John Lynskey Interview: Hittin’ the Note

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    By George Burrows | March 14, 2010

    The following is an interview with the editor of ‘Hittin’ the Note’ for iamnotjerry.com

    George Burrows: Hittin’ The Note, the magazine, began around 1992 as a quarterly newsletter for members of The Allman Brothers Band Fan Club. Explain its beginnings, then continue to  its current dual position as a magazine and  website ?

    John Lynskey: Hittin’ the Note did begin as a quarterly fanzine for the Allman Brothers Band in 1992; at the time, it was more for passion than profit. The founders of the magazine were Joe Bell, Ron Currens, Kirk West and Bill Ector, all Allman Brothers fans who somehow found each other.  originally, HTN covered just the Allman Brothers, and the magazine was 16 pages of black and white, printed on the copy machine at Joe Bell’s office in Atlanta. Slowly but surely, the magazine began to grow, and we started to expand our coverage of artists to those who embodied the sounds and traditions of the Allman Brothers; essentially, we got into the jam scene. The fact that www.hittinthenote.com is now the official website store for Allman Brothers Band merchandise certainly has helped our profit margin. Hittin’ the Note is currently running at 72 pages, is full-color, and available at Barnes and Noble, Borders, and many other retail outlets. Our cover price of $6.00 has not changes in years, and we are very proud of that. is now the official website store for Allman Brothers Band merchandise certainly has helped our profit margin. We have expanded www.hittinthenote.com quite a bit; given the growth of internet readership, we thought it pragmatic to offer reviews, photos and short interviews on the web. We currently have have a nice balance between the printed page and internet features.

    GB: HTN has featured Ben Harper, Kings of Leon as well as Bill Walton on the cover, What goes into selecting a feature artist for HTN ?
    JL: The selection of cover stories is a very organic, free-flowing process. Sometimes we actively pursue a subject; other times cover stories are offered to us, and occasionally, they just appear.  I try to plan at least two potential cover features per issue, because things do change, and you need a back-up, but by and large, we don’t worry all that much about it. We have been fortunate to be ahead of the curve on some bands, Kings of Leon being a prime example. Hittin’ the Note was the first American magazine to feature KOL on the cover, and we’re proud of that. Our covers have run the gamut of the music scene, from the ABB, Gov’t Mule, Carlos Santana and Hot Tuna to the Derek Trucks Band, Widespread Panic, Chris Robinson, the Arc Angels and Ray Lamontagne, amongst others. Bill Walton was a very happy accident that worked out great. I ran into Bill backstage one time, and it went from there; he is the funniest man I have ever met, and just a great human being.

    GB: Over the years HTN published interviews with members of the ABB, Govt’ Mule, The Dead, but it is a Kirk West interview that seems to be a high lite. Reflect on Kirk’s contribution to music.

    JL: Kirk West is one of a kind; his role as archivist for the Allman Brothers Band was vital in the opening of the Allman Brothers Band Museum at the Big House in Macon, GA. His intincts as a collector and organizer of all things Allman managed to centralize so much of the band’s history that otherwise would have ended up scattered to the wind, in the hands of individual collectors, or in dumpsters somewhere. His hard work and dedication to the history of the ABB is quite impressive, and appreciated very much by fans of the band.

    GB: Describe a day as a music magazine editor and what band/artist do you listen to as you work?

    JL: We listen to almost every kind of music there is; a wide variety would be an understatement, but all that music shares a common thread – it’s good. The key element to my day-to-day schedule is organization; I really believe that failing to prepare is preparing to fail.  I have a routine down now after all these years of touching base with our art director, editors, writers, publicists, record labels and the artists themselves. Being a quarterly magazine is a cycle; as soon as one issue is done, the next one has already started. It’s a great job. no doubt about it..

    GB: If you could change one thing in the music world and it would become a reality, what would that be?

    JL: It would be great to see truly talented musicians, genuine artists, receive some of the commercial success that that these flash-in-the-pan pop sensations get. You know the old saying: what is popular isn’t always good, and what is good isn’t always popular.

    My thanks to John Lynskey and Rob Johnson -GB of iamnotjerry.com

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