Sunday, March 23, 2014


Here are just some of the old-timey fanzines that have been making my acquaintance for the past few months, and if you must know I think they're a pretty good batch as far as these home-paste jobs tend to be.

Anyhoo, a while back, in fact in the previous fanzine fanabla, I mentioned the acquisition of a certain little publication that was going by the moniker of TEENAGE RAMPAGE. It was a fun-packed low-budget affair with no pix or snaps of any kind, filled to the brim with real snotty fanzine-styled rants 'n raves regarding the favorite records of some guy who was writing under the nom-de-typewriter Ricochet. I ingested it a lot, and I sure as shooting wanted to find more of these which, in this day and age, is all but an impossibility unless you just happen to know someone selling old fanzines or get just plain get lucky.

But I wasn't getting lucky with Groovytunesdays, who kept ignoring my request to purchase an early issue (a two sheet debut if I remember correctly) which only goes to show you that they probably want to do business with me about as much as they want to volunteer for exploratory sphincter stretching research (and who knows,given the people who run the business' moral fiber maybe they do!). However, as luck would have it none other than Ricochet himself was doing his own blog entitled GROWING OLD WITH ROCK & ROLL, a nice li'l read that seemed to take up where his fanzine has left off way back sometimes in the late-seventies. And back when he was closing up shop this past December 31st he was requesting from his readership just what they'd like to see in the blog's final days, spotting an opportunity to fill them missing gaps I asked if he reprint some of his old TEENAGE RAMPAGE material for us, either on-line or in the pulp and you know what, the man actually did!

Or at least two issues, in fact the following two (see directly below) which I had already received via a lucky ebay auction, but I was still grateful to get 'em because y'see, these new ones looked so crisp and fresh and besides, I think that the ones I bought had some missing pages and as you all know I am a completest when it comes to seventies rock fanzines. So even if I am still missing some of the mag's run at least I got hold of these to help fulfill my quest for seventies greatness, and as you'd expect I am feeling rather perky myself!

The issue which is numbered 606 is the smaller of the two, and contains lots of potent musings that despite their low-fidelity and near-crudzine appearance really do prove this mag to have been a spiritual descendant of BACK DOOR MAN if not CAN'T BUY A THRILL. Included is an interesting opening bit urging everyone out there to latch onto the NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS (Ric mentioned how he turned down an offer to be their midwest correspondent!) because of the writings of Charles Shaar Murray, Mick Farren and (now get this!) Tony Parsons and Julie Burchill which stymies me to no end because I loathe Burchill with a passion and y'know, I woulda thought that Ric'd know better'n that! But y'see, Burchill gave TEENAGE RAMPAGE a hot mention in one of her columns and that sold Ric on her, which only goes to show you what one good plug could do to an otherwise sane person! I mean, a few people have praised my own rockscreeding these past thirtysome years, and you know how much love I have for humanity at large let alone people who have been writing about rock 'n roll (or what passes for it) for quite some time!

But all kidding aside (I mean, I am treated with about the same amount of respect as a rock "writer" as Brad Kohler is treated as a serious artist), this particular ish of TEENAGE RAMPAGE is all the rage even though it is a four-sheet, one-sided read. Yes its got poetry and a piece on an imaginary radio station that plays ONLY the hot rock items (a station I'd sure like to listen to on a dark and lonely summer's night at three inna morn!), but it also has bits 'n feces on the likes of DMZ, reviews of the debut Clash and Sex Pistols albums, and even a writeup of the Wayne Kramer jail single that was even getting mentioned in major "respectable" mags who'd forgotten the MC5 years ago! And yeah, you could have read all about it in the latest British weekly or CREEM if you so desired, but sometimes it just comes off better hearing it from the likes of some suburban fanabla just like yourself!

The ish with Fred "Sonic" Smith doing his Pete Townshend guitar whomp (#505) probably precedes the above ish, but it sure seems like it came after not only because it has more pages, but because this 'un sports a couple of contributors of fanzine worth. One of 'em is Nancy Foster, the same lass who once ran the boffo NEW AGE and GROOVE ASSOCIATES 'zines back in the seventies and early-eighties. The other is Lisa Baumgardner, a Clevelander best known to the world for her BIKINI GIRL fanzine as well as having been one of many cohorts of the late Peter Laughner which should give her some rockist brownie points somewhere in a more just universe. Baumgardner's contribution to this issue is a review of a live Dead Boys performance while Foster rants on about her own personal faves of the day, most notably Starz and Piper (gotta get their records if only to hear them unreleased Sidewinders tracks!).

Ric does his part well too with his piece on Thundertrain, Tom Petty, the MC5 (in yet another "heartfelt appreciation") and other late-seventies upstarts who probably didn't get to go as far as they thought they could. Great fannish writing (so good you know that nobody involved would ever be invited to write for ROLLING STONE), and once again everything is so straightforward and energetic in a way that is hardly seen anymore which does make me wanna shed a li'l tear if I wasn't already cried out after the cancellation of LEAVE IT TO BEAVER. After putting this down all I wanna do is go and spin all of my class seventies single and album sides 'till I can't take it no more. Can't think of anything else a fanzine really should do now, can I?

A final note, along with my fresh and crisp copies of TEENAGE RAMPAGE Ric sent me a bonus, an ORIGINAL first edition issue of the mag which was a large one-sheet run off on one of those old-time xerox copiers that came out kinda blurry and on rough if glossy looking paper! A neat effort too considering all of the information that was to be found on two sides of  10 X 14 paper (I'd love to reprint it for you here but my scanner is just way too small...and I'm not sorry about it at all). It's got the bop too, what with a pic of the Up's Gary Rasmussen, a bit on how Ric and his workcrew sang "Dominance and Submission" at an eatery at two inna morn, and reviews of a variety of recent releases including Alice Cooper's "Only Women Bleed"! And tell me, what could you or I manage to muster up with just two pages of paper at our disposal???

I've possessed the second issue of LA BEAT for quite some time, so I must say that finally getting the first ish of this lost-in-the-shuffle mag was something that fulfilled my inner rockist spirit if only for a few nanoseconds. It sure is refreshing to go back to them days when new wave still meant something exciting before the moneybags commercialized the entire genre beyond recognition, and although you might think that groups such as the Stranglers, Generation X, the Zippers and of course the Mumps are/were just more of the same old I still find them about as refreshing as a gulp of ice cold water on a hot summer's day. Can't say the same about a good portion of groups that were coming out at the time, but the way I look at it it's either this or Chuck Eddy's favorite classic rock bongbusters and it ain't like I'd ever care to listen to another spin of "Heard it From a Friend" as long as I live!

This ain't some throwout crudzine but a well-produced effort and real fan-oriented t'boot. The phone interview with Hugh Cornwell from the Stranglers is a hoot since he's coming off as gruff and as narcotic-induced as his image has lent him to be, while the rest of the interviews and writeups on the groups in general are just as fannish and as down to your level as many of these late-seventies El Lay-area fanzines were. Consider it a "nicer" version of BACK DOOR MAN or DENIM DELINQUENT and you're about halfway there.
I think I first read about SNEAKERS in the first issue of KICKS...maybe not, but this sure seems like one of those fanzines that Billy and Miriam would have loved the dickens outta while loathing all of those "punk rock" rags that people were sending 'em! Funny, this one seems just about as punk rock as the rest of those mags B&M were getting hold of, but maybe they were talking something a little more "esoteric", like "punque" or "pUnk" rather than "punk". But still, SNEAKERS was a boffo rag in the tradition of all of those crazy French fanzines from ROCK NEWS on, and between the great print job and nice saddle-stapled look this 'un ranks with many of the winners on the scene from BACK DOOR MAN and DENIM DELINQUENT on...too bad it's all in French because I can't read the thing too well!

The Tom Petty piece doesn't exactly light up my life (gotta admit that I like what I've heard of his first long playing record but after that when he became a classic rock monger I just couldn't take his more singer/songwriter rant), but I thought that the Peter Hamill "blind test" was interesting, or at least what I could make out of it (he was played a nice variety of tracks from the Music Machine's "The People in Me" to Syd Barrett's "Octopus"). Also interesting are pieces on Buddy Holly, Dave Edmunds and of course Eddie and the Hot Rots, and not only that but a whole slew of records that I remember looking at lovingly at the local shop (as well as those too obscure to make it there) are reviewed giving me those late-seventies record throb thrills that I most certainly desire. And how could anyone hate a mag which features on their back cover the "Free Wayne Kramer" drawing that is pictured on the right anyway? The people who put this mag out really had a great love for rock music and it shows on each and every francophonic page!
It's always great reading fanzines put out by high school kids, some of them surprisingly readable and thought-provoking while others showing the need for mandatory remedial thinking classes. MAKE IT IN THE BUSINESS WORLD is one that came out of late-seventies New York, and for a bunch of teenage rock 'n roll fans all I gotta say is that these guys did what I would assume most teenagers with an access to a typewriter and photocopier would do. A nice job, that is!

Layoutwize this is similar to the various Solomon and Jay Gruberger offerings that have been making their presence known since at least the mid-seventies. Loads of cartoons (both original and "Bazooka Joe") fill the pages which also happen to be filled with articles and reviews of acts on the MAKE IT IN THE BUSINESS WORLD faverave list such as Blondie and the Ramones. There are even some short stories included which I gotta say seem too esoteric and heady for a kid to have written. But hey I could be wrong...I mean, as I told Don Fellman there are no kids today, and maybe that was the case thirtysome years ago only nobody bothered to tell any of us.
Here's an old one...VIBRATIONS began life as a fairly accurate imitation of the original CRAWDADDY before it morphed into a Boston/underground paper with the typical altruistic outlook that you could find in just about any other teen dweeb political project of the day. This particular issue in question (#61) is a good case in point, a slim volume with the standard New Left politics and only a little bit on rock, in this case part one of a Keith Richards interview that originally appeared in VIBRATIONS' "sister" publication ZIGZAG. There's also a review of an appearance by John 'n Yoko on DAVID FROST as well as something on Alice Cooper's Boston debut which concentrates more on the group's sexual shock value and very little on the music which is described as being "Zeppelin-esque". Can't say that I got as much outta Jon Kreidl's efforts with this one as I did with the material appearing in his earlier efforts, for this is the sound of a movement running out of so much steam that you couldn't even hear the put-puts of the once-roaring engine anymore.

The next issue (#61-A) is a return to the mag's early fanzine roots, albeit printed on one-sided mimeo as opposed to the offset and saddle-stapled look of the originals. A Dylan special so-to-speak with nothing but a wide array of articles relating to the recently-released Tony Scaduto bio. Not much here other'n loads of standard early-seventies theorizing with the usually lofty and romantic reminiscences regarding Dylan as well as Suze Rotolo of FREEWHEELIN' fame, and if you could find any real information or spark in whatever was printed on those eleven pages I certainly do congratulate you!

Maybe if one-time contributor and valid rock scribe in his own special way Jonathan Richman had only stuck least his teenage-intellectual opinions and style acted as a counterbalance against the more heady ruminations to be found in mags like VIBRATIONS and FUSION (another Boston worthy) at the time. Maybe not, but I sure find those late-sixties scribblings of his on everything from the Velvet Underground to the Rolling Stones to be a whole lot more valid'n what the fin-de-la-hippie writers were pouring out of their vapid souls at the time.
COLLUSION's an interesting fanzine. Well, let's just say that it ain't a fanzine in the fanzine sense, but it's interesting nonetheless. If anything, I would call COLLUSION a fanzine written by English intellectual types who are into all sortsa things and who decided to put their writings into print. So you get more or less of a "World Music" bent here, not to mention contributions from the likes of such English avant gardists as Steve Beresford and Lol Coxhill writing about a wide array of subjects from Japanese Enka music, Bollywood, African music, Amerigan soul sounds of the sixties, Cajun zydeco music, Carol Kaye, the Dennis Wilson/Charles Manson/Kenneth Anger connection and loads more. There's even an interview with Gavin Bryars and (now get this!) an article by Simon Frith on longtime English fan fave Gracie Fields (she was the one who was married to the horrid Eyetalian comedian Monte Banks, the only guy I know of who made a comedy short about wife beating!).

With the likes of the aforementioned writers (not forgetting David Toop of Obscure Records fame) you might expect COLLUSION to be kinda dry and it is, but I for one enjoyed the reams of information and general atmosphere it exuded, and I kinda wish that more fanzines that were trying for the innerlektual crowd woulda been as well put together and as streamlined as this. Who knows, if I bothered to keep that term paper on electronic music I wrote during my Sophomoric year in high school (the one where my typist sister mis-spelled "Sun Ra"), it might have appeared in the pages of COLLUSION!
I wasn't rich enough to gather up all of the KICKS-inspired fanzines that thankfully sprouted up throughout the eighties and nineties, so coming across a mag like BROWN PAPER SACK really does thrill me to no end! A nice product too with slick cover and nice layout (reminds me of the higher quality sci-fi and comic book fanzines of the sixties), BROWN PAPER SACK was devoted to Southern garage bands of the sixties, a subject that was certainly worthy of scrutiny considering just how many of these bands remained a mystery to most of us for a longer time than any of us could imagine.

The cover story on the Five Canadians (of "Writing on the Wall" and "Never Alone" compilation fame) get their fifteen minutes (and what a good fifteen minutes it is!), while other Southern treats like the Bad Roads and Oedipus and the Mothers also get their just dues. The piece on New Orleans garage bands was also a hoot, especially since one of my psycedelic favorites the Greek Fountains not only get mentioned but also get pictured, and boy did they look 1966 long hair rock group creepy enough that your grandpappy woulda gotten his shotgun out if he saw 'em trouncing the front lawn!

Interesting note... the Fountains' psychedelic masterpiece "An Experimented Terror," a track which not only the liner notes to BEYOND THE CALICO WALL but my own ears would have led us to believe was a direct swipe of the Red Krayola's "Free Piece", was actually recorded an entire year before that infamous GOD BLESS THE RED KRAYOLA track! Also revealed is the origin of the group's supposedly stoic name...nothing esoteric here, since "Greek Fountain" is fraternity slang for puking! And if it weren't for BROWN PAPER SACK do you thin we would have known any of this? I sincerely doubt it, pard'ner!
Now let's talk about some "serious" fanzines, even more serious than COLLUSION. By this I mean the kind of 'zines that weren't as frolicky frivolous as the ones who were clearly feeding on the teat of Bangs, but the ones that were a whole lot more studious or intellectual or just plain ol' STODGY! Y'know, those that were less punk and more progressive which isn't anything evil mind you, it's just that these mags never did make for a funtime sit-yourself-down read the way many of the mags mentioned above did.

Sometimes these 'zines broke out of their supposedly self-imposed studious credos and did make for excellent reading whether in front of the stereo on plunked on the toilet. EUROCK was one fanzine that could balance gonz and journalistic especially when they had Hot Scott Fischer writing for 'em during their earliest days. But these 'zines at times tended to be quite serious and academic, and that doesn't quite serve the music being covered even if it is serious and academic.

IMPETUS is a good example of a fanzine that tended to be quite refined which at times might have suited the subject matter at hand. An English publication, IMPETUS existed at a time when a "new music" that was part past avant garde accomplishment coupled with seventies innovation certainly needed as much exposure as it could possible stand, and despite the at-times formal feeling I will admit that they did a passably good job of it. Coming off like a house organ for a seventies college radio station all-night playlist, IMPETUS at least knew how to hit the right buttons with their mix of avant old and new where the likes of articles on Gyorgy Ligeti and Olivier Messian could intermingle with Can and This Heat, and while you're at it throw some of the new jazz of Carla Bley and Keith Tippet in for good measure.

Yeah, the interview with Irmin Schmidt was a bit dry (and no new light was shed on Can in the process) but it was a good enough effort especially for long-hungering fans who certainly weren't reading about the group in the pages of CIRCUS. The articles on important figures in the new jazz were mildly engaging even if CODA did a better job of covering the jazz avant garde without succumbing to pseudo-intellectual gaga. And really, I gotta admit that reading about some of my more "underground" rock favorites does sound better when its coming from the typewriters of serious music aficionados rather'n some hippies who couldn't tell a Modern Lovers from a New Riders or an amerindie College Dork class of '89 who funneled his entire knowledge of rock music through the butthole of Parke Puterbaugh. It doesn't always work that way, but here it does.

While IMPETUS might have been intellectual it was also quite professional. FACE OUT on the other hand was more in the traditional fanzine style of mimeo/xeroxed single sheets of pecked out paper with perhaps a neet drawing to decorate the page a bit.

Comparisons with the original EUROCK would also be worth of mention if only that there seemed to be a fannish appreciation of the music (in this case mostly the German expressionists) and the impression that these pages were being written by the peoples in the audience rather than those in the classroom. The simple drawings on the cover also hearken back to the old Science Fiction and Fantasy 'zines of the thirties onward, and in many cases you can see a direct line of influence between those early self-produced efforts that these showing that maybe not that much had changed in the past forty years.

Great pieces whether they be appreciations or reviews appear too, proving once again that it is the schmuck banging these articles out in the dead of night who has the right approach to music as that magic save-all as opposed to most of those big-city rockcrit types who thankfully lost their jobs around the times the financially-strapped newspapers hadda do a great deal of cutting back. And although a tad bit of an intellectual air does tend to seep through at times, I'm in it for the rock 'n roll point of it. Meaning, I get more excited when I read a reference to the first Faust album sounding like a cross between METAL MACHINE MUSIC and "Sister Ray" or the umpteenth comparison twixt Can and the entire oeuvre of the original Velvet Underground. But I guess that's just me---you might find your own instant pushbutton thrills in FACE OUT if you just look hard enough.

Hmmmmm, a fanzine from Western Pee-YAY and from the mid-eighties, and it ain't mine either! Not only that' but the thing's actually named after a Velvet Underground song which does show more imagination than naming 'em after Stooges or MC5 ones. And Gerry Goffin and Carole King are on the cover too---should be a nice historically balanced read with articles on rock 'n roll accomplishments past and present, eh? Well, I was wrong about that because Goffin and King are nowhere to be found on the insides, but what is doesn't quite jibe with my own "horse-blindered" musical tastes.

Face it, WAITING FOR THE MAN is just one of the million hardcore-era punk fanzines of the day, complete with local scene reports and reviews of the latest hardcore/underground releases. Stuff which might jibe with the MAXIMUM ROCKNROLL audience but seemed a tad outdated once the mid-eighties rolled in and people like myself discovered that all of those hardcore punks were nothing but hippies with cry-over-a-broken-flower emotions. Awww, it's a nice effort for what it is even though this one dates back to an era in rock that didn't seem all that I hoped it would have been cracked up to be which might just be my problem but should have been yours as well.

LIQUORICE was a short-lived (though lasting a good eight issues) English fanzine that I once bought for an interview with a Kilburn and the High Roads-period Ian Dury, but I thought it was generally a stuffy sort of affairs which is strange considering how many of these early-mid-seventies English rags were pretty lively affairs. The John Cale interview featured on the cover of this second issue (released "Summer 1975") certainly hooked me and it is a fairly good 'un even if nothing special is revealed other'n the fact that the landlord at John and Lou Reed's Ludlow Street digs used to pick up the rent toting a gun. Other'n that, this is an OK sort of mag dealing with some of the bigger names on the up 'n coming English music scene such as Be-Bop Deluxe and Canterbury prog rockers Hatfield and the North. And, proving that extremely bad ideas never do go away, there's also a huge interview with some act calling itself "The Women's Liberation Rock Band" which only reinforces my attitudes and beliefs towards what had become of the once snazzy female gender. After reading this one I get the idea that if any dogs were to come up to the band and sniff away in their usual fashion they'd all keel over dead within one good inhale.

As far as other mid-seventies English rock 'n roll fanzines go PENETRATION certainly hit my bullseyes with their great mix of late-sixties accomplishment meets early/mid-seventies high energy, something which did point the way for the late-seventies eruption which the mag was fortunate to cover at least for a few issues. Although I have most all of this mag's run available via xeroxed copies, originals are mighty hard to come by these days which is why I'm glad that I got hold of this third issue which, besides featuring a boffo interview with long time English underground eccentric Steve "Peregrine" Took, also's got pieces on the Velvet Underground, Captain Beefheart, Kevin Ayers and some hip BBC "musical presenter" named Mike Sparrow who had a radio rock talk show which must have seemed like a good idea what with the place and time.

Again there ain't much we haven't already known to be found within these pages (other than Took's mentioning  of a single featuring himself and some Pink Fairy and Hawkwind types going under the name "The First Eleven" who dressed in cricket gear) , but back in 1975 I'm sure just about any stories regarding the Velvets or Beefheart would have been welcome in any self-respecting pimplefarm's fart-encrusted boudoir to be happily read while said denizen played these acts' records for the very first time. A good place to experience a whole lotta British (and Amerigan) underground worship as well as that strange nether-region between the whole Pink Fairies/New York Dolls/Stooges rage of '73 and the various hard-gunch sounds that were to catch everybody by surprise a good year or so later.
In closing I thought I'd mention this interesting piece of nonfiction that I picked up under the guise that it was an actual fanzine. It's more like a fan club newsletter, since  SPARKSOUNDS is the "organ" for the International Sparks Fan Club, and this '97 issue does its fanclub doody well with a rundown on the then-recent Sparks REWORKING album. Eight pages of blue fannish flailings and straightforward sparksy answers to fanclub members earnest questions. Did you know that Ron Mael drove a VW Kubelwagen? Most interesting thing about this 'un appears on the inside spread reprinting a Sparks piece from a Glasgow newspaper...the piece is standard professional goo of course but that photo...Ron and Russ look like half of Kraftwerk from a 1975 photo session...I mean, you can just feel the Nazi aura which I will admit even gives a strong-stomached seen-it-all kinda fanabla like myself the creeps! So until then, see you in the interrogation room!

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