Saturday, February 24, 2018


Allow me to get back into my blowhard-y writing mode at least this once---I mean, the people who put these mags out deserve some sort of recognition no matter how run on sentence-y and dripping with grammatical abortions this particular post may be.

But otherwise yes, it does look as if it's time for another dive into the boundless realms of rock 'n roll (and perhaps other musics for uncompromising gormandizers) fanzines, mainly because I don't have anything else to write about at during this point in time things being so stand still 'n all. Haven't been coming across the kind of fanzines I'd most certainly want to grace my ever-expanding (and hopefully soon shrinking, as those eighties rags I have just don't cut the same sorta cheese that the seventies ones did!) collection, no NIX ON PIX #1 or old issues of Nancy Foster's NEW AGE or GROOVE ASSOCIATES, but I've gotten a few rarities that do convey some of the rock as sheer noise as an artform that dare not say its name scribblings that made those earlier mags so enjoyable. And I even got some seventies-era ones to blab about as well so as they say bear with me...
s'funny, but I totally forgot that I already owned the one and only issue of THE RING$ FANZINE, a publication for, by and about the infamous punk rock aggregation led by none other than John "Twink" Alder himself! Self promotion is the only way to go, and boy did Twink and buddies do it up fine with this issue which, in typical crudzine fashion, is printed on one side only and made up of nothing but clippings and such (the only "real" article being an interview with Twink regarding Syd Barrett and their time in Stars!). Of course I love ever last bit of it xerox quality and all, and I don't care if I did double buy on this one because now I have TWO copies of it and you probably have none! And if you think I'm gonna share mine with you you're sadly mistaken because it's mine...all MINE!!!!!!!!
Here's another one I've had for quite some time but since I never did manage to write about it here goes. And it is an obscuro as well even though it looks as if they released more than a number of issues than you can count on your hand, especially if you're Jerry Garcia.

Along with the typical early-seventies English fanzine appreciations of the likes of Arthur Brown' Kingdom Come and West Coast Amerigana, FAST AND BULBOUS took time to praise the kind of music that really stimulated the stirrups of more'n a few bedroom bozos like myself who used to pretend to be cool and with it in front of the full-length mirror. A piece on "outre rock" mentions the likes of the Stooges and Black Oak Arkansas but concentrates on Alice Cooper in a piece that was more befitting a Charles Shaar Murray than it would a starry-eyed graduate of the Anastasia Pantsios School of Mindless Self-Indignant Emote. A Velvet Underground history of considerable length doesn't really tell us anything we haven't known for the past fifty years but its still nice finding out that someone in England remembered them during this particular period in time. A tad on the upcoming 200 MOTELS movie was pretty "nice" even if that moom was really hard to sit through, and even if the rest of this deals with stuff that was written about more often in other magazines it's still good enough to eyeball even if you couldn't care one which about Mighty Baby. I wonder if the people who put this out later ended up in some bizarro space rock punk extravaganza once the seventies clocked out (the lack of an indicia makes it difficult to know who exactly was behind this...though a "Mary Warner" did sign her name to the Velvets and Kingdom Come pieces so who knows...)...information is requested.
And while we're talking about fanzines put out by a specific group just for the purpose of them pumping their own pedal organ (see Rings above) let me clue you in to this one I never even knew existed! Yes, THE DROOGS actually had their own fanzine out way back '77 way, and I dunno how many of these did make their way into the fart-encrusted boudoirs of Amergan rockdom but at least this one did and we're all richer at least by one issue for it! It's not just a horn for the group to toot regarding themselves either, for there's a whole lot on eternal teen idol Sky Saxon in these pages to get any real punk rocker all fired up and that includes an update on Ken Barnes' BOMP history from a few years earlier as well as a Mark Shipper "Flashes" update on a mythical Saxon comeback that I kinda wish actually happened! Hey, there's even a pic of the elusive Shipper (pictured around here somewhere) which might be the only photo taken of the famed fanzine editor extant. I get the feeling that when the United States Postal Service gets around to issuing their "Famous Fanzine Editors" commemorative stamps its this snap that's gonna be the basis for Shipper's! I really do!!!
Getting back to the Olde English fanzines howzbout this particular oddity? Well, not exactly "oddity" but a different than usual fanzine to pop outta the Isles back during the overpunked atmosphere of the late seventies. I read a lotta good things regarding Steve Burgess via Gary Sperazza's various reviews of DARK STAR in the pages of BOMP! and how this guy was the only good thing about that particular joss stick 'n patchouli'd publication, so I thought that this particular offering with Burgess at the helm woulda been the bee's knees as we used to say back in college.

Well, SNIFFIN' FLOWERS (neet title, eh?, but not as good as SNIFFIN' ROCK) ain't exactly that breath of fresh air I was hoping it would be, but with interesting/insightful interviews with the likes of Daevid Allen and Steve Hackett (not exactly my choice of top guitarist but still an interesting 'un...he's a fan of Devo!) it's a better read than a whole lotta crudzines that have taken the rock 'n roll world by storm. If you're still living in Middle Earth this might suit you more than any of the other fanzines that get mentioned in these various fanzine history posts. Not for the wilder amongst us but still worthy of mention and hey, maybe even highly recommended. Bad points, no photos, some poetry/short stories and too much elven art and layout.
Let's sidestep to France, where the infamous ATEM fanzine came out and thrilled the more electronic-gizzed minds out there (at least those who could read French) for quite a few years. Here's the debut ish from '76 which looks snat enough, and even though it is all en Francais and the music championed by these monseiurs doesn't always appeal to my better sense of somethingorother I like it a whole dadburned lot!

I never heard Hatfield and the North but they're the cover stars here...maybe that ROTTER'S CLUB album of theirs is a Canterbury classic, but I'm not that anxious to find out. I could like in a Soft Machine sorta way but it ain't like I'm that anxious to find out. The article on Nick Drake looks rather tasty even though I never could find the appeal in his rather depressing and dogged music, while I am one who might like those early Richard Pinhas platters that some internet wags used to slap a "proto punk" tag on, but I fine Heldon rather tepid in comparison.

Whatever, ATEM sure had lotsa spunk even at this early stage in the game although I still can't snuggle up to the editors' eclectic tastes which include everyone from the brilliant (John Cale) to the bland (Eagles)!
Back to English fanzines---I must admit that the majority of rock-oriented ones from that particular island which I have come in contact with have been rather readable and well-written with material that I'm sure coulda passed muster at any of the British Weaklies with flying coloreds as Archie Bunker woulda said. Sure the subject matter might not always have been what I would all top BLOG TO COMM Grade-A stamp approved, but the writing is usually intelligent while being down to earth in that sage GOLDEN AGE OF ROCK SCRIBING WAY. Its too bad a whole load of these fanzine kiddies couldn't have been as rich and famous as Nick Kent, Mick Farren or even Jane Suck because hey, they had more'n a lot on the ball and it's too bad that by the time they entered the real life rock writing world all the bigtime shot-callers wanted was brainless hacks whose mere job was to take press releases and chop 'em so that the same message was made readable to the new generation of brain-numbed rock fans as consumers rather than Burroughians Wild Boys of yore...or something like that.

Dunno if COMMON KNOWLEDGE made it past ish #1 but even if it didn't it was a good enough start at a personalist, obsessive stab at the fanzine market that had a spirit to it that we sure needed more and more of as the years rolled on. With interesting and in-depth interviews with the likes of Mark "Alternative TV" Perry and Mayo Thompson (coming off even more intellectually compressed than usual) and articles on the Desperate Bicycles and how to make and sell your own personal recordings, COMMON KNOWLEDGE was a mag that stood out from the competition. It all goes to show you that with a little sweat, some scissors, paper, moolah and an idea anyone coulda been the new Jymn Parrett or Adny Shernoff, at least in their minds (which is probably the best place where we ALL can be!).
Hey, did I miss out on some eighties/nineties glitter rock revival that somehow wooshed right past my addled mind? Sheesh, I sure coulda used one back then because I'm sure a new back of glamsters prancing around woulda been a welcome relief from what was transpiring. GLITTER SPUK was a fanzine that hailed from none other than Hamilton, Ontario and not only that but its headquarters were stations on Locke Street. a road that should be familiar to Hamilton Ontario fanzine fans out there. SPUK was devoted to glam and glitter and nothing else, and they sure did their fair share of detailing just what was goin' on in the world of hair and lipstick at a time when we all thought that glitter was about as memorable as a fart at a formal dinner, as Charlotte Pressler once so eloquently put it.

I ain't familiar with any of the acts mentioned in these pages, but they all, from Lovemaker to Rebel Rebel to Plastic Tears, look like the kinda groups whose posters woulda lovingly adorned the bedroom walls of that 300 pound greasy blond haired sagged tits pimplefarm that everyone in high school avoided. He sure was a mentally deranged clump of not-so viable cells true, but then again if he had only survived his move to New York City and that job in the mail department at THE VILLAGE VOICE before succumbing to some offshoot disease caused by the BIG one he contracted in some private booth as the Rosita Flemburn Revue played in the main "dining" area then well...I'm sure his group woulda topped 'em all in the flashbashcrash department and don't you doubt it one second!

But the folks at SPUK do have their glam, and maybe even glands, on straight enough to have reviewed David Bowie's then latest entitled OUTSIDE (yeah, I don't remember it too). And the piece on T. Rex was a nice bit of fanblab that revealed nothing new but hey, they guy had been gone a good twennysome years by then and it sure is nice that he is remembered.
I really ain't that hot or cool for that matter on the very late-seventies English fanzines, but I just hadda get hold of this issue of THE STORY SO FAR not for the Mo-Dettes interview and flexi disc (the latter which did not show up in the mag!) or the Clash and Athletico Spizz entries but for the Dr. Mix and the Remix interview which naturally sent me for a loop! These guys just might have been THEE last gasp of the great 1964-1981 era of under-the-counterculture rock 'n roll groups and reading more about these French wonders really topped off what was already a rather stimulating week if I do say so myself.

And the rest of it ain't that bad at all what with the inclusion of the Barracudas (another good gulp of gasp!) and hey, even the Joy Division guys get mentioned in here even though they never did sound as good in 1985 as they did five years earlier.

'n yeah, not only did the Joy Division but most of the music reviewed in these pages sound trite once the eighties progressed on, but in the here and now even those old Clash records sound sprite-y next to the offal that has been tossed at us since. And as far as a document of the music and feeling and other stuff that made up the late-seventies era, THE STORY SO FAR sure makes for a nice like...time capsule or somethin'.
Last fanabla I mentioned OUTLET, an exemplary if hard-to-read xeroxed rag that was edited and mostly written by a guy with a mad passion for rock and roll sounds both old and new. I managed to pick up three more of these mags dating from the end of its run in the early-eighties and man they are what I would call rather good fanzines that really bask in that talking to you instead of at you kinda writing that has permeated the pro and fanzine (and internet) arenas for a much longer time than I can care to think of.

Of the issues I've recently latched onto...the Stiff Records discography might come in handy for those of us who like the early rumblings back when the likes of Nick Lowe, the Tyla Gang and Ian Dury were still part of the same punk rock continuum as the Stooges and Seeds. The latter days of the label (actually talking the Rachel Sweet era on) don't quite get me all as excited as the Radar and Rough Trade stuff that was coming out at the same time but after all these years maybe it did sound a little better than REO Speedwagon.
The cassette review special is a thick issue jam-packed with the new "cassette culture" and self-produced releases as well as a bit of fan blab on the Sonics and Dave Clark Five which I guess brings everything down to earth, at least for us punksters who liked a little history in our musical makeup. And the one with the Plastic People of the Universe on the cover (or actually the cover of one of their EUROCK releases on the cover) also contains a piece which reveals nothing new, but if I wanted nothing new presented to me I'd want it done by the guys at OUTLET and not some cheap crudzine wannabe that's for sure! (In addition, I must mention that the Monkees article was brilliant enough, giving us all a little more insight into an act most of the snobbier rock people of the day had written off from the moment the four made their grand appearance.)

The most surprising of the recent bunch is an issue from that dreaded year (at least for me) of 1983 which I assume must be the fanzine's last 'un if only because this one came out in the more standard English fanzine size and featured clearer printing even though it was one-sided. Still it had a nice sense of dignity to it, as if editor Trev Faull just knew that the era/aura that had presented to us those great groups and ideas in the mid-seventies were evolving into a monster that had nothing to do with the original intent. This issue almost has the feeling of those early OPs when it looked as if the spirit of undergroundism was still roarin' away yet only a few years later those indie records and tapes just weren't swingin' the way they once were. Neither was most any other form of music which is why my orders to New Music Distribution Services were becoming more jazz-oriented as time rolled on, but as some sort of tombstone to that sadly-missed era OUTLET's final issue couldn't have been better.
England must've sure been fanzine crazy back inna seventies. Not counting the slew of punk rock-related wares and the items that pop up on today's post but with regards to Sci-Fi, Horror and other general interest subject matters that may or not mean something to you. Too many worthy reads were lost in the confusion which is I guess one reason why this column exists. And as far as esoteric neo-rock hipster fanzines go LUDD'S MILL was a whole lot more than even a curmudgeon provocateur like myself could handle.

Originally a street-level anti-establishment raveup, LUDD's MILL evolved into a kinda/sorta poetry cum beat kultur cum music mag and considering their musical tastes you can tell they were on the same wavelength as most of us unwary types were and might even remain.

Number 15's the one with the photo of a young Genesis P. Breyer-Orridge taken from an old COUM Transmissions poster on the front cover and musings on the Doors' AMERICAN PRAYER and Patti/Verlaine along with other goodies regarding William Burroughs. The followup has a thingie from Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo that also appeared in CLE, musings on a trip to Lowell Mass. trying to re-trace the same steps Kerouac took, Tuli Kupferberg art and even more sf/fantasy writing! Loads of reviews not only of the new and under-the-counterculture variety but of various soundscapades regarding those into the poetry end of things but it ain't all beret and stale doritos lounging about here! It would be nice to read more of these and since I get the feeling that LUDD'S MILL ain't the kind of scarcity that many other fanzines in this genre most definitely are, more issues just might be heading my way one of these decades and don't let anyone fool you.
As you might be able to tell by the selections that have been reviewed so far, .IT'S SURE DIFFICULT TO GET HOLD OF MANY OF THE CLASSIC EARLY/MID-SEVENTIES ROCK 'N ROLL FANZINES THAT I SURE WOULD LOVE TO HAVE AND TO HOLD IN MY PAWS THIS LATE IN THE FUN AND JAMZ GAME! That's why I'm having to rely on fanzines of another sort when it comes to fulfilling my self-published droolings such as with this particular item which I bought for the mere cover alone. OZARK FANDOM's "2nd Punk Issue" sure seemed promising what with the choice mentions of the likes of Warren Oates and Eddie Haskell along with various other miscreants on the cover. Too bad the p-rock feeling didn't ooze into the actual mag what with the standard (and oft-times ho-hum) regular comics fanzine material found on the inside. Ronn Foss displays some of his nudie art that might have offended Fredric Wertham but doesn't even raise a smile in me while Bob Vojtko's "Moosie" is only mildly amusing like an early-sixties MAD filler. However I thought Mike Vosburg's Lovecraft rendition was good like those early-seventies Marvel stories were before they got too creepy after the Comics Code loosened up. Like many of these comic 'zines ya gotta take yer chances.
Way back when I wrote up a more current Sparks fanzine whose title escapes me at the moment, but danged that there wasn't yet another mag dedicated to them that was up and about way back in the seventies! And what makes SPARKS FLASHES so great is that the thing was done up before the Brothers Mael trekked on over to England to make it big as a faux-English act! Yes, back when Sparks were still wallowing around in the realm of rock clubs and minor FM radio play they actually had a fanzine devoted to 'em and of course it's wild in that early-seventies glam slam sorta way which is but one reason why I like it!

Kinda reminds me of a smaller issue of KICKS #1 or any early type-pecked out fanzine thing so common during those Golden Age of Rock Fundom days. Like many of these lower-budgeted affairs this was printed up on one-side only, but it's still gonna getcha the way these things should with all of that fan-like rave and track-by-track dissertations and quotes from various Sparks fans ranging from Sal Maida to Brian Sands! The usual clippings and such also fill out the pages and let's just say that if you were one of the few not to ditch your Sparks albums at some flea market in the early-eighties then well, you might just want to give this one a try if only to prove to yourself that you were RIGHT about these guys all along!
More comin'...and if you're an old timer who wants to either get rid of some old fanzines cluttering up your condo and/or would like a little retro-fame in the process, you know what to do!

No comments: