Drummer first appeared in 1975 and breathed its last in 1999, by which time it had become one voice among many. But in 1975 it stood virtually alone, and it made a strong impression on the growing leathersex community.
My first Drummer. They say you never forget your first, and I sure haven't. I'm still in love with this Rex man.
The masthead of almost every issue included this quote from Henry David Thoreau:
If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
The magazine certainly followed the beat of a different drummer - but one many of us heard too.
Long before the Internet, chatrooms, blogs and the avalanche of online porn, Drummer offered readers access to a new world of leather, uniforms, SM, role play - everything. It was the full meal deal, and it seemed to be the real thing, not just buff and hairless pretty boys, but players who looked like men you might actually meet. Real men, real players.
It was a beat-off bible, a how-to guide, a meat market, a gossip column and gear source all rolled into one. It was a life-saver for a small city boy trying to figure out where he fit in. And it was the brainchild of John Embry who broke the footpath so many others have followed.
Click here to see a pdf version of the entire first issue.
Drummer Magazine played a big part in introducing me to the leather community, and through the contacts I made there I met writers, editors, artists and leathermen all over North America and Europe. I met my first play partners in SF and LA through Drummer personals, I corresponded with several artists who contributed to Drummer, I had stories and photos published in the magazine, and I even competed in the 1984 Mr Drummer contest.
It was while in San Francisco for that contest that I met John, but I dealt more with the Drummer staff than I did with him. I do remember the office being incredibly chaotic - boxes of dildos and videos and lubricants and god only knows what else - and work surfaces cluttered with layouts and artwork between and around the cartons. It was not the Reading Room at the British Library. But it was fun, and it provided us with years of entertainment, stimulation and connections.
John Embry created Drummer Magazine and published it from 1975 to 1986 (others took it over and kept it in circulation until 1999). The original magazine was usually in black and white, often printed on newspaper stock and not always delivered on time to local outlets, but that didn't matter. The magazine was a lifeline and a hotline for many budding leathermen, a role hard to imagine in today's uberconnected world.
John Embry was a groundbreaker in the late Twentieth Century leathersex community in North America, and his death on Sept 16, 2010 marked the passing of a pioneer.
Click here to see his Bay Area Reporter obituary.
CELLBLOCK DUTY DESK.