and My Passion. Jettblack were added for two dates at the London Roundhouse at the end of the tour.
- 2011, featured Good Charlotte, Four Year Strong, Framing Hanley and The Wonder Years.
- 2012. The tour lasted from 5 to 17 February. It featured New Found Glory, Sum 41, letlive. and While She Sleeps. On 20 January 2012 it was revealed that Sum 41 had been unfortunately forced to pull out due to frontman Deryck Whibley who had suffered a back injury and was not well enough to perform for the duration of the tour, they were replaced by The Blackout who had previously played on the 2010 tour.
- 2013, featured Black Veil Brides, Chiodos, Tonight Alive and Fearless Vampire Killers. It was an 11-date tour which ran from 3–15 February, with the 6th and 11th being days off. William Control was a guest DJ and also appeared alongside Black Veil Brides on 2 songs; Shadows Die and In the End.
- 2014, featured Limp Bizkit, Crossfaith, Nekrogoblikon and Baby Godzilla.
- 2015, featured Don Broco, We Are the in Crowd, Bury Tomorrow, Beartooth and Young Guns.
- 2016. On 29 September the headliner for the eleventh Kerrang! tour was revealed to be Sum 41. In an interview with Kerrang, frontman Deryck Whibley stated that "After a three-year break, we're honoured that our first tour back is the Kerrang!" The tour featured Sum 41, Roam, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes and Biters.
- 2017, featured The Amity Affliction, Boston Manor, Vukovi, and Casey.
The K! Pit
The Kerrang! Tour did not take place in 2018. In that year, however, the magazine launched a new gig concept known as 'The K! Pit', where the magazine promotes a free gig for a popular band in a tiny London venue, with fans gaining access by applying for tickets and being selected at random in a competition-style draw. Artists featured so far include Parkway Drive, Enter Shikari and Neck Deep, the latter performance coinciding with the 2018 Kerrang! Awards where Neck Deep would win 'Best Song'. Performances are also streamed on the Kerrang Facebook page before being uploaded to YouTube at a later date.
The Official Kerrang! Rock Chart
In March 2012, Kerrang announced a new weekly rock chart for the UK which is based upon airplay across Kerrang Radio, Kerrang TV, and specialist rock radio stations, as well as sales figures from the Official Charts Company. The chart is printed in the magazine every week, contains twenty tracks, and often features accompanying facts or artist quotes for some of the tracks. The official Kerrang Spotify profile also features a playlist of the tracks on the chart and is updated every Wednesday. The chart was formerly announced on Saturday mornings on Kerrang! Radio and could be viewed online every Saturday at midday. The chart would also be shown on Kerrang! TV on Thursdays at 4pm.
Emap launched Kerrang! Australia in the late 1990s. Unlike its weekly counterpart in the UK, the Australian edition was published monthly due to stiff competition from free local music publications. Kerrang! is also published in Spanish and German. Kerrang announced its aim to expand into the US in March 2018.
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