Behind the Scenes at Paisano Publications


Paisano Publications is the grandaddy of biker publishing. They broke trail for the rest of the industry to follow before most ChopCult members were shittin' green. I've got a fat stack of old rags that I peruse for inspiration and entertainment all the time, so when the opportunity to visit Easyriders headquarters in Southern California presented itself last month, I jumped at the chance.

Thanks to Cary Brobeck for the invite, and to Dave, Kim and others for letting me invade their space and pester them with stupid questions. Cary was a co-founder and formerly at the helm of Hopper online magazine. Cary's panhead has been featured on ChopCult before, and the man's quietly been slipping EDR, Douche LaRouche and other similarly themed "underground" content onto Easyriders' pages for a while now.

With about a dozen other titles, Paisano does more than merely ER, all related to bikes, boobs, hot rods or tattoos. I've got tons of respect for what they've done over the years, even if quite frankly their current issues aren't exactly what I'm looking for in a chopper magazine. However, things are changing over on Dorothy Street as editors retire, titles get mashed together and young guns like Cary step up. And as much as things change, the more some things stay the same. Like any good altruist, Paisano Publishing's owner Joe Teresi sticks to his guns. As one of the founders of ABATE, Joe hasn't allowed a single helmet ad in Easyriders since the early '70s. Do the math. A full-page ad is at least a few grand, sometimes much more. With 450-plus issues printed over the years, that's a lot of potential ad revenue to leave on the table. Agree with the concept or not; one has to respect the man for putting his money where his mouth is.

Easyriders Editor Dave Nichols was gracious enough to answer a few questions and give us a little deeper insight into the belly of the Paisano beast.



The man with the plan, Dave Nichols



No shortage of archives


What year did Easyriders start and how many issues have been printed since?

The first issue was June 1971. Right now we are on issue 468.



Lots of history on these walls


How long have you been at the helm?

I started with Paisano in 1991 and have been the editor of Easyriders since 1998.



I've got wood


What other titles does Paisano publish?

Easyriders, V-Twin, In The Wind, Biker, Road Iron, RebelRodz, Tattoo, Tattoo Flash, Tattoo Savage. Plus we will be starting two new magazines later this year, one in the tattoo world and the other for young bikers.



This has to be the only boardroom in the world where David Mann originals decorate the walls


I hear there are some changes coming to Biker and In The Wind, what's the news there?

Biker is becoming part of Easyriders, bringing raunchier humor, old-school choppers and bobbers, and biker events from around the country to Easyriders.




As the editor of the largest and oldest custom motorcycle magazine in the world, what do you think about this new generation of riders running around on old bikes, doing the work themselves and not fitting the contemporary definition of today's "biker"?

I think it’s great! We need young bikers with passion and heart to take the reins. If we don’t have a few wolves to keep the rebellion going we’ll just be a nation of sheep.



Kim Peterson, editor of In the Wind. Yes, it is a hard life!


What's your take on smaller format magazines like Show Class, DicE, Greasy Kulture, Lowside, etc? How about internet rersources like ChopCult or the hundreds of blogs dedicated to hand-built choppers.

The biker lifestyle has always been about the riding community, only back in the '70s we didn’t have the Internet. Now you can meet brothers and sisters from all over the world and keep tabs on what they’re building and where they’re partyin’. It’s all good.



Looking at bikes and boobs all day works up a hearty thirst


Will there ever be a helmet ad in Easyriders?

Nope. Joe Teresi started ABATE back in the 1970’s and here at Easyriders we still believe in your right to decide if you want to wear a skid lid or not. In other words, we promote freedom of choice.


What does a full-page color ad cost if a company wanted to advertise, and what's the circulation these days? What's the highest it has ever been?

A full-page color ad in Easyirders is over three grand but we have black and white fractional ads that go for just $260 for mom-and-pop shops and the like. Easyrider has the highest pass along rate in the industry. I’m not supposed to talk circulation since we also have foreign editions in various languages and numbers fluctuate—let’s just say millions of eyes look at Easyrider every month.




I've heard rumors of a new magazine maybe oriented towards a more ChopCult-style audience. Care to elaborate a little on this?

That’s top-secret shit, man. I’ll just say we’re gonna blow your mind later this year.




Can you explain the "Pirate thing?"

Bikers and pirates are very similar. They both seek freedom; one on the sea and the other in the wind. I’ve always been a pirate at heart but now I go to Children’s Hospitals as Captain Jack Sparrow in search of a crew to take to Tortuga, savvy?



A lot of the content Dave Nichols is in charge of editing in Easyriders magazine is rated "Rrrrggggghhhh"


What's the most enjoyable part of your job?

Making bikers' dreams come true. Getting your bike in Easyriders is the ultimate dream for a lot of dudes. I can do that for people.



Everybody's gotta believe in something…


You mentioned that Easyriders is bringing back David Mann centerfolds, is this going to be in every issue from now on? Do you get to pick these?

Yes! There is a whole generation who have never seen David Mann’s art and we’re gonna fix that right now. Plus, there are a lot of older guys who need a fresh copy of his painting to hang in the shop or garage. We’ll have a classic David Mann painting in every issue of Easyriders from now on, picked by our publisher Joe Teresi and yours truly.




Anything that sucks about making a magazine with naked girls and choppers?

You’re kidding, right?


After speaking to Dave Nichols about Easyriders, we pestered Brobeck about what he's up to at Paisano Publishing. Here's what he had to say.



Brobeck, editor of the new magainze called…


What's it like being the youngest guy in the building?

It's great being 40 and the youngest guy here at ER. I can see that the guys and gals there like the fresh perspective that I bring to the table. Even though I am not doing anything that these guys didn't do themselves in 40 years ago. Trust me when I say that the Easyriders staff has seen and done it all. I could sit for hours and listen to all the road stories these guys can remember, some of them make the EDR seem like a Boy Scout Jamboree.  


What's your mission at ER HQ?

When I first started here I kind of just wanted to help get ER back to its roots. I remember reading ER when I was a little ankle biter. Sneaking them into the bathroom and rubbin' my little wang over the biker chicks and dreaming of hauling one of those biker sluts on my own chopper some day.  With just a few conversations with Dave Nichols I quickly realized that the magazine has evolved into what it is today and they simply could not just go back to featuring dirty bikers and panheads. ER has a following that likes what they see, and when it's all said and done it's about selling mags. However, the recent merge with BIKER magazine and the larger format mag has really come around. Fewer 60-thousand-dollar show bikes and more home-built stuff is going in, not to mention that David Mann centerfolds are back. My mission has now changed here at ER. Paisano Publications will soon have its own "Chopper" magazine. I have some really talented people helping me out with this project, it's going to be rad.


What have you done so far?

So far I have just been writing and shooting for ER. What more can a dude ask for: get paid to ride to Arizona, Kern River, fly to Japan, etc. Now I have the task of starting up a new mag from scratch, It's way more work than it sounds like. 


What do you think is going to be different around here in ten years?

I think in the next ten years there will be huge changes. A lot of these guys will be ready to retire. I'm just hoping to be able to produce a killer mag for them so they'll keep me around. This is a tough biz to be in. I'm learning, but what better place to learn the biz than with Easyriders?


With shakedowns in both the printing/publishing industry and the custom motorcycle world in the last decade, magazines are not an easy business to be in. But, with guys like Dave in charge and new guns like Cary on the come-up, there may be some new glory days ahead of them.

What do you think about Easyriders, a new magazine, and Paisano Publishing in general?

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Comment with Chopcult (23)

Commented on 4-20-2012 At 06:53 am

ER back issues are cool....I've some with Bat Masterson's sub tag on them...been a reader from the beginning....the old format was my fav though...

Commented on 4-20-2012 At 07:20 am

Right on Cary!
Im lookin forward to your new mag and maybe I can hep ya out now n then with some content!

Commented on 4-20-2012 At 08:34 am

i quit reading them around 87 when it became a mag for everyones coffee table. Think im wrong go pull some back issues when it was real and read the real spiders and mirraculus mutha and bike features that ranted about everything but the bike. That was ez riders not the billet laden fat tire no pussy crap that it went to

Commented on 4-20-2012 At 10:18 am

I haven't picked up an ER in a long time. Like a lot of guys I used to swipe them and drool over everything in them. Growing up around bikes I always knew I'd have at least one. Not going to lie, I may subscribe just for the David Mann wall art.

Commented on 4-20-2012 At 11:26 am

Dear Easyriders,

Please stop putting busted ass chicks with lopsided boob jobs in your magazines.

A casual reader

Commented on 4-20-2012 At 11:57 am

i scored some secret stash binders full of years of old ER at a flea market a few years back... reading them reminds me of what i thought bikers were when i was a kid.. i hope this new project brings back some of that.. i dont mean old naked chicks with saggy tits.. i mean real bikers riding real bikes built with thier hands not chromed out trailer queens..

Commented on 4-20-2012 At 12:25 pm

would like to see something like Ripp's run in the new and improved

Commented on 4-20-2012 At 12:30 pm

Rip's Run reminded me of another thing I liked reading. Scooter Tramp Scotty. I always thought that was the perfect life, living off my bike.

Commented on 4-20-2012 At 12:44 pm

I have an old easyriders magazine that I charish, I love all the David Mann posters I have seen or can get a hold of, but I don't care for their mag anymore. I don't even remember reading one other than the old ones I find or someone has lying around. No offense, but I hope the new mag is cool, but I don't think that I will find better mags than cycle source, GKM, Dice, or Show Class. I feel Show Class and Cycle Source are my favorites. Easyriders pretty much suck anymore, they are geared toward my father who likes to polish his Electra Glide and ride only when it is sunny and warm. Just my opinion.

Commented on 4-20-2012 At 02:36 pm

Looking forward to the new rag. Gotta have something to pass on to the kids...

Commented on 4-20-2012 At 03:22 pm

I remember when it was TRULY a biker rag...couldn't wait to get my hands on the next issue...that was back in the 70's. Along comes the 80's....stupid ugly bikes and censorship on interviews....oh yes! on the way to being politically correct. Haven't touched an issue since. Miss the old crew...Bandit, Rip, mutha,etc. Don't mind me laddy....just an old guy missing the ol days.

Commented on 4-20-2012 At 03:43 pm

GKM and The Horse are the best mags going now....even Cycle Source has gone down hill......and DicE...they're a couple of fag smokers.....hehehehehehe...he said "fag-smokers"...shut-up ButtHead...aaah,ok....ER can't get any worse than it is now, so the only place to go is up!!

Commented on 4-20-2012 At 08:20 pm

I cherish my swap meet collected ER back-issues. Stoked to see this feature....and stoked to see the future spin off mag they are promising.

Commented on 4-21-2012 At 11:31 am

Cary Brobeck is a righteous dude and someone I'm proud to call a friend. I cant wait to see whats coming down the pipe.

Commented on 4-21-2012 At 08:10 pm

I recall Dave helping me get jumper cables for my truck back 6 years ago when over a dozen people did'nt want to help cause it was raining out side. good guy

Commented on 4-21-2012 At 10:45 pm

Hell Yeah Easy Rider MotorBIkes and Boobs

Commented on 4-22-2012 At 06:19 am

I don't buy ER what with the kids around, or Show Class either. Can't really leave it laying around the house. The David Mann reissues, however, might make me a subscriber.

Commented on 4-22-2012 At 09:08 am

Not into the boobies so much but I am looking forward to the new mag and I do love the old articles. My friends Dad's bike "The Vigilante" was featured in there one year. I haven't picked up a new one at all I am just drawn to the old ways I guess. I will try to stay open minded and check out a new copy because even if I don't like it my husband does like boobies.

Commented on 4-22-2012 At 03:43 pm

good article. Heres to change!

Commented on 4-23-2012 At 11:33 am

I let my subscription go years ago when ER started featuring fag bikes. I still have all my older issues from the time before the fat tires set in. I even gave them a second chance with the "new" format. The first 2 issues were OK, but with the 3rd it was right back to those OCC style insta-choppers. As far as I'm concerned The Horse & Street Chopper are the only ones worthy of spending my dollars on. I've tried all the others but my old eyes cant make out the micro printing, besides full page photos are much better than readers digest size.

The staff at Easyriders could easily go back to thier roots. I wonder what the reason they merged Biker and Easyrider - poor sales perhaps? Just sayin

Commented on 4-23-2012 At 03:24 pm

Very interesting article. I think it must be doubly hard to be in the publishing business in the internet era. Firstly, a lot of people simply look for content online, and aren't as into buying magazines anymore. But perhaps more importantly, nowadays people can tailor their internet content to ridiculously specific guidelines, whether it is news, porn, or motorcycle-related sites. In the same way that this has encouraged more divisiveness in the political realm (because people can now choose to get all their news and commentary from pure left-wing or pure right-wing sources), people now also expect 100% content that they like, which is pretty unrealistic in a print magazine. Back in the day, we were happy just to have chopper magazines. Sure, some of the bikes and some of the articles or editorials didn't interest us much all the time, but overall we would still support the mag. But now, if people don't like one bike or article in ER / The Horse / DiCE / etc... then suddenly the whole mag is crap and they are going on every forum to loudly denounce it.

Although modern Easyriders (or most of the Paisano stable) don't really interest me, I can still say that there it is rare that I pick up a chopper mag of any kind that doesn't have at least something that interests me. Be happy that we live in a free country with a wealth of options.

And, BTW, I am really looking forward to the new magazine alluded to in the article - I seem to remember Cary (I assume it was him) coming on CC last year and mentioning new blood joining Paisano, and hinting at an interest in supporting the CC-type ridership. Best of luck!

Commented on 4-23-2012 At 03:57 pm

The magazine COST'S TOO MUCH. WTF?

Also I'm not into the modern choppers. I see they will throw an old school Pan or Shovel in every now and then but most of the stuff I see in there seems out of touch to me.

I miss the days when they had BALLS. How to make a coke snorter out of a mousetrap, stuff like that. They became so P.C. it hurts.

Commented on 4-25-2012 At 04:25 am

Very interesting... and very nice to get a namecheck in an article on the mag that (almost) started it all (let's not forget Roth!).

But I can't help feeling they're jumping back on the ol' school wagon just as the wheels are falling off it. They should have been doing this 'new' mag 5-6 years ago. Still, I'll be intrigued to see what they come up with...

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