Innocent Words Magazine sprang from the place where all great ideas are born: fifth-row center at an Ani DiFranco concert in Indianapolis, Ind.
Standing there, Troy Michael realized he was the same age as the then-thirty-year-old queen of indie folk. DiFranco boasted her own righteous label and championed the DIY ethic. Michael was making ends meet as a freelancer for magazines and newspapers. It was time for someone to get his ass in gear.
Soon, an off-handed comment during lunch sprang into an amateur collaboration for a local indie music mag. Michael itched to cover the indie bands and artists that were closest to his heart; the musicians that deserved more publicity. Six months after the DiFranco show and countless emails, phone calls and many more lunches later, the first issue of Innocent Words born…sort of.
The publication we know, love and live by today was originally dubbed Confronting Innocent Words (CIW). The title, taken from an essay by Michael, hinted at the fragility of words and their effects depending on how they are used.
Five hundred copies of CIW were printed. They went fast, but not as quickly as Michael’s partners. Family and professional commitments broke up the magazine bond. But never fear! After a little consideration and even less knowledge, Michael forged valiantly ahead and cut a word from the title magazine.
In early 2002, the first issue of IW launched, spiffy with a new staff, new format and a new look. The print edition had 1,000 copies in circulation in the Champaign-Urbana area, positioned as a quarterly ‘zine.
IW grew from a tiny staff of University of Illinois student interns. Some are still hanging around as writers, editors and designers.
IW also sponsored several local concert events, put on a local show every week and spent countless hours, miles and all the spare change they could find.
At its printed peak, IW was a bi-monthly magazine with 3,000 printed copies distributed to 100 cities in 25 states. With the massive 2008 upheaval in both the music and publishing industries, Michael made the decision to cease printing Innocent Words. The ‘zine transitioned to solely online publication in 2009.
Don’t get him wrong: Michael is super old school and still believes in magazines you can actually hold in your hands. But moving to the online format gave Innocent Words the chance to develop and flourish with a steady plethora of interviews, features and reviews. The online format also bestows upon readers those vital daily music news stories with snappy headlines that you’ve come to love so much. IW online has videos, blogs and information on charitable causes – another true passion (aside from Pearl Jam) for owner Troy Michael.
Now check out our backlog of cool, ahead-of-our-timeness and sign up to our email list to read all about the goodness in future issues of Innocent Words Magazine.
IW Elsewhere on the Web
We hope you will make the innocentwords.com website a regular stop on your Internet journies. You can also find us at the following fine establishments:
If you would like to see us on YouTube or elsewhere on the web, please drop us a line with your thoughts.