Soon into Brad’s new publishing career, he was faced with a crucial decision. Just after KISS was featured on the cover of Radioactive Magazine (issue #4), the iconic rock band was going to kick off their Revenge tour with an intimate show at a local rock club in Los Angeles. Given that KISS was performing a full set in front of only a few hundred people on-stage at The Troubadour, Brad allocated a full page for photos and a concert review in Radioactive’s next issue (Magazine #5.)
The day after the show Brad received an urgent call from Paul Suter who was the “lucky” reporter assigned to go see KISS live at The Troubadour. Brad did not expect to hear that Paul was refusing to write the review of the KISS show. When Brad asked him why, he stated that the show wasn’t very good and he “knew” we couldn’t write something negative about KISS since they were just featured in the fledgling magazine’s last cover interview.
What Brad did next surprised Paul, and set the journalistic tone for the remainder of the magazine’s run. Since Brad didn’t go to the show, he asked Paul why he thought the show wasn’t that good. He then told Brad that “KISS was just TOO BIG to play The Troubadour. The room was ‘too small’ for them as they no longer could fit on such a tiny stage. In other words, KISS needs and deserves a big stage.” Brad told him to write about that. Brad gave Paul permission to share his honest opinions of the show, but he was also told to include “why” he felt the way he did. Paul agreed and Brad got his KISS review for issue #5.
When Radioactive #5 hit the streets of Los Angeles, Brad immediately got several angry calls from various people at KISS’ record label and Brad defended his decision to publish the review. Further, he said that Radioactive would NEVER write a “puff piece” no matter who or how big the band was. With that important early decision to allow his writers to have the freedom to voice their honest opinions, Radioactive earned the reputation of being a “real” magazine with hard-hitting journalistic integrity. The “street” also learned that Radioactive was not going to BS them about anything. If we liked someone’s music we would let our readers know; and if we didn’t, we would let them know that too.
What Brad didn’t know was how Gene and Paul would react and what they might say to him the next time he ran into them. While Brad didn’t “break bread” with them on a regular basis, he did get to know the two of them fairly well from his recent days of hosting and emceeing Screamer Live at the Hollywood Palladium. At Brad’s Screamer Live shows there was always 30-40 bona fide “rock stars” mingling with the 3,000+ other guests; and Gene, Paul and the rest of KISS were regularly seen enjoying themselves out in the crowd as well as in our Screamer Live VIP Room.
About a week or so after Radioactive Magazine #5 hit the streets, Brad ran into both Gene and Paul in the VIP Room at The Troubadour. If any of you have been in there, you would know it only fit maybe 15-20 people and that was assuming everyone got cozy. Brad walked in and they were both sitting on the black leather couch, just inside the door to the right. Brad hesitated at first, but then continued into the room and greeted both of them.
Gene immediately jumped to his feet and to say there was a little “tension” in the air was an understatement. Everyone in the room was a “buzz” about the not-so-flattering KISS review that was recently published by Brad in his new magazine. What happened next surprised everyone in the room including Brad. Both Gene and Paul actually thanked Brad for having the guts to publish the article and being honest. They told Brad that “rock” needed more people like him who weren’t afraid to take a risk and more importantly not going to “KISS ass” just to get a little further ahead in the music business. Gene handed Brad a beer and the three of them toasted to Radioactive Magazine’s future and the upcoming KISS tour.
Read the KISS Cover Interview and KISS Concert Review that sparked the controversy and solidified Radioative’s reputation.
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