What about Rock and Roll?
How the Netflix of Rock and Roll was Born...
Josh Bernstein amassed a huge stack of achievements in television, production, publishing, marketing, and art direction before he’d even turned 40. As President of Hit Parader, Bernstein now oversees the relaunch of the legendary brand. The cofounder and creative engine behind several internationally recognized events and award shows for XXL, Revolver, Townsquare Media and Alternative Press has worked alongside everyone from Live Nation and AEG to the Rock Hall of Fame and the GRAMMYs to give life to each vision. He’s developed broadcast deals and creative partnerships with Apple, Amazon, Twitch, SiriusXM, MTV2, AXS TV, Xbox Live, Harley-Davidson, and the WWE, and enjoyed strong working relationships with top-tier pop culture icons, like Metallica, Guns N’ Roses, Twenty One Pilots, Panic! At The Disco, and Foo Fighters.
Josh Bernstein, originally from Queens, NY, grew up obsessed with Comic Books, Rock and Roll, and Professional Wrestling. Josh would later transform these childhood passions into a professional career. As a student, he went to the School of Visual Arts, pursuing his love for comic books by studying to be a penciller and inker. During his time at school he was also able to enjoy the fantastic music scene New York City has to offer. Joking with friends in the music business, he would state “If you aren't in the band, promoting a basement show, or producing a ‘zine’ about the band, why are you here?” It’s no secret that those in the live music industry have a unique drive and passion for what they do to make a living, and Josh certainly holds these characteristics. In the early days of Josh's career, he put his art and design knowledge to the test working on music posters and magazines acting as a Creative Director in the media space. Fast forward to the present day, his experience has snowballed creating what he compares to “Netflix for Rock and Roll.”
In the Fall of 2019, the opportunity to revive the infamous magazine Hit Parader presented itself. With his partner and good friend Ash Avildsen, they took this revival one step further, creating a media outlet for high-end Rock and Roll content. Both Ash and Josh shared similar passions for the knowledge of music, digital production, and project management. Working on the project with a team of long-time friends makes the experience even more special for Josh. Keeping this spirit in mind they’ve partnered with allies who share the same mission. Josh says, “We need to do the proper work to support the future of Rock and Roll.” Current partners include Danny Wimmer Presents, United Talent Agency, Gibson Guitars, and Shelter Music Group to name a few.
In the summer of 2020, they went digital as part of the revamp. How were Josh and the team able to do it? Josh explains, “The brand touches on nostalgia while pushing the music and film genres forward. Artists can look back to the greats that came before them, and see that they are all part of this incredible lineage. We believe in Rock and Roll. A lot of tech, event companies, and TV networks - if you mention Rock and Roll to them they scrunch their faces. I say ignore that amazing audience at your own risk. The Rock and Roll audience is energetic, engaged, spends real money and if you build it, they will come and support it. I’m a Rock and Roll lifer and hope to continue to waving that flag.”
No Cover, Roadie Rage, Golden Gods Awards, Rock ‘N Roll Roast, Rock N’ Jock and the return of the famed Mayhem Festival are a few projects to look forward to as part of Hit Parader’s relaunch. "When it is safe, I think it is important to get everyone back in a room together to celebrate new music, and especially each other." No Cover is literally the no cover song version of American Idol. Original music is highlighted through the competition show, bringing the next era of Rock and Roll stars to the stage. On Roadie Rage, their sister show, famous rock stars and tour managers tell historical tales through Rock and Roll’s most famous moments. Roadies will take on the challenge to recreate the crazy scenarios we all know and love… "From disposing of a dead body 😉 to separating the green M&Ms from brown. Live music is like an iceberg; you usually only see the band, but under the water lurking are the techs, security, producers, lights, sounds, parking attendants, bartenders, and more making the show go on!" Like Back of House's goal, Roadie Rage turns the spotlight on the behind-the-scenes workers that come together to make live events possible.
Josh and the team have taken the live event lull to position themselves for a positive future. The team feels fortunate enough to have multiple creative outlets from digital content to live events. With a creative mind that never sleeps, Josh has gotten to pursue different opportunities, including getting involved in the eSports industry. The downtime has also allowed for the unique opportunity to film at The Troubadour. This famous venue during regular times might not have been available for production, but it is now and so they jumped on it. These projects are bringing back venue staff and the best of the best production assistants, two departments that are ready and eager to work.
As many readers look ahead to 2021 and reflect on the year, we welcome advice to kick off a positive new year. As Josh reflects, he offers his tips. "Put your head down and keep working. Some people crawled back into bed in the beginning of the pandemic. We can't wait around for the government or whoever to impact our ways to make money. You need to come out of COVID with a ‘giant beard and three novels.’ I took it as a challenge to work more. I buried myself in the work and the creativity, and that lifts my spirits personally." Find what makes your soul happy. During this time, it is crucial to network. Josh used to think LinkedIn was for people who don't have jobs. But that changed a few years back, and now he’s found it to be an invaluable resource. “If you're not cutting the line for a job, you're not in the line. Cold applying for jobs is tough, but there is nothing more valuable than a warm introduction or solid inside connection. If you can get that from someone, it's precious.”
The time will come when we are back on site. As more events begin to be announced it is important to remember to "be a cool hang." It seems simple, but we spend so much time with our fellow roadies. "If you want to work with anyone, make sure they are a blast to hang out with 40-50+ hours a week. Make it fun and enjoy each other." Josh is optimistic about the safety of our staff and fans. "A lot of our staff is already working on COVID-era film sets, working with state and local authorities to follow all COVID protocols, testing and tracing." The more familiarity with these protocols, the better. Having other professionals bring these skills back to live events will be a positive asset to the live events team.
The Golden Rules and Reminders of Event Production - Josh Bernstein Edition
Outwork those around you.
If you give your word, stick with it, no matter how painful because you are only as good as your word.
Stay humble. No job is too small.
Realizing your skillset in music is very transferrable to other vocations, and vice versa.
Don’t give up. The doors that are closed now will reopen again, but for now, don’t let your ego get in the way of making yourself money.
Final advice: please wear a mask so we can have concerts again!