Seattle music magazine to close its doors

Associated Press

SEATTLE – The Rocket music magazine, a local institution that helped launch the careers of “grunge rock” superstars, is closing its doors after 21 years.

“I wanted to save it. But it got overwhelming in a hurry,” said David Roberts, owner of The Illinois Entertainer magazine, who purchased The Rocket from Bay Area Music Media two months ago.

Readership of the free bi-monthly remained strong, but advertising had fallen over the past year, Roberts said.

“Sales had fallen off a little bit with advertisers,” he said. “Had management at that time brought costs down in line with those sales, we wouldn’t be in this situation.”

The magazine’s 18-member staff learned Wednesday of the closure.

“Everyone was just stunned,” said staffer Dave Liljengren.

BAM Media had been trying to sell The Rocket since January, Roberts said. He said he’d developed a plan to get the magazine on track, but The Rocket could not survive some unexpected bills over the past two weeks.

“I kind of saw it coming,” said Jason Hughes, a local disc jockey and co-owner of Sonic Boom, an independent record store in the Fremont neighborhood in north Seattle.

“A few years ago it was a pretty healthy publication. Lately it’s been kind of thinner and meager,” he said.

The Rocket began in 1979 as a music supplement to the now-defunct newspaper The Seattle Sun. The magazine started as a monthly, but began bi-monthly publication seven years ago.

“I don’t think they really had the content to do that,” said Tim Keck, publisher of competing weekly The Stranger.

Former publisher Charles Cross, who sold The Rocket to BAM Media about five years ago and remained on staff as a contributing writer, contended it was mismanagement that drove the magazine down.

“This was not about The Rocket not being read or respected or advertised in,” Cross said. “It’s just been poorly run the last few years and hasn’t had hands-on local management.”

He said the publication had a circulation of 55,000 in Seattle and 35,000 in Portland, Ore.

Cross noted the role The Rocket played in bringing attention to such Seattle “grunge” bands as Nirvana, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains in the early 1990s.

“To Kurt Cobain, being on the cover of The Rocket mattered as much as anything that happened in his career,” Cross said. “I can’t tell you how many bands have come up to me over the years and said they first got attention from stories in The Rocket.”

Roberts said he holds out hope that the magazine can be restarted if funding is secured.

Copyright ©2000 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

A Mukilteo Speedway sign hangs at an intersection along the road on Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Mukilteo, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Long live the Speedway! Mukilteo’s main drag won’t be renamed

The public shot down the mayor’s idea to change the name: 77% voted ‘No’ in an online survey, with 95% opposed on Facebook.

Motorcyclist dies in crash on East Marine View Drive in Everett

Around 8 p.m. Tuesday, a motorcycle and a vehicle crashed into each other at the intersection of 11th street and East Marine View Drive.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Darrington in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Motorcyclist dies in crash on Highway 530

Jeremy Doyle, 46, was riding east near Darrington when he crashed into the side of a car that was turning left.

The Marysville School District office on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
‘Financially insolvent’ Marysville schools to get unprecedented oversight

Superintendent Chris Reykdal will convene a first-of-its-kind Financial Oversight Committee, he wrote in a letter Tuesday.

Woodside Elementary Principal Betty Cobbs on Monday, June 17, 2024 in Bothell, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett’s first Black principal retires after 51 years

In her office, Betty Cobbs kept a black-and-white photo of herself at age 5: “I am right there, with dreams of becoming an educator.”

Junelle Lewis, right, daughter Tamara Grigsby and son Jayden Hill sing “Lift Every Voice and Sing” during Monroe’s Juneteenth celebration on Saturday, June 18, 2022. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
On Juneteenth: ‘We can always say that there is hope’

The Snohomish County NAACP is co-sponsoring a celebration Saturday near Snohomish, with speakers, music and food.

Two Washington State ferries pass along the route between Mukilteo and Clinton as scuba divers swim near the shore Sunday, Oct. 22, 2023, in Mukilteo, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
On Mukilteo-Clinton route, small boat means continued long ferry lines

The 144-car Suquamish was scheduled to replace the 90-car Sealth, which has been temporarily serving the route.

FILE – Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Nov. 4, 2021. Ellen M. Banner | Seattle Times | TNS | File Photo
6 months for man who sexually assaulted woman on Seattle flight

A former commercial airline mechanic was sentenced to six months behind bars… Continue reading

Rep. Rick Larsen speaks at the March For Our Lives rally on Saturday, June 11, 2022, in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Larsen kickoff in Everett canceled over fear of pro-Palestinian protesters

The event had been scheduled to take place at the Scuttlebutt Brewing Taproom on Monday night.

After 3 years in jail, Camano murder suspect’s trial delayed again

In February 2021, prosecutors allege, Dominic Wagstaff shot and killed his father, shot his brother’s girlfriend and tried to shoot his brother.

The access loop trail on the Old Sauk Trail on Monday, May 27, 2024 in Darrington, Washington. (Ta'Leah Van Sistine / The Herald)
10 accessible trails to explore this summer in Snohomish County

For people with disabilities, tree roots and other obstacles can curb access to the outdoors. But some trails are wheelchair-friendly.

Everett NewsGuild members cheer as a passing car honks in support of their strike on Monday, June 24, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett Herald newsroom strikes amid layoffs

“We hope that people who live in these communities can see our passion, because it’s there,” said Sophia Gates, one of 12 Herald staffers who lost jobs last week.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.