What Happened to the Savage?

I was thinking back to my days writing for Tattoo Savage, a once proud tattooing and piercing, international glossy magazine. 

My first professional writing piece (paid $300, which was sorely needed at the time) was for the publication, but it wasn't written for it.  Instead, I had written a piece about getting my septum pierced for Sassy.  That magazine rejected, and then, going against the advice of my journalism teacher, I submitted it to a market I had written for and it was accepted.

A few weeks later the editor, I'll just call her FC, contacted me.  She knew from my query letter that I had experience in writing music reviews.  Savage was starting a music section, and they wanted me to help kick it off.  I accepted, of course.  It would be dumb not to.

Things went well for a few years.  Credit card bills were paid off.  I only had one death threat against me published.  (Oddly enough, it was from a guy in Crescent City, a place near where I lived, who was livid over a death metal review I did.  He said he was going to find me, cut off my head and shit down my throat.  I thanked the magazine for publishing it.  In fairness, I think Film Threat got far more hate mail because of me over the years.)  Then things went to Hell.

I was doing music, movie, and book reviews.  I was doing band interviews.  Artist interviews and profiles.  I was in every issue just about, and I was making some good money.  And then FC accepted a job with a bigger magazine.  Would I stay on?  Yes.  After I accepted, I found out that a new editor was found by looking for a show of hands out in the bullpen.  In other words, the guy who took the job was the guy who shouldn't have had it.

While writing under FC I never missed a deadline.  That and the fact that I was honest was why she kept me employed.  With the new editor, whom I shall call Brian, things quickly changed.

First came a call asking me if I could do an interview with some artist.  I said I could.  I asked what the deadline would be.  It was about four days, and he was in a foreign country, so there was a time difference to deal with ... along with my job ... along with possible translation problems.

I had never had a four day deadline before, and I said I could not accept the assignment because I wasn't sure I could finish it in time.  I didn't want to take on something under a new editor and then fail to deliver.  Not a good first impression.

Brian was pissed, but could understand.  He didn't contact me for a while, however, and I noticed the quality of the magazine start to go downhill.

After a few months I did receive another call from Brian.  He wanted to know where my review hadn't arrived yet.  I told him I hadn't been assigned one, and he seemed baffled.  Maybe, he thought, I gave it to someone else.  Then he asked if I could do it "really quick."

I was done.  I declined, and I never got a call back.  He was assigning pieces to his friends, and shit was coming in late.  I don't think he lasted long, either.  My writing career continued on its course (some years better than others). 

I would write for the magazine again if contacted, but it would be under my terms.  I've made it to a point where I don't have to take every assignment thrown my way (though I will often take them).  It was a great time while it lasted (with the exception of a horrible Coal Chamber review -- most boring band ever).  It paid the bills.  And as a writer, that'll do the trick.

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