the history of
 
 

By Christopher R. Phillips, Publisher and Editor


Looking back at Thrust Magazine and the national and local music era that it covered from 1989-1993, it’s easy to see why Thrust Magazine was so much fun to produce.


I know because I created it—every issue from its debut in November 1989 to its finale (at least for this lifetime) in the spring of 1993.


To understand Thrust Magazine, let me bring you back to the “hang out” wall outside of Gazzarri’s rock-n-roll club on Sunset Blvd in Los Angeles, California, on a Saturday night in the Summer of 1986. Thousands of rock fans—most like me, somewhere between the ages of 18 and 25—were brought to the Strip by their dreams and their common goal to be part of the scene.


From the Whiskey-A-Go-Go on the eastern border of the Sunset Strip to Gazzarri’s on the west—and to the Central, the Roxy, and the Rainbow in-between—the “look” was as important as the sound—hair, makeup, spandex—we called it ‘glam,’ now it’s simply known as the ‘hair bands’ era.


These were the days preordained by bands like Quiet Riot, Hanoi Rocks, and Motley Crüe, but entering its second phase. New bands were arriving in Los Angeles every day from all across the world—they may have been bar bands wherever they were from, but the moment they touched down upon the Sunset Strip, they were L.A. bands—Guns-N-Roses, L.A. Guns, Love-Hate, the Zeros, Warrant, Poison, Pretty Boy Floyd, and hundreds more.


In 1988, I began a volunteer assignment for Rock City News, a bi-weekly rock ’zine distributed every other Thursday to the clubs and record stores on the Sunset Strip. Unpaid workers were always needed for most aspects of the ’zine’s fast-paced production schedule, and I went to its Hollywood Blvd. office once or twice a week and help input the writers’ stories.


It didn’t take long before I knew I could publish my own music magazine, but L.A. wasn’t the place for it. If only I could bring the excitement of Hollywood’s rock-n-roll scene to somewhere in America that was unprepared for it.


Enter Sandie Olmsted, without whom Thrust Magazine would never have found its foundation. Sandie had moved to Hollywood from Pinellas Park, Florida, and I followed her back there. (If you don’t know where it is, don’t feel alone, neither did I.) In July 1989, two months after relocating from Los Angeles to Pinellas Park, I made the decision to create Thrust Magazine.


I remember the exact moment as if it is a permanent milestone in the history of the Universe. During a brain-storming session with future Thrust Magazine Contributing Editor J. Michael Barnett, I suggested the title, Contemporary Insanity; I liked the way the words formed a double-entendre from the phrase, “temporary insanity.” As I repeated the possible title for my new magazine—hearing how the words filled the space of the room—I knew it wasn’t right. I thought of the biggest magazines in the country—Time, Life, Newsweek—they all shared one thing in common: their titles were one word only—one word was all it took.


Seconds later, Michael said the one word that changed history: “Thrust.” I wasn’t even looking at him when he said it—I was looking at a computer screen. I turned around in my black-leather office swivel chair as quickly as I could. “That’s it—that’s absolutely it,” I said. Thrust—one word, the act of propelling something forward with power and intensity—the Hollywood scene transported 2,400 miles to the growing rock-n-roll scene on the Gulf Coast of Florida, all through the power of Thrust.


Thrust’s inaugural issue (featuring Warrant on the front cover and proudly exclaiming the band’s “Double Platinum” success) was published just after Halloween 1989, and dated for November. Within weeks, every rock-band record label in Los Angeles (and eventually New York) was on the phone with me asking if its bands could be in Thrust Magazine.


Without Sandie and Michael—both of whom worked night and day on the production of the first issue—Thrust Magazine would have began as a solo endeavor. Michael negotiated the design of Thrust’s first logo, edited every story in the first issue, and was my first columnist. Sandie pasted up the stories and photographic stats onto production boards (these were the days before digital pre-press), proofread articles, and made story suggestions.


That first issue included paid content from 19 advertisers—concert promoters, nightclubs, bands, and the like—but it was singing instructor /advertiser Al Koehn—who bought a quarter-page ad for his Pro-Voice Studios on page 23—who became a fierce ally in our manic-driven, motivated mission to mete out media mirth to the area’s moiling rock-n-roll musicians.


The story of Thrust Magazine’s earliest days is not complete without Marietta “Blackie” Paima, a local singer and aspiring writer who wanted to expand Thrust Magazine’s focus from Hollywood to the Gulf Coast and showcase Florida’s blossoming music scene. Blackie had the natural knack of social networking in the era before it became a digital rage. She knew every local band and musician, and many of the national touring players, too. I met Blackie on her visit to Sandie and Hollywood in 1987; in 1989, I asked her to write for Thrust Magazine from Day 1.


Go to History of Thrust Magazine Part 2


 

“To understand Thrust Magazine, let me bring you back to the “hang out” wall outside of Gazzarri’s rock-n-roll club on Sunset Blvd in Los Angeles, California, on a Saturday night in the Summer of 1986. Thousands of rock fans—most like me, somewhere between the ages of 18 and 25—were brought to the Strip by their dreams and their common goal to be part of the scene.”—

Christopher R. Phillips, Publisher and Editor

Thrust founder/publisher/editor Christopher R. Phillips (on left) shows Warrant’s Jani Lane (middle) the first mock-up of Thrust Magazine, Volume 1, Number 1, backstage in October 1989.

THE ORIGINS AND LIFE OF
THRUST MAGAZINE
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