Bill Chemerka, a former writer and associate editor of The Aquarian Weekly and East CoastRocker, from 1979 to 1990, donated his 12-year collection of the publications to the Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music at Monmouth University on April 10.
“It’s a treasure trove of rock and roll history, especially relating to the New York-New Jersey music scene,” said Chemerka, whose 1,500+ bylines included 1,114 video reviews. “It was an interesting time for popular music, with everything from punk, new wave and metal to the birth and influence of MTV.”
Eileen Chapman, Monmouth University’s Associate Director of the Center for the Arts, picked up the 14-box collection from Chemerka’s home. “We are very excited to have received Bill’s generous donation to the Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music,” she said. “The Aquarian Weekly and East Coast Rocker have been the go-to publications for all things relating to music in New Jersey and beyond for decades. It’s donations like this that help to broaden the scope of our collection, maintain relevance, and provide accessible materials to researchers and fans.”
Prior to his tenure at The Aquarian Weekly, Chemerka wrote for the Newark Evening News in 1966 and 1967, and Entertainment Spectrum in the mid-1970s. He also created and co-hosted The Night Owl Special, a weekly TV program co-produced by Aquarian founder/publisher James Rensenbrink on Suburban Cablevision during the 1981-82 season.
He researched his extensive collection when he wrote Rock & Roll Recollections: A Journalist’s 50-Year Diary (BearManor Media) in 2014. Chemerka has occasionally contributed to The Aquarian Weekly over the years: he wrote the cover story on Motörhead’s Lemmy Kilmister in January 2016.
The Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music at Monmouth University serves as the official archival repository for Bruce Springsteen’s written works, photographs, periodicals, and artifacts.