Rock Hard Germany
Distribution: Germany, Austria, Switzerland and exports to 19 other European Countries
ROCK HARD started out as a fanzine in 1983 and has since gone on to become one of the most influencial European rock publications. Today's monthly circulation reaches an average of 80.000 copies in Germany (Switzerland and Austria) alone. The magazine specializes in all kinds of harder rock music, including lots of in-depth information for music insiders you won't find anywhere else. With up to 172 pages each month, ROCK HARD has much to offer. Although it may sound as if there is a lot of money involved, the magazine still is 'independently' run by the same core people that started it with 100 self-made copies twenty years ago. Looking for a similar spirit in neighbouring underground scenes, ROCK HARD has gone as far as licensing its brand name to interested parties in Spain, Italy, Greece, France, Brazil, Slovenia, Slovakia & Czech Republic (further info on these pages).
But how did it all start?The magazine was founded by schoolmates and then teenagers, Holger Stratmann and Uwe Lerch, who met quite often to exchange vinyl and go to concerts together. In the early Eighties, hard rock shows were rare in Germany and records not always easily obtainable, especially expensive imports from England or the United States.
Being fanatical record collectors, Holger and Uwe soon found trading partners in Goetz Kuehnemund and Frank Trojan who advertised in the early issues of Aardschok, a German version of the well-known Dutchmagazine. Back in those days a lot of fans loved the Aardschok style which was the first European metal magazine devoted to underground music and the first to cover demo bands.
When a really miserable 'fanzine project' of some trading friends was sent out in a monthly packet of records and tapes, Uwe and Holger thought it was time to give it a try on their own and the very first issue of ROCK HARD came to life on a photo copy machine and was sold in a local record store. As the German Ruhr Valley is one of the most populated areas in Europe and a true heavy metal melting pot with a long tradition of steel production, it was the perfect place to start such a magazine. In almost no time ROCK HARD was available in about 30 record stores and found its way into other major cities around Germany. The rise of the German metal scene with lots of new labels and great bands like Accept, Destruction, Steeler, Kreator, Sodom, Rage, Running Wild, Warlock or Helloween helped to establish the magazine from the very beginning. At the same time, Holger, Goetz, Frank and Uwe were keenly aware of the international music scene. Through their tape trading penpals in the USA they knew almost every important demo band of their time. Bands like Slayer, Venom, Queensryche, Metallica, Megadeth, Exodus, Anthrax, Overkill, Metal Church and others were all featured in the first ten issues of ROCK HARD.
Most of them even before they had a record out.
ROCK HARD became the most popular German fanzine but stormy times were ahead. Goetz Kuehnemund got offered an editorial job at Metal Hammer Magazine, and Uwe Lerch decided to focus on his studies. Holger ran the magazine almostsinglehandedly, waking up in the morning, answering readers' letters, doing the typewriting, taking care of the business side of it, doing interviews, writing most of the stories while still attending university! If it wasn't for his mother who lent an invaluable helping hand on the dry subject of accounting (and still does as Holger hates accounting!), he might have given up in no time flat. Instead he dropped out of university (sometimes sleeping in the lecture room when he had worked late or gone to a concert), and when another commercial hard rock magazine named 'Crash' called it a day, Holger saw his chance of a lifetime to keep pace with the mighty Metal Hammer. He managed to score a deal with national distributor IPV in 1988 and ROCK HARD became the first 'fanzine' in Germany to be available through regular press outlets. It was quite a groundbreaking achievement in an era when, unlike today, independent publications could not be found everywhere. But in the late eighties only magazines from big publishing companies (who own the distributors) were regarded as 'professional' outputs. We are talking about a time when computers slowly became available to the consumer market and the production of magazines was still slow and difficult.
Goetz Kuehnemund returned to his roots as the new editor-in-chief, and together with Frank Albrecht (editorial staff) and Frittz Loch (art director) the new ROCK HARD team moved into their first small office in Dortmund. Shortly thereafter, Goetz was tapped to co-host a popular Metal show on RTL Television and became the perfect anchor man for ROCK HARD's continuing success story. In the ensuing years a video magazine was launched that even made it into the Top Ten of the German charts. ROCK HARD was the subject of several TV features, and in 1995 a comedy band by the name of "Randalica" was created. ROCK HARD always had a great sense of humour which resulted in a print special about fake bands and a successful Randalica album ("Knast, Tod oder Rock'n'Roll" on SPV Records), presenting Holger, Goetz and Frittz as songwriters and live performers. As early as 1997 ROCK HARD established a strong presence on the World Wide Web (including a fine online shop), and in 1998 the first German hard rock encyclopedia was published. ROCK HARD can claim many more firsts and is simply not just another heavy metal magazine. Featuring various styles of rock music, it has always been at the forefront of reporting on new trends and developments, albeit never in a cheap, exploitive fashion. Special features devoted to videos/DVDs/movies, photography, making music, album artwork, top albums of the decade and lots more routinely run up to 30 pages and always strive to give a closer look behind the scenes. A lot of these specials culminated into nice books like "Rock Hard Mania" (10 years of metal history), "Best Of Rock & Metal" (500 best albums ever), "Cover Mania" (book on cover art). But like the magazine they are all writen in german.
Different opinions are reflected and ROCK HARD stands as a communications platform for musicians, record companies, and most important of all - the fans. That's what the word 'media' means, right? Not bowing down to or obeying the industry. You may be surprised to hear that ROCK HARD gets criticized for being critical. Why is that? Because it is not the norm! Record companies contribute an important share to the magazine's budget in advertisement and have their thumbs on the availability of superstars. They call in to promote their no-name newcomers every day, but if you want to do in-depth interviews with some of their most high profile artists they are simply not interested.
Especially if you dare to question the creative integrity or quality of a new album! Most of the time the fans think along the same lines but they are not used to critical media and sometimes lack the background and insight that journalists collect over the years. Some of the established bands are in it just for the money or because they do not have anything better to do.
Well, ROCK HARD still doesn't care ...
... and instead puts a festival together that has the family charme of "the good, old days" - and features the most happening artists of today!
Check the current programm on: www.rockhardfestival.de
Although the company has to survive in an overly commercialized world and is responsible for about 25 employees who try their best month by month, the 'Megazine' keeps up and thrives on the fanzine spirit. The above mentioned bands were the ones that had a certain punk rock/'fuck off' mentality combined with outstanding heavy music that established the magazine in the first place. Why change that?
Who do YOU support? Think about it for a moment. Whoever, wherever you are.
Rock Hard France
Distribution: France, Belgium, Switzerland, Canada, Luxemburg
Rock Hard France
60, rue Brancion
Phone: +33 1 40 28 43 41
Fax: + 33 1 40 43 02 98
It was in 2001 when the two french renowned metal journalists, photographer Marc Villalonga and editor Philippe Lageat turned their backs on their old publishing company and decided to do a magazin of their own. In June they hit the streets with the first issue of Rock Hard France (an AC/DC Special, one of the bands they always have been very close with) and since then became natural market leaders in the french speaking metal community. Rock Hard France publishes a well compiled CD with new music every month and is not afraid to incorporate all styles of rock music, just chosing the best quality that‘s available and combine it with some exclusive photography. In June of 2010 Marc and Philippe celebrated their issue No. 100. Congratulations!
Rock Hard Slowenien
c/o Pascal Rogl
Telefon: +49 (0) 1 578 890 6422
Slovenia is a rather small country between Italy, Croatia and Austria with controversial Industrial-band Laibach being the most known artist from the area. Art & Rebellion are also important topics for Pascal Rogl who started ROCK HARD in Slovenia 2009 and became the first publisher in the former "East" of Europa, developing a very well designed magazine also connected to dark art, cinema, movie festivals and events. ROCK HARD was official sponsor of the europeanwide respected Grossmann film & wine festival (www.grossmann.si) and presented one of the rare Laibach stage appearances. After three issues the magazine continued online and as an e-paper for subscribers. The future of the magazine will be definetly more electronic and up-to-date, combined with exclusive print releases for in-depth readings.
Rock Hard Greece
Distribution: Greece, Cyprus
ROCK HARD Greece
c/o Sakis Fragos
16777, Hellenicon, Athens
Phone/Fax: 0030 210 9939613
URL: www.rockhard.gr (under construction)
It all started in June 2005 when the first issue was released and since December 2005, Sakis Fragos and Dimitris Seirinakis decided to publish the magazine through their own publishing company. ROCK HARD Greece is in stores (at the end of) every month with some really special stories to offer. Apart from the interviews with the artists that have great new albums to present to the fans, the reviews of the new CDs and the news, this magazine offers a great variety of other articles to deal with. The METAL QUEENS for example, where we feature beautiful female metalheads in a special photo-shooting, REMEMBER TOMORROW, which shows photos of the bands as they were back in the 80’s, THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY, where we hammer the bad things of heavy metal scene nowadays without being afraid of anything, MONSTERS OF ROCK, where we write the history of great rock/hard rock bands.
In addition we have the METAL HORRORSCOPE which is our humorous side of presenting the metal zodiac circle, THE BIG SHOWDOWN, where we bring groups face-to-face by judging them in various aspects, BLAST FROM THE PAST, where we write about the greatest albums that have been released in the same month as the current issues 10, 20 and 30 years ago, THE WASTED YEARS, featuring some great, less known hard rock acts, ROCK LIVING, HARD ROCKING, which is about young, mostly unsigned bands, BEHIND THE CURTAINS, where we interview producers, painters, A&Rs in music industry and so on. Moreover, we have plenty of great competitions and special articles respective to what's going on to the metal scene nowadays.
The editors of ROCK HARD are some of the most well-known and experienced journalists in Greece and correspondents can be found in the UK, Germany, France, Cyprus, even Brazil!!! As a magazine, we’ve been major sponsors to almost all the heavy metal shows in our country, including the prestigious Rockwave Festival, we have our radio zone in Atlantis FM, 105,2 every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 22:00 to 00:00 and every Saturday from 18:00 to 20:00.
Rock Hard publisher Holger Stratmann and Sakis Fragos at Rock Hard Festival 2006
Rock Hard Italy
ROCK HARD Italien
Via Maometto 22
10050 - S. Didero (T0) Italy
Fon/Fax: +39 (0)11 96378450
ROCK HARD Italy exists since 2002. Even though the magazine was quite successful, it received a major push when publishers were changed in 2009 and long time work forces Stefano Cerati and Barbara Francone took over the chief editor desk officially. The main contributors since ever hail from the Milan area and now work harder than ever to become the No.1 metal magazine south of the alps. In 2010 the first Rock Hard festival in Italy with headliners Sodom was established as well.
Rock Hard Slovakia & Czech Republic
Rock Hard Slovakia
Metal Age Productions
Zabokreky 110 038 40
Fon/Fax: +421 43 422 24 03
Two different countries that once were Czecheslovakia are the latest addition to the world of Rock Hard magazines. Peter Franek as responsible publisher and Adela Melová as editor in chief handle Rock Hard between Prague, Bratislava and the Carpathians. They are both experienced persons in the local scene and have been doing mailorder and magazines for years; along with contributors from all over the country they will give their best to establish Rock Hard in emerging Slovakia and Czech Republic.