Page 275 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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Jack Fritscher              Chapter 10                       257

                was an incredible expression of free speech and that is why the
                LAPD practically tar-and-feathered John Embry to get him to flee
                LA for San Francisco. Love, George

                The Drummer curse, from the 1970s through the 1990s, devastated
             those who owned it or claimed they owned it. Even though Embry had sold
             Drummer in 1986, he suffered seller’s remorse. When the young Midwestern
             blond Robert Davolt showed up in San Francisco to work as proxy for the
             Dutchman Martijn Bakker who had bought  Drummer  from DeBlase,
             Embry astutely judged that he could manipulate Davolt in San Francisco
             against the absentee Bakker in Amsterdam to his own advantage. Portraying
             himself as Drummer Incarnate, Embry cosied up to the ambitious Davolt
             and turned him into a double-agent who could work for the faraway Dutch
             owner while feeding Embry private business information which included
             handing over to Embry whatever manuscripts, art, and photographs were
             stored in Drummer’s treasure-chest of neglected filing cabinets. Proof of
             collusion lay in the fact that the minute the well-rehearsed Davolt was fired
             by Bakker, Embry hired him to edit his Super MR magazine.
                Embry was desperate to create a new “Franken-Drummer”magazine by
             reanimating Drummer. Damn the rights, he wanted whatever backlog of
             material that Davolt smuggled out from Drummer to help fill his Super MR.
             Because I was not one of the dead Drummer contributors whose grave he
             could rob, he came directly to me, which pained him dearly, to ask permis-
             sion to publish in Super MR fiction and features that twenty-five years before
             I had written for Drummer. He was intent on returning to our mutual roots.
             So I consented to his republishing my original 1977 through 1979 writing
             because I think supporting gay publishing and history is more important
             than anyone’s grudge against anyone. Embry knew I was faithful to the
             pure idea of Drummer, but more, he knew that after nearly thirty years I,
             with Jeanne Barney, was one of only a few survivors of early Drummer, and
             the only founding author who would have anything to do with him. I’m
             sure his rosacea face broke into red bloom when, a survivor himself, he had
             to acknowledge that I was the last living of his original Drummer writer-
             photographers as well as his editor-in-chief who had, during his cancer,
             steered the concept of Drummer to its first national fame. In his “Getting
             Off” editorial in Drummer 83 (March 1985), he had sniped like a dumped
             lover about our then eight-year-long relationship with spinning animosity:

                We had an editor [Fritscher] some years back who still refers to
                the time he spent with us as “The Golden Age of Drummer.” We

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