Alt Press founder Mike Shea talks inaugural Alternative Press Music Awards

In 1985 Mike Shea was one of just a couple punk rock kids from a couple different subgenres. They all had one vision and one thing in common.

“I was a goth kid, had friends who were skater kids and others who were like Mohawk punks and others who were like metalheads and there were some New Wavers,” says Shea. “We were all just misfits who wanted to do this fanzine and we didn’t know a damn thing about business. All we knew was some of us liked to talk about music, some of us liked to write about it, some of us liked to draw about it and some of us liked to promote about it so that’s how it came together.”

Shea was 19 years old at the time and started the fanzine in his bedroom. No one, including Shea, could have imagined the fanzine would have turned into the powerhouse it has today- Alternative Press Magazine (AP)- one of the highest-regarded and heaviest-read magazines in the world. With a focus on the hardcore and metalcore community, AP has become one of the go-to magazines for fans, providing them with the annual AP Tour, concert program guides for tours such as Vans Warped Tour and an ever-growing fanbase and readership; AP has truly become one of the highest-regarded publications.

This year marks the launch of the inaugural AP Music Awards Presented by Monster Energy, which is set to take place Monday, July 21 at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum and the buzz surrounding it would make you think we’re decades deep rather than entering the first year.

“The bar had been raised on us before we even got out the door because we’d been around for almost 30 years and this awards show- in the States at least- was long overdue, a lot of people thought, should have been done a number of years ago,” explains Shea. “There is the Kerrang! Awards in the UK but that’s a different kind of beast and being that we’re established everybody felt like ‘okay, this can’t be a little dinner party, this has to be like the Oscars or the Grammys.’

Shea and his staff initially shot for doing just that- making it the Grammys- but what happens when things get out of hand and the talent starts pouring in?

“The talent started to snowball and we started getting requests and availabilities from bigger and bigger artists so now it’s turning into the Oscars and in the beginning we wanted a “who’s who” to be there,” elaborates Shea. “We kinda felt like it wasn’t about the awards show, it was more about our community getting together for the first time all in the same spot and celebrating and patting a couple of us on the back and having all the fans there to party with us because most of our community only sees a little bit of each other at Warped Tour or in Los Angeles or New York or we see a little of each other at South By Southwest but we don’t really see each other for very long in one spot for more than a few hours.”

The AP Music Awards will be hosted by Mark Hoppus, pro wrestling legend CM Punk and Julie Simms, the first-annual AP Awards features performances by Fall Out Boy, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, legendary horror-punk mavericks the Misfits, A Day To Remember, All Time Low, Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco, Asking Alexandria, twenty one pilots and many more with some surprises as well as appearances by Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins),  Slash, Laura Jane Grace (Against Me!), Ice-T & Coco, Suicide Silence/Silverstein.

Fans can also expect to see Black Veil Brides, Chiodos, Crown The Empire, Emmure, I See Stars, Issues, Korn, Memphis May Fire, Miss May I, Motionless In White, Paramore, We Came As Romans, Yellowcard, Attila, Bayside, Beartooth, The Devil Wears Prada, Echosmith, Less Than Jake, Letlive, the Maine, Mayday Parade, Neck Deep, New Found Glory, Pierce The Veil, We Are The In Crowd, The Word Alive and more.

It typically takes awhile for an awards show to reach superstar level and snatch your attention away from whatever you were doing, but the AP Awards have already reached a level you’d see the Revolver Golden Gods at.

“Usually [an awards show reaches] that level because the outside world starts to pay attention but in our case, our community is already there. That’s why I kinda feel like it grew so fast because everyone wanted this for so long that everyone wanted to get involved with it,” explains Shea. “As soon as we started telling some people in the industry that we were gonna do it, within days All Time Low were on the bill, all of a sudden A Day To Remember were like ‘we’re there,’ within a couple weeks Fall Out Boy were like ‘our schedule’s open, let’s do this.’ It was really a nice feeling to see all these people wanting to be part of the show and you’ve got people like Brendan Urie of Panic! At the Disco who are driving from Iowa- an overnight drive- to get here in order to be here and that really says a lot to us.

“I think that’s awesome, I’m completely humbled.”

The APMAs are broadcasted by official digital media partner AXS TV, who will have a special red carpet pre-show area co-hosted by new addition CM Punk and Automatic Loveletter frontwoman/The Voice season two runner-up Juliet Simms. In addition to covering broadcasting the red carpet pre-show, AXS TV will broadcast the award show itself, beginning at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on July 21. and will feature footage from the official VIP boat party. Viewers can head to watch exclusive behind-the-scenes videos and view photos, as well as take part in live polls and get involved on social media.

Alt Press founder Mike Shea talks inaugural Alternative Press Music Awards:

2014 APMA Nominees

Artist Of The Year Presented by Monster Energy Drink
A Day To Remember
Avenged Sevenfold
Black Veil Brides
Bring Me The Horizon
Fall Out Boy
Of Mice & Men
Panic! At The Disco
Pierce The Veil
Sleeping With Sirens

Album Of The Year presented by Journeys
A Day To Remember • Common Courtesy
Avenged Sevenfold • Hail To The King
Black Veil Brides • Wretched And Divine: The Story Of The Wild Ones
Bring Me The Horizon • Sempiternal
Fall Out Boy • Save Rock And Roll
Paramore • Paramore
Sleeping With Sirens • Feel
Touché Amoré • Is Survived By
twenty one pilots • Vessel
The Wonder Years • The Greatest Generation

Artist Philanthropic Award Presented by Sub City / Take Action
All Time Low — Skate4Cancer
Memphis May Fire— peta2
Modern Baseball — 1BlueString
Pierce The Veil — The Keep A Breast foundation
Rise Against — Shirts For A Cure
The Used — Living The Dream Foundation

Best Live Band
A Day To Remember
All Time Low
Asking Alexandria
Fall Out Boy
Pierce The Veil
twenty one pilots

Breakthrough Band
The Color Morale
Crown The Empire
The Story So Far
twenty one pilots

Song of the Year
All Time Low feat. Vic Fuentes • “A Love Like War”
Bring Me The Horizon • “Shadow Moses”
Fall Out Boy • “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up)”
Falling In Reverse • “Alone”
Paramore • “Still Into You”
Sleeping With Sirens feat. Machine Gun Kelly • “Alone”

Best International Band
Asking Alexandria (U.K.)
Bring Me The Horizon (U.K.)
Crossfaith (Japan)
Parkway Drive (Australia)
Silverstein (Canada)
Frank Turner (U.K.)

Most Dedicated Fans Presented by Fearless Records 
All Time Low
Avenged Sevenfold
Black Veil Brides
Mayday Parade
My Chemical Romance
Pierce The Veil

Best Vocalist
Andy Biersack (Black Veil Brides)
Vic Fuentes (Pierce The Veil)
Kellin Quinn (Sleeping With Sirens)
Oli Sykes (Bring Me The Horizon)
Brendon Urie (Panic! At The Disco)
Hayley Williams (Paramore)

Best Guitarist
JB Brubaker (August Burns Red)
Synyster Gates (Avenged Sevenfold)
Phil Manansala (Of Mice & Men)
Jack O’Shea (Bayside)
Chris Rubey (The Devil Wears Prada)
Jacky Vincent (Falling In Reverse)

Best Bassist
Jeremy Davis (Paramore)
Zack Merrick (All Time Low)
Ryan Neff (Miss May I)
Jaime Preciado (Pierce The Veil)
Devin “Ghost” Sola (Motionless In White)
Pete Wentz (Fall Out Boy)

Best Drummer
Jess Bowen (The Summer Set)
Josh Dun (Twenty One Pilots)
Mike Fuentes (Pierce The Veil)
Matt Greiner (August Burns Red)
Luke Holland (The Word Alive)
Ryan Seaman (Falling In Reverse)