Friday, 21 December 2012 15:59

Q&A with Revue founder Doug Fast

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What were you doing before you started Music Revue?

I got a degree from Thomas Jefferson College [at Grand Valley State University] and my majors were communications and music. I had been traveling with my act, Fast & Missad. I did musical comedy, political satire kind of stuff. At the same time I was doing that, I was writing for a lot of publications.

How did what you were doing transition into publishing?

I'd been on the road playing for about eight years. That was a weird life, but it was fun. I was getting kind of tired of traveling all over. This guy had this bad little magazine called West Michigan Music and he wanted me to buy it. ... I looked at it and thought, "I might as well start my own." So I did. It just seemed like fun. I could still play music around here. And there was this need [for music coverage].

Promoting, putting together and selling the first issue of anything is hard work. How did you get Music Revue the attention it needed?

I knew what it took wasn't just being a very clever, witty writer. What it took was knowing the side that generated money.

Describe your editorial and creative team during those years?

I had a whole bunch of great graphic designers and writers over the years, and it was fun as hell. Basically, the idea was to have fun and cover the stuff that was cool. You have to remember, there was no Internet. There was no way to really know what was going on. Grand Rapids Press did a half-ass job; On the Town did way less than a half-ass job. So we had to make sure we knew what was happening.

What's your craziest Music Revue story?

Most of them aren't printable for you. They would have been printable under my ownership.

So there were definitely good times.

I don't mean to say 'sex and drugs and rock 'n' roll,' but it was really sex and drugs and rock 'n' roll. But really, everyone who came through [Music Revue] were clear-minded, responsible and not that crazy.

What do you look for in a good editor?

Someone who knows how to use spellcheck.

Which editor stands out most to you?

They all had strengths; they all had weaknesses, but mostly strengths. ... As far as deadlines, Paul Jendrasiak, hands down, was best for deadlines. As far as passion, Bruce Madden. Ev Strong was probably the most well-managed.

In 2005, you sold Music Revue to Bruce Law, who changed the name to Revue. Why did you leave?

I ran it for 18 years and I was tired. ... During that time, almost everybody – in terms of small publications – had gone out of business. We never did. We made it work, certainly not at the level we'd like, but it seemed like it was time to [sell it]. I looked at the numbers and said, "The numbers are looking good, this is the time."

What's gone on in your life since you left Revue?

I invented this thing. And it happened shortly after I sold Revue. I had a real estate license for a while. ... I bought and sold a bunch of buildings, but it wasn't groovy. It was just money. I [now] have this invention called the LakeMat.

What do you think of Revue under current Publisher Brian Edwards?

I really don't have any criticism, because any criticism I have would be based on really old information. Your demographics have changed, so you're changing with it. The Republican Party could take a tip.

Interview conducted, condensed and edited by Lindsay Patton-Carson.

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