Music magazine Hit Parader, published from 1942 to 2008, was reimagined as a branded production studio for TV, film, live events and more, under the auspices of music industry veterans and industry veterans. media Ash Avildsen (pictured left), Josh Bernstein (right) and Matt Pinfield (center). The first offerings under the Hit Parader name are set to air – Covid-19 permitting – by the end of 2020, and include the original scripted series “Paradise City” and the “No Cover” music competition TV shows and “Roadie Rage”. The platforms for the three programs will be announced shortly. A biopic of influential A&R executive Tom Zutaut, who was portrayed by SNL’s Pete Davidson in Motley Crue’s 2019 Netfilx movie “The Dirt,” is also in the works.
Other high-profile efforts include the return of live events – including: the Golden Gods, the Mayhem Festival and The Rock N’ Roll Roast, says company chairman Bernstein, who “instantly bonded “with now partner Avildsen about a dozen years ago” about our shared love of rock and roll music and professional wrestling. With Hit Parader, we saw a way to finally form the ultimate tag team and… embrace our shared vision by creating a rock ‘n’ roll studio focused on original content and immersive experiences.
Company CEO Avildsen, who is also founder/CEO of indie metal and rock label Sumerian, has arranged seed funding for Hit Parader, which will operate under a business plan inspired by the label. “We will create, produce and/or acquire the original intellectual property. We will then do our best to distribute this content to as many people as possible and monetize it in any way possible. Hit Parader has offices in the Panasonic Building in Universal City just outside of Hollywood.
“Paradise City”, which Avildsen describes as “A blend of the youthful angst of ‘Euphoria’, the entertainment business authenticity of ‘Entourage’ and the unearthly fun of ‘Sabrina'”, stars Drea de Matteo , the late Cameron Boyce and Bella Thorne. The first season of eight 40-minute episodes is complete, with a goal of five seasons in total.
While music-based TV series including ‘Vinyl’ and ‘Roadies’ have met with excitement and then disappointment for many viewers, Avildsen says, “I don’t think ‘Vinyl’ and ‘Roadies’ have faltered. There’s a massive global audience hungry for a rock & roll scripted series, as evidenced by our first “Paradise City” teaser which topped 14 million views on YouTube alone. younger with our cast and subject matter than those shows.Avildsen is the writer/director of the Miramax indie film “American Satan,” currently on Showtime, as well as “Paradise City,” which is an American Satan spin-off.
Pinfield, vice president of artist relations for Hit Parader, appears as himself in “Paradise City” and is one of the hosts of “No Cover.” [‘No Cover’] is its platform and springboard for new and young original talent performing their own material [the show will feature only original music, hence the show’s title]. We want to help these young artists get a head start in this industry. Following the “American Idol” model, winners will score management and recording deals. Four of Five Judges for “No Cover” Confirmed; Judge casting for “Roadie Rage,” which will be “part true story via animation and part obstacle madness,” begins this week.
Although the directors of Hit Parader have strong beliefs in rock and metal, “all genres and styles are welcome and will be given platforms,” says Avildsen. “While there may be certain musical elements synonymous with ‘rock & roll’, I’m still convinced that it is above all an attitude, not a sound. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has done a great job of reflecting that, which is why The Band and Tupac are both in there. Bob Dylan and NWA, Marvin Gaye and the Beastie Boys, David Bowie and Public Enemy. I love it.”
Despite Hit Parader’s publishing history, there are minimal plans for any type of magazine component. “I think the legacy and history of Hit Parader provides modern value that would take many years to recreate,” says Avildsen.
Launching Hit Parader content during the pandemic has been difficult, but, notes Avildsen, it has also “underscored the undeniable need for our music scene to branch out beyond traditional entertainment models, i.e. touring.” and albums.
Pinfield compares the company to one of his earlier successes. “I’ve never been so excited to be on the ground floor of something as special as Hit Parader…[it] reminds me of when I started at MTV,” he says. Pinfield’s goal in his new role is “to make Hit Parader the destination for all things rock and the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle.” Rock music still has the most loyal following in the world and they have been largely underserved.
Bernstein, whose credits include the Golden Gods Awards, AP Music Awards and XXL Freshmen, is thrilled to bring back the Golden Gods, which last took place in 2014, and the Rock N’ Roll Roast. The Golden Gods show plans to return in 2021 – subject to changes in live venue social distancing rules. The awards will provide transparency in the nomination and voting processes, with votes being made public the day after the show. In 2009, the first Golden Gods Awards were held at Los Angeles’ Club Nokia, and 2009 and beyond featured the crème de la crème of rock and metal artists, including performances by Metallica, Marilyn Manson, Guns N’ Roses and Korn. Along with Golden Gods and other fan-focused efforts, Bernstein hopes “these TV shows, film projects, concerts and award shows can be a bright, shining light at the end of the tunnel for rock fans during times currently so dark”.