Page 263 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
P. 263

Jack Fritscher              Chapter 9                        245

             Old Reliable, Rowberry obsessed on Old Reliable. He stuffed his magazines
             with Hurles’ photos and mail-order ads which, of course, made Old Reliable
             happy, but editorially made Rowberry seem unable to attract other photog-
             raphers and, especially, other advertisers who resented that they had to pay
             for the kind of coverage that Hurles received free from Rowberry’s obvious
             insider trading for mail-order ads.
                In a completist bibliography covering the early 1980s, I wrote several
             interview-articles of Mizer and Hurles which I intended for Drummer, but
             which were published instead in various magazines such as Skin: “AMG
             Duos: Who’s Who in American Chicken, Veal, and Beef,” Skin 2 #5, 1981,
             page 20; “Old Reliable: The Company Dirty Talk Built,” Skin 2 # 5, 1981,
             page 30; and “Beauty and Terror: The Art and Trash of Old Reliable,”
             Skin 4 #3, 1983, page 10; and “Terror Is My Only Hardon: Old Reliable
             Speaks,” Man2Man Quarterly, Issue 8, October 1981, pages 24-32. German
             publisher Marco Siedelmann reprinted these Old Reliable articles as back-
             ground  introducing my twenty-first century biographical essay,  “David
             Hurles: Rough-Trade Director, Eyewitness Life inside Old Reliable Studio,”
             in the book, California Dreamin’: West Coast Directors and the Golden Age of
             Forbidden Gay Movies (2017).
                While Hurles and Rowberry and I were otherwise employed fill-
             ing magazines rivaling Embry, for the twenty-four months of 1984-1986,
             Drummer was dying.
                Blackballed by Embry, I was an eyewitness watching from a distance,
             and listening to the confessions of disgruntled Drummer staff, as well as of
             dissatisfied artists, writers, and photographers, and even of angry subscribers.
                Instead of  Schadenfreude, I put my energies into transferring my
             Drummer vision to other magazines and to my boutique fetish studio, Palm
             Drive Video.
                In terms of timeline, Rowberry, trying to save himself, had deserted
             the sinking ship of Drummer several times. Having left in early 1984, he
             rejoined Embry in late 1985 until DeBlase, the new buyer of Drummer,
             insisted that Rowberry had to be fired if the magazine were to be purchased.
             Embry cheerfully sold his “slave” Rowberry downstream in his desperation
             to unload the magazine that had become the content-impaired victim of
             Embry’s own exclusionary Blacklist.
                For his part, when Embry dumped  Drummer  on Tony DeBlase in
             1986, he revealed where his heart lay. He sold the magazine, but he did not
             sell his main business interests in his “Leather Fraternity,” in his Alternate
             Publishing, and in his mail-order company, Alternate/Wings Distributing.

               ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 03-16-2017
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