Back in the very beginning of our history, the FADER was more of a project than a publication, an idea for a magazine that Lee Harrison had one day and which Rob Stone and Jon Cohen wisely took up with relish and gusto and support. The editorial staff worked in a weird, semi glassed-in room dubbed the FADER Fishbowl; it was the place where Eddie Brannan frequently used the intra office PA to play—to everyone, at full volume—the Johnny Paycheck chorus Take this job/ And shove it!, where one-time design director Rostarr drew a huge Rostarrian turd on the wall, where beers and cigarettes and takeout breakfast sandwiches from Lemon Lime went to die. It was a total shithole and people looked at you weird when you walked in and disturbed the inner sanctum and it was home to the people who worked there. The FADER, of course, has become much more of an Official Magazine since then—we started having to return publicist’s phone calls (for the most part) a couple of years ago—and there are now positions at the magazine like Production Coordinator and Online Editor, staffed by people who are now so integral to the magazine as to be indispensable.
Yet however far we have come, this will hopefully always be the magazine where Knox Robinson and Lee Harrison and Eddie Brannan once worked, with all the bravado and impunity and determination that they brought to the table. It is our legacy to do the unpredictable and impervious, to champion the unexpected, to occasionally be assholes about why we do what we do when we do it, to sometimes end up making huge mistakes and to sometimes, hopefully, luck into great wins. This issue presents the work of the last 50 issues, and it is in no way complete: it would be impossible to distill all the music and people that have fucked with our minds and iPods and CD players for the last ten years into these 212 pages, but we’ve tried to make sense of them as best we can.
It would be further impossible explain how the photoshoots and cover stories and shitty little newsprint visuals made their way into Word documents and onto servers and why those details are as much professional benchmarks as they are personal histories. In times of trouble and looming deadlines and annoying requests from precious editors or writers, my refrain tends to be, “We are a magazine, on sale for $5.95 at Barnes & Noble” as if somehow that reality will demystify the process and return our egos to planet Earth. As far as our distributor tells me, that statement is still factually correct, but as everyone who has ever worked here knows quite well, the FADER is much more than that: it’s an unending science project and a completely dysfunctional family that people quit and get excommunicated from and marry into but never really leave. It quite possibly might have been the best time of our lives, but we’ll probably never own up to that.