History

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CIRCUS Magazine appeared at the newsstands in 1969. [HULLABALOO 1st issue - October 1966; CIRCUS 1st issue - March 1969] And like Jann Wenner at Rolling Stone, CIRCUS Publisher and Editor-in-Chief the boss is still at the helm. The boss actually started CIRCUS in 1966, under the title...  Continue Reading

Running Away With The CIRCUS:
An Oral History Of
CIRCUS Magazine #1 - Stephanie Wart

Jim Farber is the pop music critic for the New York Daily News. Back in the '70s and '80s, Farber wrote for Rolling Stone, Creem, and Crawdaddy!. Farber's first full-time job in rock journalism was at CIRCUS while he attended college. Below, Farber talks about what the magazine meant to him as a kid and what it was like working ... Continue Reading

Running Away With The CIRCUS #4

Jim Farber

Interviewer: I am speaking with the boss, creator/publisher of CIRCUS Magazine. As a fan, I've been going back and repurchasing any of these that I can find at garage sales, swap meets or through eBay. I'm trying to get these back because the pictures were so good that when I was a teenager...  Continue Reading

An Oral History Of CIRCUS Magazine #2

"The boss Complete Interview"; May 2009 conducted by Sham Shredder

John Swenson is a music writer that has written for all the big music mags--Rolling Stone, Crawdaddy!, and, for a brief period of time, CIRCUS. Below, Swenson remembers his time at CIRCUS as a rock critic in the late '70s and early '80s

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     "I edited the record section of the magazine for less than two years, taking over... Continue Reading

Running Away With The CIRCUS #5

John Swenson

Robert Smith is the president of A&R at Zingy, Inc. today. But in the mid to late '70s, Smith was one of the editors at CIRCUS magazine.

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“I was the managing editor at Crawdaddy! for a couple of years prior to working at CIRCUS. The rock journalism world was pretty small considering its impact.... Continue Reading

Running Away With The CIRCUS #3

Robert Smith

Entertainment attorney Stan Soocher, author of the book They Fought The Law: Rock Goes To Court, is the Editor-in-Chief of the industry trade journal, Entertainment Law and Finance. He is an associate professor and former Chair of Music and Entertainment Industry Studies at the University of Colorado at Denver where he teaches... Continue Reading

Running Away With The CIRCUS #6

Stan Soocher

Kurt Loder is probably best known as MTV's senior news correspondent. Before that, Loder was one of Rolling Stone's most talented and prolific feature writers in the '80s. Loder probably never would have gotten his job at Rolling Stone if it wasn't for his time working for CIRCUS in the late '70s. Below, Loder goes into detail about... Continue Reading

Running Away With The CIRCUS #7

Kurt Loder

Philip Bashe left the world of rock writing years ago. Today Bashe is known as the author of such health/self help books as: You Don't Have to Hurt! A Leading Expert in Pain Medicine Shows You How to Treat--and Beat--Chronic Pain, co-written with Peter S. Staats, M.D., (Workman, 2004); Caring For Your Teenager... Continue Reading

Running Away With The CIRCUS #8

Philip Bashe

Today, Gary Cee is the program director at the Poughkeepsie, NY, rock station, WPDH. But there was a time when Cee worked for CIRCUS, starting as a receptionist and eventually moving up to become the rock mag's Managing Editor. Below, Cee answers some questions about his time at CIRCUS and the mark that experience left on... Continue Reading

Running Away With The CIRCUS #9

Gary Cee

Ben Liemer has been the director of National Sales, Northeast at TVT Records for 10 years. Years ago, Liemer was the Managing Editor--second in command to publisher the boss --at CIRCUS magazine from 1985 to 1989. Those years happen to be the most profitable in CIRCUS history thanks to the huge popularity... Continue Reading

Running Away With The CIRCUS #10

Ben Liemer

Writer Mordechai Kleidermacher has had music journalism published in Guitar World, Guitar School, and Revolver. He is currently working on a freelance basis for Jazz Improv magazine. The leader of the band J.A.M., Inc., Kleidermacher has just finished making his first CD of original instrumental rock. During the early and mid '90s... Continue Reading

Running Away With The CIRCUS #11

Mordechai Kleidermacher

Christian Wissmuller is the editor of School Band and Orchestra and Choral Director magazine. He is also a music freelancer who serves as a contributing writer at Guitar One and CIRCUS. Wissmuller talks about writing for CIRCUS magazine in the last few years.

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Running Away With The CIRCUS #12

Christian Wissmuller

04-88 Joe History 15 Cover.jpg

Don Sill is a freelance metal journalist who has been published in dozens of print and online publications. Sill was a contributing writer who usually had a story or two in every issue of the magazine.

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"I was doing a college radio show at WUSB SUNY Stony Brook and was beginning to interview many metal... Continue Reading

Running Away With The CIRCUS #13

Don Sill

Running Away With The CIRCUS #14

CIRCUS Closes / A Love Letter To CIRCUS / Epilogue

We've never really heard of CIRCUS magazine, and we suspect this is entirely our own fault because we're so inexcusably square. We're told it's a big-deal rock / metal mag, and like Rolling Stone, it's been around since the late '60s and run by the same guy the whole time. That was the case until yesterday, when freelancers... Continue Reading

I discovered CIRCUS Magazine in 1977 but was too young for it. Saw it again in 7th grade (Autumn of ‘83) and by March 1984 my six-year subscription had started simultaneously with my teen years. By 1989 I’d moved on because I wanted a more serious, musician-minded publication. At the time I felt that CIRCUS was being... Continue Reading

An Interview With

CIRCUS Magazine's CEO

Letter to CIRCUS fans:

From 1969 to 2006, Gerry Rothberg was part owner of the Circus Enterprises Corporation. CIRCUS Magazine was great at times only because of its collected staff of knowledgeable and dedicated reporters/photographers throughout the years - not because of GR’s inflated ego.

 

Since GR never appreciated his staff, they were always leaving CIRCUS for greater job opportunities (at Rolling Stone magazine and others) where they'd receive better pay and some respect. Eventually, no one was willing to work with GR anymore - so he had to use writers who'd work for free to get the publishing jobs done: “You’ll get recognition but no money for your efforts.”

 

His decision to use those workers made the quality of the magazine spiral downward until it was too far gone to save under his management. Due to GR's multiple mistakes in running the company over its history, CIRCUS Magazine went into foreclosure in June of 2006. It was sold along with all of its remaining physical property at an auction in 2007 to pay for his outstanding debts.

 

At that time, GR lost everything he had: his business, home and possessions. After this bad experience, he distanced himself from anything CIRCUS Magazine related and became a full-time author of fiction books to forget about the shame of his enormous failure.

 

That’s when new owners gained control of CIRCUS along with original office products such as photo slides, unpublished items, etc. They hired a producer to find the original staffers and gave them the task of bringing CIRCUS Magazine back to its audience.

 

Due to the way the company was closed and it’s property scattered all over the world, it was akin to putting together a 10,000 piece jigsaw puzzle without having all of its parts and with no visual reference of what it should look like after completion. 

 

The first CIRCUS social media outlets were created in January 2009 but were kept private until the first 100 back issues were scanned for visitors to see & read. The sites were made public on June 6, 2011 [ members only group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/CIRCUS.Archives/ ] (the date of 6/6/11 was modeled after MTV’s 8/1/81 launch date). In May 2011, we contacted GR to notify him of what we were doing and became friends.

 

Because of GRs great loss, we mailed him 100 CIRCUS Magazine back issues for free to start his collection again, along with making him an administrator to the CIRCUS pages - meaning he was given administrative powers and could do anything at our sites.

 

At the time, it seemed important to have him on board with the relaunching of CIRCUS Magazine. GR was offered a generous percentage of any future profits simply for being on the staff while not being required to do anything.

 

When GR began posting, he abused his position by running advertisements for his novels on our CIRCUS pages without managerial consent and they conflicted with the regular music-themed posts. This was after we were already promoting GRs books at the CIRCUS Magazine official website without any compensation from him, which he never acknowledged or appreciated.

 

At first we let him continue posting to keep the peace, but it was badly hurting our audience support. Fans were regularly commenting on GRs posts with "WTF is this sh!t?" No one wanted to see these ads that had nothing to do with rock music cluttering their news feeds. So we had to delete his adverts and demote GR to only being a visitor at our sites.

 

Because of his desperation to be noticed/remembered, GR began creating these horrible-looking posts at his personal Twitter site that were CIRCUS related. He tagged us in them and expected us to share (re-Tweet) with our followers his embarrassing creations but we refused to touch them. We couldn’t tell him they weren’t good enough, so we quietly overlooked them.

 

Although none of our staff is getting recognition for their work, GR wanted attention, fame and to be admired on a royal pedestal. From 2011 to 2018, GR was on our CIRCUS team. You can read from some of his letters to us that he was always supportive of our work and repeatedly encouraged us to continue despite the setbacks that we were experiencing.

GR Letters

JG Letter 1
JG Letter 4
 
 
JG Letter 2
JG Letter 5
JG Letter 3
JG Letter 6
JG Letter 7
JG Letter 8

During that time, we had noticed how GR would regularly "friend" our CIRCUS fans and suspected that it was to interfere with our audience connection. He looked at our staff as free labor for him while we made all of the investments of time, money, work, sacrifice, problem solving, etc. GR did nothing, yet he wanted to collect any "reward" that came from our productivity.

 

One of the last disagreements between GR and our staff came when we took action to protect the CIRCUS brand and our fans from being ripped off by bootleg t-shirt merchants. We wanted to send "cease and desist" letters to those who were making money by selling counterfeit CIRCUS items and then legally proceed to stop it.

 

But GR didn't want that, which made us question if he was involved in the bogus t-shirt sales. It would be bad if he was caught making money by selling "Circus" products again after he'd already declared bankruptcy to his creditors with the original company that he folded. The numbers of people who lost their money because of GR would want it all back if they learned he was doing that.

 

By the way, for the fans who have written to us saying that they’d paid for a subscription to CIRCUS in the 2000’s but never received the magazines or a refund of their money: we were not with the company at that time, so go after GR to rightfully get your dollars back.

 

When CIRCUS administrators refused to ignore the fake t-shirt sales problem, GR decided to leave our team in March 2018 without notice and went solo with his version of Circus Magazine in an attempt to steal our audience. GR tries to persuade people to take his side in this matter, so they must think for themselves and research/verify any information from both parties.

 

For example, check the starting date on his "Circus" sites and you'll see that they've all been created in the last 12 months. From 2006 to 2018 he had 12 years to start these. Why didn't he begin sooner during that time period if there wasn't already a legitimate CIRCUS Magazine existing that he was a part of?

 

People have commented to us about the sloppy work and poor quality pictures that GR uses at his pages. Since he only has what we gifted him in CIRCUS content, GR takes images from the internet and from our CIRCUS Magazine pages - explaining why we had to further watermark our back issues. There's no comparison between our production and his.

 

Have you seen him lift our posts yet? Compare the text content and post dates on these two entries for who published first and who’s copying who:

1. Ours

and

2. GR’s

 

GR never helped us in any way to get CIRCUS back off of the ground because he was too absorbed with being a novel writer. In fact, he's been holding us back from bringing CIRCUS to the world once again. It angers GR that someone else will be known as the owner of the company he used to run.

 

In his jealousy-crazed attempts to discredit us, GR began stalking our sites and commenting on posts with lying rants - so we had to block him from visiting there anymore. Now he constantly creates multiple fake accounts on different social media outlets (as a backdoor to gain access to our pages after banning him) to cause problems for us: sending numerous letters to our followers as "Circus Magazine" and making false claims against us while hiring trolls to harass us. We’re taking notes on their identities and are planning action.

 

Regardless of the troubles, the CIRCUS Magazine admins have worked tirelessly on this project for over a decade without pay (everyone works a second job) and have gone into debt because of the costs: repurchasing the entire 1966 - 2006 HULLABALOO/CIRCUS archive in mint condition from collectors (some issues were bought multiple times because the first ones had pages missing or were damaged); hiring and paying people (some new, some original staffers) to get the multitude of jobs done; outfitting the offices with computers, scanners, equipment & furniture; and more.

 

Unlike GR who wastes his final days posting untrue statements about us on his pages, this will be the only time we wish to speak on this because we know the majority of people don’t care about what goes on behind the scenes. This was written only to inform those who were interested in the truth of this matter.

 

We're greatly displeased by GRs harmful actions against us and feel betrayed that he'd intentionally damage us after all that we'd done for him over those seven years. GRs disrespect will not be tolerated and he must repair everything that he’s destroyed. Our fans have shown their disapproval of his behavior by unfollowing/unliking GRs pages, because doing so will diminish his ability to attack us.

 

Once those kinds of distractions are removed, we can continue forward with our delayed plans. Our staff are eager to reveal their 2019 Best of CIRCUS Magazine 50th Anniversary issue, along with a list of other overdue items. We’re grateful to the CIRCUS fans for their faithful support over the years and are dedicated to providing them with the CIRCUS Magazine that they deserve.

Producer & Lead Admin.

3/24/19