Saturday, October 31, 2015

THIRTY YEARS?????? Ya mean it's been three whole %$&#*@ decades since the debut issue of BLACK TO COMM (at first going under its original moniker FUD soon to be PFUD! then PFUDD! before settling on PHFUDD! for a few issues) had first made it out of my mind before being churned off the xerox machine and plopped right inna middle of your very own fart-encrusted bedroom? I can hardly believe it, and although on one hand it seems as if it's been a lifetime since this self-proclaimed "hagiozine" (though closer in definition to "crudzine") finally appeared on the already overcrowded fanzine market in October of 1985,  in other respects it seems like it was only yesterday that I decided to act on my long-throbbing rock fandom impulses and put my rock 'n roll desires (unedited by the non-resensified mind, that is) to print for all to see. 

But then again sometimes it seems as if it was just yesterday that I was in my "wipe me mommy" stage (no jokes!) which only goes to show you just how fast as well as creepingly slow killer time can affect you on different kultural levels.

Enough of that sudzy 'n sentimental gosh all crimony overacting and down to the biznez at hand. Which is, how the heck shall I commemorate (if only for the sake of myself) all of those long years of fanzine writing, screeding, clipping, pasting, begging and other forms of unnatural acts I hadda go through if only to get you, the maybe not-so-discerning reader, to snatch the thing up and learn a two or thing? And snatch it up you shoulda, because BLACK TO COMM was a mad-mindrush labor of pain and suffering (for a great cause!) that was created to reflect what sorts of music, tee-vee, literature and kultural artifacts were buzzin' about in my head at what I would consider a nadir point in overall fun 'n games suburban slob living. Given that during the time when BLACK TO COMM was being germinated I was (sorta) young and busting out like a festered pimple just BEGGIN' to tell the world that ROCK 'N ROLL AS WELL AS FREE JAZZ AND GOOD TEE-VEE AND OTHER THINGS YOU THOUGHT DEAD AND BURIED WERE STILL VITAL (of course it wasn't like anybody would notice what with alla that horrid MTV drivel and terrible prime time poop that was goin' on) you can tell that I really threw myself into my work. And hey, if the big city snoot critics and by-now long-dead (to everyone but themselves) CREEM magazine weren't gonna do it then it was left up to me and a few wizened spirits like Lindsay Hutton and Byron Coley to do the job that most Americans wouldn't do!

Anyway...since it sure worked for the great Mike Stax and his beyond beauteous UGLY THINGS magazine howzbout (for purely historical purposes only) I give you all an issue-by-issue reminiscence and rundown (perhaps using both definitions of that term) of this verifiable fanzine complete with my own personal recollections and critiques tossed in for good measure? And that comes complete with rare cover repros and personal inside-the-scene memories both good and bad as to what was stuck within those cruddy pages? Sounds like a good enough bet to me and besides, you will be getting your money's worth. 

I must say at the outset that I didn't fine-tooth comb these mags like I shoulda---that woulda been too time consuming and difficult a task not only given that I have other things to do, but because a lotta the stuff I wrote back then (and today as well I'll admit) can be rather cringe worthy. Of course most of the things I've written I still stand by and in fact feel about as proud about as my last bowel movement, but a few things I did commit to ink well...ech! Of course my tastes have changed with some respects---like I thought Husker Du were a fine form of post-underground noise grind and swing at one time but you wouldn't catch me listening to any of their platters these days! Ah, to be young and open to all sorts of underground musical wind sways again!

Other things like say, the whole Ron House situation where he slammed me for my apt criticism of a song that he had contributed to some Homestead (retch!) sampler, do seem extremely nada after all these years (though the overboard reactions of Homestead "boss" Gerard Cosloy certainly don't since that mini-Clive Davis nearly put my mag outta commission singlehandedly!). Maybe if I heard some other tracks by House's group Great Plains which were better'n the offal he wrote/sang and passed off as "Letter to a Fanzine" I wouldn't have been so harsh on him, but sheesh did that particular number rub this astute critiquer of all that he surveys the ol' wrong way, Feldman! Of course nowadays it all warrants a bit "so what" but gawrsh, that song----that voice... (Not really, I just thought saying that would be a great way to top off this paragraph.)

Brief pre-history---I first toyed with the idea of doing my own self-produced rag around 1981 (some surviving fragments of these early attempts made their way into future issues marked as such or not---unsatisfactory results and lack of $$$ quickly ditched those efforts) and a Pere Ubu (and related) fanmag around '83 way that remained mostly a dream because hey, it wasn't like those guys were cookin' on the same gas stove they were a good five or so years earlier. The influx into my residence of classic-era reads of the seventies (some which I could barely have afforded at the time they were published but since by then I had some $$$ and they were cheap) including but not limited to CREEM, BACK DOOR MAN, TEENAGE WASTELAND GAZETTE and DENIM DELINQUENT were refreshing my frontals w/regards to what rock 'n roll writing WAS ALL ABOUT, along with the up-and-running fanzines that weren't totally devoted to the post-post-upheaval in rock at hand like INNER MYSTIQUE, TAKE IT!, FORCED EXPOSURE, GROOVE ASSOCIATES, THE NEXT BIG THING, LA BLUES and KICKS. And believe it or not, but there still were a plethora of worthy groups making themselves known at the time, groups who were not quite "new wave" yet ALWAYS punk in that classic 1971 sense that were spurring me on to doing my own self-published rag which I thought would either be a one issue blunder or a million-dollar enterprise. Thanks to steady employment which had been eluding me for some time and thus some extra moolah to spare I figured---eh, why not?, esp. when a good portion of what was passing for rock fandom and writing and general gultural concerns of the day was at an all-time feh if you asked me!

Another inspiration for the mag was none other than (former) CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER rock critic Anastasia Pantsios! Ol' "Pantyhose" (as a few of the guys I hung out with called her) had certainly changed from the days when she was pecking out Peter Laughner's articles for ZEPPELIN magazine, and for some maybe not-so-strange reasons she had come out full force against the underground rock uprising that was affecting even the lowliest of suburban slob ranch house UHF-TV watching nobodies like myself. I can theorize as to just why she was dead set against the horrors that were "punk rock"; perhaps after seeing Laughner go the way of heroin and hardcore rockstyle living she just wanted to SAVE all of us unaware chubby cheeked youth from the same sad fate! Better yet, maybe she was more content on saving her JOB given how well connected she was with the local music mafia machine stuck deep inside of denimland. And although she just LOVED the likes of Devo and "women rockers" like Chrissie Hynde to smithereens (and made no bones about letting all three of her loyal readers know about it) Pantsios took it upon herself to brand punk rock and its various branches nothing more than snooty upmanship elitism (why, we were nothing more than the stuck up anti-rock types of the fifties who were complaining that the kids were listening to rock 'n roll 'stead of Mantovani!) just because she overheard a few new wave types at a Clash show utter that "WMMS won't play our music" and saw the actions of some fans which maybe weren't that copasetic with Pantsios' decade-old love 'n beads philosophies. Being ever true to the Cleveland broadcasting industry and the obvious standard bearer of all that was clean and wholesome for the youth of Ameriga, Pantsios had obviously decided to lump in everything from the Velvet Underground (who were noted for inspiring Kiss and whiny bespectacled shorthairs according to she!) to the Electric Eels (who "weren't that good" either---oh posh!) in with the rest of that evil music that threatened to destroy the concept of hippydippy youth as we knew it, and because of it did she ever go on a crusade worthy of being burned at the stake!

Oh, but she was really head-over heels ginchy-gooshy when it came to the Cleveland heavy metal scene that was brewing in the eighties because hey, they got their act together and promoted shows and put out fanzines UNLIKE us punkoids who just sat around and complained that "WMMS won't play our music!" Seems she never heard of self-promoted hardcore shows or punk fanzines (though she once reviewed an issue of FLIPSIDE, a publication which seemed to confuse her to no end), and although I have nada against the Cleveland heavy metal groups of the day I sure do have plenty against Pantsios for espousing such views that were so vacuous they could be easily be toppled over like dominoes. And considering how us suburban slob types were just sitting about complaining that the definitely tamed down, no-chance-taking broadcast media wouldn't even acknowledge the underground of the past twenty years even existed and that people like Pantsios was distorting what was already on record as fact why shouldn't I just take a snide wink cue from her and start my own underground garage band/punk/tee-vee/jazz freakout fanzine since like, nobody in the world had supposedly ever thought up that idea before!

I better stop before I make myself really, as far as the mag's original moniker of FUD goes, I would like to tell you just where I came up with it, but I can't. That's lost to the haze in my clogged mind, though I would like to be a historical revisionist and say that it was a onomatopoeia related to the nether back-reaches of one's torso. That ain't true either...howzbout a Marvel Comics or Don Martin sound effect? An R. Crumb-ish tribute to Bill Holman? Since some of you claim to know me better than I do, howzbout you writing in and telling me, smartasses?

Oh yeah, and before I go any further in this issue-by-issue memorial, let me say that, like  I do name names so if you've crossed my path playing the old "build 'em up then knock 'em down" game (see passages regarding Cosloy---how that guy ever made it big in this world is beyond me!), I'm sure you'll find your name in the following missive. If not, it's either because I totally forgot who you are (which probably ain't the case) or I thought that if you were "brought up" in these pages you'd probably try to drill an asshole into me that I personally don't feel like dealing with especially during this time in my life. Probably the latter because hey, people who think they have the "goods" on me can distort and twist said "facts" to their benefit. If I forgot to mention you and you have remained on good terms with me, perhaps you better do a little conscious examining yourself (that is, if you have a conscience), turd!

FUD #1...haven't thumbed through this "November-December 1985" issue in ages undoubtably because I would have shuddered at the thought of having to re-read some of the crud I wrote for it. However, since doodies are doodies and sometimes those doodies are a whole lot better than one might remember (and since it's always better looking at your own doody than someone else's) trod on I must.

Conceived on a wild weekend with nobody around to hassle me, I cranked this thing out under the influence of nutmeg (really---I don't recommend it though because it frays your nerves and it makes you feel like you wanna kill and scream, and I haven't felt that way until I was prescribed Ritalin years later!) and on the same Olivetti electric which my sister pecked out my high school term paper on electronic music a good ten years earlier. You remember, the one where she mistakenly referred to Sun Ra as Sien Ra which probably accounted for the low grade I got outta that gut-wrenching effort. But sour grapes lasting a good four decades aside, I had FUD #1 at the printers, or xeroxers in this case the next week and at that point you could say that I never looked back. Or looked back for a good eighteen years by which point I cranked twenty-five of these monstrosities out.

I'll tell ya, given the amount of time I took in planning and executing the effort it sure looked like a two week, if not two hour affair! But looking back at the thing after all these years I must admit that as far as a debut issue of a crudzine goes it coulda been much worse. In fact, it does look rather nice as far as those great mid-seventies photocopied 'zines like CAN'T BUY A THRILL did and next to, say, the great in its own lowdown fashion HONEY THAT AIN'T NO ROMANCE this might as well have been VANITY FAIR.

#1 consisted of twelve pages if you include the front and back cover, but what a twelve pages they were with some hotcha energetic writeups and articles amid a few then-characteristic commie rat mumblings that date this magazine even more than the mentions of then-current reruns and books that I reviewed as if anyone out there really cared. (Not that I think Ronald Reagan is any sorta saint even if he was a strident anti-communist [his best point maybe], but I will admit that given what dictators in waiting a good portion of his enemies were and in many ways remain the two camps certainly did deserve each other!). Cover's a crass crankout true (Rick Noll accused me or swiping the idea off the Turn Ups' platter but frankly I never saw the thing at the time!), but the insides are rather appealing and readable unlike some of the issues that I would be releasing upon an unsuspecting public within the coming months, if not years!

(By the way it was that very same Rick Noll who, hyping my rag in his catalog, said something along the lines of FUD being to fanzines what the Elastik Band's "Spazz" was to rock 'n roll! And of course I certainly felt proud reading this, as if my life had hit a certain apex in high energy gulcheral concerns!)

I know that the "artist" is undoubtedly the last person to judge it with any real objectivity, but even jaded """""I""""" will admit that, for a crudzine, this ish is nicely illustrated and neatly laid out (even though Sister Ray guitarist Mark Hanley, whose previous group Edge City [a real killer of a down-home grungey straightforward rock band if I do say so myself] was written up here, complained of a lack of pix which I find strange given how some 'zines of the day were nothing but typed out text!). Surprisingly enough the selection of subject matter was rather varied and informative for a rag of this stature being cranked out on a weekend whim.

Features include a thankfully brief anti-Cyndi Lauper piece (another great venting of my hatred for what had become of rock/pop culture turned kultur which had lost all of its excitement 'n decadence by this time) as well as the aforementioned page on Mark Hanley where not only is his tenure with Edge City mentioned* , but his then-current aggro Room 101 is given its moment in the sun no matter how brief. A horrid piece on the MC5 and the original MAD during their Harvey Kurtzman days (both definitely needing way more research than I was willing to give them at the time) also pop up along with the expected lists, blabs, and at-times poor attempts at relaying my drive to promote a music that had overtaken me to heights unseen since I first saw a topless and firm hula gal in some old issue of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC!

The "Want List" on the inside back cover proves just how much booty that I've only dreamed of before is now firmly ensconced in my greasy palms, though I must admit that I never did get the MOJO NAVAGATORs, Distorted Levels live/rehearsal tapes or Andrew Klimek AFTERBATHINGINTURPENTINE picture disc that I so craved then. Maybe someday...

High points: even at this early stage in my publishing career my musical tastes proved rather eclectic, with mini-reviews of everything from the Monks' BLACK MONK TIME (had the late-seventies Polydor reissue for some time and always wanted to blab on about this once-overlooked masterpiece somewhere), the Roxy Music CHAMPAGNE AND NOVOCAINE bootleg (which I revisited in a much later issue!), THE BOBBY FULLER TAPES, the David's ANOTHER DAY ANOTHER LIFETIME and Motorhead's ON PAROLE being some of the better choices for inclusion.

Low points include some mentally stunted stabs at humor by none other'n me which I guess made sense at the time (if you have a copy of FANZINE FOR THE BLANK GENERATION and gagged at some of their attempts at the hardy hars you'll know what to expect**), the tee-vee section which really didn't say much about what I was watching at the time (mainly the remnants of fifties/sixties/seventies accomplishment that was still being aired), and a misguided plug for SPIN magazine of all things, where I wrote that this then-virginal pub  "...has become the best commercial mag on the stands today. Far better than ROLLING STONE and their worship of Yuppie style; much better than today's CREEM (though far away from the Lester Bangs or even the post-Bangs days [up to '81 maybe]) because they seem on preserving the Velvets/Stooges mythos and promoting bands that kids today love...Sonic Youth, Pere Ubu and the Scientists." I even go on to toss heaping hosannas on Henry Rollins for the guy's article on various past accomplishments like the Stooges and WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT which I must say seemed like a bold proposition in 1985 when most people, brain dead due to the effect of the past ten years of commercial rock, could hardly give a fanabla! Well, maybe at the time it seemed like the thing to do, what with SPIN hiring writers like Richard Meltzer, Nick Tosches and Mick Farren as (semi) regular scribes and the Mad Peck keeping up his appearances in hotcha rock mags spanning all the way back to FUSION! It was more than obvious that I sure had great hopes for the mag, which were dashed once bad editorial judgement and a grasp for the new cube-contingent moolah got in the way of the jamz.

The "Last Words" by yours truly are a hoot, with me beckoning forth to the few readers (only 40 copies were run off not counting a brief "reprint" four years later) for any "anti-Reagan/Pantsios/MTV/Springsteen writing," though in no way did I want  any contributions that were "weepy about El Salvador, Nuclear War etc. WE AIN'T NO PEACE PUNKS!" Whew, glad I got that all straightened out!!!

At least the back cover tipped my hand towards a trend that I was more'n anxious to promote, mainly that of the well in gear Australian underground scene. In future issues there would be more and more in these pages regarding these new groups borrowing heavily from the late-sixties Detroit scuffle, and given some of the mewlings that were passing themselves off as rock during those years the arrival of groups such as the Hoodoo Gurus and Celibate Rifles (whose double-play cassette collection of their albums made it onto my top faves of the issue list!) seemed like aural manna sent from rock 'n roll heaven! Things were looking bright just around the corner...
FUD #2 (January-February 1986)-Well, not only was the second issue up to a whopping twenty-three pages (the inside front cover was blank!), but I also was able to get none other than Bill Shute into the fold with his very first "Inner Mystique" column for the mag! Yeah, the presence of Bill in these pages was like a real boost to the mag's credentials because people were willing to pay the $2.00 price tag (which was way over-priced for the thing, but what could a guy working with a shoestring budget who was pouring everything he had into this do?), and since I needed to move the thing I had little choice but to add him onto the roster! Well, if I put the word "sex" on the front it would have sold like a flash, but Bill's presence was a better deal for all of those around. Besides, his mere name raised the mag's IQ at least twenty points, and considering how it was wallowing somewhere around 89 I think I got the better deal outta it.

But hey, I must say that I liked this ish a lot especially compared with the debut if only because I was able to stretch out with more pieces on  things I wanted to write about,  put more photos and illustrations in, and if you cared or didn't care what my tastes were at the time well, so bloody what as they say in Wuppertal!

The Australian underground rock piece was perhaps the highlight of the issue, a five-page sprawl that began with mock "scene reports" of both Detroit ca. 1967 and Cleveland ca. 1975 leading to the fact Australia (particularly Sydney) ca. 1985 was the logical extension of the whole Velvet Underground/Detroit line of bared-wire intensity that I felt the world was sorely in need of at the time. And, until the groups began breaking up and releasing some rather subpar sputum that was instantly forgettable, they were the best Earth had to offer.

The Raunch Hands also got a page to themselves. I really loved their debut extended play featuring their whacked out take on Ray Charles' "I Got a Woman" and used to spin it a whole lot back during the closing days of '85. They reminded me of everything I was loving about cheap garage/punk bands from the early-mid-sixties and hey, if these guys were actually illegit kids of Link Wray as the sound of their platter suggested then more power to 'em! The Hands were one of those up from outta nowhere groups that deserved whatever fame they got, and it's too bad they never did make it a whole lot bigger 'n they did or at least made it as an underground legend like the Fleshtones were able to. But with all of those Til Tuesday albums out there, who was noticing?

Also popping up was a page on wrestling which, although making a comeback that would splatter all over the place in a good two year's time, was still somewhat stuck in that great fifties/sixties/seventies UHF-TV world where the fakes and intellectuals hadn't yet had the opportunity to discover it. The usual fanzine, tee-vee and whatnot reviews also show up, as well as the reviews of items which, while not necessarily current, were at least fresh in my rather fertilized mind.

In the realm of "satire" came my piece on David Crosby and his then-current travails, written in a mocking tone which funhouse-mirrored the sickening adulation this overgrown crybaby wuss was getting from the likes of ROLLING STONE and SPIN who actually felt sorry for the beast. I remember none other than UGLY THINGS editor Mike Stax writing in saying that perhaps I was too hard on the guy considering all of the trouble Crosby was going through at the time and after all, he was in the Byrds and wrote and sang many good songs etc. and so forth, but in my opinion Crosby had just become yet another sixties leftover who shoulda been tossed into the garbage can of history ages back and the less we saw of him the better! Shows what kind of an unyielding anti-hippie freak peace love guy I could've been even back then!

My top-fifteen for '85 list is rather inspiring though, with the Accursed's "Going Down" single making the #1 spot (they being what had pretty much became of the incredible Afflicted Man). Angel Corpus-Christi's I (heart) NY and SCUM OF THE EARTH VOL. 2 topping the list with the likes of David Peel, BACK FROM THE GRAVE VOL. 5 and the Scientists also putting in a strong showing. Worst release of the year award went to the Smiths' MEAT IS MURDER which was quite a surprise since I liked their early Peel sessions and maybe a single of theirs or two!

Oh, and appearing on the back cover was none other than a flier for a Mirrors gig at the Viking Saloon with Tin Huey opening! If you don't think I was proud acquiring this particular piece of Cleveland history to pass on to the fans out there you certainly have been reading this blog all these years under the impression that it's really DECADE OF WALLABY ANAL CAVITY RESEARCH ENDS by You-Know-Who!

Only 100 of these were cranked out, though surprisingly enough it took me like a good two years to sell or just plain get rid of the blasted albatross!
FUD #3 (March-April 1986)-Ah, a professional cover for once 'stead of the hodgepodge John Dowd imitations. Nice innards on this 28-page (though the inside covers are blank, which made it handy for me to write letters to people without adding any addition paper to their packages) issue too, with loads of reviews and bits and pieces on everyone from Jeff Dahl's Powertrip, Metallica (a rather shoulda been embarassing 'un for me considering how I got 'em mixed up in part w/Algy Ward's Tank!), the Sewer Zombies (boffo hard somethingcore that Imants Krumins hipped me to!), Kim Fowley, embryonic pieces on both Mirrors and Milk which would be re-worked in later issues that surpassed the 100 press run and of course the Inner Mystique column and slew of reviews. Oh yeah, and who could forget the obituary for none other'n Rick Nelson who had perished in that New Year's Eve plane crash a good month or two before this issue hit the racks!

Although it is so unlike me I gotta say that I really felt proud of this particular ish which, despite the cheap-looking "punkzine" layout on the inside, seemed to encapsulate everything I was digging about music at the time with a real high energy love-of-life zeal. MX-80 Sound, Rocket From The Tombs (Peter Laughner's mother gave me a lyric book of theirs that Pete had compiled and I pecked out a portion of it including the words to the Stones' "Heartbreaker" which Rocket never even performed!) and the Australian bands (loads more reviews appearing in these pages) were definitely what made me glad to be up and about those days, and listening to these old and new recordings as well as writing about 'em was one thing that really kept me going and far from depressed even though, for all practical purposes, I shoulda been the saddest mofo on the planet!

One caveat emptor...the print on this 'un is sometimes shrunk down to a miniscule size which, although not so bothersome back when I was putting this rag out, is now all but readable these days when even my bifocals seem to fail! Well, in some ways I think it's all for the better...after all, I'm sure that if I actually real all of the musings I put to print back then I'd be cringing worse'n some prissy mom whose li'l boy is grabbing his pee pee at the supermarket. But then again maybe not.
PFUD! #4 (May-June 1986)-The first issue with the "slight" name change not to mention the subtitle of "a hagiozine" which really fit in with the rabid fandom approach to rock that I was more'n apt to push on you neophytes at the time. Unfortunately this issue was a noticible comedown from the first three, not only with the by-now legendary minuscule print (again, caused by the fact that the copy machines at my disposal only reduced to 25, 50 or 75% so to use an old excuse) but with the long-winded and most of the time going nowhere writing that was popping outta my ever-deadening gourd. In most respects a failure...Bill Shute got on my honeycombed butt for turning his fifties punk rock piece into a dialogue between me and him w/o his prior knowledge...guess I was acting on Lester Bangs @ CREEM I'll do/plagiarize what and whom I want as I please impulse...and you could tell that I was at odds to fill up these pages with some trivial jive even if it included reviewing some long-forgotten Saturday morning kid show I thought I could milk a few laffs outta.

Perhaps this issue wasn't that puke-inducing, what with a piece I did on the famous New York freak-poet Copernicus (spurred on by a free record sent my way which I didn't quite cozy up to at first, but I soon changed my mind when I discovered that the live track on side two was recorded at Max's Kansas City which at the time was some sorta beacon to past rockist accomplishment!), a rather boffo if I (and Jeff Clayton) say so article on the dread Antiseen, a piddling piece on no wave which confuses like everyone else did the then-current "Loisada" acts with a movement that pretty much burned out by 1979 complete with graphics lifted out of THE NEW YORK ROCKER, and a backstage interview with Sister Ray which didn't cover much new ground but man, it sure filled up a good page!

Not only that but this issue featured the debut of Kickout D. Jamz, a comic character I sure wished would have taken over the world as a universal symbol of high energy living and o-mind thought processes but Hello Kitty beat me to it. If I remember correctly, I think the print run on this was a whopping 150, but I could be wrong.

Oh yeah, and how do you like that picture of the Pagans onna left that I published in this issue? Nice 'n rare 'un ain't it, only the joke's on you cuz it ain't a pic of that infamous punk rock group at all but a snap lifted outta the local newspaper! Some high school at the time was puttin' on GREASE and I thought the pic of these three ozobs looked a whole lot like 3/4ths of the Pagans, so I ran it as such as a snide joke that frankly I didn't think anybody who was reading would notice in the first place! The funniest thing about this little prank on my part is that someone or other told me that they showed this pic to none other than Pagans lead singer Mike Hudson who told him that he didn't remember posing for this picture at all, inquiring where Mike Metoff was along with a few other indicators showing that he actually believed this to be a real life photo of himself and most of his bandmates! Shows you that sometimes these half-assed jokes can go ricocheting off in all directions!
PFUDD! #5 (July-August 1986)-By now the mag (and myself to an extent) had become even more popular than a vibrator at a slumber party, and believe it or not but this issue was the first that was not reproduced via xerox but actually cranked out on an old-fashioned printing press. (This technological upscaling did suit me rather fine, enough to the point where I would become slightly peeved with certain reviewers would constantly mention that this mag was a xerox job---not that they knew any better but sheesh, with the additional money and effort I was putting into this I was hoping someone would have mentioned otherwise!)  The quality did improve somewhat, though PFUDD! (note the slight title change from the previous ish) still retained that crudzine look and image that I wasn't exactly striving for back then but hey, I hadda make do with what I had at my disposal like money and printing options so it wasn't like I had any choice if I do mention it to you over and over again until it sinks into your putty-like mind.

The Velvet Underground made the front cover this ish with an article on the insides regarding their work on various Andy Warhol soundtracks that, given what info was floating around at the time. It wasn't half bad although certainly would need a beef-up if it were to appear in today's info-packed world. Other features included a yuk-filled rundown on Jello Biafra's current hassles after getting called on the carpet for obscenity thanks to that R. Giger insert included in the Dead Kennedys' FRANKENCHRIST album (which earned me a rebuke from none other than Imants Krumins, no DK fan he, who nonetheless said "they're even censoring Bugs Bunny these days!"), a Northwest garage band scene reminiscence (from someone who knew about it only via records---me!), some off-the-top-of-my-balding-head ruminations regarding the classical avant garde music of the mid-twentieth century, more Australian rah-rah-ing and naturally PLENTY OF REVIEWS of not only easily-obtainable at the time material but old gunch, tapes that came my way and who knows what else.

Back cover proved to be prophetic enough not only with an appearance of the FUTURE LANGUAGE-era Von Lmo group as well as the promise of an article not only on them, but pieces on MX-80 Sound and Scratch Acid (courtesy Tim Stegall) as well. This is perhaps the only time that the promised material I mentioned in a mag actually did appear in future issues, so congratulate me for once now, willya?
PHFUDD! #6 (no cover date but released December 1986)-I have some fond memories regarding this one, and in fact can clearly remember collating and stapling the thing in my room while HERE COME THE WARM JETS spun on my cassette player while my mother and sister were watching NIGHT COURT in the other room. And for a long time this one was perhaps my favorite of the early reads, not only for the cover feature Radio Birdman/MX-80 Sound heavy metal slugfest (of course, this was written before it had gotten through my thick cranium that the early/mid-seventies usage of the term which encompassed everything from Blue Oyster Cult and Black Sabbath to DMZ, the Stooges and many points in-between had been replaced by a fashion-conscious doof rock sans all semblance of energy and doom-filled angst) but for the Rocket From The Tombs piece (which was actually an edited letter Charlotte Pressler had written to me four or so years earlier) and Tim Stegall's Scratch Acid article (wonder whatever happened to them?) and of course Bill Shute on the Yardbirds. The "top ten" rock mag article was a nice piece even if it would be radically changed in the here and now considering all of the boss seventies reads I have discovered since (FYI the top mags were CREEM, CLE, NEW YORK ROCKER, INNER MYSTIQUE, BACK DOOR MAN, TEENAGE WASTELAND GAZETTE, FUTURE, WHO PUT THE BOMP!, CLEVELAND EXPRESS [!---if only for those Cindy Barber, David Solomonoff and Charlotte Pressler pieces] and TAKE IT!), and even the Electric Eels piece had its own merits even if I was merely rehashing every other article and bit of gossip I heard over the past few years.

The reviews were satisfactory enough even if my "TV TODAY" piece was a hash of +/- programs and movies I had been watching at the time (including the all-time great PSYCHIC KILLER starring Jim Hutton), but still strike a positive chord within my being what with all of the writeups on the Laughing Hyenas, Boy/Dirt/Car and F/i, Silver Apples, Halo of Flies, Archie Shepp and many more I probably haven't spun since this issue went to press. Bill Shute of course continued his "Inner Mystique" column with typical aplomb (reviewed...Sonny Sharrock's MONKEY-POCKIE-BOO, SS-20 and HIPSVILLE VOL. 3 among many more). Also featured, various top ten lists of all time favorite records, another Kickout D. Jamz comic, ads for records from the Live Wire label and Au Go Go mailorder (not forgetting Jandek!) and on the back cover appeared a repro of an ad taken from some British music weekly for Velvet Underground albums coinciding with their 1971 tour of Europe. Twenty-four pages if you include the covers, and I think this one actually had a press run of about 250. So good that I wanted to re-publish it in the nineties, this time with a professional wrap around saddle stapled cover! I think Bruce Mowat told me that was a sucky idea and why argue with genius?

PHFUDD! #7 (again no cover date, but it came out around April of 1987)-I dunno why I wasn't so proud of this 'un when it came out, but in retrospect it's...uh...passable. Of course the mega-article on local heroes Blue Ash is what made the ish better than it could have been, and I felt rather hotcha about it with ex-member Frank Secich even talking about his days with the group over pizza! (And no, to this date I have not heard their album for Playboy Records!).

The mail interview with the Laughing Hyenas was also a small jewel in the crown so to speak. If you remember, the Hyenas were a wild post-hardcore (or post-something!) band that had been getting some notoriety as of late, and considering that they were from the Detroit area and that they were being hyped as the logical successor to the avant rock (or "Detroit metal") that had been so prevalent in the area during the late-sixties I naturally took an interest in finding out as much about them as I could. Gotta say that I still find their early demo tapes and the like fantastic, though their albums don't quite hold up like they should have (of course I just might drag 'em out, re-spin 'em and change my vapid opinions more sooner than later!). I will admit that I never even heard their final outing for the Touch and Go label but the ones I remember...too overproduced maybe, but I am sooooooo proud that I not only did a mail interview with 'em but featured 'em on the front cover of my rag! Just goes to show you what a shallow life I lead!!!

Number seven also sported a mail interview with Byron Coley conducted by some guy who soon vamoosed the PHFUDD confines due to my overt "homophobia" (or was it my masculine intuition?), something I heard via a third party though come to think of it the offended one soon vamoosed the entire writing game within a few years so tough turds to he. Coley himself asked me to not run the thing when I told him I was given permission to do so, though when I mentioned I had already sold out most of the issues pre-order due to this interview he relented which shows you what a cool kinda guy he could be!

There was also a history and appreciation of Suicide, sports news, tons of record writeups (it was sure nice getting in on the free promo gravy train at that time because those trade ins helped me buy records I could really appreciate!) and even a long letter from Charlotte Pressler which mentions her recent marriage to Andrew Klimek amongst other things. And...what kills me in retrospect...this notice: "Anyone who wants to form a FULL-THROTTLE avant-punk-spazz-metal-gleep rock & roll band in the Youngstown-Sharon area please get in contact w/Chris S. at the PHFUDD! address as soon as possible. No experience preferred. WE WANNA MAKE BLUE CHEER LOOK LIKE STEPIN' FECHIT!!!!!" Oddly enough, no one was interested which goes to show you what kind of lunks we have here in the Western Pennsylvania area!

Only 350 of these I am sure.
The eighth issue (August 1987 I think) sported an original idea swiped from not only the infamous Stooges issue of DENIM DELINQUENT but a slew of sci-fi/fantasy rags of the past which dispensed with the front cover formalities and featured naught but a single pic to "illuminate" what fun frolics were to be found inside. A nice idea true, but not exactly commercial---Ted Gottfried of See Hear Books was miffed a bit since he hadda label each and every copy he had up for sale with a title on the upper front, but despite his grumbling this one turned out to be quite a fast seller, and considering that I only cranked out 350 copies (which of course would take forever to sell in the real world) you could say that I was chahmed for sure!

The tenth anniversary of the passing of Peter Laughner was something I felt should have been noted somewhere (especially in the underground [hah!] rock press which once hallowed be his name but was more concerned with less pressing issues at the time), so I decided to do just that what with even more clippings (once again earning PHFUDD! the dubious title of being a reprint 'zine!) mostly taken outta the Cle PLAIN DEALER and not read for ages. Also included was yet another article on local only-hopes-for-a-high-energy-local-rock-scene Sister Ray (complete with some nice rare snaps), the Troggs (!!!!!), a roundup on early-seventies punk rock that would have been expanded many times had I only known then what we all know NOW and a long-winded (more than usual) piece on the then-popular "industrial" outfit Peach of Immortality, a group I haven't listened to in years though a refresher course might be in order. Of course there were also the usual reviews of platters I also haven't spun in eons that I will admit don't hold up like I hope they would have (the platters and well as reviews), not forgetting the equally lame stabs at satire and putdowns of various class enemies like Dave Marsh and Anastasia Pantsios. But at the time like---what else could a suburban slob do anyway other'n shout at the walls? (Now, I will 'fess up to the fact that the "Duck Eddy" comic remains one of my faves even a good twenny-eight years later!)

There's even a "letters section" for what its worth containing one of the last missives I've ever received from who else but the original idea for my new comic strip character, namely one Charles Eddy:

Some comments re yr last (?) ish; 1) Punk sucks. 2) Bought Blue Ash NO MORE NO LESS cheap and used; OK powerpop, not as hot as Dwight Twilley's SINCERELY, which I bought the same day, much less Green, the "Blue Ash of the '80s", but still good. 3) Always glad to see a Byron Coley interview. As you may or may not know. he's my hero, and what I am for as a rock critic and all that stuff. 
Chuck Eddy

(I'm sure Coley's glad that he's appreciated by hacks!!!)
If ya ask me (how many times have I overused that phrase this post!), PHFUDD! #9's quality takes a hefty nosedive from the previous issue's comparatively stellar quality. But hey, busy me just HADDA get something out to make the ol' self-imposed deadline and well, sometimes I did get caught up in everything just about to the point of brain scramble. Cover saga idea was good tho, a battle to the death slugfest twixt two of my all-time fave rave rock writers (I did show stoopidity with the cover tag "crits") Richard Meltzer (actually a "former" critic) and the late and not that much lamented by some Lester Bangs. It was a quickie crank out judging the two regarding various assets of their written and performance output, and though it wasn't anything that would be good enough to appear in THE PENGUIN BOOK OF HOITY-TOITY ROCK CRITICISM WRITTEN BY PMS-LADEN FEMINISTS OUT TO GET REVENGE BECAUSE THE GIRLS GYM TEACHER WAS TOO BUSY MAKING IT WITH THE LADIES IN THE CAFETERIA TO NOTICE THEM! it sure goes over a whole lot better'n the snarly anti-bourgeois midclass haterants that were coming out from many other quarters at the time.

Also FIRST bonafeed article on Von Lmo which, while paling next to the mega Lmo ish that would appear a good six years later said more about him (and former friend/adversary Rudolph Grey) than all of the other pieces that had appeared ever since the man made his mysterious exit from the land of the unaware a good eight years earlier. Also up, a piece of the mid/late-sixties English punk/freak/garage scene which of course woulda been better and succinct and alla that if it had come out in the here and now as well as "Media Hot", a column combining a whole slew of reviews including Dave Mush's GORY DAYS, CHUCK EDDY IN HIS OWN WORDS by Miles and that all-time classic 100 USES FOR A GREAT PLAINS RECORD...gotta chortle while reading these thinking about what a comedian I sure coulda been given the mood!

Also of note is a piece on the rash of recent Iggy/Stooges grey area (and outright bootleg) material that was coming out. Sure these recordings don't seem like much to you "heard-it-all-before" types who still think that I write about the Stooges as if I discovered them yesterday (as if there was something wrong with that) but shee-ish this stuff was like manna from you-know-where back when it came out and excited about it I most certainly was!

Of course the other chards of info to be found really set this issue in stone, from a mention of the appearance of Billy Miller and Miriam Linna on the Sept. 27, 1987 edition of THE CBS EVENING NEWS to Bill Shute's always entertaining INNER MYSTIQUE razz. Low points include a typically gratuitous stab at our former prez Ronald Reagan (yeah, I know just how much he is the bane of you Young Pioneer types out there, but as Mykel Board said "you deserve[d] him!") regarding the new McDonalds treat "McReaganburgers" (also included; "McSkinheads", "McBarretts", "McRecycleburgers" and "McWholeturkeys"---didn't say this piece was satire at its best!) and a record review section featuring some of the worst dog plop to have seen the pages of a fanzine in ages. And as for my contributions...
Hey, issue #10 (Jan./Feb./March 1988) came as  a BIG SURPRISE to many of you readers if only because this one was the first of the saddle-stapled issues that also featured scanned photographs giving the publication a slightly more "professional" look. You can thank Bruce Mowat for that, because I asked him in which ways I could raise the standard of my mag above the crudzine level and this is what the guy suggested I do. Frankly I think that PHFUDD! remained a low-level shoestring sorta rag until its dying days, but at least people were looking at in on the stands and muttering "ecch" instead of "ugh!"

Mr. Mowat was also responsible for the boffo SIMPLY SAUCER article which was the gotta-get-it front cover come-on this go 'round and a fine article he did, detailing the history of one of his favorite local (in this case Hamilton Ontario) aggregations who spent the seventies roaming from electronic space fury to punk rock abandon with hardly a soul paying attention. If I do say so I think this piece is what started a posthumous interest in the group even if I only had the standard 350 of these printed up (must've been a lotta passing around) and boy am I proud! (This 'un even came with a brief between sets interview that the legendary Imants Krumins conducted with Saucerites Edgar Breau, Neil DeMerchant, John La Plante and Kevin Christoff back July of 1974 way!)

Also to be found...Krumins' "Mat Mania" column that appeared in various fanzines other than my own (the column, not the piece he submitted), an update of sorts to my Bangs/Meltzer slugfest, a piece of Eastern PA's forgotten local rockers the Original Sins (which earned my a returned issue with the article ripped outta it by some doofoid who HATED Sins leader John Terlesky---I got back at him a few years later when the same turd, forgetting about this li'l incident, sent me his record to be reviewed after reading a mention of the then-recent issue in KICKS magazine!), a Von Lmo addendum, THE DICTATORS!!!!*** as well and pieces on Sonic Youth's Lee Ranaldo who had just put out a fantastic record as actual artwork entitled FROM HERE TO INFINITY which continues to sear the little frazzles that can be found dangling from your nerve endings.

And there's even more like a fanboy appreciation of the Styrenes, a Tom Hazelmyer (Halo of Flies!) interview, the first ever RON HOUSE AWARDS and of course the ever fantastic "Kicking Out the Jams with David Cassidy" by Chuck Eddy.
PHFUDD! #11 (April-May 1988) happened to be one of my favorites of the early saddle-stapled issues, but many people didn't share my enthusiasm for this particular 'un at the time. Maybe its because the cover article on Mirrors was more or less an update/re-tread from the one that popped up in issue #3. Well, since that issue was long-gone and unavailable and I was now a professional who screened my photos and was putting out a HIGH QUALITY rag I figured wh' th' hey.... Rare fliers and ads accompanied the now clear(er) snaps of the group, and the additional material I cooked up thanks to years of research had benefited the piece. Besides, there were 350 of these and only a handfulla #3's so like hey, why get on my back (though you will)!

Also popping up this go 'round was an appreciation (not quite a history) of one of my fave rave mid-sixties rock 'n roll groups the Standells,  English hard-rock revivalists Birdhouse, some fantastic Von Lmo live snaps (with Lou Rone featured prominently...where do you think I got 'em anyway???), Jeff Dahl's amazing high energy outfit Powertrip, a shoulda been researched much more piece on jazz guitar great Sonny Sharrock and an update on my Styrenes article featuring a blurry photo of the group that I snapped back when I caught 'em in Kent. There were also more live photos of Rocket From the Tombs taken live at the Agora on May 5th of 1975 complete with lyrics that were not published in issue #3, and if you think I got any acknowledgement or praise or even a plaque for presenting such a public service you are SADLY MISTAKEN!

Despite the relatively small (though larger'n them early issues) press run it took me forever to sell this one out. Lack of distribution, real interest out there in readerland (even with a plug in the pages of SPIN courtesy Byron Coley of which I'll be forever grateful) and even some foul shit directed at my own personage might have kept this one out of the waiting, grasping paws of potential readers, but I'm not cryin'. Still have a few left somewhere around here which I will part for at an exorbitantly high price...

Still think that the print job on #12 reeks along with the layout, but who said these 'zines were supposed to be Conde Nast-like? The Droogs grace the cover of this June/July/August 1988 issue, and although I kinda have my doubts that my cover feature was the first time ever that the band had appeared on the front of a rag anywhere (having been told so shortly after it appeared on the stands), I did feel proud about this for quite some time as I rightfully should have! The Dredd Foole interview was a mild diversion (I still hold high regards for Mr. Ireton even if I only spin his platters on scant occasion these days), and the writeups on even more Stooges/MC5 reissues/upheavals really does prove that I have a one-track mind about certain rockism-related subjects.

The review section seems to be plump with recent promotional fodder (much of which got sold in order to pay for the upcoming issue which really says a lot about their long-lasting flavor) and Bill Shute thankfully saves this one from going down the crapper with his Inner Mystique column where the roots of the Bill we all know and love these days continue to fester in the most beautiful fashion.

My fave of the ish is my article on Peter Stampfel and the Bottlecaps, the former Holy Modal Rounder's then-new band which I found totally alive and refreshing especially in a sea of redneck hick wannabes who seemed to be trying for the country boy in the Big City style of the Rounders, early Fugs and others but just came off like pampered rich kids slumming and patting each other's backs for doing so. Nice piece there, as was the one on Eddie Flowers' new group Crawlspace (one of the few acts around that seemed to remember that intensity and dimension were an important part of the rockism experience even if the music had become all but lifeless) and the Electric Eels lyrics section which were accompanied by photos that have been seen by a million fanz since the heyday of internet but back then these were almost like lost pages from Larry Flynt's diary!

I felt no pain with this one which is why I had 500 of the bastards printed up! And y'know what, they all sold out (eventually...)
On the heels of this triumph came #13 (September/October/November 1988) featuring none other than Kenne "Gizmo" Highland on the cover. In the seventies Highland was a fanzine regular not only in the pages of his own boffo ROCK ON! but GULCHER, HYPE and TAKE IT! but a musician as well, playing major roles not only in the Gizmos but the Afrika Korps. In the eighties Highland had cut back on his rock writing (I would have loved him to have contributed to my mag but that was not to happen), but he was still active in the Boston area with Hopelessly Obscure amongst other groups whose names will come to be about ten years after this piece is published. Bill Shute had a fine talk with him which I of course was pleased as punch to print, and if I could only have printed it larger had I the proper reproducing facilities it might not have come out so tiny and at one-and-a-half pages t'boot.

My Nico obituary also appeared in this issue, and sadly enough I still showed the signs of political piousness that I would thankfully wash from my system within the span of a few years. Still it was a nice sendoff, I think, if only because Bill Shute said that my opening line about her kicking the bucket was rather high-larious stuff.

Also inside were a snat anti-Lou Reed piece written by none other than Philip Milstein of WHAT GOES ON fame, some blabbering regarding the Red C/Krayola, Patti Smith and MX-80 Sound by myself which mostly recycles old information for an audience I assume never read about these groups in the first place, and a belated if scathing review of John Sinclair's GUITAR ARMY (his hippie vision of peace 'n love coupled with the still-potent practice jumping on every radical bandwagon extant ruined that one for me...Sinclair's still a good poet and his Bomp! stuff highly recommended but as a rabble-rouser I kinda wonder how long he woulda held up in Mao's China).  Of course there's also my article on New Era rock, my term for the rise in those punk rock nth generation hard-edged acts in the Halo of Flies/Amphetamine Reptile/God Bullies etc. who had a rather downright irritating if cathartic feeling to their sound. Boy, did my coinage of that term ever catch on!

Probably the best thing about this issue other than the Highland interview was the live @ Max's Von Lmo photos taken by Mykel Board which goes to show you that if it weren't for the contributors this 'un woulda gone down as one of the worse crudzines of the eighties bar none!.

There's a tone of despair, depression and gloom that's hard to hide here, one which can be easily enough detected via the closing blurb on the back cover. And hey, with all of the negative publicity I had received via the likes of Patrick Amory via his fanzine TOO FUN TOO HUGE ('n how fag can you get with a name like that!) and of course his brother in butt Gerard Cosloy (who comes off as some pseudo-bully a la Lumpy Rutherford doing the patented tough boy routine in order to prove some occult point to himself if not others, though I sure do get the feeling that ol' Coz'd cry from Bizoo and back if someone were to make fun of his religious/ethnic heritage and generally pitiful life!) and other quarters the magazine wasn't doing as well as it most certainly should have. And if you think I hold grudges this far down the line well then, you think right! because I am most certainly entitled to, at least to the point where I wanna be alive and kicking while my enemies are diseased and dying!!!

I did only 300 of these because I didn't think the populace would gobble up as many fanzines with Kenne Highland's pic on 'em as they would the Stooges, which is why I raised the cover price to three smackers. They sold too, much to my doggone surprise.
Let's just say that there hadda be some changes made, and considering the turmoil the mag had found itself in thanks to the reams of foul play on the part of many a subhuman form of sputum, I thought a name change (for the sake of SURVIVAL)was in order. I had grown to hate the FUD/PFUD/PHFUD/PHFUDD! moniker for many a reason (including my father teasing me over it!) and with things the way they were I figure what was there to lose with a new title for the publication. Considering how much I had become immersed in the original high energy fanzines of the seventies like BACK DOOR MAN, SHAKIN' STREETSEARCH AND DESTROY, RAW POWER and I WANNA BE YOUR DOG (although I personally don't recall having read the last three at the time~~~maybe I did!) I thought maybe a mag named after a particularly high energy rock 'n roll song in the Detroit vein would be appropriate for my high-energy ex-hagiozine. So taa-DAAH!...the magazine from here on in was henceforth known as BLACK TO COMM, named after the infamous (and long unreleased) MC5 room-clearer that seemed like such a wondrous exercise in free rockist expression ever since I first read about it in the infamous ROLLING STONE MC5 issue I first espied back 1977 way. Not surprisingly, that very blurb describing the song was reproduced at the tail end of my "edi-too-REAL" which went under the title of (what else but) "An Explanation".

The cover slot was reserved for part one of a Ron Asheton interview conducted by Dave Raeck who really got down to the meat of the matter with the former Stooges guitarist. This portion featured Asheton's recollections about the Stooges days (part two was post-Stooges era) and I sure felt honored and thrilled publishing it, only I should have used larger print for this one and more illustrations pilfered from other rock mags like I was wont to do. Also inside was an article on the Deviants (a nice recollection even if I would do it totally different-like given all of the new information knows a good twenny-six years later), a piece on Peter Laughner's Cinderella Backstreet (illustrated with a snap of Cinderella's Revenge taken from an old PLAIN DEALER blurb), an article on the Seeds' RAW AND ALIVE ("The Fifth Greatest Live Album of All Time") and other fun items.

Also to be found, a rather short "Inner Mystique", an article on a then-obscure NYC band called Fire in the Kitchen who had that great mix of seventies accomplishment (covers of Eno, hearty Velvets/Television drive to their unique originals), the usual columns and reviews, and a poorly repro'd (too dark) pic of Elvis Presley transplanted over Marc Bolan's face in the John's Children snap thus ruining the subtle joke that was bound to be in store for all of you happy smiling faces out there.
With issue #15 BLACK TO COMM I believe it or not hit da BIGTIME! Naw, SST didn't pay for a big hunking two pages of ad space like they did with every other fanzine onna block 'cept for KICKS, but I managed to get none other than noted cartoonist John Crawford (of BABOON DOOLEY fame, not THE RIFLEMAN) to draw the front cover! A real coup dontcha think?, and although my attempts to have him draw an original cartoon for the innards fell flat because all of my story ideas sucked the big turd of mental stupidity I felt honored to at least get this much from such a stellar man of standing in the community!

The rest of the magazine didn't quite hold up, what with the rather lackluster (even more so than usual) layout and no real zip, vigor or verve to be found. Bill Shute contributed a boffo  "Inner Mystique" column true, but part two of the Ron Asheton interview featured the guy's post-Stooges days and wasn't quite the rouser that part one was, while my interview with none other than the former Tomorrow/Pretty Things/Pink Fairies etc. drummer Twink was a definite flop that I still published because well, you saps'll read anything! Also flopping about was my article on Viv Akauldren, a spacey act owing much to the German Expressionist scene of the seventies who unfortunately didn't make as much of a mark on the minds of music listening Ameriga as they should have. Features the usual mix of old and new recording reviews without any real segregation or regards to current trends/situations, but what else is old?

In case you're keeping track, 500 of these were printed up and man did they take a long time to sell (most definitely because of the cover, which didn't have any featured star and inside content come-on custom made for the suburban slob on the go).
#16 took a little longer time to come out, undoubtedly because of the lack of funds as well as the lack of personal inspiration. But come out it did during July of 1989 in an edition of 500 that was so crapazoid (reg'lar printer was on vacation so I used a substitute who not only cut up the original pages to fit into his machine but did a horrid sub-office xerox quality version) that when I saw it I was so enraged (but too chicken to sue or raise a ruckus of any kind) that I used monies saved up for #17 to print a better quality edition (again of 500) once the printers I had been employing for the past ten issues came back! That's why there are two editions of this, the first crappy one which sold at a lower price and the newer one with a better cover and the new logo created by an underground legend who prefers to remain anonymous selling for an entire buck extra (I only printed the cover of the second version here for the sake of class---you can google it up easily enough if you really want to see what the first edition looked like).

Actually the second version remains one of my faves of the original pseudo-regular publishing schedule mags. Of course the Laughner commemoration once again got the mag tagged as a "reprint 'zine", but the rest of the innards weren't that bad and for once I kept the size of my blowhardy reviews to a minimum. Rudolph Grey onna cover was a hot idea of mine, while my Brian Sands retro was something I was particularly proud of at the time (and still am!) considering how ignored the man has been by the same folk who constantly lather praise upon recording acts with hardly the talent of this forgotten and somewhat bitter (or so I hear) genius. I gotta admit that I felt slightly guilty for including the Lou Reed interview that Laughner did for ZEPPELIN (perhaps making those "reprint" comments a tad more accurate than I had hoped), but I got over that within a few hours.
Hmmm, this un's gonna be a tuffy to write about w/o having to airbrush a whole load of once pal-zy contributors outta the history. Yeah, I must admit that although the fact that a certain number of people who I once considered friends have turned against me with a passion never did keep me awake at nights man, do those knife wounds sure smart at times!

But whatever, this was the first KING SIZED issue of BLACK TO COMM which not only debuted during the dawn of the nineties, but signaled the end of a somewhat regularly-scheduled publication routine considering how it was taking me a whole lot longer'n usual time to scrape the money together to put one of these things out! But hey, with those larger issues to look forward to I'm sure the fans didn't mind the cover price hike considering all of the extra info-packed pages they were going to revel in!

Bruce Mowat's interview with Maureen Tucker (I never likes to call her "Moe" since that name had always been associated with grade school slang for fag around here as in ho-moe) was nice as was his chat with the now-departed Imants Krumans regarding that all-around favorite of seventies deca-screech METAL MACHINE MUSIC. Brian Berger's interview with Fire in the Kitchen's Bob Bannister was also a fine contribution considering how Bannister was, at that point, looking for some publicity and I gave him some, only to have him go all New York City radical snob on me and my home-bred opinions which I certainly did not take a liking to. And of course the Cleveland Content in the form of Rocket From The Tombs and Pere Ubu material was a blessing, especially with all of those photos and clippings that have yet to be reprinted anywhere than I can think of (well, at least the clippings)!

Of course the "extraneous" (meaning my) stuff was fine, from the Heavy Metal LP roundup (again, using staunch CREEM/Mike Saunders terminology w/o any of the Clairol that got into the genre as time crept on) to the piece on the always fab Yo La Tengo, Dogs, and even Fish Karma. The latter was a funny sorta anarcho pop act, though frankly they lost me a few years later with this horrid anti-NRA diatribe that reeked more of the current state of dictatorship of the tattooed hipster sans any shred of self examination. The layout was nothing to be proud about, but at least it wasn't as grotesque as some of the earlier rags I produced!

This issue also marked the beginning of my keen interest in the tee-vee programs and long-forgotten culture of my youth that was constantly being mis-represented, and poked fun at by the same rainblow hippies who are now in charge of every aspect of our lives (well, give 'em a good year and they will be). At this time I finally got a VCR player and thankfully was now able to watch tapes of all of those old programs that the local stations wouldn't dare run anymore (like LEAVE IT TO BEAVER and OZZIE AND HARRIET), and the reams of long-forgotten programming and moom pitchers that were now beginning to show up on my idiot box certainly was a relief from all of that lefty-pious prattle that had infected the airwaves for a longer time than anyone could imagine. All I can say is THANK YOU to the inventor of this modern-day technology (and even more modern forms) where we can now view the entire run of ABBOIT AND COSTELLO in the privacy of our living rooms and never have to gaze upon the visage of Ellen DeGenital ever again!

Did I say only a thousand of these came out? Or shall I say only a thousand were published and a fraction of those came out???
Followup #18 (Spring 1991) was an even bigger smash if I do say so myself, not only with even more pages (86!) but a sturdy cover that gave this particular issue a certain "air" of quality. The contents weren't bad either what with the cover feature, an interview I did with Simply Saucer/Shadows of Ecstasy big man Edgar Breau as well as the smattering of top notch and rockism pertinent material ranging from one of if not the last Stiv Bators interview conducted by none other than Johan Kugelberg but Bruce Mowat's chats with both Dictators frontman himself Handsome Dick Manitoba and Nervus Rex/Washington Square/rockscribe in her own right Trixie A. Balm aka Lauren Agnelli. Talk about an all star issue if I do say so myself! (And BTW, I reprinted the snap of Stiv's pre-Dead Boys band Mother Goose which originally appeared in #7's Blue Ash article if only because hardly anybody saw the original and like, now I'm actually screening pix 'n all professional man I was becoming here in the dawn of the nineties!)

Also popping up (besides Bill Shute's "Inner Mystique" column with some funny doctored HENRY comics to accompany his anti-Henry Rollins rant!) were articles by myself on the Hampton Grease Band, Link Wray (with an attempt at a complete [hah!] discography), Amon Duul I, the disgusting career choice of Iggy Pop, Big Brother and the Holding Company, the Mothers of Invention (reviewsof all of the albums by them and solo Zappa I've heard to date with goatee ratings!), one of the earliest delvings into the Velvet Underground influence on rock of the sixties and seventies (which is a subject that should be expanded into an entire book) and a page on some silent-era OUR GANG comedies I happened to get hold of.

This also's got the usual record reviews of old and new acquisitions mixed together and a rundown on the local independent stations past and present which certainly did fit in with the old tee-vee mania that was brewin' even more than ever inside my still turdler psyche. And how about digging that back cover poster I did as not only a homage to rock 'n roll punk #1 Sky Saxon but as a much-needed dig at the then-current Oliver Stone Doors biopic! Of course its primitive compared with some of the graphics that the "professional" fanzines were able to whip up at the time, but I am proud of the thing in my own ranch house kiddie sorta way.

Oh, and by the way if you have a copy of this issue and find a red "X" over the face of Janis Joplin (and on some a vertical line between the legs), I'll let you know that I did that personally with my very own blood, usually procured from a needle-jabbed finger or even a razor cut or two (and just be glad that I am not a woman!). My plan was to redden all of the issues with my own personal life fluids but time constraints forbid me. I would say that approximately half of the 500 run got the "X", though if your own copy does not have a bloodstain on it and you happen to see, I will not pierce myself again unless I happen to cut myself shaving and you happen to have your magazine handy...then I may reconsider.
By the time #19 hit the stands during the summer of '92 (sounds like an over-sensitive seventies moom pitcher guaranteed to get the gals crying!) I was really going full throttle into my early-sixties tee-vee jag as well as impulsive references to any neo-Velvet Underground influences in acts I never thought I would hear in a millyun years, not to mention general trash-garage rock aesthetics which I considered dead for the past decade or so and still grieved heavily over. I must admit that I really scored a huge coup this go 'round with the Miriam Linna interview which graces the front cover "plug" spot (Billy Miller was also to've been an interview subject that evening but he copped out---smart guy he), and the fact that I managed such a coup only made me think in my own suburban slob way that I was the BIGGEST FANZINE STRUTTIN' CHICKEN ON THE BLOCK snagging an interview with such an important person who has done more for the cause of ROCK 'N ROLL than you (or I for that matter) ever will! The fact that the lady consented in the first place really did make me feel like a Robert Christgau for the right cause, ifyaknowaddamean...

It was a good 'un not only because of Miss L, but because of the other entries this time, like the interview done with Jeff Clayton of Antiseen fame conducted by the sadly MIA Jes Rosenberg, George Popel's insightful history of the late-sixties/seventies Czech underground rock scene (which also featured my history of the fantastic Umela Hmota), retro-grooves on the likes of the Pink Fairies and Elvis P, and a warm reminiscence about Lester Bangs which had one major flaw in the word balloon that accompanied one of the rare photos of him taken in his boudoir...seems that Bangs never did write for SOUNDS like I kinda thought he mighta, strictly reserving his English submissions for THE NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS. I goofed, and so what other'n I proved myself to be a half-brained unaware sorta guy...just like you!

The pieces on the Shangs (courtesy once again Bruce Mowat), the oft-forgotten Rancid Vat and a high-larious NUGGETS fantasy also popped up amidst the tons of articles and reviews of old movie and TV shows (not to mention seventies rock fanzines) as well as one on the boffo and neglected Hal Roach series THE BOYFRIENDS which only goes to show you just how much fun I was getting outta my VCR and re-living old tee-vee memories that had been banished by the hippie generation who now held the reigns. This one also caused a brief stir of controversy with Edgar Breau's article "The Old Dark Ages Vs. The New Dark Ages" which challenged more than a few "givens" re. modern thought and the prevailing tide of s-xual libertinism which has pretty much glugged the oxygen outta our lungs by this time. I got one response to this saying that it took "guts" for me to publish this piece...funny, it didn't take me "guts" but a conscience. It woulda taken a magazine like SPIN or THE ADVOCATE the guts to publish it, but let's not waste our prayers on the impossible.

Would you believe I only did up about 750 of these? If so, believe on for it is true!
I really musta had time on my hands because I managed to get #20 out less than a year afterwards even though it wasn't like #19 was selling up a storm! And in showing just how technologically advanced that I was getting at the time half of the covers of this ish's 1000 run was printed on yellow stock so if you're a collector and wanna have it ALL as far as your BTC wares go make sure you have both versions!!! A tippy-top selection of acts popped up on the cover (me making sure that SOME act to be espied would coax the coin outta some unsuspecting rock fan's penny purse!) and oh what an issue it was what with a boffo rundown on the Seeds which not only featured my own history and opines on the whole Sky Saxon experience but Bill Shute's reminiscences regarding a number of telephone calls with the man that had to do with a record for the Inner Mystique label that never did make it out. Really rock 'n roll history in them pages, but it wasn't like any of you would ever know.

This issue was just brimming with more than the usual fun and games what with the interviews along the lines of the the ones that John Battles did with not only Craig Moore of sixties garage band winners the Gonn (of "Blackout at Gretely" fame) but his conversation with none other than Roky Erickson, a coup that I never would have imagined woulda graced the pages of my ragazine in a millyun years, adorned these pages! Not only did Mike Snider (in conjunction with the late Shane Williams) interview Mick Farren, but Snider himself got the interview treatment courtesy of Williams and why I didn't think of Williams being interviewed by Snider is beyond me! The Adny Shernoff gabfest was done by none other'n Greg Prevost in the late-seventies (somehow missed being featured in FUTURE and Greg's loss was my gain I guess!) and the rest of it, from the articles on the Dolls, Lenny Kaye, MX-80 Sound, DENIM DELINQUENT fanzine, John Cage (!), East Side Kids, Lillian Roxon, Richard Meltzer (one I felt especially proud of at the time) and Edgar Breau laying waste to the same people who have deserved to have been laid to waste these past umpteen years (in this case rump wranglers and their lily-lapping pals) really made this one a definite keeper. Oh yeah, did I mention a reprint (with permission!) of Mike Saunders' Shadows of Knight article from the punk rock issue of JAMZ that I re-published if only to celebrate the then-recent live album that Sundazed had the brilliant idea to unleash on us starved rockism fans?!?!?!?

Also on board were the usual ton of music and old tee-vee VCR reviews again inspired by my overworked recorder as well as a number of handy catalogs, Bill Shute's mandatory "Inner Mystique" column and Brad Kohler's artwork depicting "The Top 20 Moments in Punk Rock". And it only cost $6.00 at the time for these packed 106 pages of pure power! And to think that certain wags criticized me for charging too much!!!
The next one (#21, dated 1995 because who knew when this one was gonna get outta the stall) actually arrived on the scene early November of 1994. I remember, because I got this one back from the printers on the day after the mid-term elections when the Republicans took over the House of Representatives after about ten decades of so and I remember unpacking magazines from their boxes in the basement on that rainy day listening to Rush Limbaugh play James Brown's "I Got You" just knowing that he was gonna chortle about it all through his program. I was "feeling good" too if only because I knew this ish was gonna be a winner what with the cover story and goodies inside which wouldn't appeal to your standard "rock fan" of the day, but sure would to any living and breathing high energy rock 'n roll lover who's been in on the BIG BEAT for a longer time'n any of us could imagine.

Von Lmo graced the front cover, and boy did he deserve it! Here he was, back from the ether after a good decade of evading all of us who really needed him, and his graceful return to performing was something that I sure wanted to document in the pages of my auguste rag. Grady Runyan of Monoshock and Crawlspace fame did the interview and I wrote up a whole buncha things (some true, some erroneous) about the guy complete with loads of fliers and pix that never saw publication before (or maybe even since!), and boy did I feel PROUD!

Of course that wasn't the only thing in this 118-page issue---there's also the interview I did with Metal Mike Saunders of heavy metal populism and Angry Samoans fame that I really cherish, while John Battles contributed two count 'em speaks, one with Electric Eels rhythm guitarist Brian McMahon and the other with rockabilly survivor Ronnie Dawson. Pieces on the likes of Hawkwind and the Feminine Complex (more or less an extended review of their LIVIN' LOVE album) also peppered up the pages as did this in-depth intellectual study on The Trashmen written by that great Social Consciousness of a writer Greil Marshcus. The big dive into tee-vee and moom pitcher history past continued with reviews of old shows like GOING MY WAY and CHEYENNE (not forgetting articles on the likes of comedy great Leon Errol and Educational Pictures), and of course the record(ing) reviews had piled up to the point where they took up a huge portion of the contents of this 'un.

This ish also sports my Harriet Nelson obit which continues to resonate in my mind all these years down the line. but not exactly for the reason you might have thought When I first heard that the famed sitcom mother of the fifties and sixties had passed on, Bill Shute and I had surmised that it would only be a short matter of time before some precocious nobody of a writer would do a good pissing on her memory before vanishing off into the bleak nada of journalistic hit and run that the press had been known to practice for ages! (This was before articles could be posted on-line and people could criticize them, at least before some editor yanked all the comments from the piece because it made the opinions expressed in said article look pretty estupido.) Well, as both Bill and I had predicted, a scathing "obituary" just happened to appear more sooner than when some slit named Elizabeth Simpson (writing from something called THE VIRGINIAN PILOT) did a typical feminist-insipid inspired piece regarding Nelson's passing which pretty much dragged out the usual canards about the fifties and the tee-vee that went with it to the point where the reader didn't know whether this piece was a hit or a parody****. One thing for sure was that Simpson's "moral high ground" (hah!) rant got me mad enough to do a screed contra hers, and although my venting of anger probably didn't sooth my aching psyche as I thought it would I was glad I wrote it and put it out so that more than one person could osmose my bruised baby boobie feelings regarding the standard loathing of people, memories and an era that certainly treated me fine. The bitch who wrote this pile is now the health editor at the same paper (and really, I wouldn't even take an aspirin from her even if I had a splitting buttache!) and lo these many years later maybe someone should tweet her inquiring about the viable mass that is supposedly passing for her brain!

Bill Shute also went all whole hog with his "Inner Mystique" column (which coulda been a fanzine in itself!) and Brad Kohler sent in some much-needed artwork, and in case you're taking notes there were 1000 of these printed on different color cover stock ranging from green to goldenrod, blue, red and even a few purples, and if you happen to have a glossy cover variant consider yourself one of about three people on this planet!

By the way, that tenth-anniversary BEST OF BLACK TO COMM magazine advertised on page 112 never did get published. An auto accident in which I broke my arm (kept outta commission for at least four months---the x-ray of it looked like a splattered tree branch!) put the kibosh on that, as well as the fact that I only got about five advance reservations for what promised to be a fun-filled event in the annals of BLACK TO COMM-dom. Tough, because that woulda been a fun project to paste together, but not sell.
BTC #22 was supposed to be my BIG ALL-OUT PUSH INTO FANZINE GREATNESS, and boy did I flub up big! With a glossy cover, a big name star (Alice Cooper) on the front and a Cee-Dee enclosure (with a unique cover for each and every one of 'em!) and a 1000 press run I thought I was headed straight for the bigtime where I would be swilling martoonies and eating whores d'oeuvres with the likes of Byron Coley and Thurston Moore and appearing on cable talk shows with the rest of the people out there who matter. Guess again poncho...first off, the print job was screwed up beyond belief what with the pages being reduced via photocopier to fit the printer (I was trying for smaller margins---they coulda at least told me about this) and a great loss in quality ensuing, and not only that but the reduction led to a whole lotta shadowlines and other gaffes I certainly did not want to burden my readers with to pop up. A totally unprofessional job and besides they even effed up Loren Dobson's great Steve Mackay piece by switching the position of the pages around without my consent! No wonder I was pretty much suckerpunched when this issue came out to the point where I withdrew from doing any fanzine-related scribblings for quite some time afterward this grand ka-boom!

If this had come out as intended boy would it have been a total revelation in the world of home-produced fan-based rock 'n roll publishing. The Cooper story was pretty boffoid and the Mike Huegen interview with Michael Bruce certainly helped raise the property value some. Dobson's Mackay piece was also something he could be proud of despite the horrid printjob, while my contributions re. some of my fave and neglected faves like the Sidewinders, Planets and of course BACK DOOR MAN certainly were fanboy appreciations done up right.

Of course this issue was also blessed by the appearance of the great Jymn Parrett's article on his own DENIM DELINQUENT which gave us his personal perspectives on the magazine, and the gent even reviewed a then-current Seeds compilation which was coupled with Jymns own rendition of the group's first LP cover. Really, I did feel honored that the man was willing to contribute to my very own 'zine which is more than people like Richard Meltzer or Charles Shaar Murray would care to do!

Paul McGarry even delivered some reviews that raised the property value quite a bit as did Chris Price, a guy who I lost contact with o'er the years---I wonder how his kid Spanky is doing these days! I only wish the quality of the issue had come up to par to make their, and the rest of the contributions look so sparkling 'stead of nth generation xerox.

The Cee-Dee that came with this issue was a nicety if I do say so myself, what with such rarities as the pre-Stooges Carnal Kitchen (Mackay's freedom jazz-rock aggregation), the Czech underground rock of Umela Hmota's 2/3 and Dom (sure they're now available on their own platters and in much better sound, but this was 1997!) and my all-time favorite Cleveland deca-pop group Milk circa 1973 doing the British psychedelic game with the Move-ish "Alice" as well as the infamous Tiny Tim medley combining "Down Virginia Way" and "Bring Back Those Rock-a-Bye Baby Days" with a stunning accuracy. The Backsnider track courtesy longtime BLACK TO COMM aficionado Mike Snider was most welcome as was the Simply Saucer live 1975 number...even former Electric Eel Brian McMahon contributed a new version of his "Jaguar Ride" and I guess the project was exciting enough that Cee-Dee mastermind Erik Lindgren offered a Moving Parts track! At least something good came outta that issue!

But as for the rest--ecch! After all of the hard work and effort I put into getting this one out and seeing that sorry results I just felt like crawling back under my rock for a good eternity or so. Surprisingly this issue sold rather well and (thankfully) is no longer available unless you want a copy of the Cee-Dee that came with it. Don't know why, but given how my life has gone on such weird trajectories it would figure.

(By the way, when I published the "Krautrock, the Final Solution to the Aryan Question" piece that appears here I had no idea that Lester Bangs' "Kraftwerkfeature" article in CREEM appeared under the title "Kraftwerk, the Final Solution to the Music Question" when reprinted by THE NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS. Still it was a good and fitting title even if I thought that I was being so daringly original and all!)
Soldier on I must, and what better way for me to do so than with another issue of BLACK TO COMM....#23 to be exact! And if I do say so myself, this 15th Anniversary Celebration was a rather ambitious affair which would figure because it took me a good three years to get this one out. With #22 clocking in at 126 pages this managed a good 130 and with the items lined up for this go 'round like really, how could it fail?

Unfortunately I'm again gonna have to do a lotta skirting around describing this 'un because let's just say that at least one contributor to this effort has turned out to be quite a big turncoat of an evil man whose name I particularly don't want to grace this celebration. Still there was Loren Dobson giving us even more regarding Steve Mackay and really, that along with not only my boffo Yoko Ono article (written keeping the image of the wild-out-music type that she could be in mind rather than concentrating on the peace muffin aspects of her fame) made this a pretty exciting issue!

My article on the old CREEM magazine was another thing that I really thought raised this issue's overall value if only because it reflected a certain era in rock magazines that had been long gone and was ne'er to be seen again, and although we were now in the nineties with all of that new anti-Bangs "copy the press sheet hype criticism" that was oh-so-superior to what had transpired boy did I miss them rags! And, judging from the hostility I had received for my efforts, I had good cause to! (I actually invited readers to submit their memories of the classic-era NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS and the likes of Charles Shaar Murray, Nick Kent and Mick Farren writing for them, but unfortunately got no takers).

Not only that but the print was immaculate this time and everything I sure wished #22 could be, and between that, the content and the general high energy feeling that oozed from the contributions I must say that I did feel prouder than I did when I banged away that ash tray shaped as the state of Pennsylvania and painted it up for my mom, even though she never smoked a day in her life. I only did 500 of 'em (and sold them pretty much at cost if not below), but they sold out fast enough that there weren't any left by the time the next issue came out (a new record!).
Hey, did any of you catch the glitch on the front cover of issue #24? I guess not, because ever since this one came out v. early 2001 not one person has commented about the misspelling of front cover star Doug Snyder's name as Doug Synder if you can believe it. I guess my reader are even more stoopid than me, right? Either that or they're dyslexic like I was when pasting up the thing, or perhaps they were really afraid of what I would do to 'em if they did just that---I mean, what else????

Personally I think this 'un's a good ish even if I (still) have to do some "scrubbing" in order to not mention a certain contributor who is now oh-so-ASHAMED of having soiled his dainty mitts contributing to my swillzine, but what the eh! Not only was I once again thrilled about the superb print job but the Snyder interview as well because hey, not only did he get to pop off about seeing the Velvet Underground and MC5 (both hotcha BTC credo point builders) as well as the recording of DAILY DANCE (an eternal beaut!) and Sick Dick and the Volkswagens, but he lent out some rare snaps to accompany the thing and boy was I jazzed! Derek DePrator's interview with Cleveland scenester Jonathan Lenahan was boffo if only because he's one of the few who's actually made his distaste for the one known as Crocus Behemoth public (gettin' tired of suckups), and although the Dogs interview that was contributed by "Detroit Jack" was already on the web for some time, at least I got print rights to it! Lucky me and I ain't being facetious or anything along those lines!

The rest of this one ain't anything to up your enlarged proboscis at either...the "Fanzine Esoterica" piece precedes the "Fanzine Fanabla" posts I've been doing online for years, while the article on Russell Desmond's CAN'T BUY A THRILL somehow sticks into my mind as one of the better things I've been able to whip up for this once-hagiozine throughout its run. The essay-length reviews (including Loren Dobson's take on the infamous and one-time elusive Stooges FUNHOUSE box set) are something that I'm also extremely glad to have published, or written for that matter (artists featured include the Sweet, Sparks, Roxy Music, Velvets, Gizmos, Jimmy Giuffre, Musica Orbis...) and although $7.50 might have seemed like too much for a mere 82 pages, I was barely making a mint with this 'un so shut up!

Only 750 of these escaped, or let's just say that most of the 750 I printed up escaped so you KNOW what's been holding my bed up as of late.
Considering how I was still smarting over the botched abortion that went under the name BLACK TO COMM #22 I decided to once again pour my entire being into yet another super-big all-out issue complete with an enclosed Cee-Dee featuring acts that you never did read about in BETTER HOMES AND GARDENS. And boy, did I throw ever bit of gristle and sinew in me into this one...167 whopping pages filled with what I considered some pretty hotcha high energy scribblings by myself and others like Eddie Flowers (who contributed a review of the first ever Rocket From The Tombs performance in twenty-nine years),  Loren Dobson (on [one of the] first ever Stooges performances in about the same time-length), Tim Ellison (on the early Dolls) and Peter Crowley (interviewing Ruby Lynn Reyner) who really knew what rock 'n roll was all about!

Of course my contributions were boffo too...the New York Rock Scene history was something I was gestating in the womb of my beanie for quite some time and finally getting through the birth canal of my mind was a dream come true (which often doesn't happen unless you count those ones with the time I dreamed I hadda take a dump and there was this one toilet and right inna middle of it all I see a whole buncha people watching me). The interview with artist J.D. King was yet another feather in my kiddo robin hood cap that unfortunately got tossed in the trash, and the rare Simply Saucer photos complete with a gigography of the original groupage 1974-1979 was something that I thought would have boosted this mag's stock up a few notches. And yeah, it was fun pasting and puttering around with this ish the same way it was back inna what happened???

Unfortunately, I hit more skids than a gay wedding night bed-sheet trying to get this issue out...unforeseeable happenstance delayed this one about a year and between getting the Cee-Dees pressed, the mag printed and all of the unforeseeable hassles that usually occur with projects such as this let's just say that I heaved a big sign or relief when the mags finally came out around Christmastime '03. And the final result was what I would call acceptable what with a pro-looking cover for the Cee-Dee (featuring rare early live Simply Saucer, some Coachmen before the AMERICAN MERCURY platter actually came out, David Byers with Canadian krautrock aspirers the Battleship, Ethel and Ruby and the Rednecks live at CBGB) and a mag one could actually read, and given that I hadda print up 2000 of these to keep costs down boy was I on the go trying to move as much copy as I could!

So you think that the fanzine world would accept this one the way they did past issues and I would be rid of these rags within an extremely short span of time, 'eh? NOT ON YOUR NELLIE bub...other'n Lindsay Hutton's sparkling writeup on his blog there was nary a review of this to be seen, and to make matters worse distribution pretty much dried up with various businesses I thought would lend me a hand all of a sudden giving me the frigid response. To made matters worse this prick in Melbourne Australia, who I foolishly thought was a friend, wrote a rather scathing on-line review of the mag calling me a racist on the flimsiest of pretenses (perhaps because I believe that race is not a "social construct" and that asshole 'tards like Al Sharpton ought to be called out for what they are) and anti-gay as well (no, I'm anti narcissistic pantywaists who stomp their feet and cry foul when they don't get their demanding ways and get jacked off by television lefties for their sordid behavior) among other evil tales plucked straight outta the pages of any local Marxist chic publication you can find at the local record shop. His views were seconded by a certain San Francisco 'zine magnate and blogger (and someone who I believed was a "friend" more or less) who really must have been infected by the hippydippy sodomites-can-do-no-wrong and we cisgenders DESERVE it approved lifestyle over there to utter such rancid opines about me in the first place. After that...pffft went the sales and with all of the agony these two twats and their lockstep pals (please tell me your wives and children are dying agonizing deaths...I need to put a smile on my face!) dumped on me and make a long and sordid story short let's just say I'd had enough!

Actually, after #25 hit the stands I was gonna retire from the writing biz totally, but thanks to the actions of these two prolapsed rectums of the mind (along with their cheerleaders including the talentless J. Neo Marvin and Swedish turdball Heinrich Olaussen---pray for their deaths!!!!) I decided to stick around on the rock fan writing scene if only out of SPITE! And really, I do hope that I get my revenge nice and tasty-like and the sooner the better even though I doubt I'll ever have the opportunity to jeer in these poor excuses for humanity's faces as they lie gasping for air on their deathbeds. But until then I got a buncha fanzines I just better turn into moolah for living purposes like more records and Chinese takeouts, and if you'd like any available issues you know what to do. Now please, let me celebrate this thirtieth anniversary alone and the best way I know where did I put that copy of I WANNA BE YOUR DOG anyway???
OK, maybe I shouldn't leave on such a more sour than Anastasia Pantsios' snatch note. I will say that I did have fun doing this mag although if I hadda go it all over again I wouldn't, unless I was using someone else's money that is. First off a big shout out to Bill Shute who, along with Pantsios in her own roundabout way did plant the seed in the first place so blame thank him for all of his efforts! I certainly do, right Bill? Also kudos to Brad Kohler who was to BLACK TO COMM what Jay Kinney was to BOMP!, Jymn Parrett for being a fan, the guys from BACK DOOR MAN who wrote in after I did that piece on 'em for #22 (even if I shoulda like, got in touch with THEM whilst doing it), and of course Billy (I'm prayin' for ya kid!) and Miriam for treating me nice while everyone else was giving me the brushoff. Gotta mention Byron Coley too because he really coulda given me the nut-kick like so many others did but didn't...despite the tough and gruff exterior he's really pretty neet and hardly the ogre that some make him out to be and in these cutthroat days that's something that's great to know. Ted Gottfried deserves a mention here as well since his SEE HEAR establishment pretty much kept BLACK TO COMM afloat for quite a long time, and while I'm at it howabout a hearty hi-ho to the rest of you contributors and fans too numerous to mention (like Bob Forward, Bruce Mowat, Paul McGarry, P. D. Fadensonnen, Tim Stegall, the late and great Imants Krumins...) and the very few more who have remained on my good side while others had most certainly not. If any of you old time contributors or friends wanna get back in touch feel free to, but if I don't answer back don't take it too hard. As for the rest of you well, I do know a beach where you can pound plenty of sand and I hope that you have a whole load of fun doing so if I do say so myself!


*A piece where it is brought up that when Cleveland punk impresario Johnny Dromette actually brought the Backdoor Men down to Youngstown to play a small dive in late 1979,  the audience consisted of none other than opening act Edge City 'n nobody else!

**Though I will admit that the "Mercer County Rock Festival" scene report was a knee-slapper undoubtedly influenced by my recent acquisition of those TEENAGE WASTELAND GAZETTEs, and I would reprint the thing only doing so would undoubtedly dredge up some bad memories I don't wanna talk about.

***In my appreciation of the infamous Dics I refer to them as being "cheeseburger rock", a phrase which for some unseen reason or another upset noted faggot fanzine editor Patrick Amory (henceforth known as "Analream") who used said phrase as part of a gigundo knockdown of you-know-who in the pages of his short-lived rag TOO FUN TOO HUGE. I guess sophisticado Analream just didn't know that the Dictators were not as cultured or as dignified as the music he championed in the pages of his wretched refuse of a magazine. (In this issue Our Own Bill Shute was referred to as "The Inner Mystique Stooge", something which I jokingly riffed on in an upcoming issue.) I also guess Analream also didn't know that the Dictators performed a number called "Cheeseburger" which only drives my point regarding the band's affinity for trash kultur suburban slob living home even farther than anything would be able to penetrate his undoubtedly well-traveled hindquarters. I also also guess that Analream was and will remain a huge loser as far as rock writing and fanzine erudition go, he being a bigger SNOB elitist than any of us coulda fathomed in the first place!

****As typical of these modernist attacks against the bulwarks of past mid-Amerigan perfection, Simpson created myths regarding the show which only proved she never saw an episode of it given the total misrepresentations and outright lies she created in order to boost her own hairy-pitted assumptions. The comedy really reached a high when she brought up the old canard about Ozzie and Harriet sleeping in separate beds when they in fact slept together throughout the show's entire run! It's a given FACT (remember that word?) as anyone who sat down for a few episodes could tell you, and really, I am so sorry that I had to burst your preciously political diatribe passing as an obit this way but that's the price you must pay in the war to eradicate evil suburban slobs like myself from the face of that joyous frisbee-filled park you call Earth.

The above material is copyrighted 2015 Nondescript Publications. All rights reserved.


Anonymous said...

Hi Chris..

Fantastic post! Nothing else to say...


Anonymous said...

Simply Amazing Christopher......I always said you were legendary!!!!! PMc