2012 Interview with Keith Wilkins

Conducted by: Amy JoynerKAM Music Publishing

Conducted on: January 25th, 2012 

On December 28th, I announced that Keith Wilkins resigned fromMayhem Magazine as it’s Cover Story Writer. I also posted an official statement from Keith here on his website and on his facebook fan pages, regarding his resignation. Of course an official statement/press release only says so much... I wanted to get more information as to what would prompt Keith to leave the only music magazine that is in existence in his market.

I recently interviewed Keith about his departure from Mayham Magazine, got his thoughts on what he feels is a formula of success for a local music magazine, as well as got his thoughts on him and theMayhem Magazine team receiving the Tampa Bay Music Network's“Favorite media Source” award for 2011 since he now no longer writes for the magazine. This is what Keith had to say... 

Amy Joyner - “Ok, first thing’s first, Mayhem Magazine....what happened?”

Keith Wilkins - “Actually, I would like to know the answer to that myself [Keith laughs]. Maybe you should ask the publisher. Actually it’s semantics really. I announced that I resigned because he simply stopped using me one day. I guess he basically fired me, but without ever telling me that he fired me. He just didn’t use me anymore.”

Amy Joyner - Ok, I’m confused already, please explain” [Amy laughs].

Keith Wilkins - “The magazine’s publisher had until January 1st to negotiate, agree upon, and sign a contract with me in order for me to agree to continue writing for the magazine. Up until that point, I was writing without a contract and without any compensation. Because he was supposedly a friend, I decided to write for him, free of charge for the first three issues of the new magazine....to help him out and get the magazine up and off the ground. I had told him initially that in order for me to stay with the magazine after the new year, he would have to eventually sign a contract with me, officially hire me, and compensate me for my work before the new year. Per his request, I sent him my proposal back on November 22nd for him to review and get back with me on... but he never did.”

“After December’s issue of the magazine was published, The publisher still hadn’t gotten back with me to go over my proposed contract... nor did he give me the next months assignment either. On December 28th, with only three days left to negotiate & sign a contract, he still hadn’t gotten with me on it. As anyone will tell you, it’s pretty difficult to negotiate & sign a contract in just three days, not to mention that this was the time where normally the next months issue would have already been written, laid out and getting ready to be sent off to the printers, so it was obvious that he wasn’t planning on using me for at least January’s issue... though he never contacted me to tell me what was going on.”

“Anyway, on December 28th I was visiting a mutual acquaintances house. While we were talking, a facebook IM popped up on her computer.... it was the publisher contacting her to chat on facebook. Our friend replied to his IM and they began to chat. When our friend told him that she had read my two articles in the December issue of Mayhem Magazine and liked them, he began trashing me in the private message. He started telling her that my writing sucked, I cheat when it comes to doing interviews, and saying that he wanted to distance himself with my KAM-BABS Promotionspartner Dina Mead, but I made that hard for him to do. He went as far as to call Dina Mead a “Tool”.”

Amy Joyner - “Wow, you don’t usually find that sort of behavior from a writers publisher [Amy laughs]. Usually they would want to promote the writers they have writing for their magazine, not trash them!”

Keith Wilkins - [Keith laughs] “yeah, very unprofessional! Not to mention that he is supposed to be my friend as well, not just my publisher... what a way to be treated by a friend! Anyway, then he goes on to tell her that he will not be using me for the January issue or even possibly the next 3 or 4 issues either... but if I learn to “play ball” and do things his way, maybe he will use me again. Mind you though, he never approached me and told me any of this...he just went ahead with the January issue without telling me that he was basically firing me.... and then trashes me in a private message to a friend”

Amy Joyner - “What did he mean when he said you cheat when doing interviews?”

Keith Wilkins - [Keith laughs] "That’s the funny part because it shows where his inexperience in media publishing comes to play. He meant because the majority of my interviews are done via email communication as apposed to in person, sit-down interviews. I guess he doesn’t realize that now-a-days most interviews are done that way due to time restraints and accuracy. What makes it even more hypocritical is that before I even did the first band interview for the first issue of the magazine, I gave him the option. I told him I could do the interviews either in person, over the phone, or through email...it was his choice. He picked doing it through email after I explained to him that I could have the entire interview conducted, written, edited, and sent to him in a fraction of the time. This option also proved to be the best option since he would only give me less then a weeks notice on each assignment. He would call me up and tell me what band he wants me to interview, then expect me to contact the band, get every member to meet me, conduct the interview, transfer it from a recorder to the computer...transcribing it by hand word for word...write it, edit it, and send it back to him, all in less then a weeks time? Mind you I was not getting paid for it, and I still had my “real” job at the examiner to do. Interviewing through the common practice of email interviewing proved to be the most practical way.”

Amy Joyner - “Wow, Interesting.”

Keith Wilkins - “Anyway, after sitting there, reading his private message to our mutual friend... that is when I resigned from the magazine and had you post my announcement on my facebook fan pages & website. So like I said, it’s semantics really... technically I resigned, but actually he basically fired me, but just didn’t have the balls or professionalism to tell me I was fired. I guess it’s all in how you look at it” [Keith laughs].

Amy Joyner - “Since your departure from the magazine, has he apologized to you, or given you a reason for his actions?”

Keith Wilkins - “Nope, not at all... well, I take that back. He did call and leave one message for me shortly after my resignation was posted on my personal facebook page. He actually had the nerve to say that he planned on getting with me eventually and offering me a higher salary then what I had asked for in my proposal... I took it as damage control really [Keith laughs]... I guess he is the only employer around that offers an employee more money then what they initially asked for [Keith continues to laugh]. Quite honestly, I think he just didn’t want to pay me... I think he just wanted to use me as long as he could for free, I don’t think he had any intentions of signing a contract with me. But to answer your question, he has not contacted me since that one phone call, and he has never apologized. In fact, he did the complete opposite.”

Amy Joyner - “How is that, what do you mean?”

Keith Wilkins - “Well, Allegedly he was tellin’ people that our mutual friend made the whole story up... That he never had an IM conversation with our mutual friend! Then once I made it known that I was actually there when it happened, and I have screen shots of the IM, he changed his story. He then leaves a facebook comment on my resignation announcement saying that he did it to “trap” me....[Keith scratches his head in an inquisitive manner]... still trying to figure out what the trap was [Keith laughs]. Then he allegedly changed his story yet again, saying that he was just joking. He said that he somehow, magically knew I was gonna be there at the friends house on that very day during that very time and would see the IM. Of course in reality no one knew I was going to be at her house...let alone at that time. I hadn’t seen or talked to this person in over a month due to a falling out we had. I blocked her on my facebook pages, tried to block her on my phone and even talked about going to the sherif’s dept to file a restraining order....and everyone who knew me personally knew that, so there was no reason to believe I would be there. Besides, our friend lived over an hour away and I didn’t even plan on going up there until we discussed it minutes before I left the house to go visit her.”

“Another story he was allegedly telling people was that I never gave him a proposal to review, and we never discussed him paying me for my work. Of course I have the actual email containing the proposal, and it shows that it was sent to him, and when it was sent to him. Plus I also sent him 5 photo collages along with the proposal that were to be published in the December issue of Mayhem Magazine. Ironically 4 of the 5 picture collages were published in the magazine. So, if those collages were sent with the proposal, and he obviously got the collages... How could he not get the proposal as well? [Keith laughs] Oh, not to mention that he even acknowledged to me that he received the email....[Keith continues to laugh]

As far as the claim he allegedly made about me agreeing to write for him for free for as long as he wanted.... who on earth would ever volunteer to work for free for as long as the employer wished? That is so absurd & ridiculous! I’m a single Dad!!! That’s simply idiotic to even suggest to someone that we had that type of agreement.” [Keith & Amy laugh]

“Yet another version of the story that people have told me he has said was that he fired me... That he  in fact told me that he was firing me, and that I would not be writing the December issue of the magazine.... he apparently can’t even get his own story strait about what happened. There’s half a dozen different stories he’s allegedly spreading around about the incident.” [Keith laughs] 

Amy Joyner - “Did anyone say if he gave them a reason for supposedly firing you?”

Keith Wilkins - “yes, allegedly because I wasn’t doing my job. Of course this never happened. He never fired me...never talked to me. Besides, it’s kind of funny...even if that was true, I’m kind of curious what my job was that I supposedly did not do? Since he never would sign a contract with me, I was doing the magazine for no compensation...volunteering my time 100% as agreed upon initially, and gave him the 1 interview per issue plus two additional stories as well....what exactly was my job that I didn’t do? Technically I wasn’t even working for him. I wasn’t a staff writer or even a freelance writer for him since there was no pay or contract.... I just gave him some article to use in his magazine free of charge is all!” [Keith laughs].

Amy Joyner - “You actually informed him back in November that you were thinking of leaving the magazine, did you not?”

Keith Wilkins - “Yes, it was almost immediately after the 2nd issue was published...in November. I did not agree with all the adult oriented content that was in the first two issues of the magazine. When I had seen that the November issue’s “Babe of the Month” was completely naked...that was the last straw.”

Amy Joyner - “So why didn’t you quit then?”

Keith Wilkins - “I called him up & told him that we needed to discuss exactly what direction it was that he wanted to take this magazine in. I told him that the magazine was not how he originally “pitched” it to me months earlier and if I wanted to write for a porn magazine then I would have applied to write for a “real” porn magazine. I told him that I signed on to write for a music magazine, not a porn magazine, and that I thought all the porn in it made the magazine and everyone involved with it loose credibility, and made us all look like a joke! I then told him that if that was the direction he wanted to take it, then tell me and I would leave right then and there.”

Amy Joyner - “So what was his response when you told him that?”

Keith Wilkins - “He said that he himself was very disappointed in the magazine as well...especially with the November issue. He said that the only reason the porn was in there was because he wasn’t provided enough “musical” content by all the writers, and he had to fill the pages with something. He promised that if I agreed to stay on that things would change... that there would be no porn in the December issue at all. So I took his word and stayed on... that’s when I sent him my proposal for him to look over. And I will give him credit, he did as he promised....he kept his word when it came to that.... The December issue of the magazine had absolutely no porn in it at all.”

Amy Joyner - “I know you won’t divulge how much you requested from Mayhem Magazine in respects to a salary, but will you say where your salary proposal was in regards to the average columnist?”

Keith Wilkins - “My proposed salary was just below the national average as far as columnists are concerned. I did that because he was a friend, and I was trying to help him out. I figured the magazine would be struggling for a while and be in the red for quite some time since it was new. I knew he wouldn’t be able to afford to pay me or any other columnist a proper salary, so I only asked for a smaller sized salary. That’s also why I originally offered to do the first three issues of the magazine free of charge as well.”

Amy Joyner - “If the publisher was to apologize to you for how he handled the situation, and offer you a contract to come back... would you take it?”

Keith Wilkins - “No, not at all.”

Amy Joyner - “Why not?”

Keith Wilkins - “Like I alluded to earlier, though I am not happy with how the situation went down... I am actually relieved that I am no longer associated with the Magazine. There was just too many things I didn’t agree with there, including their business practices.”

Amy Joyner - “Like what?”

Keith Wilkins - “The main thing is the way the magazine chooses which band or act is the featured act of the month. In order to be on the cover of the magazine, it is a requirement that you play a free show at a venue of the publishers choice... that is their policy. In other words, if you are a band who refuses to work for free, you will never be able to be featured on the cover of Mayhem Magazine as the featured artist of the month. I think that is simply wrong and unfair... Not to mention it’s extremely unethical for a member of the media to require that stipulation! And according to what the publisher has personally told me himself, his internet radio station has the same requirement in order for a band to be the featured artist of the month on there as well.”

Amy Joyner - “Why would a magazine or radio station owner demand that a band perform a free show at a venue of his choice as a requirement to be featured in the magazine or on the radio station?”

Keith Wilkins - “That’s what I would like to know myself! I do have a theory based on testimony from others, but I am not at liberty to say at this time.”

Amy Joyner - “Do you hold any bad feelings towards Mayhem Magazine or the publisher? Would you like to see it succeed, or would you quietly feel some satisfaction if it failed”

Keith Wilkins - “No bad feelings towards the magazine itself... especially not towards the other people who work for the magazine. I think everyone who writes for and works for the magazine are talented, good people, and I know some of them personally. I don’t want to see the magazine fail, I would like to see the magazine make the right changes it needs to make in order to grow and become successful... for the sake of the Tampa Bay music scene. Like I have been saying for the past couple of years, this area needs a music magazine again, and I believe the time is right for one... as long as it’s done right. I’m  just not convinced yet that Mayhem Magazine is the right magazine for Tampa Bay at this time. I think it needs to make a lot of changes in order to be that “right one”... But I don’t see the publisher willing to implement the necessary changes that it would take to be successful, at least not anytime soon.”

Amy Joyner - “What do you think the magazine would need in it in order to grow and be successful?”

Keith Wilkins - “It’s not rocket science, the same sort of content that has been proven time and time again to be successful for music magazines in both the local and national markets throughout the years. The main thing is a music news section. You can’t have a music magazine without reporting on what is going on in the music scene. That is the major reason why fans read a music magazine to begin with. Fans want to know who is in the recording studio making a new album...who has released a new album, etc. Bands want to be able to issue a magazine a press release so their fans will know what is going on with them....it’s called PR 101 [Keith laughs]. I also think Mayhem Magazine needs to have a musicians classifieds section as well. I believe that is what musicians would like to see in it.”

“Take JAM Magazine for example, one of the most popular and successful local music magazines to ever have operated in the Tampa Bay area throughout the years. Do you think JAM Magazine became as big as it did because they had pretty pages full of nothing but ads, a half naked girl of the month, and an occasional band interview here and there? No, it didn’t. It became popular and successful because it was full of music news, informing the fans of what was going on in the music scene. JAM Magazine was a good combination of both a trade magazine and a fan magazine...that in my opinion is what made JAM Magazine a success.”

“Who knows, hopefully Mayhem Magazine will eventually implement those basic but proven successful elements as time goes on. After all, the Magazine is new, it only has a circulation of 400 copies per month according to the publisher himself. Hell, I have more people reading my Examiner column per day then the Magazine has per month! But like I said, it’s new and it takes time to grow... hopefully it will for the sake of the music scene. If not, hopefully another magazine will come along and be able to succeed... And I will gladly be there to write for them if they ask me to, and the price is right!”

Amy Joyner - “Mayhem Magazine received the Tampa Bay Music Network award for “Favorite Media Source of 2011" at the TBMN Awards, How do you feel about that?”

Keith Wilkins - “I’m happy we won it. Like I said earlier, there is some talented, hard working people at the magazine. We all did our best to try and get the magazine up and off the ground.

Amy Joyner - “There are a few people in the scene down there who have said to you that they considered it a slap in your face that Mayhem Magazine got the award instead of you for your Examiner column... is that what you think?”

Keith Wilkins - “No, not at all. I don’t believe for one minute that anyone involved with the TBMN was trying to “slap me in the face” by giving the award to Mayhem Magazine. Though I respect their opinion, I think the few people who have said that are simply missing the whole point of theTBMN awards. The head of the Tampa Bay Music Network himself has said time and time again that there is no voting process in the selection. He has stated that the awards have nothing to do with popularity,  experience, or who the best is. The awards are given out solely based on who theTBMN believes helped support the TBMN the most in the previous year... period. The TBMN believes that Mayhem Magazine helped support theTBMN in the 3 months that they existed more so then my Examiner column did in the entire year... that’s actually a big compliment to the magazine. There is no right or wrong choice, it’s a personal choice for the TBMN, not to mention their right.”

“I don’t understand why anyone would think that it was a slap in my face to begin with... I still won. I just won as a team member with Mayhem Magazine as apposed to receiving the award as an individual with my Examiner column. Besides, I don’t do what I do for accolades. I do what I do because it’s my job, and because I believe in this music scene and everyone involved in it... period!”

Amy Joyner - “a couple of days after you announced your resignation from the magazine, I offered to interview you for the website, in order for you to explain why you resigned... to those who are interested in hearing why. Unfortunately you initially declined. What happened that made you change your mind?”

Keith Wilkins - “I initially didn’t want to go into specifics. I figured it was no ones business,,, besides, who really cares, ya know. I quit because the publisher failed to sign a contract with me, stopped using me one day, and trashed me and my work to others. I made a very “PC” announcement stating I quit, that was it. As far as i was concerned, it was over and done, time to move on. Even after I heard the stories of how the publisher was runnin’ around talkin’ shit about me and what went down, I still never publicly said anything more about it... I left it alone because in my mind, it’s over. Unfortunately it’s apparently not over for him, he still wants to trash me and my work, try and cause trouble for me and act like a jerk. Then he did a stupid thing earlier this morning which did nothing more then prove how petty and jealous he could be and it pissed me off... it was the last straw so that’s when I figured that I might as well let you interview me so I can speak my mind. 

Amy Joyner - “What was the thing he did that changed your mind?”

Keith Wilkins - “I had published my interview with Jeremy Thomas that originally appeared in the December issue of Mayhem Magazine in myExaminer music column. Mayhem Magazine’s publisher and I had an agreement that any of my articles that appeared in Mayhem Magazine could be published in any of my other publications as long as I did it after the magazine has been out for over a month. Well, after I published the Jeremy Thomas interview in my Examiner music column this morning, Mayhem Magazine’s publisher contacted the Examiner and told them that I had no publishing rights for the Jeremy Thomas interview, and instructed them to unpublish the article immediately to avoid legal action.”

Amy Joyner - “Did he do that when you published any of your other articles that appeared in Mayhem Magazine in the past?”

Keith Wilkins - “Nope, never... He honored our agreement in the past.”

Amy Joyner - “So why do you think he did that this time, all of a sudden?”

Keith Wilkins - [Keith laughs] “Just to be a jerk most likely. I think it was just his way of reminding me who was in charge... he’s soar about me quitting the Magazine. I think he thinks that he got one over on me. He doesn’t realize that the only one he hurt by doing that was himself andJeremy Thomas.”

Amy Joyner - “How do you mean, please explain?”

Keith Wilkins - “For one, It doesn’t hurt me. On average I publish one article per day in my Examiner column. That article gets pulled, I just turn around and publish another article in it’s place... no loss to me.”

“Secondly, he hurt himself because on average, my Examiner column has more people reading it per day then his magazine has all month... Like I said, he only prints 400 copies of the magazine per month, according to him. I advertised the magazine in that article, providing links to Mayhem Magazine’s website in it. I could have potentially introduced countless new readers to Mayhem Magazine that had yet to hear of it... his loss.”

“Thirdly, he screwed Jeremy Thomas over by doing it. More people would have read that article in my Examiner column then had ever read it in all of the 400 copies of Mayhem Magazine. As far as I am concerned, he cost Jeremy Thomas a lot of extra publicity. I guess he’ll have to explain his actions to Jeremy Thomas if he asks.”

Amy Joyner - “So what was the outcome?”

Keith Wilkins - “The Examiner temporarily un-published the article until my editor could speak with me and find out what the deal was... standard procedure. After speaking with me, my editor told me I can republish the article if I want... that it’s up to me... it’s my call.”

Amy Joyner - “So the article has been republished then?”

Keith Wilkins - “I have not republished it yet. I was going to, and I still might, but since his actions I decided that I no longer want to give Mayhem Magazine any added publicity now, so if and when I decide to republish it, I will now take out the parts that reference Mayhem Magazine. He should have left well enough alone, he bit himself in the ass by doing that... Karma baby.” [Keith laughs].

"In the meantime while i decide whether or not to republish the article, i will gladly email a copy of my interview with Jeremy Thomas to anyone ofJeremy Thomas's fans who request it, free of charge. They can simply send an email to kampublishing@aol.com and request a copy."

“Also, due to the Mayhem Magazine publisher's latest actions he has left me no choice but to do the same thing he did as well.”

Amy Joyner - “What do you mean?”

Keith Wilkins - “Well, since he went against our initial agreement and contacted the Examiner to try and have them pull my Jeremy Thomas article, it left me with no choice but to contact Yudu FreeYudu Free is the website that publishes the online version of Mayhem Magazine. I contacted them and instructed them to pull my Sobriety X article from the online version of the December issue of Mayhem Magazine, or possibly face legal action. The Sobriety X article I wrote originally appeared in my Examiner column. Mayhem Magazine’s publisher never obtained publishing rights to that article... he never obtained my permission to publish it in mayhem Magazine. It clearly states in all my articles that republication is prohibited without written consent from the Examiner, KAM Music Publishing, or myself. I guess he never considered that when he decided to contact the Examiner to try and have my Jeremy Thomas interview pulled from my Examiner column. It’s like the old saying goes, careful what you ask for. If he wants to continue to play these stupid little unprofessional, childish games, I will... but it is just that, stupid! He needs to leave it alone, drop it, and just focus on working to improve his magazine.”

Amy Joyner - “So what is the moral of the story? What lesson or lessons have you learned from this experiance?”

Keith Wilkins - “I learned that my own personal philosophy sometimes bites me in the ass! I have always lived by the philosophy that you should trust everyone until they give you a reason not to trust them. 9 out of 10 times, I get screwed in the end when I live by that philosophy. I guess I should start living by the philosophy of not trusting anyone until they give me a reason to trust them... I don’t know. I’m just disappointed that a supposed friend would disrespect me the way he did, especially after all I did for him and his magazine. In the end, he treated me worse the a complete stranger would have treated me, and I hope he acts more professional with others around him then he did with me.”  

Amy Joyner - “Thank you Keith for answering my questions, I appreciate it.”

Keith Wilkins - “Thank you Amy, I look forward to reading the final interview when you publish it to my website!”