BAM magazine was founded in 1976 by Dennis Erokan, a former bass player for the band Green Catherine. The sextet formed around 1967 and mostly toured the East Coast. After a brief journalism course at De Anza College in Cupertino, the 24 year-old and his wife Lori produced the first issues from their home in the East Bay.

Originally published monthly, the magazine was distributed for free at record stores, colleges, nightclubs, stereo equipment stores and anywhere else the pop/rock enthusiast would converge. Initially covering the Northern California music scene, BAM had expanded to most of California by 1981, when circulation was around 100,000.

Operating from a cramped two-storey house on Telegraph Avenue in Oakland, BAM quickly expanded and opened an office in Los Angeles in 1977. The following year, the magazine changed formats and published bi-monthly. Part of BAM's early success was their straighforward approach and lack of sensationalism.

Rock journalists are a strange thing. They are the most pretentious kind of journalists. The story is rock and roll, but how many times can you write that story?

Rock musicians are not superhumans or great intellects, and they don't like being put on pedestals. They are musicians who make beautiful music. That's their job and we approach them on that level.

That's what they're most comfortable talking about. Out of that, they'll often share some gossip. Dennis Erokan, 1978


The Turkish-born Erokan was the driving force behind The Bammies - an annual benefit for the Bay Area Music Archives, of which he served as president. The San-Francisco-based archives housed a collection of vintage records, posters and books. No less than Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak donated a computer to catalog the archives.

The first BAMMIE event was held at the Kabuki Theater and counted roughly 1000 people in attendance. As Erokan later noted, the event began "as a joke, a spoof of the Grammy Awards". The show later moved to the Warfield Theater and then found a home at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. The events were broadcast by radio station KFOG. By 1998, the event was renamed the California Music Awards.

Erokan remained as publisher until 1994, when Earl Adkins took over. Brought on by financial problems, the magazine ceased publication in 1999 - circulation was about 55,000 - though it continued online.

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