Marcus Esposito works as a postman. His wife, Regina Esposito, works as a graphic designer. They have two kids and live in suburban Virginia, where they fill their spare time with band practice. But for the Espositos, band practice doesn’t just mean helping the kids learn to play tuba or giant cymbals. Back in the day, the Espositos’ band, the Young Professionals, opened for Duran Duran’s first D.C. show.
The Espositos can regale you with tales of early-’80s d.c. space and Dody Bowers’ 9:30 Clubincluding how that raunchy Go-Go’s home video was reportedly filmed in the basement. Regina will even go so far as to dub herself “the original D.C. punk-rock girl.” Still, the suburban duo isn’t just a couple of aging rockers: In July 1999, they started Snap Pop!, a monthly music journal.
Financed by a bonus check from Regina’s job, Snap Pop! started off as more of a collective than a traditional newspaper. The couple found writers in indie-music chat rooms, at work, and by word of mouth. Band features, interviews, and show listings make up the bulk of the publication. Distributed free of charge at music stores, clubs, and bars, the paper boasts a local readership of around 12,000.
Now, with distribution help from Internet music store Insound, the Espositos are poised to make their monthly magazine a national entity. Music aficionados in Indianapolis, New York, and Clevelandamong other citieswill soon find shops stocked with Snap Pop!, and Insound shoppers will get the ‘zine along with their CD purchases.
Looking back at the first issue, Marcus says Snap Pop!’s rapid growth seems improbable. “We had no editors,” he explains. But that’s not the reason the premiere issue had no punctuation. “I work in a high-end graphic studio, where we have a lot of really funky fonts. I used one that didn’t rip well,” explains Regina. The Espositos simply chalked it up to a beginner’s mistake and moved on.
Snap Pop! relies heavily on young writers, and right now nobodynot the writers, not the editors, not the publishersgets paid. With the expansion, that may change. “We thought long and hard about it, and as things keep going and growing, obviously we will change, and we’ll have to become more like a business,” says Regina. “But I think we’ll be a nonprofit.”
No matter how big Snap Pop! gets, Marcus Esposito still plans to climb into the family Jetta every month and play local delivery man for an afternoon or two. “We spend a lot of time on this magazine,” says Regina. “I feel like we’re doing something important, something positive. And that makes me happy.” Mike Kanin