10 Alternatives to Tsarnaev’s Rolling Stone Cover

July 17, 2013 - By Trigger  //  Random Notes  //  24 Comments

Much ado has been made about Rolling Stone giving accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev rock star treatment by putting his mug on their latest issue. Though it’s a free country with free press and I would fight for the right of Rolling Stone to put whatever they want on their cover, here are some simple, friendly, and current alternative ideas of what could have graced the front of Rolling Stone‘s July 2013 issue.

Randy Travis

A country music superstar who won wide cross-genre appeal despite his heavy traditionalist sound, and who’s currently in the struggle of his life after suffering a major heart ailment and subsequent stroke, who better deserves to be on the cover right now than Randy?


Black Sabbath

One of rock & roll’s most legendary bands just released a comeback record called “13” that both critics and fans are raving about, produced by studio extraordinaire, Rick Rubin. This story is custom made for the Rolling Stone cover.


Jason Isbell

He just released a career album in Southeastern that has critics falling all over themselves. The former Drive By Trucker is beginning to be recognized as one of the great songwriters of our generation, and a Rolling Stone cover could help solidify this distinction and broaden his audience. (In fairness, their last issue did have a story on Isbell).


Mavis Staples

Mavis is a force of music nature who is seeing a massive resurgence in interest in both her work as a Staple Sister and a Gospel Goddess. She’s worked with folks as wide ranging as The Band, George Jones, and Ray Charles, and even made an appearance on a Johnny Paycheck tribute album. Mavis just released an album called One True Vine, and would be a good candidate to grace the Rolling Stone cover.


Willie Nelson

Because he’s Willie Nelson. And yes I know he’s been on the cover before. But again, he’s Willie Nelson. Nuff said.


Caitlin Rose & Country’s Inspiring Women

Rolling Stone justified their use of Tsarnaev on the cover saying that he was at an age that their readers could relate to. Well so is Caitlin; a young, budding starlet with a very interesting story of how her mom is the woman who helped write many of Taylor Swift’s hits. Caitlin’s music has a fresh and relevant take, and if Caitlin isn’t big enough for you, consider including all the women that have made a splash in country in 2013 that have many proclaiming (including former Rolling Stone senior editor Chet Flippo) 2013 the “Year of the Woman” in country music.


Pokey LaFarge

I don’t know if there is a neotraditional artist that has benefited from such a meteoric rise like Pokey LaFarge in the history of music. Pokey’s now got Jack White pushing him, and he just played Letterman. Pokey’s crossing genres, and surely deserves a bigger spotlight.


Chet Flippo

After all, Chet was a towering personality in music journalism, and called Rolling Stone home starting in graduate school, working his way up to Rolling Stone‘s New York Bureau Chief, and eventually to Senior Editor in 1974. He wrote books about The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, David Bowie, and Hank Williams, and having passed away last month, could have surely been a worthy choice for the cover.


The Town of West, TX

If you want to delve deep into the anatomy of a tragedy, the toll it takes on a community and the psyche of its people, and end it with a positive statement on the resiliency of man, there’s no better example than here.


The People of Boston

For being courageous and persevering through and unspeakable tragedy foisted upon them unexpectedly.


24 Comments to “10 Alternatives to Tsarnaev’s Rolling Stone Cover”

  • Oh my word. I love this. (my first comment/posting btw!)

    I don’t want to make argument or debate one way or the other about the cover. I tend to be neutral on a lot of things and just respect we all are different. Or see the big picture. Try to be fair.

    I feel the cover makes anyone go.. eh? But it’s the world we live in. There have been many “eh” covers before this and no one has taken issue or a stand. It’s like we do pick and choose are battles when it fits us. Or maybe that is part of living in a FREE country. And in defense to Rolling Stone, I think some forget it isn’t just a music mag. I’ve read a lot of opinions today in social media and I’m pretty sure these folks don’t read RS. Lol.

    But I do love, love this… Thanks!

    (Big love for Boston and Texas… and WILLIE!)


  • Willie Nelson, Nuff said.


  • It’s not the story that I have a problem with, it’s the cover. You’re right. It’s not just a music magazine. But you don’t put a terrorist on the cover of a magazine. To me that is turning him into some sort of celebrity, which is just disgusting. I think it’s horrible that they are glamorizing something like this. That’s like putting the Sandy Hook killer on a cover of a magazine. The victims should be the stars on the cover, not the criminal.

    I honestly refuse to ever read the shitty magazine in the first place, but now I have a better reason. I really, really love this. You pretty much hit it on the head Trigger. There are so many more deserving people to be that cover. People work their whole careers for something like that, and they give it to this guy like it’s no big deal


    • Just like Waylon’s point about sensationalizing mass shootings. Well said.


  • Since we’re being hypothetical, what about a Sturgill Simpson cover? And have there been any updates on Randy’s condition? Every time I load up SCM I’m afraid that I’m going to see an article stating that he passed away.


    • I know you could say this about a few of the choices I made, but realistically Sturgill is not at the point yet to be considered for the cover of a big magazine like that, but he very well may be next year.

      I check 8-10 times a day for Randy Travis updates from multiple sources. Haven’t heard anything new in the last 36 hours.


  • How about Shooter Jennings? (Sorry, I could not help myself)


  • It could have been worse – Florida Georgia Line could have been smiling at us on the cover.

    More seriosusly I will reserve judgment until I read the article. Also, too I picked up the new Mavis album, she’s really underrated in my book and this is a fine addition to her work.


  • Montgomery Gentry maybe? they may not be at the “age” of Rolling Stone readership relatability anymore, but they’re certainly pandering to it.


  • I would have preffered Townes since everyone covers his songs these days. Which I love personally.


  • Don’t see the big deal at all – this guy has already been plastered all over the media – RS has done all sorts of controversial covers / stories….of course I think there are more deserving people, but that plays little role in the decision….what sells / gets attention is what they’re clearly more concerned with….

    I remember the first story I ever read in a RS was about the two bank robbers who had that huge shootout in CA with the cops in the mid-90’s……don’t remember that causing people to get all upset? Maybe it’s just a more sensitive society we live in today………..yea fucking right!

    That said my thoughts go out to those in the area, but c’mon this is thamerica, freedom of speech / press / etc – the same reason we’re able to sit here and comment about it defends them as well (RS). Two way street.

    Is it tasteless? I think so….what’s more tasteless?

    That this is a FRONT PAGE article in itself (on most AP papers / sites / etc) written ABOUT a front page article lol I think journalism is also quickly headed down the idiocracy path as well………circling the bowl phase


    • I’m not particularly outraged by this any more than I am outraged at any choice for the Rolling Stone cover. And yes, I do think it is a little ironic that more and more these days, the media is basically covering itself instead of trying to uncover the news, but part of the reason for that is because the days of Cronkite are over, and media is causing just as many problems as they are reporting on or attempting to solve.

      I think the people whose opinions should count most on the Rolling Stone cover are the victims of the Boston bombing, and many of them, including the Mayor of Boston, have come out against it. They are the only ones who really have a right to be outraged, and generally speaking, they are. I’m not necessarily saying they are right, but they do have a right to their opinion, and probably more so than anyone else on this issue.


  • Every newspaper and news magazine in existence has run covers of Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, and plenty more terrorists. This is just a manufactured outrage news story so they have something new to talk about on CNN, MSNBC, FOX News…


    • Exactly what I was trying to say, but much more concise / to the point.

      Keep the sheoples minds occupied…..


    • But Rolling Stone is a magazine that traditionally has music stars on the cover, so putting an accused terrorist on the cover to some equates to giving him “rock star status.” That is the argument. Also some people think they used a picture that is flattering to him. Some have equated it to Jim Morrison’s famous covers.


      • … and as you know, that’s really not much of an argument. I’m somewhat shocked by the reaction to this cover– RS regularly covers politics and national affairs. Doesn’t seem a particularly big deal to me. Personally, I would have rather seen a cover story about Zambia’s excellent WITCH (We Intend to Cause Havok), the stupendous Los Explosivos from Mexico City, or our fave artiste, Sturgill Simpson. However, I’ve long since figured out the media overlords ain’t exactly targeting me as a potential reader. Which is why this blog is stuck with me.


  • I would settle for a bullseye target superimposed over Tsarnaev’s face.


  • Pokey is as good as it gets!!!!!


  • No arguments from me. I would go for Chet Flippo.


  • Preach it, Brother!


  • I vote for Dr Hook.


    • And I would buy five copies for his mother. And just for the hell of it, I would buy a copy for Sylvia’s mother, too.


    • They keep getting richer but they can’t get their picture on the cover of Rolling Stone :D


  • Just about anyone or anything including a shitpile would make a better cover than that photo but right now this would make the best cover:

    Kellie Pickler Stands Her Country Ground on Fourth Studio Album


    …or this website with a Trigger interview.


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