Ruin Magazine Founder Wants You to ‘Do the Devil’s Work’
After graduating from Boston University at the age of 19, Rick Florino was living the life he dreamed in California. He created the successful music magazine Ruin for which he interviewed the likes of Tool, Deftones, Korn, White Zombie and Down. But when the publishing house pulled the plug on Ruin, he wasn’t sure where to go from there.
“That was my whole life,” said Florino, who worked days as a Citysearch.com editor and nights with Ruin. “I completely immersed myself in doing that magazine. For a year and a half, I put out issues of Ruin while I was working at Citysearch. It did really well. It would sell out at Hot Topics. I was getting pitches from bands that I thought I would never even get to meet, let alone interview.
“After about a year and a half, the publisher discontinued it. I was completely heartbroken. I was 23 years old. This was my whole life. In Massachusetts, I was completely disconnected from the music industry, disconnected from the movie world. It was my gateway into this world that I really longed and yearned to be in my whole life. My dad would take me to the movies when I was 4 years old. We’d listen to ‘Back in Black’ in the car. We’d go see stuff like ‘Tango and Cash.’ That was my gateway into the entertainment world. Every second after that, from listening to AC/DC as a kid and seeing action movies and Schwarzenegger movies, I knew that I had to be a part of this world. I was never going to be able to accept anything else.”
So he had the idea to pen a book, a reference guide that shows kids that no matter where they were from, if they had a passion for movies or music, they, too, could be a part of this world.
“That was the impetus for writing the book,” Florino said of ‘Do the Devil’s Work For Him: How to Make It in the Music Industry (and Stay In It).’ I approached my co-writer Amy [Sciarretto, Roadrunner publicist and published journalist]. I’d known her for awhile. She had done stuff for Ruin. We were friends. She was willing to put her perspective in it. I had written the first couple chapters. I sent those along. We would just go back and forth.”
The duo gives their perspectives on different subjects, such as ‘Work for Free’ and ‘Hit the Internet Hard.’ But something was missing. Specifically, the thoughts of bands and publicists. So Florino called up some of his friends, such as Chino Moreno of the Deftones, Munky from Korn, Matt Sorum of Guns ‘N Roses/Velvet Revolver/the Cult fame, Shavo Odadjian of System of a Down and Mastodon‘s Troy Sanders.
“I’ve become friends with everybody,” Florino said. “We have that really, really killer interview section.”
“The book isn’t one person’s guide on how to break into the industry,” Florino continued. “It’s a whole collective. It’s pretty much written by the entire music industry from different publicity people, record label people, to all these bands. That’s what I like about it, it’s not one perspective. It’s a whole collective of different views and perspectives. I know that there are a million books out there like this. But I feel like this one is really centered on the passion and love for this.”
A love that Florino, the editor of ArtistDirect, still has. He treasures moments like hanging out with Slash or interviewing Maynard James Keenan.
“There’s never any kind of price tag you can put on those moments,” Florino said. “These people, they certainly still inspire me to this day. I can’t say enough about Chino from the Deftones. I think that that guy has more integrity and more talent and more vision and basically ground-breaking foresight than anybody I’ve ever met. He’s one of my closest friends. Having grown up with the Deftones being my favorite band of all time, to get to be good friends with him, see the way he works, and how incredibly creative he is, it’s amazing. That sort of thing inspires me to this day. When artists maintain that integrity that’s always will inspire me. I think he’s a perfect example. Phil Anselmo and Scott Weiland are the same sway. That stuff keeps me excited about music.”
If there’s one piece of advice that he hopes readers take with them, it’s “not to give up.”
“Just keep banging on the door,” said Florino, whose second book — a thriller called ‘Dolor‘ — hits the Web on Oct. 20. “All you need is one door to open. Once that one door opens, you’re in and you build on that. Just keep banging on that door. Don’t give up and to be a fan, first and foremost. Why are you doing this if you don’t love it? It isn’t the most lucrative game to get into, music. If you don’t love this, if you don’t live, eat sleep and breathe music, why would you even want to be a part of it? Be a fan first and foremost.”