Jann Wenner

Last updated
Jann Wenner
Born
Jann Simon Wenner

(1946-01-07) January 7, 1946 (age 73)
New York City, United States
Spouse(s)
Jane Schindelheim(m. 19671995)
Partner(s)Matt Nye (1995–present)
Children6
AwardsMember of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Jann Simon Wenner (born January 7, 1946) is the co-founder and publisher of the popular culture magazine Rolling Stone , and former owner of Men's Journal magazine. Born in New York City, Wenner graduated from Chadwick School and later attended the University of California, Berkeley. He dropped out, but while at Berkeley he participated in the Free Speech Movement. Wenner, with his mentor Ralph J. Gleason, co-founded Rolling Stone in 1967 with the help of a loan from family members and his soon-to-be wife. [1] Later in his career he became one of the founders of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and has founded other publications. As a publisher and media figure, he has faced controversy regarding Hall of Fame eligibility favoritism, [2] [3] [4] the breakdown of his relationship with famous gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson, and allegations that his magazine's reviews were biased.

Popular culture is generally recognized by members of a society as a set of the practices, beliefs and objects that are dominant or ubiquitous in a society at a given point in time. Popular culture also encompasses the activities and feelings produced as a result of interaction with these dominant objects. Heavily influenced in lives of people in a given society. Therefore, popular culture has a way of influencing an individual's attitudes towards certain topics. However, there are various ways to define pop culture. Because of this, popular culture is something that can be defined in a variety of conflicting ways by different people across different contexts. It is generally viewed in contrast to other forms of culture such as folk culture, working-class culture, or high culture, and also through different theoretical perspectives such as psychoanalysis, structuralism, postmodernism, and more. The most common pop-culture categories are: entertainment, sports, news, politics, fashion, technology, and slang.

<i>Rolling Stone</i> American magazine focusing on popular culture, based in New York City

Rolling Stone is an American monthly magazine that focuses on popular culture. It was founded in San Francisco, California in 1967 by Jann Wenner, who is still the magazine's publisher, and the music critic Ralph J. Gleason. It was first known for its musical coverage and for political reporting by Hunter S. Thompson. In the 1990s, the magazine shifted focus to a younger readership interested in youth-oriented television shows, film actors, and popular music. It has returned its traditional mix of content, including music, entertainment, and politics.

<i>Mens Journal</i> American magazine

Men's Journal is a monthly men's lifestyle magazine focused on outdoor recreation and comprising editorials on the outdoors, environmental issues, health and fitness, style and fashion, and gear. It was founded in 1992 by Jann Wenner of Wenner Media, who sought to create a publication for "active, accomplished men to fuel an adventurous and discerning lifestyle". Wenner Media sold Men's Journal to American Media, Inc. in 2017.

Contents

Early life and career

Wenner was born in New York City, the son of Sim and Edward Wenner. [5] He grew up in a secular Jewish family. [6]

American Jews Ethnic group

American Jews, or Jewish Americans, are Americans who are Jews, whether by religion, ethnicity, or nationality. Today the Jewish community in the United States consists primarily of Ashkenazi Jews, who descend from diaspora Jewish populations of Central and Eastern Europe and comprise about 90-95% of the American Jewish population. Most American Ashkenazim are US-born, with a dwindling number of now-elderly earlier immigrants, as well as some more recent foreign-born immigrants.

His parents divorced in 1958, and he and his sisters, Kate and Merlyn, were sent to boarding schools. He completed his secondary education at the Chadwick School in 1963 and went on to attend the University of California, Berkeley. Before dropping out of Berkeley in 1966, Wenner was active in the Free Speech Movement and produced the column "Something's Happening" in the student-run newspaper, The Daily Californian . [7]

Chadwick School

Chadwick School is a nonsectarian independent K-12 day school located in an unincorporated area on the Palos Verdes Peninsula in Los Angeles County, California, United States. Specifically it is located at the top of the neighborhood referred to as Academy Hill, which is bounded by a canyon, a precipice, Crenshaw Boulevard, and Palos Verdes Drive North.

University of California, Berkeley Public university in California, USA

The University of California, Berkeley is a public research university in Berkeley, California. It was founded in 1868 and serves as the flagship campus of the ten campuses of the University of California. Berkeley has since grown to instruct over 40,000 students in approximately 350 undergraduate and graduate degree programs covering numerous disciplines.

Free Speech Movement student protest movement at the University of California, Berkeley

The Free Speech Movement (FSM) was a massive, long-lasting student protest which took place during the 1964–65 academic year on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley. The Movement was informally under the central leadership of Berkeley graduate student Mario Savio. Other student leaders include Jack Weinberg, Michael Rossman, George Barton, Brian Turner, Bettina Aptheker, Steve Weissman, Michael Teal, Art Goldberg, Jackie Goldberg, and others.

With the help of his mentor, San Francisco Chronicle jazz critic Ralph J. Gleason, Wenner landed a job at Ramparts , a high-circulation muckraker, where Gleason was a contributing editor and Wenner worked on the magazine's spinoff newspaper. [8]

<i>San Francisco Chronicle</i> newspaper serving the San Francisco Bay area

The San Francisco Chronicle is a newspaper serving primarily the San Francisco Bay Area of northern California in the United States. It was founded in 1865 as The Daily Dramatic Chronicle by teenage brothers Charles de Young and Michael H. de Young. The paper is owned by the Hearst Corporation, which bought it from the de Young family in 2000. It is the only major daily paper covering the city and county of San Francisco.

Ralph J. Gleason American musician

Ralph Joseph Gleason was an American jazz and popular music critic. He contributed for many years to the San Francisco Chronicle, was a founding editor of Rolling Stone magazine, and cofounder of the Monterey Jazz Festival. A pioneering rock critic, he helped the San Francisco Chronicle transition into the rock era.

Ramparts was a glossy illustrated American political and literary magazine, published from 1962 to 1975 and closely associated with the New Left political movement. Unlike most of the radical magazines of the day, Ramparts was expensively produced and graphically sophisticated.

Media industry

In 1967, Wenner and Gleason founded Rolling Stone in San Francisco. To get the magazine started, Wenner borrowed $7,500 from family members and from the family of his soon-to-be wife, Jane Schindelheim. [1]

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Wenner played an integral role in popularizing writers such as Hunter S. Thompson, Ben Fong-Torres, Paul Nelson, Greil Marcus, Dave Marsh, Grover Lewis, Timothy Crouse, Timothy Ferris, Joe Klein, Cameron Crowe, Joe Eszterhas and P.J. O'Rourke. He also discovered photographer Annie Leibovitz when she was a 21-year-old San Francisco Art Institute student. Many of Wenner's proteges, such as Crowe, credit him with giving them their biggest breaks. Tom Wolfe recognized Wenner's influence in ensuring that his first novel, The Bonfire of the Vanities , was completed, stating "I was absolutely frozen with fright about getting it done and I decided to serialize it and the only editor crazy enough to do that was Jann." [9]

Hunter S. Thompson American journalist and author

Hunter Stockton Thompson was an American journalist and author, and the founder of the gonzo journalism movement. He first rose to prominence with the publication of Hell's Angels (1967), a book for which he spent a year living and riding with the Hells Angels motorcycle gang in order to write a first-hand account of the lives and experiences of its members.

Ben Fong-Torres American DJ

Benjamin Fong-Torres is an American rock journalist, author, and broadcaster best known for his association with Rolling Stone magazine and the San Francisco Chronicle.

Paul Nelson was an A&R executive, magazine editor, and music critic best known for writing for Sing Out!, The Village Voice and Rolling Stone.

In 1977, Rolling Stone shifted its base of operations from San Francisco to New York City. [10] The magazine's circulation dipped briefly in the late 1970s/early 1980s as Rolling Stone responded slowly in covering the emergence of punk rock and again in the 1990s, when it lost ground to Spin and Blender in coverage of hip hop. Wenner hired former FHM editor Ed Needham, who was then replaced by Will Dana, to turn his flagship magazine around, and by 2006, Rolling Stone 's circulation was at an all-time high of 1.5 million copies sold every fortnight. In May 2006, Rolling Stone published its 1000th edition with a holographic, 3-D cover modeled on The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover. [11]

Wenner has been involved in the conducting and writing of many of the magazine's famous Rolling Stone Interviews. Some of his more recent interview subjects have included: Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry, and Barack Obama for the magazine during their election campaigns and in November 2005 had a major interview with U2 rockstar Bono, which focused on music and politics. [12] Wenner's interview with Bono received a National Magazine Award nomination.

Rolling Stone and Jann Wenner are chronicled in three books, Gone Crazy and Back Again by Robert Sam Anson, Rolling Stone: The Uncensored History, and Sticky Fingers:The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine by Joe Hagan. Former Rolling Stone journalist David Weir is working on a biography, [13] as is poet and Beat historian Lewis MacAdams. [14] Robin Green's memoir The Only Girl covers the time she worked at Rolling Stone. [15]

Wenner founded the magazine Outside in 1977; William Randolph Hearst III and Jack Ford both worked for the magazine before Wenner sold it a year later. He also briefly managed the magazine Look and in 1993, started the magazine Family Life. In 1985, he bought a share in Us Weekly , followed by a joint purchase of the magazine with The Walt Disney Company the following year. The magazine went weekly in 2000; after a difficult start, it now[ when? ] reaches over 11 million readers a week. [16] In August 2006, Wenner bought out Disney's share and now owns 100% of the magazine. [17]

From 2004 to 2006, Wenner contributed approximately $63,000 to Democratic candidates and liberal organizations. [18]

In September 2016, Advertising Age reported that Wenner is in the process of selling a 49% stake of Rolling Stone to a company from Singapore called BandLab Technologies. The new investor will have no direct involvement in the editorial content of the magazine. [19]

In October 2016, Wenner started publishing Glixel, a video games-based website.

In September 2017, Wenner Media announced that the remaining 51% of Rolling Stone was up for sale. [20] That share was bought by Penske Media Corporation, who later acquired the remaining stake from BandLab. [21]

Controversy

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Wenner, who was made a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation in 1983, has endured controversy during his career as it relates to his involvement in the organization. Fans and supporters of several artists have placed a large amount of blame on Wenner for keeping them out of the Hall of Fame. [2] [3] [4] They claim Wenner has lobbied to keep them from consideration and nomination to the Hall based on personal bias and a dislike for their music.

In June 2007, Monkees bassist Peter Tork alleged to the New York Post that Wenner is excluding the group:

[Wenner] "doesn't care what the rules are and just operates how he sees fit. It is an abuse of power. I don't know whether The Monkees belong in the Hall of Fame, but it's pretty clear that we're not in there because of a personal whim." Tork believes Wenner doesn't like the fact that The Monkees, who were originally cast as actors for a TV sitcom, didn't play their own instruments on their first two records. "Jann seems to have taken it harder than everyone else, and now, 40 years later, everybody says, 'What's the big deal? Everybody else does it.' Nobody cares now except him. He feels his moral judgment in 1967 and 1968 is supposed to serve in 2007.

Hunter S. Thompson

Hunter S. Thompson was to provide Rolling Stone coverage for the 1976 presidential campaign that would appear in a book published by the magazine. Reportedly, as Thompson was waiting for a $75,000 advance check to arrive, he learned that Wenner canceled the endeavor without telling him.[ citation needed ]

Wenner then asked Thompson to travel to Vietnam to report on what appeared to be the closing of the Vietnam War. Thompson accepted and arrived with the country in chaos, just as the United States was preparing to evacuate and other journalists were scrambling to find transportation out of the region. While there, Thompson learned that Wenner had canceled this excursion as well, and Thompson found himself in Vietnam without health insurance or additional financial support. Thompson's story about the fall of Saigon would not be published in Rolling Stone until ten years later.[ citation needed ]

These two incidents severely strained the relationship between the author and the magazine, and Thompson contributed far less to the publication in later years. [23]

Hootie and the Blowfish review

Wenner fired rock critic Jim DeRogatis in 1996 after DeRogatis published a negative review for an album by the then-popular band Hootie and the Blowfish. Wenner pulled DeRogatis' review from the magazine. Asked by the New York Observer if Wenner was a fan of Hootie and the Blowfish, DeRogatis responded that Wenner "is a fan of any band that sells eight million records." Wenner fired DeRogatis the next day. [24]

Sticky Fingers

In June 2017, Wenner cut ties with Joe Hagan, the biographer he had commissioned to write his biography, Sticky Fingers, calling the book Hagan produced, "deeply flawed and tawdry, rather than substantial." [25] [26] Hagan had been working closely with Wenner on the book since 2013, and Sticky Fingers was released in October 2017. [27] [28] [29] [30]

Personal life

In the summer of 1967, following the start of Rolling Stone, Wenner and Jane Schindelheim were married in a small Jewish ceremony. [31] Wenner and his wife separated in 1995, though Jane Wenner still remains a vice president of Wenner Media. She and Wenner have three sons, Alexander Jann, Theodore "Theo" Simon, and Edward Augustus, known as Gus, head of Wenner Media's digital operations. [32]

Since 1995, Wenner's domestic partner has been Matt Nye, a fashion designer. Together, Wenner and Nye have three adopted children, Noah and twins Jude and India Rose. [33]

Awards and honors

Notes

Select Rolling Stone Interview bibliography

See also

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References

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  19. Alanna Petroff and Tom Kludt (September 18, 2017). "Rolling Stone magazine up for sale". CNNMoney . Retrieved September 24, 2017.
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  38. Biography bought for 7 figures
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