Hacks Newsletter Week 175: Like a Rolling Stone


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Like a Rolling Stone

Jann Wenner and Christie Hefner, May 2023
There are few women mentors I admire and appreciate more than Christie Hefner. And her interviews with authors are usually exemplary; it was an honor to have had my media launch at her home for Leadership and Life Hacks: Insights from a Mom, Wife, Entrepreneur and Executive all those years ago.
Most recently, I had the pleasure of hearing Christie interview the iconic founder, editor, and publisher of Rolling Stone magazine, Jann S. Wenner. In his latest memoir, Like a Rolling Stone, Wenner is described as providing not only a portrait of his life, but a portrait of a generation.
To read an excerpt of the Q&A of Jann by Christie, keep reading.
JW: Music is like no other art form: emotional, physical. In terms of the magazine, I fell in love with music as a college student.  I was passionate about what I and it could do. The magazine came to be about the generation, how we changed America. It was a story that was missed by mainstream media, and the story of a generation.

CH: You covered and represented a generation. Music was the doorway. Magazine wasn’t just about the music and the musicians….but about the attitudes.
JW: Music was the language where young people could express their frustrations. Then there was the Vietnam War. And an assassination. These events further alienated that generation. That was our beat. Music was the glue that held this generation together.
CH: From very early on, you saw the magazine as a place to cover important subjects beyond music. Often with gifted writers, e.g. Hunter. S. Thompson. He did such extraordinary work with you and for you.
JW: In 1970, we got in touch by letter, and I asked him to write a piece for Rolling Stone. He walked into my office- had a bubble hairdo(technically a “bouffant”). He opens a sachet and pulls out a 6 pack of beer, cigarettes, a crowbar, an “entire hardware store.” We talked for 2.5 hours. It was awesome. It began an incredible collaboration.  We shared the same idea that we could use Rolling Stone to galvanize the youth population to political action. We covered the 1972 campaign to do that. Hunter loved having fun, loved practical jokes. At that time, I thought he would be the Mark Twain of our generation.
CH: Were you ever star struck?
JW: Sure. All the time. But I got most nervous around Mick Jagger. Bruce [Springsteen] is down home, easy to be with. Bob [Dylan] was too.
CH: If you could be a rock and roll star, who would you be?
JW: I don’t know…I’d like to dance like Mick, sing like Bruce and meet with the Pope like Bono.
CH: In all of the presidential interviews that you did, what was most noteworthy?
JW: The dedication of each of them. They were so happy to get that job and to work their asses off. They were good men. They were smart. They were all a bit arrogant. And they cared. I wanted to know their general policies but what I really wanted was to meet “the guy.”
You can find more keen insights like these in Jan Wenner’s memoir, Like a Rolling Stone, here.


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There will be no end to the curveballs that life throws. As soon as you feel comfortable, another setback or new challenge will arise. Alyssa Rapp is driven to help people like her—the doers, those who keep swinging—seek to succeed in both life and career. Every challenge is an opportunity, are you making the most of yours?

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