I Cover the War

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I Cover the War: A Monthly Guide to Culture and Entertainment was a monthly, free entertainment magazine that was published in Birmingham between May 1987 and May 1989. The title is shared with a music column by publisher J. R. Taylor that first appeared in The Southsider in May 1986 and continued in the Black & White in the 1990s. (It is also the title of a 1937 Universal feature starring John Wayne). Along with Taylor, I Cover the War was co-edited by Kerry Echols. Contributors included cartoonists Nolen Otts, Stephen Smith and Marjorie Clark-Love, art director Kevin Mitchell, and writers Courtney Haden, Darren McCarthy, Robert McCrary, Nolen Otts, and Robin Newberry.

I Cover the War was predominantly Taylor's creation and an outlet for his often controversial takes on Birmingham's music and entertainment scene. It was founded after a year of writing for the Southsider, a paper that Taylor called "the last kind of paper anyone intelligent would want to be associated with." The founding of I Cover the War, which Taylor claims was conceived at the McDonald's on University Boulevard, established a magazine intended to appeal to "people too intelligent to read The Southsider." The initial audience was the student and alternative community centered around UAB and Southside, but the magazine gradually gained a more mainstream readership among Birmingham's professionals. Taylor credits Birmingham's savvy advertisers for already being cognizant of a cultured niche that wasn't being served by the Birmingham media. Successful ad sales generated sufficient income for the magazine to turn a profit after only the second issue.

Issue by issue

  • May 1987: Daytime sitcom reviews, Primitons feature interview. Cover photo of burned out Studio Arts Building.
  • June 1987: White Animals cover story. Popular "Tube & I" TV review column debuts.
  • July 1987: Telluride interview, Henry Rollins interview
  • August 1987: Alabama Ballet cover story, Alex Chilton interview
  • September 1987: Guide to Birmingham bookstores, Swimming Pool Q interview
  • October 1987: Robert R. McCammon interview
  • November 1987: Leonard's Losers interview, Carnival Season feature
  • December 1987: Clubland column debuts, feature on the Birmingham Museum of Art, Webb Wilder interview
  • January 1988: Dead People Round-Up by Robin Newberry, The Cast interview
  • February 1988: Report on 976-GABB, reader's poll results, Fetchin Bones interview
  • March 1988: Feature on Alabama Symphony Orchestra, Flesh for Lulu and Flying Color interviews
  • April 1988: All-Art issue, Frank Fleming cover, Paladins interview
  • May 1988: Cecil Whitmire and the Alabama Theatre, Frog Price, Adrian Belew interview, Gus's Hot Dogs. Cover photo of Alabama Theatre marquee and vertical sign.
  • June 1988: Piper Davis, Guide to Birmingham record stores, Smithereens interview
  • July 1988: Rowland Scherman, Billy Donahue exposé, Renaissance Plaza, Drivin' n Cryin' interview
  • August 1988: West End, Bessemer travelogue, Kiddieland, Steel Pulse interview
  • September 1988: Walter Miller interview, Last Temptation of Christ review
  • October 1988: Another Robert R. McCammon interview, Kathryn Tucker Windham, Living Colour
  • November 1988: Elvis impersonators, fast food wars, NRBQ interview, Bright Star Restaurant feature
  • December 1988: Bob Dillon, Royal Crescent Mob interview
  • January 1989: 2nd Dead People Round-Up, "True Work Stories" and "Hollywood Kids" columns debut
  • February 1989: Female impersonators, reader's poll, Leo Kottke interview
  • March 1989: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Vulcan, R.E.M. critical essay
  • April 1989: Zelda Fitzgerald, Dean & Company, Stealin Horses interview
  • May 1989: Last issue, in-depth J. R. Taylor interview, overview of past issues.


  • McCarthy, Darren. (May 1989) "The Eternal Prom Night of J. R. Taylor: Birmingham's Favorite Son Takes a Powder". I Cover the War.
  • Geiss, Chuck (July 15, 2004) "Naked Birmingham". Black & White