Farewell to the Metal Queen of Music Journalism

Gerri Miller was a pioneer of the male-dominated 80s and 90s metal scenes

Farewell Gerri Miller (Art: Ron Hart)

Back in the good old days before we got all tangled up in the World Wide Web (remember that?), if you wanted to know what was going on in the world of hard rock and glam metal, there really was only two options. 

One, you may have gotten little nuggets of information from watching MTV at a time when videos featuring the glitz and glam of bands like Cinderella and Poison dominated the channel. Or you could hit the local newsstand, a 7-11, or a WaldenBooks in your local mall to peruse and get more insight in a music magazine focused on hair metal and hard rock. 

There was CREEM. There was Hit Parader. There was Circus. There was Rock Scene. There was NOT Rolling Stone who looked down on heavy metal. But most important of all there was Metal Edge. Much of my youth in the 80’s and 90’s and even after graduating college in 1999 was spent perusing through Metal Edge every month to gain more insight on the bands featured on Dial MTV along with their albums past and future. Hit Parader and Circus might have been geared to a more casual fan, but Metal Edge stood out as way more sophisticated.. Many of the photos on these pages included this gorgeous dark-haired woman who might have even passed as a lead singer of one of these bands as it was hard to tell back then. And on each page of the magazine, there was a featured name whom I assumed was the same woman. That person was Gerri Miller.

Gerri Miller’s iconic editor’s page in Metal Edge (Photo: Google)

From doing some half-ass internet research, I learned that Gerri got her start writing for Tiger Beat. In 1985, she moved over to Metal Edge becoming it’s main writer and eventually editor-in-chief. Because of her sass and ability to get close with teen idols and such, it probably was even easier to get “in” with many of the bands from the Sunset Strip and their publicists. As a legitimate fan of the music, she relished in breaking in new bands while building and sustaining interest in many bands including Warrant, Cinderella, and Skid Row among others. She played her cards right gaining access to the iconic rock bands of the time as seen by the plethora of photos she included of herself with bands in the magazine.

Metal Edge was published until 2008 before it faded away due to the rise of instant access to metal and hard rock news on the internet. Sad to think Metal Edge wasn’t as forward thinking to have a web presence early. Even though Gerri Miller was quick enough to understand the hair metal scene of the 80’s was fading, she was smart enough to jump on-board and feature more grunge, alternative, and thrash metal bands in the magazine along with the usual hard rock staple bands like KISS, Def Leppard, and AC/DC. Once Metal Edge faded for good, it seemed like Gerri did as well.  Although she must have had a huge network and also had contributed to other publications such as People, Gerri never really caught on anywhere else. It appears that she contributed arts and entertainment articles for a Jewish publication in Los Angeles, a far cry from the debauchery and craziness of the 80’s glam rock scene.

Metal Edge Magazine (Photo: Google)

As a person with a heart full of memories, I can remember vivid details of my childhood and attempt to give praise to many of the lesser-known but impactful people who shaped the music culture. But I have to refrain on this one since it  was only a few days ago while scrolling on Twitter did Gerri Miller’s name come back into my consciousness.  And it was with the sad news that she had passed away at only 67 years old after a lengthy bout with cancer that got me upset due on her impact not just on the heavy metal world, but personally on me.  She was a pioneer and I’m not quite sure why she never caught on with Rolling Stone or contributed to many of great documentaries about the LA music scene that seems to hit HBO or Netflix every week.

Gerri Miller might not be a household name for most rock & roll fans born after 1990, but her impact with promoting bands during a unique time in the music industry should definitely be recognized.

Here’s hoping one day she will be recognized by the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame for her contributions to rock & roll!

 

VIDEO: Gerri Miller at the Metal Edge 1992 BBQ

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Michael Hersh

An empath, a non-conformist, a music/TV/movie historian, a believer in the impact of genuine appreciation, a proud father, an AC/DC fan, and much, much, more!

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