When I heard that Marvin Jones was leaving Polyphony, my first thought was "who will they ever find as a replacement?" Now I know. And I must say, I'm glad to be here.
This issue marks an important step in Polyphony's growth. First of all, we have now picked up the readership of DEVICE newsletter, which folded at the end of 1980 after putting out 12 issues. Unfulfilled DEVICE subscriptions will be completed with issues of Polyphony on an issue-for-issue basis, so DEVICE readers will be getting more pages as well as a more broad-based publication. I would like to welcome all former DEVICE subscribers, and thank you for your dedicated support through some difficult times. I also feel that I must apologize to many readers on behalf of Roger Clay, DEVICE'S publisher. Due to a variety of personal and financial circumstances, Roger was suddenly unable to manage DEVICE'S business affairs, leaving me with a bunch of "where is my subscription?" letters as well as many other problems that needed to be cleaned up. I have tried to pick up the pieces as best I could, but if there are any remaining difficulties, please write me c/o Polyphony and I'll see what I can do. (I would particularly like to hear from Frank who sent the Echoplex unit; I can find no record of his full name or address.)
In addition to expanding its readership, the second important step in Polyphony's growth is an increased editorial emphasis on guitar electronics and home recording. This does not mean a de-emphasis of synthesis related articles - no way! Rather, this reflects the reality that the traditional lines separating various instruments and disciplines are blurring. Guitarists are using synthesizer modules to expand their sound; keyboard players are modeling alternate controllers on the guitar; and everybody seems to be interested in home recording these days. I think of myself as a pretty typical reader, and I play the guitar, keyboard, and have a home studio. All those subjects are of interest to me, and I'm sure they are of interest to you as well.
There are lots of plans for the future... getting the magazine on schedule is the first priority, and the next step would be publishing 9 issues a year instead of 6. Eventually, I'd love to see Polyphony go monthly. There are also plans afoot for Polymart to market publications specifically of interest to the Polyphony readership - in fact, Polymart will be playing a greater and greater role in providing tools for electronic musicians.
But any dreams must be tempered with a sense of reality. Electronic music publishing ventures do not have a great track record - Bob Moog put out a quarterly newsletter that folded back in the late 60s; Synthesis magazine disappeared after two issues; Source stopped publishing; Synapse never made it; and now, DEVICE is no longer with us. Electronotes (an excellent publication) is still hanging in there, but is behind schedule. So, why do I have any reason to suspect that things are going to be different this time with Polyphony?
Well, there are some very encouraging signs. This time around, I'll be dealing with a publisher I know I can trust - John Simonton. His dedication to electronic music has kept Polyphony going for 5 years, despite the fact that it has never been a money-maker. We have worked together well as a team on projects in the past, and I expect that we will continue to get along equally well in the future. Also, having one magazine serve all electronically-oriented musicians should help prevent the market-splitting that occurred when Synapse, Polyphony, and DEVICE all existed at the same time. We know now that there's not enough of an audience to support three magazines; but I think there are enough of you out there to keep Polyphony alive, well, and growing. Finally, it is great to become editor of a magazine that has already been publishing for 5 years; instead of having to start from ground zero, we've got a firm base to build on.
There has been much behind-the-scenes work needed to install me as editor, take care of DEVICE readers, and get Polyphony headed in a new and positive direction. I'd like to thank Marvin Jones and all the staff of Polyphony for their help, and particularly thank John for generously offering to take DEVICE subscribers under Polyphony's wing (most magazines just leave their readers hanging when they fold, but I didn't want that to happen and fortunately John didn't either). I hope that DEVICE readers will correctly interpret this gesture as meaning that Polyphony welcomes them with open arms.
Whew! Sorry about being so wordy - but I wanted to let you know what was happening. Polyphony's a fine publication already; we've got the most dedicated and enthusiastic readership any editor could ask for, as well as lots of excellent articles on file. My job is to take this publication even further - and as my friends can tell you, I don't take on any job unless I think I can do it right. It's good to be here, and I hope that all of you will be pleased with Polyphony's progress in the months ahead.