A BIT ABOUT ME...
From 1997 to 2018, I was Editor in Chief of Guitar Player magazine — the longest-servicing EIC in the publication's 51-year history.
Throughout a turbulent era of the publishing industry, with resources continually reduced year after year, I managed a team of brilliant editors, writers, and art directors to keep the Guitar Player brand relevant and expand its audience.
Brought to the team by GP's publishers Ed Sengstack and Ross Garnick in October 1997 to help bolster a magazine that was struggling somewhat to engage readers and improve advertiser relations, I directed a complete content and design revamp in just one month that increased circulation from approximately 80k to more than 100k within one year, and won back advertiser confidence.
From there, I set out to develop events, awards, and brand extensions to evangelize the publication and engage guitar fans, such as Guitar Player's Guitar Superstar Competition, the Certified Legend Award, the Ronnie Montrose Rock the Nation Award for Young Guitarists, the revitalized Guitar Player Records (Mi5Recordings/Universal Music Group), various book projects for Hal Leonard Corporation (The Guitar Player Book, Guitar Heroes of the '70s, Carlos Santana, Clapton Beck Page, 50 Unsung Heroes of the Guitar, Making the Ultimate Demo), Rumble (a magazine for teen guitarists), and MC2 (a technology magazine with attitude).
As the importance of websites and social networks rose, I was instrumental in the concept and design of guitarplayer.com and musicplayer.com (since shut down), and the organic growth of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and, back in the day, MySpace.
Eventually, I was also named Editorial Director of the California Music Group and its magazines, which included Frets, Bass Player, Keyboard, Electronic Musician, Guitar Aficionado, Gig, and EQ.
For all of these publications, I assisted the editorial staffs with content strategies, and worked with the sales teams to better serve their client's promotional needs and identify new business.
As a versatile content provider during my tenure—with deep experience in music production, recording technology, music-career guidance, guitar gear, artistic performance, video editing and directing, and music composition—I ultimately penned more than 2,500 interviews, product reviews, technical commentaries, educational articles, and opinion pieces.
In addition, I was a sought-after speaker and seminar moderator for industry events, trade shows, and major media productions (such as VH-1's Behind the Music series and rockumentaries such as She Rocks). I was also named to the boards of the Los Angeles-based Musicians Institute and Indiana University's Stone Age Institute.
After the heady GP days, I started CONTENT BY MOLENDA. I have provided marketing and promotional content for Yamaha, Line 6, Universal Audio, Graph Tech Guitar Labs, and others. I founded the content sites GuardiansofGuitar.com and NowGenDrums.com. I also provided social-networking content for Rock 'N' Roll Fantasy Camp, and I have held Chief Digital Editor and Content Director positions for Modern Drummer. My first foray into the tech start-up world began recently went I was named COO of Neural Tunes—an AI-based app that alleviates PTSD and other anxiety and depression conditions by using music as medicine.
On a more personal note, I was born in San Francisco and grew up embracing the Italian side of my family. I later realized that I have a lot of sides, and they include bloodlines from Hungary, Germany, Great Britain, and Poland. I always knew I wanted to be a writer. I made up so many stories in my head that mom and dad feared I was adrift in some fantasy that might necessitate medical intervention at some point. Best to write the fantasies in little notebooks and call myself an author.
Then, in 1964, after being transfixed by the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show (with my dad calling them “girls with no talent”), and, two years later, seeing The Who on the Today show, I began my life-long love affair with music, playing guitar, writing songs, and producing records.