Saturday, September 17, 2016


I'm through with the ol "Fanzine Fanabla"'s back to the original title of this fanzine historical roundup thingie I started way back in the pages of my not-so-infamous crudzine a longer time back'n I can imagine. Anyway, here are a few self-produced rags that I've chanced upon since the last fanabla "esoterica" edition, and although there are still many a fanzine on my want list I have yet to receive (such as NIX ON PIX #1 and most of the old issues of NEW AGE), I think I did pretty good with what I have picked up this last year or so. You might not, but then again you were probably one of those RICH KIDS who could afford alla the fanzines you wanted merely by putting on a stamp your feet act in front of mommy 'n daddy who'd do ANYTHING to get you to stop making such a pantywaist of yourself! Me, I hadda work for these things!
First up on today's schedule's this infamous bit of fanzine history that I only recently had the pleasure of getting hold of. Ever since I read the later-than-late Gary Sperrazzas' review of TERMINAL ZONE in a by-now ancient issue of BOMP! I've been wanting to read it if only to catch this mag's take on the whole Richard Meltzer appreciation of rock as more'n just "art" via that all-time classic THE AESTHETICS OF ROCK. Being a sucker for anything even quasi-Meltzer related I figured that this particular pub would be just chock brimming full of various unheralded insights and heretofore unrealized ideas regarding the famed ex-rock critic, all written up in that boff gonzo style that sure seemed refreshing next to some of the academic mirror-gazing self-conscious quap that could surely be found in the rock writing sphere not only then but now.

Well, TERMINAL ZONE certainly ain't no Meltzerian wonder a la TEENAGE WASTELAND GAZETTE that's for sure, what with its uber-intellectual (whether real or phony is not the question) approach to the 1977 rock music scene for all the good or bad that may imply. The Meltzer article itself is beyond belief as even the title "Primordial Etiologist" would imply and the rest, from an appreciation (I think) of Charlie Gillett's SOUNDS OF THE CITY to an overview as to just where rock music (and the wide array of pop/rock/jazz/etc. sounds of the era) stood in terms of overall aesthetic principles can wear heavy on those of you weaned on my own dumb-down rock screeding approach. A chart showing the state of music 1977 is rather strange (where "new wave rock" takes on a whole new meaning and PFM are categorized as "avant garde") while the blues one tracing the development of the sound to where it was to what it became tends to baffle. Wading through this is about as bad as working your way through a textbook on some subject you haven't an inkling of an idea as to what it's about, although the academic pieces on Bruce Springsteen and Todd Rundgren do come off about as good as some of the second string efforts to appear in the pages of many a publication which does redeem things a bit. Not that any of you would particularly care to read articles on either of them...

Of course I like it all even with the brain-twisting writing and general hoity manner that seems to permeate perhaps because of TERMINAL ZONE' overall strange nature. Were there any other issues? I tend to doubt it but I have known to be wrong once.
It's really a shame that a whole load of the English fanzines that came out in the late-seventies never did make their way over here, because some of them (even with their self-conscious poses and paens to Working Class schmooze) were pretty hotcha in their own grubby British sorta way. One of the better of these mags was THE STORY SO FAR which, not-so-surprisingly enough, was the b-side to the Red Crayola 12-inch single that had been released on Rough Trade only a short while earlier. The Crayola are in here, as are some of the better names to pop up on a Rough Trade catalog like Cabaret Voltaire (right before the fall), Swell Maps, Essential Logic (hokay, not the best of the batch) not forgetting the French rock group that went by the name the Dogs, neither the Flamin' Groovies nor the Detroit trio in case you happen to be that stoopid! Surprisingly enough the cover feature is on none other than the Barracudas who were one of those Great White Hopes for the return of surf music sounds in an era when the mode seemed like one of those good memories of the past that was simply not coming back!

And true it all looked kinda silly once 1983 rolled around, but then again all of the things goin' on in 1983 looked silly in 1983 so why should any of us quibble about those Rough Trade singles that just didn't hold their zing the way we thought they all would???
I gotta say that I most certainly do dig these old fanzines that were devoted to a specific artist, group or spinoffs of said artist or group, depending on how much I dug the group at hand that is. After all fanzines like WHAT GOES ON made up a great part and parcel of my early fanzine buying days and I can still recall the thrill and inner wooziz discovering heretofore unknown to me facts about Lou and company back during the days when the Velvet Underground's music was having an incredible impact on my very being. It is obvious that many of these types of 'zines really don't measure up to their more "genzine" brethren due to being abysmally fannish---and that's fannish as in some overweight 65 + year old who still wears her "I LIKE GEORGE" button on her quivering mass of boobie---what with the overtly trite 6th grade level writing usually found not forgetting the lack of real facts or in-depth uncovering of the secrets behind the powers at hand.

These types of zines come off sorta like the pre-internet version of Facebook, only said fans get to make their inept comments immediately 'stead of sending them to the printer and distribute them months after we've all found out what was happening to said act via some by-then crusty old issue of CREEM. Thus, we can now read some gal's post via computer a good week or so after we first found out about it via some "major" source rather than two months which I guess is a real step-up with regards to unbridled fanaticism!

MOONLIGHT DRIVE is different. It's obviously a Doors-oriented mag as if we didn't already have enough of those, but it's a whole lot better'n a good portion of the fan club-styled 'zines I've come across lo these many moons. In many ways this 'un continues on the fantastic proto-punk fanzine idiom (at least those with wider tastes a la BACK DOOR MAN, DENIM DELINQUENT you know the drill...) in the way that the people behind this don't stick Morrison all over their xeroxed pages and cram every inch of space with teenybop gal flowers and rainbows and hearts and other cutesy slumber party hijinx. There's a lot more'n Jim in here and hey, what that "more" entails is something that really flibbens my jib ifyaknowaddamean...

The Doors coverage is kept to a minimum which is a blessing to a guy like me who had to endure more'n enough of Morrison worship throughout the seventies and eighties. It's thankfully mostly limited to an interview with Ray Manzerek and a piece on Morrison's poesy, all of which I naturally skipped (heck, I got C-minuses in English class for writing better poems than this moron!), but what got my all hopped up about MOONLIGHT DRIVE were the neato articles that pad out the rest of this particular ish (#3/81 in case anyone is keeping track). From the cover story on Yoko Ono to a review of a Flamin' Groovies/Radio Birdman show, this is a fanzine that really captured the whole sixties/seventies and beyond rockist outlook without the snob appeal or artsy pretension, and man could we have used more'n a few fanzines like that these past thirtysome years don'tcha think!?!?!

And that's not to mention those brief though appreciative histories of both H. P. Lovecraft (the group, though the guy does get pictured!) and Arthur Lee's Love to the International Artists label and a thingie on the Monochrome Set, a band I always tended to loathe though this piece actually had me searching out some available booty to see if I may have been wrong (which I doubt!). Scads on Captain Beefheart and a brief history of the Teardrop Explodes also show up, and although the information (though not the critiques) once again tends to be more of that re-hash of things we've known for years on end it's all done in that great crazed fanzine-ish style that really wasn't that far removed from the likes of what was going on at THE NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS or ZIGZAG, at least before their great fall into the Marillion abyss. I kinda wonder if the people behind this mag did it in order to gain the attention of the editors of this mag, who probably couldn't see a decent new crop of writers they were starin' 'em inna face (or THE FACE for that matter)!

I'd sure like to know more about this fanzine, like how long they lasted and what else was covered in their issues etc. and so forth. Most of all, are there any other issues still available? As usual, you will ignore my plea.
Here's another fanzine that is devoted to a single entity of interest (at least of interest to the fanablas putting the thing out!), mainly the man known and loathed as Iggy Pop. I gotta admit that I really dig the two Iggy Pop/Stooges fanzines that had come out during the mid-seventies at a time when interest was bubbling over during a time of definite Poppian inactivity...HONEY THAT AIN'T NO ROMANCE (Iggy's European fan club's 'zine) was discussed in an earlier FANZINE FANABLA ESOTERICA and an earlier issue of IGUANA might have been as well...both were basically fannish endeavors filled with loads of zilch quality xeroxed pics taken from the biggie mags, but their energy and passion for the man called Pop made up for any shortcomings in the print department. Never did get the second and final issue of HONEY but I got the last 'un of IGUANA and the thing ain't nothin' but snaps taken at a then-recent gig in San Francisco, the city where the Amerigan Stooges fan club originated from if you can get that! One-sided, xeroxed and really nothing to sneeze at, but just for being an artifact of the seventies underground I can osmose a whole load of pulsating pleasure from each and every page, and I somehow get the feeling that a fellow like you can do just the same as well.
As opposed to IGUANA, ALICE COOPER'S ANONYMOUS goes full hog into its subject, filling up its mimeo'd pages with rare snaps and information on Alice and band that didn't even make it into the recent autobiographies and musical collections that we all crave like the dickens. Created by a buncha English fans whom you never heard of before or since, you kinda wonder where they got all of the inside-track information that they did given that I never did hear about like how the Nazz's original composition "Mr. Machine" was reworked into "Woman Machine" on MUSCLE OF LOVE. Great writing (this ish dealing with the early years of bitter struggle) too, once again done up in that NME Kent/Murray/Farren sorta way that made more than just Metal Mike Saunders drool, complete with a sense of rock 'n roll history with that funtime attitude that always went with my appreciation of this particular type of musical form. If you (like me) considered (and continue to consider) the best of these rock 'n roll groups to be more than just musical entertainment, dwelling deep into an indescribable form of mutant energy and jamz that borders on the religious, well then I'm sure you could really appreciate a literary endeavor such as ALICE COOPER'S ANONYMOUS. It's a whole lot more enjoyable than many of the artist-based 'zines out there which came off worse'n some chubboid teenage gal's musings about David Cassidy scribbled out on notebook paper complete with flowers and smiley faces done up in magic marker.
And speaking of DAVID CASSIDY well, it turns out that there was a fanzine devoted to him way back inna seventies which I doubt you've ever heard of! And believe-it-or-not, but it was a pretty good effort despite the at-times zilchville print job which really doesn't deter from the energy one bit. Originally going under the name DAVID'S GIRLS, STAR SPECIAL was a poorly repro'd yet power-packed 'zine done up by a gal named Terri Ferris who I suspect was part of the same buncha prepubescent pudendum who Lillian Roxon told to do fanzines of their fave artists resulting in such legendary titles as SLADE PARADER and ELECTRIC WARRIOR FREE PRESS. More than just a buncha fandrool dribble the kind mentioned above (the part in the ALICE COOPER'S ANONYMOUS review about the chubbiod teenage gal, that is) STAR SPECIAL was really hotcha on not only David but the Raspberries, the New York Dolls and Iggy with Terri herself even venturing into the Ig's hotel room to have a chat and he didn't even go after her vital juices! Heck, Terri even plugged the Planets and Fast who were just starting their careers at the time, giving the infamous Binky Philips his due saying "you'll shiver with disbelief" upon hearing his guitar strains! And amongst that there's David Cassidy of course, and even a review of his ROCK ME BABY album which was about a year and a half old at the time but did urgency really matter to these home-made productions? Hmmmmm, these teenybop gals were a whole lot more on the ball than I originally gave 'em credit for! A fanzine that I'm sure Tim Stegall would just kill for, so I better watch my back extra good, eh?
Back to the "genzines" as they used to call 'em. And here's one that I remember reading about in the old BOMP "punk rock" issue (that is, the one with the Seeds, Standells and Leaves in it, not the one with Johnny Rotten on the cover). I never really wanted to give ROLLER READER a chance considering how editor Art Shaak was more of a West Coast folkie rock sorta guy and that didn't exactly jigsaw with my own spirit of raw poweredness, but ROLLER READER, or at least this Vol. 2 No. 1 issue from '74, had a lot going for it. A great print job a la DENIM DELINQUENT, good layout and loads of fine writing which always made these self-produced efforts a whole lot better'n a good portion of what rock criticism had been, is and will become long after anyone on this planet cares..

Unfortunately very little here appeals to me. True the Little Feat article was a nice recap of what many of us have read about the group for years, but did Jesse Colin Young, John Stewart and the Average White Band ever register even a "blip" on your taste-meter? The infamous and much-missed Lisa Fancher (later of Frontier Records fame) contributes an article on Cockney Rebel which seems rather out of place as does a review of the equally non-goodtime jivey Sparks, but was that enough to wash the spiritual granola outta this particular mag? Ahhh, it's a good job. You might go for it.
These punkish rock zines, or at least the ones who had that seventies fandom spirit, pretty much petered out once the decadent seventies started creeping into the squeaky clean eighties. However, there were a few stragglers who didn't get the memo that alla that seventies raunch and crunch was now "passe". Fortunately for us that is, and thankfully there were a few mags that continued on that great fanzine path of utter rockist destruction such as KICKS, GROOVE ASSOCIATES and a certain one outta Western Pee-Yay whose name escapes me at the moment.

Oh, and OH YEAH! too. Never heard of this 'un until recently, but better now than when I'm dead 'n rotted because this xerox wonder (put together by a Joe Tortelli, who sounds like a tasty Eyetalian dinner!) is a real wowzer of a mag. Like UGLY THINGS there was a definite sixties vibe what with the cover stories on the Dave Clark Five and Johnny Rivers which weren't too bad, as well as a pretty hotcha piece on Dean Torrance talking about the post-accident Jan and Dean days when the J&D label was set up creating a number of releases that surf fanatics continue paying high prices for even to this day. The first issue even has a great piece on folk rock that's bound to dredge up more'n a few fine protest sign memories in a whole buncha ya (almost brought a tear to my eye, and I was only a mere turdler at the time!). And to prove that he ain't a stick inna much Tortelli even included a piece on Lene Lovich and writeups of some of the newer under-the-underground punky (not hardcore but punk like it was talked about in the mid-seventies) releases that we probably still have and hold. It's too bad that OH YEAH! is all but forgotten these days while utter drek got all of the underground rock praise and glory, but considering how topsy turvy life is, maybe that should be taken as a compliment of the grandest style!
I'm not too familiar with LIVING IN PARADISE which was a New York City fanzine with a strong English bent to it, which is too bad for me because this 'un was a pretty worthy read and might have made it humongous had it only gotten out a li'l more'n it did. Nice pieces of the likes of Ultravox, the Only Ones and even the Fabulous Poodles who come to think of it were a whole lot more revved 'n a certain Ypsilanti (or is it Lake Orion?) Michigan rock critic once made 'em out to be (at least judging from the that track on the CAMDEN TOWN Cee-Dee set Paul McGarry sent me quite awhile back). There's even an interview with Meg Griffin who was once seen as the true savior of rock 'n roll radio in a sea of AOR eventually to capsize into "Classic" format music. If ya were an "Anglophile" who couldn't get enough info outta your TROUSER PRESS magazines I get the impression that this 'un woulda made a good addendum to it all. Yet another fanzine that deserves a little retro rah rah because hey, like just about alla the mags on this post, this is that good and don't let any puerile pud out there tell you different!
Before I go, I just wanna point out to you a few more issues (mainly one and two) that I got of the previously mentioned MOONLIGHT DRIVE which were received in the mail this very day! They're digest-sized as well and fairly readable even if the Doors material found in 'em really doesn't go down well with my own sense of rockist pride but what else is old. Still these guys had their rock heads screwed on tight enough, what with their coverage (and love of) ideas closer to the BLOG TO COMM stratum such as sixties Amerigan garage band rock, Captain Beefheart and even some surf music complete with an early photo on Jim Messina of Jesters fame back when he seemed like the cool kinda cat you'd wanna hang around with! Good Bowie piece too, and we're even talking early eighties when nobody in their right mind would want to write about him! Makes me wonder if any more of these made their way out to the populace at large, though considering how good this publication was (and the era in which they were being produced) I seriously kinda doubt it.

Until next time, keep an eye out for any issues of CHUCKLEHEADS GAZETTE that you may have hidden in your bedroom. They just might make you a richer man (even if, from what I can tell, the mag never made it outta the draft stage...).

No comments: