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POP MUSIC | POP EYE

Rip R.i.p.

November 24, 1996|Steve Hochman

Controversial publisher Larry Flynt may have made friends with rocker Courtney Love while she was filming the role of his late wife Althea in the upcoming film "The People vs. Larry Flynt," but that didn't stop him from pulling the plug on Rip, his rock magazine.

Rip staffers were given notice just before completing a final issue that will be on stands in December--ironically, just when Rip would be celebrating its 15th anniversary. The L.A.-based monthly, billed as "the loudest magazine in the world," began by focusing on the '80s heavy-metal world of Motley Crue and Van Halen and shifted with music trends in the early '90s to such acts as Nirvana, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam. But it was unable to compete with Spin and others on that alternative-rock ground.

Editor Greg Kennerson, who was hired eight months ago by Flynt, is sanguine about the termination.

"We thought we did our job," he says. "But the company didn't have the patience and the numbers weren't backing us up."

More emotional about the demise is Lonn Friend, the founding editor who established and squired the magazine's fan-oriented tone with promotional stunts and lavish annual parties before he moved to Arista Records as West Coast vice president of A&R 2 1/2 years ago.

"They sort of took Rip out of the hands of the fans," says Friend, who believes the rise of such outrageous acts as Marilyn Manson and the return of KISS should have heralded a renaissance for the magazine. "I would have put a fan on the cover in KISS makeup with Gene Simmons and had Alice Cooper interview Marilyn Manson. The magazine was looking good and there was some good writing now, but there wasn't that thread holding it together."

Friend has explored the possibility of putting together an investment group to purchase and resurrect Rip, calling such "rich friends" as Metallica manager Cliff Burnstein and KISS manager Doc McGhee, but so far no one has committed.

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