Let’s Read Rolling Stone, February 10, 1994!

Rolling StoneIt’s been around forever. It’s neither named for the band nor the Bob Dylan song, but at the same time it kind of is. That’s kind of all there is to it. What is there to say? It’s such an iconoclastic work of pop culture journalism that everyone feels their own connection to it, like Playboy and The Saturday Evening Post. You don’t even need to have read a single issue of it to know just how it reads, what it looks like, and what it means to make the cover. It felt like a big old gaping hole in this series to not have at least one issue of Rolling Stone, so this week we’re looking at Rolling Stone from February 10, 1994.

This issue’s condition is not great, but I got it and another issue of Rolling Stone for a dollar so I can’t complain. I’m breaking my own rule by featuring a magazine that has a full digital archive available by subscription, as I generally try to not feature stuff that is behind a paywall (like something stopped me from doing this four other times?), but what the heck.

“Revenge of the Nerd”. Now that’s an original cover line.

I believe this very hot Guess? model is Marcus Schenkenberg, but we know that I’m not great at identifying people in ads. An astute observer in the open thread that I posted this picture to said that he also looked like Jason Lewis from Sex and the City, which is also totally possible.

These guys are also alright, I…guess.

Philip Burke was Rolligng Stone‘s signature caricature artist for a decade. This is a portrait of Evan Dando, but I think you could be forgiven for mistaking it for Iggy Pop.

Honestly…this doesn’t look too bad? Although going by the trailer, I’m thinking that the actual amount of Shaq in the film is greatly exaggerated on the poster. The poster seems to be selling me a cheap cash-in vehicle for Shaq’s rising star, but the trailer is giving me a serious movie about the business of college athletics.

What kind of cryo-chamber does Alfre Woodard sleep in? The woman does not age.

“Cindy Crawford’s great and all, but we want more naked men on the cover! Preferably not pasty gross ones!” — the female readers have spoken.

Gathering of the Tribes is something organized by a group of hippies called The Rainbow Family of Living Light, which seems to be a lot like a far less commercialized Burning Man. “The Rainbow Tribe” is definitely something I heard a lot growing up, but I also grew up in a hippie mecca so I don’t know how aware of them others are.

This was placed directly facing the page where a thank you letter of support from the director of the Survivors of Sexual Abuse by Priests was published. Good job, Rolling Stone.

Are we never to be free of Todd Rundgren?

Depo-Provera had just become available in America in 1993. I suspect that it was heavily marketed to career women and women with established homes and families because it was expensive and not easily covered by health insurance. I was on Depo in college and had to pay for it out of pocket from Planned Parenthood, and that $75 every three months stung. Much like my arm, whenever I got the shot.

Oh, 90s mullet McCartney. Different from 80s mullet McCartney (mull-et-cart-ney…oh mist rolling in from the sea…).

“I hear Axl’s next tour is all courthouses.” Paul, you little sassypants.

Apparently the Beatles Anthology was supposed to be called The Long and Winding Road, which I think is a very nice title but in the end I’m glad they went with something a little less poetic and also less confusing with their existing works. Also this is just a guess, but George and Ringo were probably like “Could your song not be associated with hogging all the credit for everything we ever did as a group, please Paul, thaaanks love”.

A nice roundup of the top selling music of 1992. Guess what? Whitney Houston is an unstoppable all-chart-consuming monster.

I think this is Linda Evangelista. If it was Cindy, they’d have turned her to the other side to for maximum mole exposure.

I feel that there was some injustice done of not putting a mention of Doug Hopkins’ death on the cover. He may not have been an icon, but Gin Blossoms were kind of a big deal, weren’t they? I wonder if they got lots of angry mail about that in the next month’s issue. Mike Clarke should also merit more than an inset in someone else’s obituary page.

If you’re doing the math and starting to remember about some other things that happened in 1994, it might be falling into place that we’re about two months before the death of Kurt Cobain. At the moment, everything’s still set on grunge, but Weezer’s debut is coming in May and Definitely Maybe by Oasis is set for August, setting up Alternative Rock to stomp out the smoldering embers of Grunge. To put it mildly, 1994 was an extremely hectic, interesting, and tragically transitional year for music.

A little known loophole in a textile production law drafted in the early 90s resulted in a five year crisis of men’s suits being produced three times their normal size in an attempt to make up for the surplus of fabric. No, but seriously, why was everyone’s clothes so huge in this era? David Byrne here wouldn’t be overheating if his suit wasn’t big enough to fit three people in it!

Oh, hey Scott. This is going to be depressing, isn’t it.

Your “this is not 2018” moment: “If you had a gun and one bullet, who would you shoot?” What kind of a horrible question is that? (This interviewer went on to write and executive produce Criminal Minds)

Um, so, yeah let’s change the subject. Hi, Terence Trent D’Arby! You have the same tastes in music and literature that I did in freshman year of college. I mean, what an interesting and cool person you are. Don’t worry, soon you’re going to kind of lose your mind in a few years and you’ll get a bit more interesting at the cost of your mainstream career. I mean…Mozart, so good, right?

…were Bono and Sinead boning?

Ice Cube is rather loveable, isn’t he?

It must have been absolutely amazing to see Tom Waits do The Black Rider with Burroughs live.

Uh, the waiver that I have to sign before dental treatment that explicitly says I UNDERSTAND THAT REGULAR BRUSHING AND FLOSSING AT HOME IS NOT A REPLACEMENT FOR ROUTINE DENTAL CLEANINGS, for one thing.

I do not envy whoever is in charge of the brilliant plan to give people their money back based on…what, exactly? Do you need a signed letter from your dentist saying that your teeth still suck? To get the $3 you spent on toothpaste back? Good luck with that!

In comparison to our never ending waking nightmare that is the Trump administration, this article on Bill Clinton not living up to his promises to keep his cabinet diverse feels nitpicky and boring and god dammit that’s the way it should be. 1994: Oh, his office didn’t get back to you on his thoughts on Affirmative Action? Tsk tsk. 2018: THE VERY EXISTENCE OF AFFIRMATIVE ACTION IS CLINGING BY A THREAD. 1994: He hasn’t hired a person of color to chair the US Department of Labor’s Civil Rights division yet? 2018: I DON’T EVEN KNOW IF THAT EXISTS ANYMORE.

I would give anything for political coverage today where things are going so smoothly that we can hold up a microscope to the diversity of representation in the cabinet and consider it a high priority. Because it is a high priority, but we have to devote all of our energy into fighting more immediate things, like incarcerating immigrant children in cages and willfully destroying families while the president warmly salutes dictators.

I tried to look up who Clinton did end up hiring for those two director positions, and got that for Equal Employment Opportunity he did not hire a person of color. I couldn’t find who was the director of the US Department of Labor’s Civil Rights division to save my life, so whoever that was, I’m also going to hazard a guess that he did not hire a person of color for that either. Tsk tsk tsk.

But, uh, how about that solar powered live album? I heard it was recorded using some tin cans and string hooked up to one of those Boy Scout tin foil hot dog ovens.

Is your mullet underperforming? Now you too can have a mullet worthy of Paul McCartney!

Give a big hand to Mark Seliger, longtime Rolling Stone portrait photographer. Between this and the cover photo, he has done some amazing work here. My brain can’t handle Howard Stern looking so handsome. The Anne Rice Glampire look (and probably a metric ton of airbrushing) suits him remarkably well.

The article tries hard to humanize the man behind the persona, which comes out more sad than anything. If you want to read the whole thing there’s a nice transcript of it here.

This is my favorite part of the interview:

What if you did the TV show as a taped version of the radio show?
I don’t think that would be the answer. There’s a certain intimacy with radio that people like. They like that there’s not a camera on them. They tend to admit more and be more open. It would kill me if women came in and couldn’t be naked in the studio anymore. It just wouldn’t be right. I couldn’t get up in the morning.

So while that’s a great sentiment and all…by this time he would definitely have been in talks with E! to get the Howard Stern TV show off the ground, which would be announced just a few months after this was published. So either he was being real crafty about sending a message to the network about what kind of TV show he would agree to, or someone coughed up enough money to change his mind at the last minute.

Lord even knows how much time I spent listening to 30 second samples of all these albums at the listening stations at Wherehouse Music. RIP Wherehouse.

Send some to Evan Dando!

“I don’t want it”

Now this is going to shock a lot of you Generation X’ers, but I had literally no idea who the hell Evan Dando was before I read this issue. He may have been a household name among a certain generation of kids, but time (and major record labels who provide crucial promotional support) moves on fast. I grew up with my eyeballs glued to MTV starting around 1996, and if the TRL generation ever had a word to say about Evan Dando or The Lemonheads I certainly don’t remember it. I’m afraid the end of the “90s Pop Culture High Prom” is looming for the Prom King here.

The full and far easier to read interview can be found here. I bet the editors of Rolling Stone were punching holes through the walls over being scooped on Dando’s confession about crack pipes a few weeks earlier.

Evidently he couldn’t stop talking about drugs after all, which pretty much ended The Lemonheads.

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Guess I need to go buy that issue of Us off eBay and cry into it over the cruel ravages of time.

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This was a pretty uninteresting month for music releases, so among other things and bands long forgotten is a review of mediocre Phil Collins album. Don’t you all tear yourselves apart over it at once.

Blood of Abraham’s “big” song had a then-unknown guest rapper on it named Will 1x, who went on to become Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas. Make sure you crank your speakers up at work!

Aww! Wee baby Brian Regan!

Blehh.

This being February, it’s not a hot release month for movies, so the only movie here with any lasting legacy would be Romeo is Bleeding. Which seemed to really have scandalized Peter Travers here, but he also liked it, and well he should. It is a truly bonkers piece of cinema and probably blew anything else being reviewed here clear out of the water.

SO THAT WAS IT, MAN. 12,000 dollars in debt and zero actual job skills or credible academic references LATER, I was BACK staring at the LIZARDS on the FREEWAY and wondering for the first time, HOW DID A PLANE JUST PICK ME UP FROM THE FREEWAY like how is that POSSIBLE and isn’t that KIDNAPPING? I think something about this was TOTALLY BOGUS, MAN.

Back in my day our catalogs had catalogs!

If  you’re in the market for: babies, starting your own 900 number, a calendar, contact lenses, and a really weird t-shirt that declares your irrational hatred for dinosaurs, have we got the classifieds for you!

“Amazon Jungle Health Tours – all natural herbs used – all illnesses treated” What the hell does that mean?

I was all ready to dismiss this as being waaay less interesting than the sex classifieds at the back of the PC Magazines we’ve gone through, until…ECKANKAR? The fuck is ECKANKAR? That sounds cool! Is it a weird sex cult? Oh, it’s a boring new-age meditation cult founded by a boring white man in the 60s. Lame. You fail to titillate me, Rolling Stone.

Compared to today, things like music charts seem to move so glacially slow. Mariah Carey has the number one song and the number one album in the country, so why isn’t she in this issue at all (she didn’t even make the cover until 1998!)?

I never understood the point of being able to adjust the treble and bass of a cassette tape. It’s already been painstakingly mixed for you with the perfect levels of bass and treble as intended by the best music engineers in the world! And who are you trying to impress by having that on a WALKMAN? I don’t get it. The only thing I ever messed with on a Walkman was pushing down the fast-forward button halfway, so that it played your cassette in chipmunk voices.

 

Thank you for reading another week with me! Stuff from the 80s and 90s tends to make me feel a little grimy, and we’ve been in the 80s and 90s for a while now, so it’s time to go back to sticking your nose up high in the air and breathing in some drop-dead fabulous mink coats with the British high society lifestyle magazine Tatler, November 1960!

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