Industry Juice

No Cover's Mark Rasmussen (right) with Foofer Dave Grohl
  • No Cover's Mark Rasmussen (right) with Foofer Dave Grohl

For Mark Rasmussen, the ten years he spent publishing the locally based monthly rock magazine No Cover (1997–2007) was ecstasy and agony.

“We gave blink-182 their first magazine cover in March ’98. We also gave Linkin Park, Reel Big Fish, and Pepper their first covers.”

He launched No Cover in Venice Beach. “L.A. was too saturated of a market. I had a friend down here in San Diego. I noticed that [now-defunct] SLAMM was the only thing down here, and I thought I could do much better.”

For a year, Rasmussen, a former advertising account manager, based No Cover out of the Carlsbad offices of internet music company spinrecords.com. “I was there the day [in 2000] it closed down. They laid off 300 people. It was a concept more than a business. We got our own office in Mission Hills.”

No Cover continued on as local bands such as Unwritten Law and Mower scooped cover stories. “We did the first official Jägermeister magazine with Slayer on the cover. It was distributed at all 42 dates of the Slayer tour, which was sponsored by Jägermeister.”

Things looked good when the Slayer issue led to major distribution. No Cover got into Tower, 7-Eleven, and Barnes and Noble in 2003. “At one point, we had 100,000 copies distributed throughout the West Coast.... When we started [with the distributor], they would pay you for your magazines in advance.”

Then things fell apart. “They started by paying you up front. Then it changed to ‘We’ll pay after they sell.’”

When Tower Records went bankrupt, he says the huge record chain stiffed No Cover. “I paid an attorney to write a lot of letters only to find out we would get nothing. That was a first blow. We were owed a lot of money.”

Rasmussen says the Tower collapse was followed by news that his distributor was going out of business in 2007 and stiffing him for three issues.

He says the cost to produce each issue was $22,000. “I maxed out my credit. I was draining my bank account to keep it going.”

The last print version of No Cover, with Seether on the cover, was released in August 2007.

However, the industry juice he got from No Cover allowed Rasmussen a chance to launch his own record label, Whiskey Records, and to start placing songs for Fox Sports, Fuel, and Spike TV.

Rasmussen says he is launching an internet-only version of No Cover next month.

“I’m passionate about music, but I’m smart enough to not go back into [print] publishing.”

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Oh my, how can I not resist chiming into this article? So I worked at Spin Records when the decision was made to purchase, err, invest into No Cover. The idea being that, hey, here is a perfect venue to push our new bands into. Since we owned the content, we can dictate it. Mark acted as an owner and ran everything (failing at both) while Paul, his other half, was out selling advertising. I believe they later split up. Didnt work with Paul much, was saddled mostly with this imbecile. Mark was actually a lot like Ricky Gervais' character in the UK version of The Office, quite hysterical at the time. Especially his attempts at flirting and dropping the "I run a magazine" lines pretty thick to anyone with a pulse. Well, I guess we DID have our own issues so times were generally weird.

The other thing I remember about No Cover were the piles of non-distributed magazines that sat in the back office where they worked out of. Wooden pallets as high as me (5'6") or higher, all tightly bound bundles stacked together. I imagine they printed more around 40k-60k tops, and half of those rotted in our offices each month . They used one of our white passenger vans to distribute mags themselves - kind of hard to move 100k of magazines in 1 van.

I was originally assigned to do A/R and assist them on some other items but I saw the entire spinrecords ship was sinking and hauled butt out of there. Now I work for a law firm in Hillcrest. Memories!

Response to the bitter ex-spinrecords.com A&R wannbe. Maybe this A&R wannbe should look at himself as the reason Spinrecords.com failed. What did this so call A&R person contribute to stop the sinking ship. Maybe he should have signed better bands versus his so called "Friends" bands that using him only to get a record deal. Apparently this person who doesn't even have the courage to state his name other than he works and an assistant at a unknown law firm.
Consider the source when reading his comment. Sounds like a jealously or sour grapes that his life has to not amounted to much and his chance of becoming an A&R rep was just a pipe dream. He should thank Spinrecords.com for giving him a chance to be something more than he is today. Spinrecords.com is not the reason you failed, No Cover is not the reason you failed. Take a deep look at yourself before casting delusional comments. I can't contribute for how well or poorly the No Cover was run. No Cover was an indie zine that gave a lot of upcoming bands exposure. The publication was able to help out my former band and others when they went on the newsstand and for that I appreciate their efforts an anyone who supports new music! ...Now go make some copies and get your boss some coffee.

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