About Brad Tolinski: American journalist | Biography, Facts, Career, Life
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Brad Tolinski
American journalist

Brad Tolinski

Brad Tolinski
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American journalist
Is Journalist Music journalist
From United States of America
Field Journalism Music
Gender male
The details (from wikipedia)


Brad Tolinski (born 1958) was the Editor-in-Chief of Guitar World Magazine for 25 years (1989–2015). He also served as Editorial Director of NewBay Media's music division, which also includes Guitar Aficionado and Revolver magazines. He then moved to Harris Publications as the Editorial Director of Special Projects and is now Editorial Director of Special Projects for AMG Parade in New York City.

Early career

Tolinski was born in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan. He studied Journalism and Philosophy at Wayne State University (1976-1981). In 1985, Tolinski moved to New York City and started working at We Buy Guitars, a guitar shop on 48th Street. He left after a few months and started working at the Digital Music Center, one of the first recording studios in New York that used Apple computers to sample, sequence and record.

While working at the studio, Tolinski started writing for an independent music magazine called Music, Computers and Software. He interviewed musicians such as Roger Waters, Stewart Copeland and Joe Jackson. In 1986, Tolinski became the Managing Editor of the magazine. In 1988, he was recruited to work on a short-lived electronic music publication called Modern Keyboard that folded after just a few issues.

Guitar World

In September 1989, Tolinski joined Guitar World as Associate Editor to help straighten out circulation problems. When the Editor-in-Chief Joe Bosso left in March 1991 to pursue a record industry A&R job, Tolinski was installed into his position.

“I wanted the magazine to convey to readers that we understood what it means to play guitar and be in a band,” said Tolinski in an interview with Rockcritic.com, “And that, above all, it is fun. Taking a dry, technical approach to things has its place, and we certainly are committed to teaching the guitar, but Guitar World wouldn’t be as popular as it is if that’s all there were to it. Our readers relate to us – so much so that when they complain about something in a letter or an email, it’s with the kind of vehemence you usually reserve for a relative. That’s a good sign. We work together like a band – everyone feels like they play important roles in a creative collective, not like some industrial cog. There’s lots of pressures at times, but it’s also fun – and I believe our readers are intuitively hip to that, because it shows up in our writing design, headlines and photographs.”

Future US music division

Tolinski was also the Editorial Director of Future US’s music division, which includes Guitar Aficionado and Revolver. He was heavily involved in the launch of Revolver in the spring of 2000, when it was launched as a general interest rock magazine. After that was discontinued by then-owner Harris Publications, Tolinski decided to turn Revolver into a heavy metal magazine. He says, “My reasoning was that there would be less cost, it would be a more focused audience and there would be more endemic advertising. There was also a gap at the newsstand for an entertaining, well-designed, well-edited hard rock magazine. I wasn’t particularly overjoyed at pulling the plug on the original Revolver – Tom [Beaujour] and I loved making those first issues – but I think Revolver Mach II turned out well, and current editor Brandon Geist is doing really good work."

Tom Beaujour, Greg Di Benedetto, and Tolinski were deeply involved in creating Guitar Aficionado. He says, “[We] noticed that as players matured, their tastes in music and how they viewed the instrument changed. Guitar Aficionado is just a reflection of that. It’s not necessarily ‘high-end.’ You don’t have to be a millionaire to be interested in travel, food, fashion or beautiful guitars.”

NewBay Media

In 2012 Guitar World, Guitar Aficionado and Revolver magazines were purchased by NewBay Media. This publishing company also holds several other U.S. music titles, including Guitar Player, Bass Player, Electronic Musician, Keyboard Magazine, Mix Magazine, and more. Shortly after this transition, Tolinski was named Editorial Director of the Music Group. He continued to also be the editor in chief of Guitar World.

Harris Publications

In April 2015 he left Guitar World and took on the position of Editorial Director of Special Projects for Harris Publications. Directing a team of editors, he was responsible for producing a wide variety of titles on diverse subjects such as The History of the PC, The 70's, Pink Floyd, The Heart, and many others.

AMG Parade

After the unexpected closing of Harris Publications in April 2016, Tolinski moved to AMG Parade as the Editorial Director of Special Projects, continuing to produce and edit titles including those focusing on The Grateful Dead, Star Trek, and many others.


Tolinski is the producer of a new compilation CD for Steve Vai's Favored Nations label that focuses on female guitarists, called She Rocks Vol. 1. The project is being producing in cooperation with the Women's International Music Network and is set to be released at the 2017 She Rocks Awards on January 20, 2017.


On October 13, 2012, Tolinski released the book Light & Shade: Conversations with Jimmy Page, published by Crown. Rolling Stone lauded, “An effective, comprehensive account in the guitarist’s own words of his life and music….Keep a copy near the records – and your guitar.” The Boston Globe wrote, “Brad Tolinski’s “Light & Shade: Conversations With Jimmy Page” sheds serious light on this poorly understood, enigmatic musical genius.” The book was published in ten languages.

Tolinski co-authored Play It Loud: An Epic History of the Style, Sound and Revolution of the Electric Guitar (Doubleday) with Alan DiPerna. Hailed by NY Times bestselling historian Douglas Brinkley and legendary guitarists Carlos Santana and Billy Gibbons, the book released on October 25, 2016, and chronicles the history of this iconic musical instrument. Parade Magazine stated, "Music journalists Brad Tolinski and Alan di Perna are so passionate about the electric guitar they wrote the book on it, delving deep into the instrument’s history, greatest hits and artists."

BackStory Events

In 2015 Tolinski formed a new production company with music industry marketer Laura B. Whitmore called BackStory. The pair produces live interview events with iconic musicians that are streamed on AOL.com through the AOL Build series. Interview subjects have included Roger Waters, Tom Jones, Joe Satriani, Zakk Wylde, Warren Haynes, The Zombies, Nile Rodgers, Anthrax, Colbie Caillat, The Violent Femmes, Amy Lee (Evanescence) and others. Tolinski has conducted many of the interviews himself.

In September 2016, Tolinski and Whitmore launched a new live streamed series on Twitch called BackStory Events: Live from Saint Vitus, that features metal and hard rock bands performing at the iconic Brooklyn-based Saint Vitus bar. The series plans to stream the Revolver Music Awards on December 13, 2017.

Media appearances

Tolinski appears in the documentary Classic Albums: Deep Purple Machine Head. He hosted a special interview for Guitar Center Sessions with Slash in 2008.

Tolinski was interviewed at the Revolver Golden God Awards in 2011 and was on the panel of judges for Guitar Center’s King of the Blues Contest in 2011. Tolinski wrote program notes for the 2011 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction.

He has conducted many live interviews on the AOL Build series including those with Roger Waters, Tom Jones, Joe Satriani, Zakk Wylde, Warren Haynes, The Zombies, Nile Rodgers, Anthrax, and The Violent Femmes.


Date Title Authors
Oct 1, 1995 Guitars That Shook the World: A Star Studded Collection of the World's Most Famous Guitars Brad Tolinski, Harold Steinblatt, Tom Beaujour
Sept 1, 1997 Guitar World Presents Stevie Ray Vaughan Jeff Kitts, Brad Tolinski, Harold Steinblatt
Nov 1998 Guitar World Presents Alternative Rock Jeff Kitts, Brad Tolinski, Harold Steinblatt
Jun 1, 1999 Guitar World Presents Classic Rock Jeff Kitts, Brad Tolinski, Harold Steinblatt
Apr 1, 2002 Guitar World Presents Nu-Metal Jeff Kitts, Brad Tolinski
Jun 1, 2002 Guitar World Presents Pink Floyd Alan Di Perna, Jeff Kitts, Brad Tolinski
Oct 1, 2002 Guitar World Presents the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time: From the Pages of Guitar World Magazine Jeff Kitts, Brad Tolinski
Sept 30, 2004 Classic Hendrix: The Ultimate Hendrix Experience Sally Crick, Brad Tolinski
Apr 15, 2010 Guitar World Presents Metallica Jeff Kitts, Brad Tolinski, Harold Steinblatt
Apr 15, 2010 Guitar World Presents Van Halen Jeff Kitts, Brad Tolinski, Harold Steinblatt
Sept 27, 2011 The Faces, 1969-75 Ronnie Wood, Ian McLagan, Kenney Jones, Brad Tolinski
October 23, 2012 Light & Shade: Conversations with Jimmy Page Brad Tolinski
October 25, 2016 Play It Loud: An Epic History of Style, Sound and Revolution of the Electric Guitar Brad Tolinski & Alan DiPerna

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