Despite the beliefs of industry pundits, rock music – and heavy metal in particular – is here to stay. While the oft-marginalized genre continues to head-bang its way through temporary fads and a mosh pit of other industry challenges, its “struggle” to remain relevant is manufactured and serves as a stark reminder that it pays to question the status quo, especially when backed by real data.
In a similar vein, the new bi-annual lifestyle culture magazine Unbuilt hopes to challenge the status quo of the publishing world (print only and sponsor-free at the moment) and perhaps shred a few heavy metal stereotypes along the way.
Created by publisher Tom Bejgrowicz (formerly of Capitol Records) alongside respected heavy metal musicians Randy Blythe (Lamb of God), Alex Skolnick (Testament), and Alissa White-Gluz (Arch Enemy), Unbuilt gives these prominent musicians an outlet to flex their creative muscles way beyond the boundaries of what they’re known for.
In turn, publisher Tom Bejgrowicz hopes readers see their favorite artists in a new light and connect with the magazine on a more tangible level.
“I’d love for our readers to open themselves to the new ideas presented in Unbuilt,” says Bejgrowicz. “Sit on the couch at night and flip through it. Let it breathe. Smell the ink.”
Limited to 1,250 copies worldwide, Issue 02 of Unbuilt features an interview with celebrity Chef Chris Santos (of the Chopped TV series, Beauty & Essex). I had the opportunity to catch up with Santos regarding his participation and interest in the magazine.
“The publication speaks to the other interests of the creators, and a lot of it is artistic based,” said Santos, a self-proclaimed metal head. “It’s not just about metal; it’s a unique variety of people, places, and things. It’s very counterintuitive to start something like this in the digital age. And I think it’s cool to get out of your comfort zone and start something that might not make a lot of sense.”
Santos said that even though, for a majority of his career, he spent most of his time in the kitchen, he acts as more of a restaurant manager these days, the result of his expanding empire.
“I have great sous chefs I still collaborate with daily, I am still heavily involved in all the menu direction and we still do a lot of tastings together,” said Santos. “But those days of me walking into the kitchen at 11 a.m. and cooking all day is a thing of the past, unfortunately.”
With his fifth restaurant opening on the horizon in Los Angeles, Santos said the travel and logistics involved with maintaining quality operations can sometimes be frustrating, but it ultimately boils down to the nature of the business and where he’s at in his career and business ventures.
“In many ways it’s been a lot of fun adjusting to this learning curve,” said Santos. “I’ve never had to think about things like covering 1,000 employees with insurance.”
If that weren’t enough, Santos started his own heavy metal label with Brian Slagel and has a line of sauces on the way, a new cookbook, and yes, even more restaurants planned to open all over the U.S. over the next few years. The secret to Santos’ success? Staying true to himself.
“The food that’s on my menu is what I like to eat,” said Santos. “I used to cook for other people and in a much different way to a moderate level of success. Once I stopped doing that and started cooking for myself, everything blew wide open.”
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