Teen entrepreneur's publication rocks Magazine wins business award

June 06, 1993|By Victor Paul Alvarez | Victor Paul Alvarez,Contributing Writer

He reports, he edits, he publishes.

He's met with Dave Mustaine, lead singer of the heavy metal band Megadeth, and Bruce Kulick of the band Kiss, just to name a few.

He's also 17 years old, his own boss, and still lives at home with mom and dad.

For Robert Suehs, one of 10 winners in the Maryland Youth

Entrepreneurial Awards, meeting his rock 'n' roll heroes is part of the job.

Robert publishes Rock and Roll Experience, a free heavy metal magazine with a glossy cover in vivid color.

He also distributes the magazine to White Marsh-area record stores and some Fells Point spots as well.

His base of operations for the magazine is the Wise Old Printing Shop, his parents' business in White Marsh, where a chubby black Chihuahua is the first to greet customers, then wobbles around on tiny feet with toenails painted red, circling Susie Suehs, Robert's mother.

On letter presses that date to the early 1920s and a Macintosh computer that he bought with extra advertising money from the first few issues, the young journalist prints 2,000 copies of the Rock and Roll Experience monthly.

Robert just graduated from Edgewood High School with straight A's.

He works every day in his parents' shop and spends the rest of his time working on the magazine.

After writing and laying out the articles on the computer, he prints the pages to be proofread, makes corrections, puts the pictures in place and makes plates of the pages. From there, it's to the presses.

"I started this six months ago," Robert says. "I've always wanted to be in the music business, but I never really thought about journalism until I connected it with music."

Copies of the six issues are scattered around the back of the shop where Robert does most of the work. Yesterday, he was writing an article from a taped interview with the Bullet Boys, just one band in the long list of heavy metal heroes he has met since publishing his first issue.

Robert speaks professionally, his long brown hair framing his shy face.

"I've never taken any journalism classes," he acknowledges. "I didn't really have an interest for it in high school."

He learned the mechanics of publishing in his parents' shop and is learning about writing and rock stars on the job.

"The people at those concerts treat him like he's a star himself," says Robert Suehs Sr., who, along with his wife, has taken their son to most of the concerts where he conducts interviews.

"They don't hesitate to help him. They're always ready to give him support."

The big shots in the music business are not the only people to be impressed by the young entrepreneur.

Last month at the Small Business Association award ceremony, he rose from a seat between Rep. Helen Delich Bentley and Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke to address a crowd of 700 at the Hyatt Regency hotel.

Robert says he owes much of his recent recognition to his work experience coordinator at Edgewood High, Paul Metzger.

Mr. Metzger submitted the magazine to be among more than 100 other nominations that were considered for the award.

While most members of the Class of 1993 are making the ritualistic "Senior Week" pilgrimage to Ocean City, Robert is staying home to polish his latest issue of Rock and Roll Experience.

"I'm always thinking about the magazine," he says. "It's always around me."

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