Sammi Chichester ’14 – Executive Editor, Revolver
Sammi Chichester is the executive editor of Revolver, the bi-monthly rock and heavy metal magazine published by NewBay Media. While attending The Lawrence Herbert School of Communication at Hofstra University, Sammy served as music director for WRHU 88.7 FM, and she worked her way up from an internship with Revolver during her junior year to becoming an associated editor during her senior year. Sammi graduated from Hofstra with a BA in Journalism in 2014.
Front and Center: Executive Editor of ‘Revolver,’ Sammi Chichester
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Front and Center: Executive Editor of Revolver, Sammi Chichester
By Gabriella Steffenberg and Pauline France
New York-based Sammi Chichester is many things, but above everything she’s a veritable bad-ass.
As Executive Editor of America’s leading hard rock and metal magazine,Revolver, Chichester is the first-ever female professional to hold this highest-ranking title – and she is owning it with great vehemence. In addition to the magazine, she works onRevolverMag.com, the Revolver Golden Gods Awards, and is a host for Revolver TV.
Chichester has appeared in Guitar World, SiriusXM, CMJ, and other media outlets. When she’s not headbanging to her favorite metal tunes, she spends her time brewing coffee and watching hockey.
In her first editor’s letter, Chichester wrote an earnest note about a topic that most women in metal can relate to: that some men think metal is limited to one gender – male. Learn how she tackles this topic and others in our Front and Center interview below.
WiMN: How has working as the Executive Editor of Revolver, a prestigious hard rock magazine, impacted your career?
SC: It’s been exciting to run the editorial direction of the largest U.S. hard rock and heavy metal magazine. Revolver really shapes the metal scene in this country in both music and lifestyle. It’s a go-to for a vast age range that enjoy any type of metal subgenre. We’re also quite proud of the Revolver Golden Gods Awards, which is the only award show dedicated to not just our kind of music, but also metal’s history and spirit.
WiMN: What has been your greatest achievement on the job thus far?
SC: I’m proud of a lot of the things I’ve done here over the years, and especially everyone who works on Revolver to make it the product it is. It’s a serious team effort. But one that recently stands out to me was the interview we printed with Huntress front woman, Jill Janus, where she wanted to open up about having a mental illness, and the experiences and struggles that go along with it. The intention of doing the piece was to shine a light on such a heavy topic.
The impact of the piece was massive—we had countless readers and non-readers reach out to us to say the interview was inspiring or encouraged them to ask for help or that they didn’t feel so alone. Knowing that interview made a difference to people—especially with the stigma surrounding mental health issues in this country, that was special.
WiMN: What is a “typical” day at Revolver like for you?
SC: Ha! No day is typical, you know? Not in this business. I spend most of the day setting up the editorial direction of both the magazine and website. This includes anything from planning magazines, making writer assignments, editing copy, locking in exclusives, and setting up photoshoots. It takes a great amount communication and of problem-solving to make all this happen.
Aside from being a master organizer, I’m also the head editor, so I spend a lot of time reaching out and meeting with bands, publicists, managers, record label owners, and other clients.
WiMN: What do you love most about the metal industry?
SC: The camaraderie. I think from both inside and outside the scene, you can see it is one that unites, not divides. I travel quite a bit and whenever I see someone else rocking a band tee and leather jacket, we always end up chatting.
Once, a few years ago, I was in Russia talking shop about death metal with a Brazilian in French (because that happened to be the language we could both express ourselves the best in). So it doesn’t matter who you are or even where you are—you have a common bond. We’re all on the same team.
WiMN: Who has been your biggest career influencer?
SC: Former Revolver Editor in Chief and current Editorial Director of RollingStone.com, Brandon Geist. He works incredibly hard, is extremely brilliant and always tells you exactly what he’s thinking. It was a privilege to not only work with him for a few years, but also learn from him.
WiMN: What piece of advice do you have for women looking to work in the music industry?
SC: Be on time—and that includes staying late. Always ask your boss and co-workers how you can help. Be 100 percent honest. Ask for advice from a mentor if you need it. And most importantly, never create an emergency. Everyone is busy. Doing something last minute is your fault, not theirs.
WiMN: Who are your favorite musicians/bands and why?
SC: I grew up in a hardcore scene so I tend to enjoy artists that focus on lyrical content and delivery. Off the top of my head, Converge’s Jake Bannon, Agnostic Front’s Roger Miret, Hatebreed’s Jamey Jasta, and Killswitch Engage’s Jesse Leach come to mind. While I enjoy a bad-ass riff or blast beat, nothing is better than a song you can shout along to because you can personally relate to it.
WiMN: As a woman, how have you faced adversity in the music industry?
SC: I certainly know a several women with very real horror stories. But even if someone has excluded me from whatever boys club-esque thing going on, I don’t really care. I’m way too busy creating a product or accomplishing tasks to waste time or energy over a person like that.
WiMN: How have you seen the metal industry become more gender-inclusive?
SC: Well, there are a lot more women in metal bands than there were five, 10 years ago. And whenever I head out to local concerts, huge festivals or even metal bars, the crowd is getting closer to 50/50.
WiMN: What would you like to accomplish professionally over the next 10 years?
SC: I want to give support to a music scene that has given so much to me. That meansRevolver’s stories or covers will never be average—they will be exceptional. I take my job as a journalist and editor very seriously because it’s a tough profession. Continual growth is really important to me. I don’t just want to finish a project, I want to crush it past expectations.