Saturday, October 19, 2019


This edition of FANZINE FANABLA is dedicated to Brad Kohler, a clump of nonviable cells who actually enjoys these reminiscences or whatever ya'd call 'em re. the printed word kultur that had infested many a fandom for years on end. Hope you get more out of this 'un than I put into it, which as you will see was practically nil!

Unless yer talkin' somethin' 'round the lines of HONEY THAT AIN'T NO ROMANCE, WHITE STUFF, BACK OF A CARTEENAGE NEWS or WHAT GOES ON, I find most of these single artist-oriented fanzines to be too fannish and light in the hardcore information department for my tastes. And that probably would include this particular Frank Zappa-oriented effort entitled MOTHER PEOPLE, but since I still do carry a bit of an affectation as Leo Gorcey might say for those earlier Mothers of Invention records I thought this particular issue featuring a Zappa/MOI bootleg rundown would be just the thing to cure the boredom around here at least for one evening!

The thirteenth issue is a boffo bootleg gather-up that deals with the THREE generations of rock bootlegs and how Zappa et. al. was handled in each of 'em. Cover reproductions as well as fairly detailed information as to what transpires between those grooves certainly sends me back to one of those outta-the-way record shops usually stuck smack dab in the middle of some ruinous shopping plaza where not only bootlegs but imports and hotcha cutouts could be had for a mere song, or perhaps a good portion of last week's lawn mowing earnings. Hey, who needs a new catcher's mitt when something like ZAPPA/BEEFHEART CONFIDENTIAL was within your reach for only $4.99!

Of course these bootleg features have been updated and upgraded to the point of insanity, but at least an earlier one like this will remind you of just how much these outta-the-way illegal spinners spiced up  your record collection, at least until people like Zappa got even more and more ridiculous to the point of how could anyone care about these Bigger Than Thou snoots anymore!
Awlright, I like a lotta those Marc Bolan fanzines that I have happened to come across o'er the past few decades or so! But here's one that's a li'l bit rarer'n the rest and just for that plain fact TYRANNOSAURUS REX oughta get the royal carpet treatment as well! Andy and Tam were (are?) big Bolanites and their effort to shed a li'l more life on the early days of this sainted act really is something that ya gotta congratulate the two for given that they weren't doin' this for the glory but for the passion (sorta like me!).

The early singles as well as the whole friggin' bootleg scene are covered in the same fun and fannish sorta way most of these digest-sized single-artist fanzines from Merrie Olde back inna eighties and nineties were, and like those efforts you once again get that warm and toasty feeling reading what these writers are talking to you as a fellow pilgrim rather'n 'em blithering from their lofty perch as was (is?) the case with most of those "Rock Critics" (yeeeesh!) that I've had the misfortune of reading o'er these past fortysome years.

It'll probably be hard to find along with the few thou other fanzines devoted to various sixties/seventies legends and charlatans that were made in England way back when, but if you see it well...ya know what'cha gotta do...
Gotta admit that there are probably THOUSANDS of these rock 'n roll fanzines produced from the early-seventies until the early-eighties that I could really sink my soul into. The only problem for me is finding 'em all, not to mention UNDERSTANDING the things if they happen to be written in a language that is not basic Ameriganized English. Of course when it comes to a really boffo fanzine that appeals to me especially on a visual level, the language barrier ain't anything that's gonna stop me from enjoying myself and hey, even with a French to English dictionary I can make out some of the things that are written about in such rags as I WANNA BE YOUR DOG,  ROCK NEWS or this li'l (or I should say BIG being the dimensions of one of those old LIFE magazines that clutter up your attic) effort entitled ANNIE AIME LES SUCETTES! The title kinda/sorta translates into something like Annie Likes Lollipops which seems like a strange enough name for a rock fanzine but since that was an old French pop hit I guess the meaning is not lost on the Gallic guys who picked this mag up way back inna late-seventies.

It's a pretty interesting mag too made by and for people in France who liked high energy rock music, electronic German rock (see Kraftwerk cover story/interview) and Amerigan kultur no matter how goofy and ginchy it may be. These guys must've been big on Stinky Toys which would figure given their kult stature and the Flamin' Groovies got a mention as well, and even if a lotta this comes off more like a tissue thin VILLAGE VOICE without any communists or sexual deviants to be found I prefer ANNIE's reflection of late-seventies under-the-counterculture snazz than I do those New York sickos. And they were big on Amerigan kultur given their reviews of not only Hollywood film (or in this case "cinema") but the reprint of an old ETTA KETT Sunday page on the back cover! Might be worth a look see the next time you find yourself at some Parisian flea market.
Yeah, them French really did make good fanzines and here are two more that really fall into the category of  totally boffo reading. From the looks of it FEELING was right up there with the aforementioned rags what with its slick look which woulda fit in just splended alongside the legitimate rock mags that were up and about at the time. However don't expect a load of typical late-seventies snootism in FEELING for it was a rally smart, well-laid out and devoted to the kind of rock 'n roll we cherish kinda mag that settles well with me even if their musical tastes sometimes got a li'l wobbly., an' I don't mean I.W.W.!

Only bad point here's the presence of J. D. Martignon doin' the New York report (sheesh if only he was a nice guy given his musical pedigree and the fact he was the vocalist with Dagon should have earned him some under-the-counterculture points!), but otherwise it's sure grand to know that even overseas acts like Pere Ubu were considered hot tamales and that more'n just a few fanablas out there were followin' THE BIG BEAT while everyone else was followin' the Anastasia Pantsios route to post-hippie doldrums into total AOR mindmush. There are a whole lot more European fanzines of the seventies to be had, and when they come my way by gum yer gonna read about 'em HERE and read about 'em HARD!
The trend towards fancy French rock 'n roll fanzines didn't quite end in the seventies either, and I remember NINETEEN gettin' a whole lotta praise and huzzahs in the under-the-underground fanzine press back in the eighties. No wonder, for this rag, like LOSERS (see last Fanzine Fanabla), is printed up on nice glitzy glossy paper with a full color cover and slick photos that make alla those crank out cheapos look rather crudzine in comparison. Naturally the coverage is focused on what I would call the last remains of the vibrant seventies era of underground rock encroaching on the mainstream somewhat/somehow, so if you were one who was a big fan of the Fleshtones of the various Paisley Underground acts this would be just the mag for you. Of course you gotta be able to read French (which I was told is nothing but sloppy English, so maybe you can make this out even if you got thrown outta French class in school for asking what that line in "Lady Marmalade" meant) and if not the snaps are fine to look at. Once more proof that the French were the ones who really knew the true nature of rock 'n roll while the rest of the rock press was kinda stumbling along following trend after trend...usually with hilarious if not just downright DISASTROUS results.
Not only did the French have classy, slick fanzines but the Swedes did as well as least if LARM is anything to go by! Sure some of the acts covered in this late-seventies mag ain't exactly up my own expansive alley (Moon Martin, Darryl Hall & Warren Oates!) but otherwise LARM pretty much ranks up there with the likes of SNEAKERS, I WANNA BE YOUR DOG and all the rest of the French breed of rock as in ROCK & ROLL camp.. With a hefty look backwards (a piece on Jimmy Page's "Session Man" work) and the Left Banke mingling with the expected uppa date and hep fodder LARM makes for one of those mags you can't read if you don't know the lingo, but you try making sense outta the Swede-ese because you get the drift that THERE'S SOME MIGHTY GOOD WRITING LINGERIN' IN THEM PARTS. And once you make your way through the thing, you know you were right all along.
ANOTHER furrin' one! BACKSTAGE PASS came outta Holland back '77 was and it's all inna native tongue so readin' it is like readin' a German 'zine only it's like funnier lookin'. But there is nothing "funny" (as in "funny funny not funny strange" as Gilligan once put it) about BACKSTAGE PASS because, despite the rather plain cover, this has the same sorta oof! and bam! that all of our favorite fanzines had for many-a-year. This particular issue's got some rather groove-oid things innit like ne'er before seen Rolling Stones live shots and a feature on the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band as well as a thingie on Family (who I never thought much about but I don't mind readin' about 'em!). Like a good portion of these European fanzines the layout is professional enough for my tastes and the cover high gloss, and if I could only understand what they're sayin' I'd say that the writing was fine as well. But as with LARM I know there is some pretty high energy schpiel to be found within because given their tastes how could they not be anything but total eruption!  Dunno if there were any other issues of SUPPORTING ACT put out but just by the existence of this one issue the people behind the thing deserve a nice li'l berth in the Fanzine Hall of Fame which I hope ain't as retardo as the rock one and I hope they never create one because you know that the first "fanzine" that will be nominated would be...ROLLING STONE???!?!?!?!?!??!
Now back to something printed in the English language! And as far as fanzines from England go you know that the main template for a good portion of the home-made mags was undoubtedly the original ZIGZAG! And no doubt about it the folk at WAY AHEAD must have purchased, read and pretty much EATEN every issue of the original 'ZAG extant for it shows in their pages. The spirit (although not exactly the excitement) of the pre-punk rock era ZIGZAG can be found in these pages, and if you were a reader of that tried and true mag who hadda fight your way through the Tangerine Dream and Canterbury Sound articles to get to something on Dr. Feelgood you woulda hadda've gone through the same experience with these reads too!

But still, I like WAY AHEAD not only for the old-styled layout job, the rather appealing artwork (even if that artwork seems more inspired by Roger Dean than it does Andy Warhol) and the general quality that went into it even if that quality was being poured all over those West Coast Amerigan Back-To-Nature bands these English fanzines seemed to drool over. But as far as putting out the kinda fanzine that looked good and read good enough even if you couldn't care one whit about the acts mentioned, WAY AHEAD did a snatter job at it than many would dare to admit. It's hard not to like it even if the thing coulda used a bigger dose of the NME/SOUNDS-styled gonzo energy that make kids in Ameriga swipe money outta their mom's purses just so's they could get hold of an ultra-expensive overseas subscription.

Over the years there have been quite a few good fanzines put out by members of the female gender, or as I like to call them the dangerous sex. Off the top of my head I can think of STAR SPECIAL, THE ELECTRIC WARRIOR FREE PRESS and SLADE PARADER In some ways these gal 'zines were unique in their own way since they seemed to retain this teenage gal spinnin' records in her bedroom with her chubboid galpals talkin' about the beneath contempt boys in class while swooning over their fave musical idols. Only their music tended to encroach on the gnarlier side of sound and do you really think that a guy coulda pulled off an Iggy and the Stooges newsletter as well as Natalie Stoogeling did? But they did retain a feminine sorta outlook that wasn't all he man and gutzy like my own writing, but an interesting change of pace from the usual same old.

These first two issues of KIMONO, an early-eighties English fanzine, bear my point out. Nice layout and art and printjob and everything you can want in a fanzine pops up here, though editress Kathy Easton does retain that aforementioned teenage gal playing records on the portable in her bedroom attitude that many of the other gal 'zines seemed to revel in. And (again) like I said there's nada wrong with that...I mean I'd rather read some femme's impressions of anyone from Sky Saxon to the Stones taken from a suburban bedroom ranch house 1969 mentality than I would a feminist zine featuring the results of a symposium on the taste of menstrual blood. So if you want a fannish yet smart take on the early-eighties doings of everyone from Queen and Blondie to Adam and the Ants as filtered through the brain of a young English lass who I'm sure is not only privileged but proper this mag is the one to get!
I have a list of late-fifties/sixties-era satire fanzines that I copped off some website, a pretty inclusive one even if I did hadda add a couple of titles that were missing like FANFORE and SPOOF. I would assume that most of these, such as FOO and WILD, were definitely inspired by MAD given how their creators and contributors ultimately spawned the underground comix scene of the late-sixties, but this li'l effort from the list seems to be quite different 'n the expected hoo-hahs.

BEDLAM is whatcha'd call a satire mag, though it's not exactly in the same category as the aforementioned wonders since there ain't any comic book-like efforts to be found nor the expected ad and tee-vee spoofs that seemed to be all the rage. Well, there is a take off on the old Maidenform Bra ads but it's more like one of those spot comics you saw in just about every other fanzine satire, Sci-Fi or otherwise. But that's no reason to ignore this effort...edited by a Mike Deckinger, SPOOF dared to tackle controversial subjects just like every other fanzine of the era which either puts it at the forefront of modern, uncensored, totally uninhibited tell-it-like-I-WANT-it-to-be free expression or the predecessor to today's metastasized politically pious one-way discussions where you'd better shut up, march in lockstep or we're gonna make your life miserable credo that seems to be all the rage no matter where you look!

Now, I gotta admit that Issac Asimov's definitely non-funny andSci-Fi fanzine serious "A Woman's Heart" just doesn't jib my jab, although the "Interview With a Heterosexual" is amusing enough in its good ol' corny reverse cliche way, kinda like Orson Bean's "Two Chinese Men Go To an American Restaurant" piece in MAD. The strange thing about that one is, given just how mish moshed the whole concept of sexuality has become o'er the years this bit of satire just might have become FACT, one of those true-to-life dramas in a world that FEEDS on dystopia!

The cartoons ain't bad at all in that old fanzine sorta tradition while I think the two pages of personal ads reprinted are the only real laff-riot to be found between the covers. And overall BEDLAM was yet another good effort in sixties fanzine publication which naturally makes me wanna seek out more of these outta-the-way self-produced mags even if they might not have that stoopidly beautiful teenbo satiric outlook from a late-fifties suburban slob setting that I'd sure like to see!
More comin' your way, hopefully more later than sooner!


Anonymous said...

"More comin' your way, hopefully more later than sooner!"

Oh, goody! We cain't hardly wait, Clem! Yowzuh!

Anonymous said...

Zee Franch – how you say? – love zee new-wave punk rocky roll! Zee Dee-VOH! Zee Talking Heads! Zee Boh-EEE! Zee Iggy Pup! Mais oui! C'est rocky roll! C'est new-wave punk!