Celebrating 100 Issues of Guitar Interactive Magazine | Feature

Published 8 months ago on November 4, 2023

By Jonathan Graham

Celebrating 100 Issues of Guitar Interactive Magazine | Feature

Join us as we celebrate 100 issues of Guitar Interactive Magazine and talk with Gi's owner and publisher, Kim Waller and early contributor, Andy James.


Although a relatively short time ago, in the grand scheme of things, in the mid-2000s, the world of technology was quite a different place. The idea of reading a guitar magazine that was sent straight to your inbox and accessible through a device that fits in your pocket was a brave one. However, that was the inception of Guitar Interactive Magazine.


Owner and publisher Kim Waller's initial concept would become a reality in 2010, and since issue one, Guitar Interactive has committed to delivering unmatched quality while not charging readers a single penny for the pleasure. A commitment that's helped build a following into the hundreds of thousands across the globe.

On why he felt a digital magazine was the way to go, owner and publisher Kim Waller explains: "The reasoning behind it was that back then, when I'd read the magazines — Guitar for the Practicing MusicianGuitar WorldGuitarist, whatever they were — you could read the review of a guitar. You could read a review of an amp. But you couldn't hear it. A million words won't describe precisely the sound that you're going to hear.


Kim, who was amazed no one had done it before, explained the idea, "I wanted to create a digital magazine that would not only feature reviews, but each of these reviews would also have a video. That way, you can read the words and then press play and actually hear the guitar and amp. Within about ten seconds of somebody playing through an amp, you know exactly what it's all about. The same goes for interviews", Kim adds. "It's so much more interesting and engaging to see the actual conversation taking place."


Like most new ideas, not everyone is keen to get behind them at the start, and Gi was no exception. "The iPad hadn't been invented at that time. Some people looked at it and said it was just rubbish because they were just so used to picking up a paper magazine", Kim Waller says, "they couldn't get their head around it." Thankfully, the readers really loved the format and guitar brands quickly followed suit.


From its first editions — helmed by then editor Gary Cooper — Gi has always been an invaluable resource for guitar players the world over. It is packed full of the latest gear reviews, artist columns, Tech Sessions, and interviews with the biggest names in the world of guitar. The stars that have graced the magazine's cover include Slash, Joe Satriani, Tommy Emmanuel, Steve Vai, Nuno Bettencourt, Eddie Van Halen, Brian May, Joe Bonamassa and many more.


None of this could have been a reality without the hard work of Guitar Interactive's contributors, who are among the industry's finest gear reviewers and educators. As well as the mag's current lineup, including editor Jonathan Graham, Nick Jennison, Sam Bell, Tom Quayle, Dan Veall, Connor Thomas and Giorgio Serci, the likes of Rick Graham, Andy James, Guthrie Govan, Jamie Humphries, and Michael Casswell are just a few of the names who have bestowed their skills to the publication.


Andy James remembers two early stories from his days with the magazine. "The first was meeting Zakk Wylde," Andy recalls. "I remember he wasn't that enamoured with the idea of doing an interview. Zack had shown up in Milton Keynes to rehearse with Black Label Society, and he'd only just been informed that he now had an interview to do with me. Let's just say he wasn't best pleased." After initial concern on how this meeting with one of James' guitar heroes would go under the circumstances, to his relief, Wylde was more than happy to chat following the initial miscommunication."



James continues, "We did the interview, and he was totally fucking cool, laughing and joking around. It's funny because every time I see him now, it's like two friends just catching up, but it was still amazing that that was the first time I'd sat down and chatted with him.


James' other early standout moment involved Dream Theater's John Petrucci, explaining, "He said to me after the interview, 'I'm sure I've heard you play on something before, but I just can't put my finger on it.'" It turned out that Andy's performance clips had made their way to Petrucci's forum, with the site's moderator sending them the way of the man himself.


"His forum had new stuff going up all the time," explains James, "So I guess they would just pick things that they thought maybe John would like and then send it to him. Ever since then, we stayed in touch, and that led to me being part of the first-ever John Petrucci Guitar Universe event as an instructor. So yeah, a lot of cool things came out of those days."


Of course, It's not just those in front of the camera who keep the magazine running every issue, from our head designer Simon Gibbs to cameraman and video editors James Masterton, Dave Kidd and the late Mike Thorpe, to Gi's advertising team of Helen Bavester and Lisa Spiteri, every member of the team takes pride in bringing you, the readers, the best guitar filled content every new edition… And with that in mind, we'd like to thank you all.


Thank you for reading, watching, following and learning from Guitar Interactive Magazine for these first 100 issues. We'd love to hear some of your favourite interviews, lessons, reviews or even just Gi moments. Drop us a line on social media.



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