SXSW Panel: '16 Magazine' and the Birth of Music Journalism
Reviewed by Greg Beets, Fri., March 21, 2008
SXSW Panel: '16 Magazine' and the Birth of Music JournalismAustin Convention Center, Saturday, March 15
Before rock music became a matter of (semi) serious discourse, there was 16 Magazine. Although 16 was often dismissed as fodder for teenyboppers during its heyday, the editorial tone and hyperbolic aesthetic established by the late Gloria Stavers ultimately informed the passionate irreverence of vintage Creem. "I can't tell you how many guys have told me they copped their sisters' copies of 16 and hid them under their pillows," said former 16 editor and onetime Ramones manager Danny Fields. "Not for sexual reasons, but because it was the only place you could find out about musicians." Five decades after 16's debut (the magazine ceased publication in 2001), Saturday's panel, moderated by the Chronicle's Margaret Moser, brought together former teen idols and the journalists who covered them for an illuminating peek behind the time-smudged pages. Susan Cowsill was 8 years old when her family band became a fave rave in the late 1960s. "We had to go around the house and find toys we could part with for contests where people could win them," she recalled. "That was pretty creepy." Taylor Hanson, one of 16's last idols, expressed disdain for the personality-driven journalism machine while admitting its utility. "People ultimately just want to know you," he said.
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