Choice magazine

Once Upon the Eighties...

Back in 1985, a brother and sister team from Pennsylvania (David Russell and Bridget Russell) decided to launch a monthly Baltimore-based rock publication by the name of Choice Magazine. While still in the planning stages, David Zeiler met the pair at the old Girard's night club. Since David Zeiler had dreams of writing about rock bands (and had done so while working at the Loyola College newspaper, The Greyhound), it was a perfect fit.

For about a year and a half David Zeiler interviewed notable alternative rock acts that passed through the Baltimore-Washington area and wrote feature stories about them for The Choice Magazine. It was a great experience. Unfortunately, the ad revenue greatly lagged expenses, and after a year and a half, The Choice ceased publication.

While David Zeiler lost all of his copies of the magazine (long story) about 10 years ago, the original electronic copies of several of those feature stories survived on his computers. Luckily David Zeiler is an early adopter, and had an Apple IIc computer back then that he used as a word processor. A bit of techno hocus pocus was required to retrieve the text out of those ancient files, but that's something I happen to enjoy. Sometimes it pays to be a geek.

Below are a few of David Zeiler's favorites.


Not Just Another Folk Singer


One record company that was unusually receptive to an upstart regional rock magazine was A&M Records. They sent a lot of promo records, most of which were eminently forgettable. But one day A&M sent David Zeiler a tape by a then-unknown singer by the name of Suzanne Vega. He was floored by what he heard, and quickly called A&M to arrange an interview when Vega was scheduled to do a show at the 8x10 club in Baltimore. While WHFS in Annapolis had been playing a few of her songs, she had not yet had time to gain a following. David Zeiler interviewed her before the performance and then stayed to watch it. Just 50 people showed up that night. There was but one sign of the great success to come -- the magnificent songs being sung on the stage.

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Leaving the Garage Door Open


Interviewing the Fleshtones at Washington's 9:30 Club (then located on F Street) was typical of the difficulties in trying to schedule interviews with erratic bands on tour -- especially when you work for a fledgling regional rock publication, which defined Choice Magazine at the time. David Zeiler would arrange for an interview at a specific time and place with the record company. But somehow that info rarely got passed on to the band and its road crew, or maybe they just ignored it. The situation with The Fleshtones was so wacky I included it in the article. What I went through for an interview in those days...

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