On March 13th, 2014 I had the rare pleasure of visiting the offices of Rolling Stone Magazine in NYC.
Capping several days of great entertainment in the Big Apple I was thrilled when a friend who works for the magazine invited m’lady and I for lunch and offered us a private tour of his daily grind, which takes up the entire second floor of one of the city’s countless skyscrapers.
The welcome desk is large and impressive, wrapping fully around an alert and friendly security concierge who nodded us in with our host (we had been processed and given guest cards downstairs as went entered the building). Inside we found the large space warm, inviting and busy, as hundreds of people actively conquered a thousand tasks surrounded by walls littered with staggering artwork.
The magazine keeps all of the original art that has appeared among their pages and the walls of the office are covered with it. Utterly familiar and wondrously oversized pieces by the likes of Ralph Steadman and Annie Leibovitz were everywhere you looked. There were even several small ‘galleries’ strewn about the offices like so many Zen rock gardens; just a couch or maybe a pair of chairs in a nook featuring a half-dozen or more works by a single artist.
They have a labyrinth of interconnected hallways adorned with the covers of every single issue the magazine has produced. Laid out chronologically it forms a stunning representation of the history of popular music, it’s fad’s, it’s heroes, and it’s fonts. We lingered in the hallways as long as we possibly could.
Late in our walk-through we slowed our pace and gaped as Jann Werner’s own personal office was pointed out to us with a whisper. A wall of glass and teak hides the enormous private office of a man that will be omitted from only the most glaringly incomplete encyclopedias on the history of rock and roll. The memorabilia, souvenirs and knick-knacks that might line the walls inside were so utterly unthinkable my mind reeled at the possibilities, but alas none of us had the credentials to allow for even a quick knock on the door.
On our way out we detoured for another quick stroll through the historic hall of magazine covers. Walking slowly backwards through the ages of rock I watched dozens of heroes come alive again: Lou Reed, Jerry Garcia, Duane Allman, Jimi Hendrix. I also watched Keith Richards’ wrinkles disappear over the course of his more than twenty appearances of the front of the magazine.
And then we were back at the welcome ring. Handshakes and hugs all around, our friend handed us the latest copy of the magazine fresh off the presses and sent us off with a wave before heading back in to perform whatever tasks he needed to do to help get the magazine out next month. For m’lady and I the rest of the day was dedicated to driving back home to Canada and going over the many highlights of our great trip to New York City.