Saturday, August 08, 2020


Yeah, you try comin' up with a better 'un!

Anywah---you all know just how apedooky I get over the entire rock 'n roll fanzine genre, especially those from the prime GOLDEN AGE OF ROCK FANDOM years when rock wasn't just a way of life, but something to MURDER for! Read on and YOU TOO might get the ol' fanzine bug cravings for real-life no-scmooze-allowed writing and but BAD! If I have inspired at least one of you to drag out your box of fanzines and start reading away I will consider this post to have met its intended goal. And if I have inspired A WHOLE BUNCHA YA to drag out your box of fanzines and sell 'em to me at greatly reduced prices I will consider this post to be a HUMONGOUS success!!!!

First on today's itinerary's this surprisingly spry entry into the annals of rock fandom. I've spoken highly of  Nancy Foster and her various opinions that have appeared not only in her own fanzines but the likes of NEW ORDER, FFANZEEN, TEENAGE RAMPAGE and PENTHOUSE, so when I come across a publication like this debut issue of NEW AGE you KNOW that I am in fanzine heaven!

And what a surprise this 'un is...all of the other Foster fanzines I have were typical mimeo/xeroxed affairs laid out like the mags of old, owning a whole lot in layout (and general fannish content) to the likes of the original WHO PUT THE BOMP! not forgetting the infamous COWABUNGA. But this one? Well, it sure is professionally printed on slick paper and typeset, sorta comin' off like that boff ish of Paul Morley's old OUT THERE yet with customary fanzine dimensions. I guess this process was way too expensive to continue with which is why those later-on mags were cranked out in the old fashioned way. But to tell the truth I like NEW AGE any ol' way I can handle it in my grubby chubby paws!

Kinda thin tho, and there are no record reviews to gnaw on which does reduce the intensity content somewhat. But as far as rock 'n roll power expected from a publication such as this (and often missing due to lack of spirit more than money) goes I can't complain. In this debut ish Foster concentrates on interviewing her fave teenage hunk rockers from Starz and Rex (whose lead singer and future SOLID GOLD host Rex Smith reveals that he was a member of that mid-seventies CBGB band Tricks...nothing of his time in Cross is mentioned giving me the idea that maybe he wasn't quite happy in that act!) plus Foster gives more'n ample space to Boston Velvets wannabes #1001 Fox Pass in a rather nice little summation of their place in the local scene. Even the Billy Squier interview digs a bit into the Sidewinders days making me wonder what that unrecorded/unreleased Casablanca platter woulda sounded like---sheesh, considering how Mick Jagger was rah-rahing for them at Max's Kansas City you'd think some sorta document woulda survived. Who knows, if I ever hit the lottery maybe I'll find out if those Piper recs were as good as more than just a few souls out there have made 'em out to be!

And if you liked Nancy's poetry in NEW ORDER you might just like the stuff that gets printed here! Of course it ain't as good as "Milk, Milk, Lemonade" but it will do. Coulda used a few more pages and some additional gristle to keep me well and happy, but as it is NEW AGE was a pretty good effort and why should I be so complainin' anyway???
I still marvel at just how professional and successful in every way/shape/form most of these seventies/eighties-era European (especially French) fanzines devoted to the BIG BEAT were. One wonders where the people who made these efforts got alla the money to produce such high-gloss work especially when I'm sure a lotta that money just hadda've gone towards buying records and other related sundries. There must have been some pretty big bank-rolling going on at the time, perhaps due to a rich pere who wanted to keep the decadent youth happy or some sideline business that brought in a whole lotta loot as if ya never saw THE FRENCH CONNECTION before!

I reviewed a few issues of FEELING in earlier "Fanablas" and if you'll recall I gushed over these mags even more'n Vesuvius. The compact size coupled with the rare photos and the general encapsulation of all that was RIGHT about the late-seventies rock 'n roll scene had me flashing back to everything I sure wished I could get in a mag at the time! And although French ain't exactly my first, second or even third language I can sure get a whole lotta the gist of what's bein' said a whole lot more'n Basil Fawlty did thinking those guests of his were volunteering to go out and get meat.

The big under-the-radar yet still  known to your standard teenbo geek of the day groups are all here which is good enough even if some of 'em went straight past my radar, while J.D. Martignon once again gives us not only a New York scene report but writes a number of album reviews for the fans back home. Although history (and a few disgruntled musicians) have pointed out just how rotten the man was well, if I only knew of his rich rock history maybe I could have put the fact that he cheated the groups on his label as well as those contributing wares to his record store on the back-burner so-to-speak. He musta hadda lotta good stories to tell and like, perhaps I coulda gotten a few outta him despite his rather deceiving nature... But I doubt it.
A lotta these fanzines devoted to a certain group or sub-species related to it sometimes do come off comparatively staid, and that can be said about many of the ones that sprouted up back in the eighties and nineties. Oh yeah, there were some rather boffo fanzines like UNCLE HARRY'S CITY KIDS and various Hawkwind-related efforts that captured the spirit of the groups in question, but for the most part a lotta these artist-oriented rags can get rather term-paper-y, and that's even if yer a high school sophomore writing one at three AM so you can meet tomorrow's 9:00 deadline AND IT SURE READS LIKE IT TOO!!!

Unfortunately this Captain Beefheart-related fanzine from the nineties entitled APOCALYPSO is one mag that really doesn't capture the real spirit of the man called Van Vliet. While the stories found within these pages are informative and add some more dimension to the entire Captain Beefheart mystique, the results can be rather arid and totally non Beefheartian reading like just about any TIME or NEWSWEEK article trying to capture the essence of an artist's meaning, flopping about like a heart patient post op while the nurses are at their stations trying to look busy. It's not that this issue of APOCALYPSO is dire by any stretch of the imagination, but I gotta say that I was hoping that the same sorta bop that made Captain Beefheart such a household word (in my house at least) woulda transferred to this particular publication with a huge my human gets me blues THUD!
I used to get really bugged back inna eighties/nineties when certain fanzine reviewers would tag my own effort entitled BLACK TO COMM as being not only a "xeroxed" mag (which it hadn't been since issue #4) but as a "reprint" 'zine as well. It was almost as if the reviewer believed that entire contents of my pride 'n joy were filled with nothing but old if relevant to the matter articles lifted from other rags sans the usual insight and spirit that could only come from the writings of inspired individuals such as...well, myself. After all, if BLACK TO COMM was a "reprint" 'zine what did that make such stellar efforts as ROLLING ROCK or KICKS which had their share of old articles boosting up their pages! 

However, after giving issue #16 of my efforts an eyeballin', the one with the Laughner/Reed interview from ZEPPELIN and a huge Laughner obit amongst other items, maybe I can see the point these "critics" were making. Eh, there was way more original text true, but I'm sure some stupid neophytes would have mistaken it for a quickie xerox cash-in job. Given the cranial depth of some of the rock critics out there what else should I have expected!

I haven't been that much of a Cleveland under-the-underground scene fan since at least 1982 when the groups and people that had made that particular era so exciting had either died, moved to New York due to a lack of interest on the home front, or dissipated into day jobs and a general frustration that the music they had loved and had cherished had mutated into something beyond its original sound and intent. It sure was a bleak time in rock 'n roll music and quite a downer especially considering all of the excitement and adrenaline rushing that was goin' on throughout the seventies. As Jim Marshall said, even the likes of Iggy and Lou were making turdsville records (well, I did like ZOMBIE BIRDHOUSE but I sure got the gist of what Marshall was aimin' at!), and a lot of the fun and spirit that went into those acts' sixties and seventies output had sure gone by the wayside to the point where looking forward to goin' out and seein' a rock 'n roll group just wasn't the same as if was a whole long time earlier.

But as usual I digress. Back to the whole "reprint fanzine" brouhahaha...HEY DADDYO is one fanzine that I never bothered snatching up because well, I never even knew the thing EXISTED until now! But I got a copy and well, I thought the thing was pretty good because even if it is a "reprint fanzine" it presents a good hunka Cleveland rock history that is just too real, too exciting to be encased in that museum they have up there which I hope goes bankrupt and closes down real soon given how all it is good for is reducing the feral and primal drive of the music to giddy commercial radio/AOR throb thrills. 

A good portion of CLE #3-A shows up here, and if you don't have the original this is good enough. Old ads from SCENE and the like also appear, and although the eighties stuff thrills me about as much as nude glossies of Anastasia Pantsios its there for the taking and take all you want because you ain't gonna be gettin' it anywhere else. 

Of course it's the old material that grabs me by the pleasure points in my brain, and also the clarification of past historical analyses which have turned out not to be as true as we had originally thought. And the rarities, like this pic of Crocus Behemoth taking on pizza eating champeen Mushmouth Mariano Machetti at the House of Bud are worth the price of admission. Funny, I always remember it as Crocus taking him on live on THE HOULIHAN AND BIG CHUCK SHOW in '74, not '72 which can only show you just how much of my past memories are perhaps as false as that guy who thought he was real but discovered that he was actually an android when he peeled back his wrist and saw a buncha flashing little lights and wires on THE TWILIGHT ZONE!
Hokay, I think it might be a fanzine. It might just be a standard rock mag you see on the mag racks too. That is, if you happened to be around a newsstand somewhere in Japan, for that is where ROCKMAGAZINE definitely emanated from.

It's all in Japanese and it also has the front cover on the back and you read it right from left, if you can read it at all. It kinda reminds me of some of the other Japanese magazines I have around the abode, but we won't get into that quite just yet!

It sure reads like it could be a fanzine, a high class one in the French fanzine tradition I've mentioned above and in other FANZINE FANABLAS.  There's a definite push towards informing the Japanese reader about rock 'n roll in not only their own land but those big scenes elsewhere, with pieces on the mid-seventies biggies from the whole Velvet Underground/Island Records cadre of the day (ACNE etc.) plus a big article on Patti Smith and of course reviews on most of the hotcha biggies of the day that we Amerigans mostly hadda experience through the import bins.

There are also some comics done up in that distinct Japanese style, the first dealing with Led Zeppelin which sure looks pretty funny and another about a rock keyboardist which turns into a homo romance thing you more prudish types (as well as mentally healthy specimens) will certainly want to avoid. But the thing is thick with lotsa pix so even if you can't read the native tongue you can enjoy it sorta the way like when you were four pouring through your dad's HUSTLER not knowing what those letters and things meant, but the pics sure were fun to look at!
The older the English punk rock fanzine is the better, if only because during the early days of the Anglo take on the p-rock form it wasn't inhabited by the same kinda socially-conscious and humorless activist types who coulda cared less about the music as they could the message. Which as we all know is about as rancid and as stifling as the armpit odors that emanate from these world saving reformers who are nothing but the uplifters of an old D.W. Griffith film only with a radical consciousness and way too many body piercings for comfort.

That's why I really like this second issue of UP + COMING from March/April 1977. It's thankfully free of the staid and stilted pose that would overcome many a group to the point where the music really took a back seat to the cause of the week. Y'know, back when there was a marked excitement over new (and old) ideas and the promise of rock 'n roll as something beyond the usual ROLLING STONE fun 'n jamz that seem to be remembered with fondness by way too many people who have been brainwashed by way too many a listening to Jackson Browne to notice what zomboids they were, are, and shall remain.

Hate fighting all them ol' battles and issues again, but I gotta give ya some background as to where all this ANGST I have for those who ruined rock 'n roll and other vital forms of pure adrenaline is comin' from. UP + COMIN', like a whole slew of fine reads of the day, fought the big battle w/o getting into the Marxist mutations that would follow making the eighties an even BIGGER drek than it coulda been. The lineup's pretty pubbed out here from the Count Bishops and Rock Island Line not to mention a great live review of the Hammersmith Gorillas, on a bill with French heavy metallics Shakin' Street to boot which just mighta made this one of those all-time rock gigs that people still talk about in hushed tones! THIS is what English punk rock used to be about, at least before it was taken over by the hippie contingent who sure did their best to ruin the entire concept with their take on the whole love and peace scam which punk rock was originally a healthy REACTION to! Of course that didn't take long to change as any perusal of a 1982 Small Wonder catalog could tall ya!
Now I've seen my share of crudzines throughout my rock 'n rol l fandom days. Now I've produced my share of crudzines as well, but never have I seen a crudzine as cruddy as FANZINE FOR DOZENS Of course I like it! Not only because of its downright lower than low budget and IQ, but due to the fact that this thing was created, produced and executed by none other than Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley, the two who were also the brains behind Yo La Tengo who are/were a group that released a number of fine and spiffy recordings that I'll have to dig up and re-listen to one of these days. Five one-sided pages with what I believe is a Peter Holsapple poem about Elvis Presley, A V-Effect Q 'n A session, a word jumble and other bits 'n feces that should bore the more sophisticated amongst you readers but hey, if you can be bored by this you might just be bored by any classic Warhol film and if so you do have my pity. Sure coulda used some of Kaplan's rock 'n roll articles to bouef the thing up but as it stands, it stands.
Recently I've been pouring through boxes of items I've gathered up in over forty years of collecting, separating the wheat from the chaff and keeping the chaff so to speak. I'm putting all the wheat, the more socially-conscious and neo-decadent eighties and nineties-era fanzines that I've received one underhanded way or another, up for sale one of these days when I get back on ebay (maybe if they lowered their rates it would help!) and keeping the good ol' chaff, those mags that might not have spoken for any particular generation of subculture or (shudder!) "community", but they sure spoke plenty to ME!

And this particular fanzine (masquerading as a "literary" magazine and doin' a good job of it!) really did speak a whole load to me! In fact, every time I've managed to pluck it out from the myriad assortment of SST hypesheets and xeroxes I've had a ball giving this the once over. VERSION was Bob Moore's boo-boo, and as far as these home-produced items go boy did it absorb a whole lotta good things about what these magazines meant and continue to mean all these years later. It looks and smells like an old fanzine from the early-sixties yet it came out inna mid-eighties and it has the spirit that you woulda got had you plucked some sci-fi fanzine publisher from outta his 1962 dorm and stuck him inna eighties and told him to SWITCH GEARS! And y'know, I'm sure that if the bespectacled sci-fi-er was to stop with the Bradbury and begin with Black Flag he woulda done just as great a job 'zine wise as Moore did with this particular effort (I'm still looking for an earlier issue with a huge playlist that reads like a must-hear for not only myself but for any throbbing BLOG TO COMM reader...I fear it got inadvertently thrown out).

The opening schpiel sets the mood, reminding me of those same rushed yet pumped up feelings I had creating and laying out twenny-five issues of my own crudzine either in the kitchen or my fart-encrusted bedroom, getting way more deep-down satisfaction outta it than had I spent all the money poured into BTC at the Tokyo Health Spa. Moore has a pretty hotcha sense of not only music and art (tho why no record reviews???) and his contributors add more'n a little class to the thing even if I woulda preferred Chris D. writing about records as opposed to laying down poetry. But hey, VERSION was a poetry cum music endeavor so why should I complain even if my idea of artistic expression is "Milk, Milk, Lemonade"???

The Meltzer piece regarding his flip into the forties was bril as were the reviews of Meltzer's then-extant bibliography. And yes, there is a piece on the then-hailed under-the-underground musical acts like the Sun City Girls and Borbetomagus which, as you would have guessed, gives VERSION even more of those airs of this NOT being some fru-fru arts and leisure publication for the hoity-toity types (ie. ALTERNATIVE ROCK MUSICIANS) to read while acting oh-so heartfelt and world-saving yet coming off like the load of bores that they are. More box searching is definitely in order.
AND FINALLY...the Toronto-based PANIC BUTTON is but one of the many items listed on my satire fanzine checklist that I can afford, mostly because there weren't any future underground cartoonists involved with this that would warrant PANIC BUTTON to cost an arm and a leg! Thankfully this ish (#6) didn't cost me an arm or leg but a few mere toes, and as far as these post-Kurtzman kinda mags go it does its job pretty much in the fashion that I would have expected. I mean, what else would you have thunk a buncha young upstarts doin' their own mag without the prying eyes of elders pouncing on their every word and utterance woulda come up with...THE BOBBSEY TWINS DISCOVER EACH OTHER?

In other words, this mag reeks of the same College Boy smartass humor that's plagued many a fanzine from the same strata with the usual paens to sex, hip kultur, beat writings and all of those things the bring up memories of Wally Wood's phony intellectual existentialist in one of those old MAD primers.

Some of this is smart stuff from the HELP!-inspired fumetti to the snide cartoons which, while mostly standard early-sixties fanzine fodder, do retain some sort of humor if only of a PG-13, snotty sense so common during those halcyon days of pre-lovenpeace. Other parts come off too "I'm so ABOVE you all" smug to the point whee you might feel like hiding your face from humanity after you're done reading. I guess if you were a fanzine editor or contributor way back when you hadda have a sort of smugness about you, a fairly healthy one at that which would eventually evolve into the whole Frank Zappa/R. Crumb/MONTY PYTHON/early SNL brand of satire once these fanzines type of guys eventually made their impression on the real world.

Still I found much to like in this PANIC BUTTON including this poem courtesy Lawrence Ferlinginsberg...

Blow my snorkel
dip my wick
Pull my cork'll
Pat my hip

Gregory Jack and Al
scratching out poetic pap
that amounts to crap
but at least its dirty.


Theodore Cleaver said...

Beyond sheesh.

New York 'Dolf said...

Stigliano is a rock and roll animal. Unfortunately, the animal is a hamster.

debbie downer said...

lol a zine dedicated to a bee fart lol looooooozrrrz!

Alvin Bishop said...

Keep 'em comin', Chris! Always a good start to my Saturday! Cheers!

Alvin Bishop said...

How about reprinting The Panic Button on Blog to Comm? That way we could see for ourselves. Cheers!

Christopher Stigliano said...

I dunno---copyright laws??? (heh!)

Charles Hodgson said...

Great post, Chris, loved the Fawlty Towers ref. Auto mieten! I chortled heartily at many other points, up to, and including, New York Dolf's hamster comment!
Sure beats arguing with MLJ. Shh, maybe he's off to enrol at Evergreen College for a course on white privilege and black supremacy with the other 'pronoun multipliers'? (We call them arse-bandits in the UK.)

(((Alan Alda))) said...


Anonymous said...

Copyright laws? Look at what The Rialto Report does with "classic" porno mags. You of all people should be willing to violate any of that fake bullshit legality of copyright. Your fans here are OK with it, we'll bail you out!:

MoeLarryAndJesus said...

Hoggy says he "chortled heartily."

It's his way of admitting he's an enthusiastic felcher of farm animals.

Christopher Stigliano said...

Unlike you who stays loyal to homo sapiens...emphasis on the homo...

MoeLarryAndJesus said...

You've been screaming about "homo this" and "homo that" for 30 years, Stigsy. It's quite the obsession. If you kicked the bucket tomorrow you'd be eulogized as "the Ernst Rohm of rock," and "a perpetual bachelor who never found the right girl ha ha ha."

Christopher Stigliano said...

SO says the "man" who never met a hole he didn't like.

Jack Grattan said...

Crocus vs. Mushmouth? How did I miss that? And that TWILIGHT ZONE episode you mentioned was actually one of the best OUTER LIMITS episodes, DEMON WITH A GLASS HAND, written by Cleveland native Harlan Ellison.

MoeLarryAndJesus said...

It's funny having my manhood questioned by a fungus who never gets laid, who barely leaves the house, and who hasn't seen his own penis since the Carter administration.

New York 'Dolf said...

Ernst Röhm did nothing wrong.

Joe Biden, husband of Joe Biden said...

Captain Bee Fart? Come on, man!

HHH said...

I am sad as sea weed to say that I have no idea who Captain Bee Fart is, but I do pat my foot to today's sounds of Tommy James Brown.

Larry Mondello said...

Might one proffer an opinion? Methinks that Homo Larry the Cheese is sweet on Stiggy Wiggy.

A polite queer query, Which one would be the husband?

No wrong answer. Just wear condoms, fellas!

MoeLarryAndJesus said...

Why wear a condom? Stigs is way too old to get pregnant.

Christopher Stigliano said...

But just think of all those ikky diseases I'll get, Sweetie!

MoeLarryAndJesus said...

Shouldn't you spell that "ikkky" to impress all your pals?

Christopher Stigliano said...

Spoken like a true useful idiot!

Danny "Boy" Fields said...

Hey, hipsters! Speaking of "gay" sex, did I ever tell you about the time I invited Pete Townshend to my pad and pulled a "Cosby" on him? If he'd been a gal he woulda had triplets! He was walking funny for days. I hear he's still "sore" at me. Come on, Pete! It was the sixties, man! Look at Chrissie Hynde! She ain't uptight. It was the era.

Margaret Sanger said...

The KKK did nothing wrong.

Charles Hodgson said...

MLJ's been walking on two knees since George Floyd was snuffed. Quite different from the Homo-Erectus he gets when he watches the full 8:45 min video. Or listens to Biden describe his hairy legs, kiddy fiddling and roaches.

Funny how cockroaches are the first thing that spring to his supple and agile mind when surrounded by black children.

"Poor kids are just as talented as white kids" remember! Just the man we need to end racism in the White House!

Charles Hodgson said...

MLJ = the Toulouse Lautrec of ANTIFA.

Alvin Bishop said...

Blog to Comm could use a feature on one of my favorite NYC bands, Bunky & Jake. Part Spoonful, part VU, part Fugs, 100% NYC rock n' roll! Cheers!

Christopher Stigliano said...

Good idea! Maybe I can get Don Fellman to help me out.

(((Lou Reed))) said...

Despite all the amputations, Stiggy was able to find the rock n' roll fanzine, and it was alright! Yeah, man!

PS: I am no longer alive and well and living with my parents on Lawn Guy Land.