Premier Guitar’s Shawn Hammond bids adieu after 13 years as editorial director.
It’s crazy how 13 years fly by. When I applied for the editor-in-chief position at Premier Guitar, it was the 2009 holiday season and I was only peripherally aware of the fledgling Iowa-based outfit. Having spent the previous decade working both full-time and as a freelancer for the industry’s biggest guitar magazines, long the power players dominating from the coasts, I could see PG was poised—with help from the singularly awesome team we built—to take the guitar universe by storm. And I was right. Over the ensuing years, long-timers and new hires alike worked side by side to elevate PG to the best in the business, hands down.
As a Salt Lake City native who’d done two stints in the San Francisco Bay area, I’d never been to Iowa, let alone contemplated living here. Known to most as the U.S. “swing state” first to hold presidential primaries in general elections, Iowa—if it ever entered my consciousness at all—pretty much only conjured images of Corporal Walter “Radar” O’Reilly, a character portrayed as a naïve farm kid from the tiny town of Ottumwa in the old TV show M*A*S*H.
My always-awesome wife/best friend made the trek out to Cedar Rapids with me on New Year’s Eve that year to see if it was a place and an opportunity we could feel good about uprooting our family of five for. Stepping off the plane, we were welcomed by icy winds and the most ungodly temperatures I’d felt since being caught in a blizzard at the top of Snowbird ski resort as a teen. But, as I’m typing this from the confines of the office I’ve occupied ever since, needless to say it has been all that and more.
I’m honored to have worked alongside—and become lifelong friends with—some of the best people I know. (You know who you are!)
When my role expanded to editorial director a few years later, I entered some of the most rewarding, challenging, and lesson-filled years of my life. I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to achieve the career goal I set way back in university, when I chose to major in journalism with the specific aim of one day taking the reins at the world’s best guitar-media outlet. I’m exceptionally fortunate to have been able to go to work every day in a sphere that resonates within me more than almost any other. I’ve gotten to meet many of my musical heroes and to discover many more, and I’ve been introduced to an incredible amount of life-enriching music I never would’ve heard, let alone even been aware of, had I not taken this path.
Most of all, I’m honored to have worked alongside—and become lifelong friends with—some of the best people I know. (You know who you are!) I will miss y’all somethin’ fierce, but “Goonies never say die” … or some such shit. (Interpreted: You better stay in touch, or else!)
For anyone wondering, my love for guitar and music in general have not diminished one iota. I have long been, and will always be, a guitar junkie. But it’s time for me to move on to other work.
Peace and love, friends!