Circus Magazine Founder, J.G. Rothberg presents Lita Ford Gold Plaque Award, in front of Rock 'n Roll Wall of Fame at NYC Headquarters. Read about his newest novel Memoirs of a Woman with Two Lover
The Original Staff of Hullabaloo,which morphed into Circus Magazine in 1969. L. to r. Gerry Rothberg, Bruce Gedman, Jan Cremer, Darling, and David Dalton.
Rock Musicat its Best!
Correction Note for Wikipedia. Check Circus Raves cover above. When designs were coordinated, Circus Raves merged into Circus Magazine, and published every two weeks. Done so wholesalers would accept Circus Mag as bi-weekly. Wikipedia incorrectly stated that Circus Raves was abandoned.
My history of Circus Magazine? Yes, that's a story I've been prompted to tell, for years. Now is the time. So, rather than wait a year, or two, or more for me to complete a manuscript, I thought it best to jot down notes as they entered my head.
This way, information will be transmitted instantly. True, with all warts, and welts. But that makes the tale grittier, I suppose. Stay tuned, Dear Reader. History of rock music's legendary publication, Circus Magazine begins now.
Before Circus Magazine there was Hullabaloo. The name changed occurred in 1969. But that is a story for later on. The first issue of the magazine was born on a long mahogany wood dining table, purchased used for $10. from a thrift shop. The table was set complete with a clunky upright typewriter typed copy for the issue, X-acto knife, t-square, rulers, paste-up glue, white out, copy paper, and paste-up boards.
First issue, Beatles George Harrison, and model Pattie Boyd. The couple married January 21, 1966. Jimi Hendrix graced the first cover of Circus Magazine.
David Dalton was our first editor, who helped focus of the mag toward a serious appreciation of rock music. I did some writing, but David and freelancers did the bulk of the writing. Note the first issue, which featured British model Pattie Boyd, with Beatles George Harrison.
British Rock band Eric Burdon, and the Animals. Our first centerfold. "House of the Rising Sun," video above, became trans-Atlantic hit song, after its release by MGM Records in 1964. Described as first folk-rock hit.
The first official staff of Hullabaloo was, me, as editor-publisher, David Dalton, art director, and editor. Ian Cremer listed as editor-in-chief, and Bruce Gedman, associate editor-publisher. Sarah Dalton, David's sister, wrote the London Cable, Bruce Gedman wrote a music column and Didier Delaunoy wrote record reviews. Norm Schreiber, and Jeff Steinberg were our go-to freelance writers. Jeff later became our editor.
The one thing I remember vividly about David, during a busy day was a telephone call that would come in from his mom. She spoke with a broad British accent. David was both editor, and art director for the mag, and had much to do in our office, which was my Studio apartment.
The phone rings, and I answer. This was a landline desk unit that sat in the middle of the long table.
She: Is David there? Me: May I ask who's calling? She: His mother. Me: David, your mother is on the phone. David: Tell her I'll call back in a moment. Me. He'll call you back in a moment. She: Thank you.
This conversation went on a few times a day until David returned the call to his mom.
In those days, David Dalton could be seen at Steve Paul's the Scene, on New York's West 46 Street, with his new friend Linda Eastman, a photography newbie. Steve Paul was an affable guy, open, and friendly. Rock music heavies, like Jimi Hendrix, played the Scene, while British invasion bands jammed, and hung out. Linda became one of our earliest photographers, as well as Linda McCartney. Yes, Paul McCartney's wife.
At this time it was necessary to secure national distribution for the magazine. I was fortunate to hook up with Ace Distribution Company headed by the affable, and involved Aaron A. Wyn. A.A. Wyn founded Ace Books, which at that time was a well-known publisher of science fiction, and fantasy paperback books. The first success for this company, however, were with mysteries, and westerns. These genres were known as pulp fiction. Pulp because of the paper it was printed on.
The magazine started out as a pulp magazine, with color inserts, and was printed by an offset press. The first edition of Hullabaloo, soon to become Circus Magazine, was produced at a printing press company in Upstate New York.
Seeing the first edition going to “bed” was a nightmare. I was at the printing plant as a means of micro managing, I suppose. Making sure there would be no last minute glitches, or emergency phone calls. When we finally got on press, late at night, and the last job of the shift, I looked up, and saw the pressman man running on top of the gigantic press machinery. The press kept moving, as paper was fed in for inking, with the pressman in pursuit on top, overseeing the right holes fit into t73he correct grooves. What a frightful sight, as he could have been trapped in this labyrinth of machinery.
Back in the office, two camps arose, in our editorial process. One which favored lampooning artists and, the other to stay the course with a strict music appreciation line. Bruce Gedman strongly favored the strict music appreciation point of view, with criticism left to the record reviews. He was adamant about this, and thankfully so.