Trouser Press Magazine Archive
Trouser Press magazine published a total of 95 issues between 1974 and 1984. They’ve all been scanned and posted here. The contents are searchable within each issue. Click here for an index of every review, article, column, flexi-disc and news item that ever appeared in the magazine.
TOTP 1, March 1974
Well, we had to start somewhere.
Dave Schulps and Ira Robbins, two New York City Who freaks who met in high school, met former Brooklyn College newspaper editor and Jeff Beck fanatic Karen Rose in the summer of 1973 and decided to start a fanzine. Our primordial idea of grassroots marketing, at least for the first issue, was to select the articles and cover lines based on the upcoming New York concert schedule: Crimso and Rory both had shows in town in March, so we wrote about them in the first issue and then — on March 9, 1974 — hit the streets for the first time, hawking 400 copies hand-collated and stapled from pages printed on a mimeograph machine and a Kwik Kopy shop for the cover. (In the years since, copies of this issue have been known to change hands for more than the cover price!) Kudos to our first art director, Barbara Wolf, for the hand-lettered logo and headlines.
TOTP 2, May 1974
We hadn’t exactly planned on making a habit of this, but bulging pockets full of quarters was all the encouragement we needed to produce a second issue. Doubling the cover price, we printed 500 copies this time, expecting to sell most of them outside a week-long engagement in New York by Mott the Hoople (hence the M.C. Escher illustration copied from the cover of the band’s first album). Sales were disappointing (so much for understanding price points), so we changed course and moved downtown to work outside a Genesis concert. Then there was a King Crimson show at the Felt Forum — at which one of our volunteer vendors was arrested for peddling without a license. Freedom of the (Trouser) Press nearly ended there, but we survived to carry on.
TOTP 3, June 1974
Guess Who’s on the blue cover for the second out of our first three issues? Still no interview, but a nifty caricature by Marc Nadel (a big star at the time, he did it because he was a friend of Karen’s) added class to a 30-page “super special issue” (all Kwik Kopy printed, with no record reviews but a rave about Peter Frampton by Karen to offset the boys’ Who-centrism) scheduled to coincide with the band’s first New York shows in three years. It was a busy week. In addition to attending all the concerts, we handed a copy to Pete Townshend on his way into a record company party we couldn’t get into. Ira and Dave proudly waved copies in front of John Entwistle and Keith Moon, with whom they wangled an afternoon’s drinking. (TP paid!) Both musicians expressed annoyance at the cover cartoon: Entwistle for his small stature, Moon for his nose.
TOTP 4, July/August 1974
We hadn’t exactly settled into a stable publishing schedule yet — this 40-pager dated July/August (actually published in early August) came out August 3rd in. (In our first year, we published in March, May, June, July/August and October/November. Trouser Press was nonetheless gathering a bit of momentum, with some retail distribution and a print run around 1,000.
Inside, Karen got to share her fandom for Jeff Beck, while her pal Ben Richardson continued to detail the Yardbirds’ intricate history in the second part of his opus.
The staples prove what a grassroots operation we were. Doing that for 500+ copies was hard on the hands.
TOTP 5, October/November 1974
The cover story was the result of a month’s sojourn in London by co-founder Ira Robbins (those are his blurry black and whites of Roger Ruskin Spear you see here). Dave contributed a Ron Wood Q&A, and Kathy Miller added a piece on the Maels. Starting with this issue, we adopted an intentionally enigmatic (and endlessly confusing) slogan, twitting Creem: “America’s Only British Rock Magazine” (replacing the less pungent “For the Rock Consumer”). Production note from the 20th century: those bold headlines in the box had to be cut out and positioned, letter by letter.
TOTP 6, December 1974/January 1975
A snazzy cover photo of Robert Fripp (by Ron Gott) heralded the start of an exhaustive three-part history of King Crimson and other Fripperies by Ihor Slabicky. Now used to hobnobbing with the stars, we also got to Brian Eno. The most interesting part of his interview was a nude photo session. Playgirl magazine had asked him to pose for its centerfold, and he needed test shots — or so he told photographer Linda Danna. She still has the negatives, and Eno swore he’d break her lens cap if they ever saw print.
TOTP 7, February/March 1975
Evidence of an early production misadventure, this issue (as well as the two that followed) took us out of the hand-stapled realm by being printed and bound all in one by a firm that specialized in supermarket circulars and general incompetence. Nothing was centered or straight, the glue binding fell apart in the heat and the ink smudged like a cheap counterfeit bill. But we had a commercially produced logo (as opposed to hand-lettered) and a fine Animals article, by future Rolling Stone staffer David Fricke. Perhaps that inspired (or at least justified) the new cover price of 65 cents.
TOTP 8, April/May 1975
Linda Danna’s cover photograph of Marc Bolan (complete with batwings and double chin) looked a lot better before the printer from hell (actually, Coney Island, Brooklyn) subjected it to lithographic debauchery. Noteworthy (or so it seemed at the time) contents of issue eight — a witty Kathy Miller cover story (“Roly Poly Boly”) and the first American print coverage of Cockney Rebel and Dr. Feelgood.
The logo design began to downplay the first two words of the name, which was proving to be a design impediment and a mouthful.
By this point, Jim Green, Sue Weiner and Scott Isler had joined the magazine’s collective, thereby forming the core team of what was slowly mutating into a business.
TOTP 9, June/August 1975
The last hurrah for our worst printer and only the second issue of Trouser Press not to contain any record reviews, this one fairly well typifies our early editorial focus — with articles on British rockers with roots in the ’60s, progressive (Gong), pub rock (a Brinsley Schwarz profile that didn’t get cover linage) and the fun fringe of Americans like Sparks. There’s even a bit of coverage (“New York Notes”) of the bands in our backyard. Most startling quote of the issue, by Francis Rossi of Status Quo in reply to a humble guitarist’s innocent request for advice on keeping his pinkie in shape to play all those Chuck Berry boogie chords: “Shove it in your rectum.”
TOTP 10, September/October 1975
A production breakthrough of sorts: a glossy (albeit still monochromatic) cover and genuine bindery staples (that, not coincidentally, occasioned another increase in the cover price, to a nice round buck). Inside, we began running a section of minuscule record auction ads as a result of a deal with Alan Betrock, who had just folded his extraordinary collectors’ magazine, The Rock Marketplace, and had not yet launched The New York Rocker. On the back cover there was a photo of Patti Smith and a stray kitten taken in front of CBGB one night and captioned with typically dark wit. Beck cover photo by Ron Gott.