Saturday, September 26, 2015


I haven't been doing any of those "special edition" kinda weekend blogposts that Brad Kohler and scant few others out there seem to appreciate, so for a change of scenery here's yet another FANZINE FANABLA featuring some of those great Golden Age fanzines from the Golden Age of Rock (writing) that sure make a whole lot more sense than the latest nerf from the local free paper gleely copying down hypesheet hysteria and passing it along as insightful thought. Let me tell you I had a lot of fun reading these rags, maybe not that much fun WRITING this 'un up, but when all's done please thank me for helping aid and abet your choices for the best toidy time reading with the following set of rectal-cleansing thrillers.

Let's start off with one of those rare outta nowhere holy grail type of fanzines that I believe are the best of the lot even if their production (photocopy, one-sided) might lend some people to believe they are of a "crudzine" quality. And HONEY THAT AIN'T NO ROMANCE does have a special place in my heart if only because I remember reading about it (via. the letter pages of CREEM) during my Christmas 1975 holiday away from school, and of course that snapshot of editor Harald in his shades and leather jacket along with his galpal Metchhild ("Iggy's Only True Fan") kinda resonated in my 'tardo teenbo mind whilst I was reading that particular magazine (or what was left of it) in my trash-strewn bedroom that fun-filled Friday night. Well, that and Lester Bang's article on Lou Reed's METAL MACHINE MUSIC album which also dropped the Stooges' "LA Blues" in some not-so-strange paradigm of rock 'n roll developing into pure addled energy.

Almost forty years later 'n I finally chance upon the debut issue of this organ for "Europe's Only Iggy Pop Fan Club" and man is it a wowzer. Yeah a rag like this wouldn't pass the test of your standard eighties-onward 'zine scener who went for the slick whether it be reading, listening or anal probe, but for me it has everything that is cool about these old fanzines and more! And even if it's mostly pictures taken outta a whole slew of mags the whole concept of Iggy and the Stooges as the last word in sixties rock and the first word in seventies really shines through magnificently.

Harald and Mechthild are true fans of not only Iggy but all high energy seventies rock 'n roll, and every photo and utterance of Iggy news is something that really brings back the memories of there being more to rock music mid-seventies style than the pus coming outta the West Coast post-hippie hack mills, that's for sure.

Hmmmm---good roster of namedropping on page one (Lester Bangs, Nick Kent, Yves Adrien, Jymn Parrett and Dee Daack...) and a pretty amazing attitude throughout. And for those of you who believe in that groundswell of energy rock that began in the late-fifties and permeated the sixties and came to utter fruition with the Stooges, this will get the plain fact outta your mind just how total denouement Iggy's solo career had been in comparison. Number two sounds like a good deal as well (no #3 although one was promised) so if you see a copy floating around and want to send me something for Christmas, please no underwear (especially of the skidded kind, you sickos!).
 I didn't know that Steve Kolanjian's AWARE magazine lasted well into the mid-seventies but it did, and even at that late stage in the game it still retained the same spirit of discographies and collector's information that the earlier issues had. This one from '76 continues on the proud path of the earlier AWAREs (in newsprint even!) what with a dedicated appraisal of definitely old wave concerns and of course those necessary discographies in case you're wondering if you have any of those post-Harvest Deep Purple records missing in your collection. I personally found the complete Fillmore East gigography to be educational, making me hope in my heart of hearts someone does something similar for those other long-gone En Why See haunts from Max's Kansas City and Club 82 to Mothers and of course all of the CBGB stages which I know would be a mofo of a task but hey, it should be done and done with every little bit of care and diligence that one would put into the care and cleaning of their own personal vibrator. Any takers out there???
I wonder who the bloke who appears on the cover of AURA #1 is? Sure looks like a sorry sap, or perhaps it's just one of my dear sweet nemeses after putting up a proud appearance at the annual San Franciscan Felch-A-Thon! Whoever it is he sure looks like some mighty good musical fodder for an old Throbbing Gristle record, which would figure since AURA was a mag devoted to the outer-fringe of underground music that was transpiring during the very-late-seventies. If you were one of those types who combed the Systematic catalog during the days when they were still Renaissance  Records you most certainly know what kinda music I'm talking about!

Freaky and outer-reaching, AURA is short on the graphics but who else in 1979 England was writing anything about those latterday Amon Duul II albums that nobody seemed to give a caga about? Not that I do at this late date but hey, it's at least a nice thing to read about. The Throbbing Gristle interview was a boffo scoop even if the group don't seem to be pooping out any pearls of wisdom, and the Magma piece was just that, but a "nice" just that so why should I bother blubbering about anything that does appear in the pages of this long-forgotten read.

Yet another late-seventies English obscuro you might want to dig up, making me wonder just how many of these English RIO/industrial-oriented fanzines were there back during the days of DIY overload???
Here's one I first heard about in the pages of a '77 MELODY MAKER punk rock expose yet only have received recently. I guess all of those years hadn't made me wanna go snatch up this copy of GHAST UP, but since the thing had becoming increasingly available via various ebay auctions and I am sorta hankerin' for those old Stiff Records days of searching out yellow vinyl Belgian import copies at the local National Record Mart I figure hey, why th' hell not?

With that typical one-sided printjob that was probably done on the school copier when nobody was looking, GHAST UP ain't the stereotypical  p-rock crudzine crankout that was oh-so-common during the entire run of self-produced bedroom mayhem (and I should know!), but a nice 'n straightforward offering that unfortunately went under the radar of just about everyone in the biz who coulda helped make this one into a big contender on the punk kultur bandwagon. 's got a pretty nice look for an amateur pub, and the writing, while nothing that you'd call exceptional in the BACK DOOR MAN sense of gonzoid snarl, is everyday straightforward and relayed an average, non-intellectual mindset of the writers which certainly lacked the pretentiousness of many a more modern effort.

In other words, you don't get sick reading the views of Martin 'n Mick the same way you do alla those harpy harridan types who were mixing their punque with radical feminism and outrageous socio-political constraints only a few years later. Nowadays they'd probably call GHAST UP racist even though there is nary a mention of anything that would lead a normal believer to think so, but give 'em a few cracks to sneak into and I'm sure the modern day "uplifters" will find something of offense within these words.
Here's another fanzine from the late-seventies English upheaval/upchuck, and it's a dilly if only because it tends to veer away from the pack into its own sphere of style. Of course with a name like SUMMER SALT I was expecting a more fru-fru kinda new unto gnu wave read that was more suited for that art major who's now a housewife in Orlando Florida, but in reality this read ain't as clung on to the bandwagon as some of the other reads I've come across (names available upon request, and memory!) have been.

Unlike most if not all of the competition out there in English fanzine land, SUMMER SALT relied on, and in fact even begged for, contributions. And when I say contributions I mean scribbles and such from everyday sorta fanablas and not the big names out there who were guaranteed to draw in more'n a few more sales'n usual. Ads in the musical weaklies were taken out and waddaya know, kids from all over Blighty were sending in their various reviews for publication...and believe it or not but none of the writings procured were what I would call subpar or even worthy of anything I've written between 1981 and 2015 but quite good, complete with that nice amateurish if cohesive look which only proved it these writers had stuck to it they might have been just as IGNORED as all of those other up and coming rockscribes who weren't getting the writing gigs because they weren't about to toe any new and improved saccharine line being fed them by their handlers!

Whether any of these SUMMER SALT contributors could have become the next Murray, Kent or even Farren remains to be seen, but these "nobodies" really did give it the ol' fanzine try! Subject matter included Jonathan Richman, Doctors of Madness, Doors, Lou Reed, Ultravox, Lennon, Iggy, Pistols, Elvis (P and C), Mahogany Rush and a whole loads more within the pages of its record review section. Would you have been happy as a diabetic locked overnight in a glycerin factory awaiting this one's arrival in the mail? I would most certainly THINK so!
I gotta say that I've probably listened to more of the Stranglers in 2015 than I have in 1977-2014 combined, so it would be no big surprise that I would snatch up a copy of this early Stranglers-based fanzine. STRANGLED is a nice job in the '77 English style, and like the best of these specialty 'zines there's more to it than just the ozobs pictured on the cover, what with the likes of 999 (eh!) getting the ol' interview treatment and some act called London getting what might have been the only mention they every got in a fanzine. STRANGLED fortunately does have that personal fanzine feel that I look for in reads such as this as well as a fine enough layout that doesn't ache the eyeballs like the earlier issues of my own crudzine managed to do. Not only that but this mag actually does rock out (a very important thing for a fanzine to do, Patrick!) which sure comes off better'n what these kinda self-produced endeavors had become once 1981 rolled around and everybody was more concerned with people like Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher for all the good and bad that entailed yet forgot how to do that jams kicking out in the meanwhile. It ain't that great lost English fanzines that I've always wanted to discover, but it'll do for now.
Considering how Australia (particularly Sydney) was really hotcha on the entire Detroit hard rock contingent what with the reams of MC5/Stooges inspired groups (some of 'em even good) that were bopping about throughout the eighties you'd think there'd've been more'n a few hotcha fanzines around covering the local action now, would you! Well, here's an Australian fanzine I never new existed until recently, and what's more it dates from '77 meaning that its way closer to the mid-seventies Stooge fanzine core than any of us would have believed! SPURT! really is that ambitious of a fanzine as well, complete with all of that gosh darn energy and funtime pounce that people like myself like in our rock scribblings, and not only that but this endeavor is a rather high-falutin' one from the color cover to the saddle staple job to the innards which are just as hopped up as any issue of BACK DOOR MAN or DENIM DELINQUENT you can muster up in your own fanzine collection, Sunshine!

None other'n heavy metal greats Rose Tattoo make the cover and the interview to be found therein is good enough that you too will be clinging to Angry Anderson's every word even if you're not exactly a fan of these guys like you should be. Also appearing is a Radio Birdman gabfest that's a real treat for all of us fans even if Younger and crew really don't seem to be up to the task of fielding all of these heady questions being tossed at 'em. There's also a great history of the Stooges, an interview with Debbie Harry and alla those reviews and gossip bits that you still read just so's you know what to buy next time you hit the record shop, or nowadays ebay. Only the article on the assassination of John Kennedy (which was typeset and probably lifted from another rag) was out of place as is anybody really cares who shot him, but despite that gaffe SPURT! must be one of the best unknown high energy fanzines of the seventies and the more information that can be dug up on these guys the better inquisitive I sez and sez LOUD!
Jump a good twenny years later it it looks as if Australia is still turning out high-energy fanzines! I wasn't quite aware of this 'un back when it was flopping around inna late-nineties, but VICIOUS KITTEN comes off like the kinda fanzine that I sure wish I was trading issues of my own failed crudzine with back then. True it's digest sized and that fine typeset look ain't exactly something that lends well to the eyes (gimmee a pecked out cheapo typewriter anyday!) but the info presented here is good enough to sate the trembling titties of a rock maniac such as I and really, don't you think that in 1997 we could have used more fanzines like VICIOUS KITTEN and less like...well, whatever fanzines their were back in the late-nineties!

Nice mix of old faves like Iggy, the Dead Boys and of course Alice with some of the newies that were wallowing around down there and up here as well, and although I personally believe that the Australian high energy scene had petered out into meaningless rehash  at least by 1989 or so it all makes for better reading than anything that I might have eyeballed in a lamestream magazine (usually when it was either than or a soap opera while stranded in some waiting room) at the time. Good enough writing (nothing gonzoid unfortunaely), nice layout and ****best of all**** there are a whole load of records you never heard before revealed to you and boy will you be in the mood to buy a whole batcha 'em!

Sure you can't afford just any record these days or might feel strange about plunking down the moolah if you could (and like, for years I've been curious as to what Asteroid B-812 sounded like though never did because...well, like I said, by the time they made their way outta their fart encrusted rehearsal space that whole Australian scene was dead 'n buried!) well at least you know they exist and its your moolah and why should I tell you how to drop it down a rathole anyway?
Hey, I managed to wrangle myself yet another slam bang issue of HOOPLA and boy am I glad about it considering how all of the other issues that I have are now getting dog-eared from my continual potty-time perusals! This particular ish (#5) continues the 'zine's dedicated policy of bringing rock and roll life to the midwest with the expected coverage of all of the new underground and not-so groups and platters, all done up in that great fanzine talk-to-you style that formed the backbone of many-a-rag from BACK DOOR MAN (the obvious influence) on down. That throbbing sense of rockist duty pours forth from every page and line to the point where I kinda wonder why there weren't any more rags like this busting forth from the bedrooms of many a bored fanabla out there in suburban ranch house land. Articles on Todd Rundgren, Eddie Cochran, Blondie, Stumblebunny (!) and Devo appear as do the usual columns, record and moom pitcher reviews which continue to shed light on a whole slew of records I passed on the first time because hey, you can't buy much with depression-era wages. If SPOONFUL had lasted into the late-seventies it might have ended up looking a lot like this.
And finally here's a real surprise, an almost exact repro (circa 2013) of the very first issue of KICKS magazine, the fanzine that pretty much helped expose millyuns of suburban slob people to the likes of the early garage bands, rockabilly rousers and surf slurpers that we were ignoring ON PURPOSE because we were under the impression/delusion that alla that fifties/sixties was just more old kids music like the Jefferson Airplane and Hendrix albums a whole buncha hippoids were still spinning. What stoopid doofs we were, though I was originally put off by the strident anti-new/no wave stance of the mag which I had mistaken as being an anti-anything good and new that sprang forth from the entire Velvets/New York underground or Detroit musical spasms. Imagine me confusing the writings of Billy Miller and Miriam Linna with the ideals that were certainly in vogue with the majority of tassled teenagers around here who were smoking bongs to Journey between taking classes at Vo-Tech and attending church services being held in buildings that used to sell motor oil. But confuse-o me sure did though not exactly to the point where I thought that the next issue would feature the likes of Billy Squier on the cover and a complete Casablanca Records discography!

Of course I eventually learned that when the fine folk at KICKS meant "new wave" they were talking "gnu wave" so the likes of the Ramones and Flamin' Groovies were totally hokay with the editors of this esteemed pub while Boy George and David Byrne weren't! Whew...for a while I had the feeling that Miller and Linna were on the same side as all of those horrid Youngstown dee-jays like Thomas John and Bob Popa who were totally content to pump the (ka-CHINGA!!! cash register sound) AOR sludge at us while belittling the MC5 and other hotcha musical acts that somehow got tossed to the wayside at the expense of all of those bee-youtiful Styx platters.

I like the primitive look of this. Reminds me of those early-seventies fanzines like JAMZ and BOMP (the Troggs issue) in its stackedness and layout as well as content. And compared to later issues this KICKS is rather howshallIsay "inclusive"...of course I wouldn't have expected that Lester Bangs No Wave article to pop up anywhere in these hallowed pages but the infamous Rob Norris "I Was a Velveteen" piece as well as Phil Milstein's article on the Shaggs do! And y'know, I get the feeling that these acts and scant others would probably never have been seen in any of the other KICKS issues considering how outside the fifties/boss sixties realm these acts most certainly wallowed in, but by that time we were into the eighties and like, ya just hadda stand where your stood and Billy 'n Miriam most certainly did that!

The same great Miller/Linna writing style permeates and perhaps even excels some of the better rockscribing of any era even in its early primitive stage, while the range of contributors from Russell Desmond to Alan Betrock (doing a first issue intro of sorts) reminds me of all of those boffo seventies fanzines with that brazen sorta writing style that got wooshed away when everything hadda become all clean and Pee-Cee and things you could get away with in the seventies would never be permitted. Thankfully I never got the message but hey, that's another post!

There are even word searches, a crossword puzzle and lotsa ads both new and old! And of course loads of pieces on old fifties/sixties acts who we've all heard about and loved for years, but back then this seemed like new territory which is why these pieces on the Everly Brothers and Paul Revere amazed me so!

Everything a fanzine used to look like and should, KICKS #1 definitely is one of the holy grails of seventies self-publishing. You probably can still get a copy by contacting Norton Records via their site listed at your left, and while you're there why not buy a few thousand more hotcha spinners that the mailorder biz is selling for pretty high by mid-sixties standards prices...I mean, an album for twelve bucks???...but you can do without the toilet paper for awhile if only you'll tell me to not inhale so sharply next to you.


Anonymous said...

Hey Chris, good to see you've unearthed more top may well be the only one cataloging this stuff...well done Sir, top effort.


Anonymous said...