Page 71 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
P. 71

Jack Fritscher              Chapter 1                         53


                Strictly speaking, it is also noteworthy that in the dreamtime of Drummer
             pre-history (1971-1975), Embry had early on, two years before Barney exited
             The Advocate, also hired a “Ron Harris,” who left little or no DNA, as the
             first Los Angeles editor of H.E.L.P./Drummer in April 1973 while Embry
             was publishing that first chapbook “zine” and 32-page tabloid version of
             Drummer. Even earlier in 1971, wanting to expand his Leather Fraternity
             NewsLeather into entertainment coverage, he sketched out a magazine called
             Drumsticks which in 1975 became the fully fledged Drummer in which
             “Drumsticks” became a column featuring campy news items.
                In the village it took to raise a magazine, the one thing John Embry
             personally invented about Drummer was its title.
                Even his ambitious masthead tag line grasping for the gravitas of march-
             ing to Henry David Thoreau’s “different drummer” was shoplifted from
             Drum magazine.
                Coincidentally, at the very same time in New York, Andy Warhol’s
             Interview magazine was having its identity invented by its own Jedi Council
             of six parents led by its editor Bob Colacello who wrote about the group gen-
             esis of Interview in his insider biography Holy Terror: Andy Warhol Close Up.
                In Los Angeles, The Advocate, first named The Los Angeles Advocate,
             published by the Pride Foundation as its newsletter until 1968 when bought
             from Pride by Richard Mitch and Bill Rau, was also founded through its
             emerging period of more than seven years (1967-1974) by a cast of at least six
             characters: the founding publishers Richard Mitch (“Dick Michaels”), Bill
             Rau (“Bill Rand”), with artist Sam Allen, and Aristede Laurent, plus their
             all-important editor Rob Cole who professionalized the magazine’s charac-
             ter, and their columnist Jeanne Barney—as well as by Wall Street banker
             David Goodstein who bought Mitch and Rau out in 1974. Goodstein, fir-
             ing his inherited staff as “too radical,” changed, with his new staff, the form
             and content of The Advocate, and turned its editorial politics bourgeois and
             conservative.
                It took the competitive Embry only seven months after Goodstein
             bought  The Advocate in November, 1974, to rush his startup of glossy
             Drummer in June 1975. Envious of Goodstein’s growing media power at
             The Advocate, Embry purposely in San Francisco in November 1977—and
             at the expense of his cash-cow Drummer—dubbed his newest magazine
             with the mirror title The Alternate: What’s Happening in Your World. When
             the talented Rob Cole started his new magazine  NewsWest  (1975-1977)
             which became Dateline, he and Embry could come to no accord because of
             Embry’s fear of Cole’s strength as an editor who might outperform him. So
             Embry worked to destroy the competition and frequently bragged in early


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