As a charter subscriber to Maxim in 1997, HERC was extended a subscription offer for that publication's music magazine spin-off Blender in 2001. At $10 for 10 issues, it was a no-brainer. He subscribed but was bummed to find the premiere issue on newsstands (above left) before it was in his mailbox. Buying the issue anyway, he was even more bummed - and out $3 - when that first issue showed up in his mailbox the very next day (above right). Though the innards of both issues are identical, there are a few noticeable differences on the covers.
HERC cancelled his subscription to Maxim in 2003 after the incredible run of Monica Bellucci, Gina Gershon and Jessica Alba (above) but stuck with Blender to the bitter end, which occurred with the April 2009 final issue (below left). The remainder of HERC's subscription was filled by issues of Maxim beginning with the May issue and Jennifer Love Hewitt (below right). After the second issue of his second helping of Maxim, HERC changed the address to his oldest son's dorm mailbox and the young man (who graduated in December 2013) been a second-generation subscriber ever since.
From the get-go through the end, Blender courted fans of popular music, including but not limited to rock, rap, country, hip hop, alternative, pop and classic rock. Nearly every issue early on featured a scantily clad female musical performer on the cover with a photo spread inside. But every issue also featured hundreds of CD reviews, more than any other magazine before or since. Other unique musical features included Ask A Superstar, where a "superstar" would answer reader submitted questions and Back Catalog, which featured every original CD of a featured artist reviewed and rated. In that first issue, the superstar was Thom Yorke and the featured artist whose back catalog was explored was Prince. The Spotify playlist below features the CDs that received five stars in that first issue: