Saturday, October 10, 2020

THE BLOG TO COMM LIST OF THE TOP TEN BEST FANZINES FROM THE GOLDEN AGE OF ROCK WRITING ERA THAT MATTERED A WHOLE LOT MORE'N SUPERDOPE EVER DID! (not that SUPERDOPE wasn't a mag of "some" lasting value, but I sure love diggin' those harpoons into my own personal Moby Dick!)

While searchin' the web tryin' to find some FREE DOWNLOADS re. some rock mags I really could use in my system, I came across an article purporting to list the ten best fanzines dealing with the under-the-underground music scene ever to get laid to print. A Herculean task I might add, and one that, given some of the rankiness of fanzines past (and present), could be considered a doody akin to the cleaning of either the Aegean Stables or my bedroom. Of course the scope regarding fanzines was limited to those of a punk rock variety and of an English late seventies/early eighties bent which gave me the BRIGHT IDEA that maybe hey, I can do my own top ten rock 'n roll fanzine list! And in case for some odd reason you can't tell, I have...

Only that was thirtysome years ago in the sixth issue of my unfortunately not-so-famous crudzine. and let's just say that I've read A WHOLE LOT MORE FANZINES in the days that followed to alter my opinions if ever so slightly. So here is more or less MY OWN top ten fanzine list, in this case fanzine meaning rock 'n roll of a seventies bent more akin to the mindset of your average BLOG TO COMM reader as opposed to those latent hippies in radical punk clothing snobs you used to see once the latest rabid cause reared its ugly head. IN OTHER WORDS we're talking about mags that ripped it up and rocked it out, not those MRR-inspired peace 'n love far-left rompathons written by and for people who could not rock 'n roll even if you put meth into their hot toddys.

Narrow perspective-minded true. Elitist and discriminatory right, but then again you could say that about any other TOP TEN OF FANZINES you might have read that would have the poor sense to leave the FOLLOWING rockist entries out of sight and mind for that matter! Subjective and undoubtedly exclusive, I'm gonna limit this to seventies mags that captured the entire wambooziz of the rock explosion of them days which of course will leave out some HIGHLY MEANINGFUL and IMPORTANT publications as BLACK TO COMM and INNER MYSTIQUE, but we can't have everything. Also leaving out fanzines not produced in North Ameriga since well, alla the Europeans have covered those many a time and I do wanna leave room for some of the neglected ones that popped up o'er this way.

Maybe in the future I'll do a top ten of pre-underground comix fanzines of the fifties and early-sixties not to mention some on subjects as diverse as English football and Sci-Fi, but I gotta get some of them into my collection first!


HYPERION/HYPE (Annapolis MD, 1969-1975)

I've done more'n my share blabbing about this particular effort not only throughout the run of this blog but via some of the final issues of my own print run crudzine. Perhaps it was Lester Bangs' mention in a 1975 CREEM "Rock-a-Rama" that got me interested in obtaining this 'un, and I'm sure glad I did considering how pulling out these old HYPE(RION)s has become one of the more exciting parts of my kick my feet up and spin some music free time which I gotta say is the only way I can get any thrills during these declining years of mine.

If any of you would give me the early issues of HYPERION (hey, it's for a good cause!) I'd be tickled pinker than Brad Kohler's nasal cavities because it sure would be grand to see how this definitely CREEM-inspired (bad attitude and no respect for artists unless they're Lou Reed, or even if they're Lou for that matters) fanzine woulda read during its earliest days. 

The first one I have is the Fall '72 ish with the reluctant Richard Nixon endorsement and a huge piece on where the Velvet Underground stood in light of their "influence" finally being recognized beyond the realm of a few cloistered teenagers and sickened perverts. Very much in the science fiction fandom realm (HYPE mastermind Mark Jenkins' art was to have been found in contemporary fantasy titles while co-conspirator Bruce Townley's zine credo was more anchored in self-publications of a mostly non-musical nature, as if the cover art wasn't any indication...), this Volume IV Number One may lack a whole lotta fanzine extraneous-ness like photos but it sure packed an exciting fanzine wallop not only with the music at hand (besides the Velvet Underground, reviews of the Stones 'EXILE ON MAIN STREET the first Eagles, Nilsson, Burritos and other 1972 slip-unders) but etapoint commentary on current TV, mainly THE NEWLYWED GAME, NANCY (the sitcom, not the kid) and PRISONER reruns which remind me of just what you hadda pick and take in order to enjoy tee-vee back during those best/worst of boob tube viewing days. Townley's short story doesn't quite hit me in any way to make me recommend you read it, but the book reviews (FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS by regular contributor Rainer Karasz and a bee-youtiful takedown of JONATHAN LIVINGSTON SEAGULL by Jenkins) pack enough snark to wash away that whole early-seventies feel good be yourself jive that was responsible for a generation of kids growing up the way I guess they grew up. And just look inna mirror and SEE WHERE IT ALL WENT WRONG!

A twenty pager immaculately printed on high-quality fold over paper, and if you happened to be in the right place at the right time it was FREE which really is miracle considering there were no ads to be found in this beaut!

Future issues continued on the same path of fanzine excellence what with HYPERION's growing quality (actual photos and illustrations!) and array of writers (especially Libby Hatch [obviously an alias] who could switch from seventies women's lip nausea and Laurel Canyon singer songwriter cheerleading to Velvet Underground appreciation like snap!) as well as the contributions of the likes of Bangs, Meltzer, Eddie Flowers, Kenne Highland (who praises the Osmonds during their hard rock "Going Home" days), Gene Sculatti, Metal Mike Saunders and the rest of the seventies fanzine mafia whose work never ceases to make me wonder why it fizzed out oh so fast. The switch to newsprint and a shortening of the title may have signaled the mag's eventual deep six, but they sure went out on a power-punched good note leaving us with hotcha neo-CREEM proudly gonzoid rock reading that sure puts the gruel being dished out by the pretentious pansies who write these days to utter shame. An' that includes my drivel so don't go sayin' I'm the high and mighty one around here!

(If ya wish, do some googlin' on this blog 'n read my by-now decade-plus old previous rants and raves regarding this should-be legendary fanzine. Like I said awhile back, here's one that deserves a royal carpet reissue treatment if only to teach today's puds a thing or two!).
SPOONFUL (Teaticket MA, 1973-1974 approximate)

I only have two of these and at least four total issues came out before editor Fred Whitlock teamed up with fellow fanzine editor Dennis Metrano (who was doin' SUNSHINE at the time) for a combination of zines entitled SPOONFUL OF SUNSHINE. Ain't got any of those and besides I hear that the new project was more of a newslettery thing which is outside the scope of this particular post but hey, the two issues of SPOONFUL that I have are pretty hotcha efforts especially in lieu of the sometimes sorry state of the music era these rags were produced during.

Maybe you can call 'em "proto-punk" if you wanna get looser 'n your last bowel movement about it, but sheesh how can ya hate a guy who, besides being one of the bigger Pink Floyd before they trampled over everything fans around gave heavy kudos not only to the likes of the MC5, the Flamin' Groovies and the mid-sixties NUGGETS wonders but Joan Bi-az, Genesis, Loudon Wainwright III and Jesse Winchester! Thirty years ago I woulda wanted to knock some sense into the guy but now I kinda think he was all the gnarlier for it, a Chuck Eddy without the irritating pretension and perhaps a pretty nice guy to get to know at least for an opportunity to thumb through his reputedly extensive album collection.

Ish #2 is nicely laid out with the double-spaced type filled with various tracings and pertinent illustrations that sorta give it a down home suburban slob teenage look. Or at least a look similar to what I think most girls' notebooks woulda looked like had I deemed to sneak a peek into 'em. Three is stapled in the corner and has the same look and layout as most of the rock and sci-fi fanzines of the time. Selected samples from Paul Revere and the Raiders and Standells lyrics fill out pages, and there's even a guest appearance from Alan Betrock of NEW YORK ROCKER fame writing about a strange visit from an early-sixties English r 'n b crazoid at a collector's record shop. Not only that but there's even a really good article on THE PINK FAIRIES, and what other Amerigan publication was coverin' that group back 1973 way???

Can't wait to see the rest of the run which I do hope turns up sometime before my eyesight is shot to shit. SPOONFUL is one fanzine that has the same zip and pow of the music it reports on, and the fact that this 'un is all but forgotten by the people who SHOULD know does kinda stick in my throat like an aspirin all fuzzin up and burnin' away and you have no recourse but to take the pain because there's no agua around to wash the thing down! If you wanna know just how a home-produced rock fanzine shoulda looked like and FELT back in those maybe not-so-sour times just take a gander at this! If you can, natch!
CRETINOUS CONTENTIONS (Brooklyn NY circa. 1973-1974)

There were quite a few of these "silly" rock fanzines, mags written and published by total rock maniacs who held steadfast to the ol' Lester Bangs line that rock stars wiped their butts just like everyone else and really weren't meant to be honored as if they just found a cure for toe fungus. I'll get to some more of these types of rags down the line but for now I'll mention this particular effort which managed to get its share of fanzine press back in them days when there actually was an audience for rock 'n roll, if you can believe that!

CRETINOUS CONTENTIONS was the brainstillborn of one Crescenzo Capece aka EP Dork, and two issues of this highly-praised fanzine managed to make its way out---three if you could a mention in one of Capece's ROCK MARKETPLACE ads but NO ONE I KNOW has seen a copy so maybe it's wallowing somewhere in the same closet that Handsome Dick Manitoba's TEENAGE WASTELAND GAZETTE lies.

Anyhoo, silliness abounds in these mags what with that flippant attitude that was a direct bared-wire intensity lineage from the works of Bangs and Meltzer on through a whole number of similar-minded writers who never would have made it in the post-80s rock world due to the fact that they wouldn't lick up to the stars and what the Jann Wenners of the world didn't want were more Bangs or Meltzers. There're also the ravings re. the short-lived rebirth of AM radio to a bunch of Christmas albums by various rock 'n rollers reviews and bargain bin brouhaha back in the days when prowling through these things really was a joy to behold.

First ish has tons of reviews of acts both punkoid (Syndicate of Sound) and not (Sugarloaf) and a whole lotta BAD ATTITUDE we can sure use a lot more of even in these wonderfully bad attitude times. The second, a larger in dimensions effort, has some pretty straightforward pieces such as an article on David Bowie by teenage Kenne Highland (with fagbait asides from Dork), Canadian critics band Thundermug, a Bette Midler putdown, loads of reviews of new platters and old punk leftovers and (now get this!) LOADS ON EDDIE HASKELL including a reprint from THE NATIONAL ENQUIRER telling of his then-current cop escapades and musings over whether or not he really is Alice Cooper! I guess the John Holmes stories hadn't come out yet. Speaking of Holmes, there's even an article on how to get free porno samples in the mail thus gettin' yer thrills at a fraction of the cost. Of course those were the pre-internet days when alla this gross stuff comes flyin' at'cha even when yer not TRYING to get hold of anything raunchy or obscene. I guess that's what I get for trying to find "Beaver Cleaver" via Google.

If anyone knows about the existence of a flesh 'n blood third CRETINOUS CONTENTIONS wouldja let me know?
NEW HAVEN ROCK PRESS (New Haven, CT 1967-1974)

Here's a rag that can really draw out the ire in rock fandomland, and although I don't know the entire story as to why Jon Tiven and his mag were subjected to such heavy doody browbeatings from all corners (even from people who had previously called him their best friend) I find NEW HAVEN ROCK PRESS a veryveryvery good quality effort that never let down throughout its rather long for a fanzine lifespan! So what the big deal about him not using toilet paper or whatever it is that made the man such a pariah I do not know. And given the high quality this 'zine exuded I do not care.

Even the earliest issues I own (starting with Vol. II Number 1) have a rather semi-pro sense of writing with a layout that could compete with some of the better sci-fi and fantasy fanzines of the same strata. And for being "just another fanzine" as some would say Tiven really got the scoop before a whole lotta other fanzine editors did. I mean, well, how many 'zines woulda scored an interview with famed bootlegger Rubber Dubber, or (via Nick Tosches' reg'lar column) printed John 'n Yoko's telephone number which you could dial up and gab about the avgarde with 'em!

Can't complain even if I might take issue with a review here or there and yeah, I kinda find Meltzer's 180 dismissal after being a pretty good rah-rah-er for the mag (even contributing some of his better pieces such as his review of STICKY FINGERS) a traitorous act worthy of Benedict Whatzizname. The future Smegma lead singer'll hafta answer to St. Peter for that 'un, but for now I'll just laze back and enjoy these great mags which capture a whole lotta the better zeitgeist that was goin' on durin' them could be kinda treacherous times .I've found out a lot and learned some even (interesting album picks which led to actual purchases) from NEW HAVEN ROCK PRESS and if you think the whole thing to be rather turdsville man, do I pity ya!

Really, what other fanzoon during those sainted times was giving away now extremely valuable Fillmore posters with each issue, not to mention promo singles and strips of 8 mm film which probably ain't worth that much but I sure like the gag in the same way I liked the way KILLER boasted a free flexi on their cover with an actual one, melted to the point of ir-repair enclosed within. It's nice to see that some people still had a healthy sense of sicko humor back then.

It has been said that if God did not create TEENAGE WASTELAND GAZETTE man would have had to, and I fully agree with this downright FACT OF LIFE. Face it, TWG led the pack as far as bad taste, downright rude and crude rock fandom went, and if it weren't for them do you think we'd have had a BACK DOOR MAN or a whole slew of the fanzines that pretty much set the pace for that whole post-Bangs sneer at the rock stars style that certainly makes me feel warm 'n toasty inside? Of course not liver lips, It would be nothing but Robert Christgau and Ellen Willis if this particular publication hadn't come around and for that we should all be ETERNALLY GRATEFUL.

CRETINOUS CONTENTIONS sure swiped a lot from TWG as did NIX ON PIX (see below) and who knows how many others including this certain little fanzine that copped a lotta TWG's ideas and verse the same sorta way that Lou Costello used to espy Curly Howard from stage left. Lies, innuendo, wry revelations regarding the New Youth Culture and many other things are to be found amid the typos and intentional (?) lapses into poor grammar that seemed to be the hallmark of many fanzines of the past. And they even got BIG NAME WRITERS to contribute, like Nick Tosches on Pazo Hemmorhoid Gel and The Perfect Spiritual Master Maharaj Ji, Peter Stampfel with his lyrics to "The Running Pissing Man" (illustrated!), Meltzer on Ouzo and Lester Bangs on local hamburger chains. Bangs must have been so grateful for his chance to write for the mag since, before the end of the decade, he nailed TWG editor Adny Shernoff as a horrible racist. If you wanna know where the backstabbing trend in underground/fanzine writing began (and I should know...wanna see my back?) then just pick up that April '79 ish of THE VILLAGE (retch!) VOICE (not to mention a plethora of online sources which keep them old would open and seeping!) and see what tru blu friendship can REALLY turn out like!

With efforts in the fanzine realm such as DENIM DELINQUENT and PENETRATION having been collected in book form maybe it's time that someone had the smarts to collect TEENAGE WASTELAND GAZETTE 'n do the same. It sure would do the world good to get some REAL-LIFE ROCK 'N ROLL READING into their systems especially at a time when people like Ann Powers and Jessica Hopper are considered worthy enough to be published with their bile spread across many a library thus ruining the concept of rock 'n roll as PURE FERAL, TANTRIC ENERGY for many a kid who needs it.
ROCK ON (Brockport, NY 1972-1974)

It's debatable who put out the first actual ROCK CRUDZINE, but I find the word particularly offensive at times. Sure some fanzines worked on a shoestring sell plasma and collect bottles for refunds budget while others had their pop financing slick covered saddle-stapled affairs that look pristine even these days, but I figure that IT'S WHAT'S INSIDE THAT COUNTS and if a sloppy hand-job paste-up or a fancy slick covered affair is filled with blah writing about even blah-er subject matter well, that's what constitutes a real crudzine in my view!

ROCK ON would be considered "crudzine"-level by a few snobbish skanks out there in above-it-all-land, but I'm sure even a cursory look-see would prove quite otherwise. Sure the debut issue wouldn't seem to be that much what with a cover story on a live Sha Na Na concert, but a peek at the innards do prove a throbbing rock 'n roll heart was beating away which is really sayin; somethin' considering that 1972 wasn't exactly whatcha'd call a peak rock 'n roll year (albeit a good enough one with an AM radio rebirth leading the way). Even a chance peek inside proves that ROCK ON had an idea about what rock 'n roll was supposed to be about as far as maddened, thriving suburban slob ranch house kiddies were concerned...
Speaking of articles would some lovely person write a piece on the following groups : Kinks, Beatles, Stooges, Zombies, Velvet Underground, The Rolling Stones, Who, Chuck Berry, Eddie Cochran, Bo Diddley, Buddy Holly, Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis, Gene Vincent, Little Richard, Alice Cooper, Count V, Spencer Davis Group, Van Morrison, Them, Traffic, Bob Dylan, Byrds, Animals, T. Rex, Beach Boys, Procol Harum, Small Faces, Faces, Rod Stewart, Fugs, David Bowie, Capt. Beefheart, Jethro Tull, Blue Cheer, Butterfield, Yoko Ono...anyone you want, discography is optional.
Pretty hotcha selection of acts there with a few questionable entries I will add, but still hot enough to prove that the minds behind ROCK ON weren't your typical bell-bottomed laid back vegout types who seemed to pock the teenbo landscape of the days like chancres on a Led Zep groupie's mouth.

Oddly enough future ROCK ON editor and star in his own right Kenne Highland (then a mere fifteen-years-old...sheesh, 'n I couldn't even peck out a typewriter key at that age!) is hardly anywhere to be seen in the debut ish tho he is listed as a source for then-current bootlegs. However in later issues he seems to have taken command of the entire enterprise with original editor Al Baase slowly but surely being eased out. In retrospect I guess it might have been a better choice what with Highland's burgeoning punk rock energy taking command of the mag with him writing spirited pieces on the Stooges (even before RAW POWER thrust them even deeper into the fanzine spotlight), Slade and Grand Funk Railroad...great sagas in that they were written by a guy who was JUST DISCOVERING these groups and not some world-saving Big City creep who liked to inject every sort of quasiphilosophical blather he/she/it could into why James Taylor was music's answer to Ho Chi Minh. Lotsa reviews, coverage of then-greats like Steppenwolf and T. Rex, some one-sided issues, even some occasional eye-strain due to the typical mimeograph or spirit duplicator reproduction.
BOOGIE (Gulfport, MS 1972-1974)

As the mere existence of Eddie Flowers proves, the rage and roar of the Big Beat was present way beneath the Mason-Dixon line, and you can't get any Deeper South than Gulfport Mississippi where this essential fanzine came from. As editor John Bialas proved there was a whole lotta action down there back inna seventies, and reading about his ventures out into the wilds of New Orleans to see Blue Oyster Cult or his recent bargain bin finds sure does put the sanctimony of ROLLING STONE then and now in its proper place, the trash heap.

Pretty good (in that great not-talkin'-down-t'-ya way that makes you feel even stupider than you are) writing on the part of Bialas with loads of surprise opinions (like a pro-review of Yes's FRAGILE) as well as letters from the biggies like Greg Shaw, weird love letters to Joni Mitchell, Scott Duhamel's lyrics to the future Gizmos hit "Mean Screen", and the BONA FIDE REASON Lester Bangs got fired from ROLLING STONE due to his Canned Heat review, the letters to and from the group's manager to Bangs reprinted in full!

Mix that in with the expected (and MANDATORY) album and moom pitcher reviews and, in keeping with provincial pride, quite a bit on the local Southern Rock acts who were beginning to overrun the music scene an' ya got a mag that holds up swell even if you might not care one whit about whatever act it is that Bialas is writing about. It's sure great reading something written by and for total rock 'n roll maniacs an' it don't come off as if it was scribed by some sweetness 'n light type who's nothing but a modern-day version of those old tymey "uplifters" and "freedom riders" who you're kinda glad got their just desserts if only because of the gosh darned SANCTIMONY of it all.
BEDLOE'S ISLAND (Toms River, NJ 1971-1973 approx.)

I first heard about BEDLOE'S ISLAND via the Troggs issue of WHO PUT THE BOMP. Greg Shaw mentioned the first two issues in the fanzine column that came with the Bangs Troggs article sayin' that he found the debut issue to be too much in the ol' crudzine tradition what with the poor layout and double-spaced type, though the second one (pictured on the above left) was a major improvement and since I don't have the debut issue I can't really can't do a side-by-side like I sure would like to. But poor start or not BEDLOE'S ISLAND did make an impression on the fanzine-hungry rock populace of the day, even to the point where Miriam Linna give it a mention in her rock fanzine history printed in a late-1979 issue of THE NEW YORK ROCKER which I'm gonna hafta search out in my collection in order to give myself a much-needed re-education!

After reading a few of these mags I kinda get the impression that editor Jesse Farlow was spending most of his born days hunting through import bins searching for some elusive entry to praise in his pages. In fact, Farlow ran his own "Fish and Chips Imports" biz selling a whole load of overseas goodies both needed (Amon Duul II, Can, Syd Barrett) and not and at the prices that we sure wish we could pay for 'em today! In udder words BEDLOE'S ISLAND had a strong affectation for the continental side of seventies music and with articles on acts like Slade, an interview with Tony McPhee of the Groundhogs, Fairport Convention and reviews of King Crimson, the Move and Roxy Music you pretty much knew where the heart and soul of this fanzine lied!

Of course it wasn't all European content, what with a Richard Meltzer article (complete with a pic of him downing hooch during some lost weekend) on the Flamin' Groovies which happens to be a totally prefabricated account of their reason for existence but funny and NECESSARY enough for any serious teenager's reading list. Prozine and fanzine reviews and other interesting turdbits are to be found within the pages of BEDLOE'S ISLAND, and although Farlow is one of those people who sorta vanished from sight after this mag went under I still think it wise for some organization to preserve the true nature and force of rockism to track him down just so we can all say "thanks". A contender for one of the better seventies rock screeds imaginable...really.
NIX ON PIX (Edison NJ, 1973)

I own three of the four extant issues of NIX ON PIX, missing the debut issue which I gotta say leaves a hole bigger in my rock 'n roll soul than the hole Don Lemon has after the sailors go back to sea. A really sad situation given how EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US needs a mag like this not only to get us through the tedium of the day but to stimulate our never endings even more than one of those foot massagers they sell during the commercial breaks on TOMBSTONE TERRITORY.

Along with CRETINOUS CONTENTIONS you can tell that NIX ON PIX got more than its share of energy from TEENAGE WASTELAND GAZETTE's definitely non-serious applications of seventies-vintage Meltzerianisms. However while TWG didn't have one serious word printed within any of its at-times faded pages NIX ON PIX (which was heavily illustrated---don't let the title fool ya) was loaded with real and informative pieces which might have been sarcastic and void of the tongue to anus application so common elsewhere, but was more "fun with a purpose" than HIGHLIGHTS FOR CHILDREN ever could be!

The usual fanzine mafia appears within NIX ON PIX's well laid-out pages. Take the WHISKEY FOOD AND MUSIC issue (#3) which besides having an article entitled "Why Mott the Hoople Were Great Before David Bowie" and the usual fanzine and record reviews which remain essential lo these many years later, also has (in keeping with the issue's theme) editor Peter Tomlinson's own personal survey of local hamburger food chains and (now get this!) the ever-bloomin' R. Meltzer on CONSUMING YOUR OWN NUMBER TWO which according to Meltzer is a more common occurrence than even you may think! It's big in England according to Meltzer and hey, if you're cutting costs and want more money to buy records and such maybe you can take a tip or two from this very article! After all, even famed psychiatrist Fred Wertham mentioned that his patient Albert Fish regularly chomped on his own doody and that the prosecuting attorney at his in trial actually made the point that such behavior was totally normal, that a prominent New York figure even sampled his caga along with his salad and guess what...THE JURY ATE IT UP! If Charles Laughton could do it, YOU CAN TOO!

Couple this with a great 'un on the Groundhogs by the MIA Hot Scott Fischer (where he manages to bring up a rather heretofore unknown Velvet Underground comparison), even more Meltzer on off track betting, an article on the Dictators by Lester Bangs even before the group got their moniker plus a Hoodoo Rhythm Devils live at Max's review (I never cared for 'em but they did have a soft spot in many a fanziner's heart) and you got another pretty good example of what a fanzine should look, feel and read like! I wish more people did their own home made mags like just might have saved us from alla that garment rending hippie mewl that was so in-vogue during my growing up days!
RECORD RAVES (Stone Harbor NJ, 1977)

It's way too bad that this promising fanzine (edited by fanzine reg'lar Charles P. "Chip" Lamey) only lasted two issues. Maybe people were put off by the title thinkin' RECORD RAVES was another SONG HITS or some fodder designed to appeal to the lowest slickest most squeaky-clean aspects of a late-seventies teenbodom---kids who would prefer listening to Mantovani with a beat (namely, anything considered proper and commercial) over atonal hard-edged blare that attempted to liberate more'n a few trapped kids out there in turdsvilleland.

But eh, those two issues did serve their purpose what with their fresh looks at music both old and new with professional layout and a nice attitude that kinda reminds me of the old BALLROOM BLITZ long before they blitzed themselves into eternity. The mood seems nice and friendly enough to the point where you don't feel as if you're being lectured to by a buncha people who KNOW MORE THAN YOU DO and like to lord it over your head. Like all of the other mags mentioned here, one that never had the chance to deliver on ALL of the promise, but what it did deliver on was fine enough by me.


JAMZ (Flushing, NY 1972-1973)

A fanzine that stands out not only because it was one of the first non-rockabilly/r 'n b fanzines out there next to BOMP! and the aforementioned NEW HAVEN ROCK PRESS and HYPERION, but because it actually got a positive mention in Dr. Fredric Wertham's tome on fanzines where he tried to prove to all the world that he was just as sensitive and as free-flowing as all of those pacifist youth types who hated him anyway!

Five humongous issues of this came out over little more than a year's span, and each of 'em really dig into the whole idea of early-seventies rock fandom at a time when very little fandom was being directed at the English groups or the mid-sixties bands who must have seemed like yesterday's news to the majority of rock consumers up and about at the time. But outside of the little sprinklings of sixties garage band worship that was beginning to make itself known to the denizens who would later on fill the pages of FLASH (see below), it was JAMZ that was perpetrating the whole idea of sixties rock fandom, along with a nice peek into the better aspects of the bargain bin and of course early asides and appraisals of groups like the Stooges and Flamin' Groovies who sure could have used a lot more coverage than they were getting in the everyday straight (i. e. ROLLING STONE) press. Editor Alan Betrock really must have had this thumb on the pulse of under-the-counterculture teenbo Ameriga, even to the point where a nice li'l story on JAMZ (complete with a pic of a long haired and bearded Betrock holding up a copy of his first ish!) appeared in none other than THE NEW YORK TIMES.

JAMZ might have had a little bit of the collectors mindset to it what with discographies for everything from Regal Zonophone to Harvest Records singles, but they also had a sense of the adventurous and energetic that was seriously lacking in a lotta music during those days. The contributors didn't hurt any, what with Adny Shernoff doing a high-larious spoof of sports coverage with rock bands taking the place of teams ("It's sad but true----The Velvet Underground just aren't what they used to be. Doug Yule is trying to pass this year's team off as the 1968 champion, but one look at the statistics tells the true story".), Metal Mike Saunders schpieling off on the Shadows of Knight, and even R. Meltzer reviewing singles such as the infamous Titfield Thunderbolt "Born on the Wrong Planet" along with the likes of none other than Lester Bangs, a man who eventually made his hatred of Betrock during the NEW YORK ROCKER days rather well known. Who woulda known, especially since JAMZ was the mag that gave the New York Dolls some of their earliest publicity and over all champeen'd the same sorta rough ramalama that separated Bangs from the more sophisticado critics back during the Jann Wenner saturated rock snob days when the battle lines were drawn up rather fiercely.

Still if you can locate any of these JAMZ they'd be worth the effort to snatch up. They contain some of the better rock reading to be found especially during those rather mellowed out times and remain so even a good almost five decades later. The spirit and energy of what rock 'n roll used to mean before the hippies grew up and patted each other's backs to the point of spinal bifida can be easily enough found, and it's a shame something like JAMZ is ignored especially when you STILL come across teens (once in awhile or so) pour across old issues of ROLLING STONE as if they were absorbing all of the right and proper aspects of total stick-it-to-the-man revolutionary put on, not knowing that for all intent purposes Mr. Wenner is "the man" and don't you ever forget it!

NEW ORDER (Ft. Lauderdale FLA, 1977)

Two issues of this professionally executed fanzine came out, and like in the case of FLASH (see below) it's interesting to conjure up what this mag woulda turned out to be had it lasted for at least another five or so years. These NEW ORDERs are typeset with screened photos looking pretty much like the pre-national TROUSER PRESS in many ways, and the fact that the interview and general subject matter at hand (the Cramps, Blue Oyster Cult, Patti Smith) was of the highest quality it's a shame everything tumbled after these two came out. Especially since Lester Bangs contributed an article for the next issue which I'm afraid has been lost to all time.

But eh, at least these two NEW ORDERs stand as a testament to what any teenbo kid (in this case Jim Marshall) could do if only he had the $$$ to do it and a writing capability far beyond what even a college newspaper twinkoid could come up with trying to express her admiration for infectious vaginal smells. Overall a professional, clean and well-produced effort, and I love the thing in spite of that!
TB SHEETS (Los Angeles CA, 1977-1978)

Yeah I know, El Lay was just burstin' with fanzines during them days, but TB SHEETS was different. It lacked the heavy duty budget that could support SLASH not to mention the wild rock mania that saturated BACK DOOR MAN. The guys who put this out, Tom Couch and Bob Stremel, seemed more or less like any other late-teen types who went to college and perhaps worked a part-time job (in other words, were too busy with real life to see all the shows and buy all the records) but managed to get a rock fanzine out in their spare time and enjoy the power and energy that was exploding around them as much as their limited budgets could. And for some not-so-strange reason, I find their efforts just as good (if not better) than some of the fanzine efforts that I'm sure were created by upper-midclass or downright RICH kids who had daddy funding their high-gloss product. I mean, TB SHEETS was one-sided with reduced sideways printed material to be found therein (sorta like some of the early pages to be found in THE NEXT BIG THING) but it sure as you smell rocked on nonetheless.

Yeah maybe I could quibble about some of the tastes expounded on here like Van Halen and the Doobie Brothers as if they weren't getting enough coverage elsewhere, but the punk ideal and a variety of opinions really made TB SHEETS one of those mags I just can't get enough of. In many ways TB SHEETS would have been pretty much the same kinda mag had it debuted a good four years earlier than it did, with enough of the punk mayhem still firmly instilled mixed in with the voracious roar that made early-seventies hard rock such a monster before it all 'luded itself into eternity.

If someone could dig up Tom and Bob for an interview boy, that would make for a good saga! 'n really, if the pair are still up and breathin' I do get the feelin' that they'd consider their fanzine efforts to have been but a mere teenyweeny footnote in the annals of their existences even if WE know a whole lot better! But anyway try to latch on to some of these if you like spirited, non-pretentious everyday guy sorta rock reading that doesn't pretend to be more fashionable and caustic than thou, ifyaknowaddamean..
FUTURE (Rochester, New York 1977-1980)

I hold FUTURE editor Greg Prevost in extremely high esteem and not only because I lust after his record collection and his hairline as well. And I gotta say that I rate FUTURE even higher than I do his eighties fanzine OUTASITE if only for the total daft nature of it with fun just dripping from each and every page devoted to Greg's heroes both old and new written with a spirit and verve that never would have flashed by Robert Christgau's stodgy mindset even if the guy isn't in the throes of Alzheimer's even as we speak (but would it make a difference?)

Naturally it's gonna be hard to review these mags impartially, especially since I hold such a deep respect for not only the magazine but the folk who created it, but I'll try. I really dig everything about this mag from the hand-printed interviews and reviews to the old pix and ads as well as the opinions expressed which are necessarily those of the staff and managed of FUTURE.

You too can read the entire five issue run if you'relucky enough to snatch these rags up and see for yourself just how much Greg and company had evolved from suburban slob punk and esoteric sound types to sixties garage band aficionados within the span of a good three years. Oh yeah, the sparks of the eighties "revival" can be seen even at this early state what with the hallowed references to the likes of Sky, but for someone who had read the early OUTASITEs and Greg's proclamations about 1966 as the hub of true teenage rock fanaticism the early spewings regarding krautrock do seem rather strange indeedy. And me being a guy who always thought that Prevost, like Greg Shaw, kept his Brian Jones locks intact even when it became unfashionable to have bowl cut clips will be surprise to see that Prevost looked just about as burned out as those guys in the denim jackets who used to try to bum maryjane offa ya while extolling the grandness of Ted Nugent guitar solos, one reason I had loathed the return of bad metal inna eighties with a not-so-surprisingly rabid vengeance...

But eh, I love every word (even the colloquial naughty ones!) in FUTURE just as much as I love the pin ups, the record reviews, the snide insults directed towards the more commercial aspects of the music biz and of course the way Prevost and his compats Carl Mack and Michael Ferrara loved to emulate the BETTER aspects of seventies rock screeding an' I don't mean the complacent dorks at ROLLING STOOL either! And of course the Dad comics which crack me up even if they are a rather not-so-veiled in joke directed at a known Rochester entity who I understand is still up and about!

In other words, yet another one for a well-deserved swift reissue status!
COWABUNGA (Midland Michigan 1973-1978 here or there)

Wow, wotta idea! A fanzine about other fanzines, and future GOLDMINE contributor John Koenig sure did a swell job at that with COWABUNGA! It was about time that rock fandom had the spotlight shined on itself when this mag debuted, and with the growth of the form in the early-seventies it was only natural that such a fanzine would spring up to give a li'l insight into where you should send those quarters and stamps to. After all money like that was pretty hard to come by way back when, especially when albums were settin' ya back a good $4.99.

The quality on these varied. Early issues were hand-cranked and maybe not that spiffy looking while the bicentennial one was actually printed on quality paper and saddle-stapled. Future ones were not quite as good even if the layout definitely did improved (but it was back to the single sheet staple job), and with the advent of the under-the-underground music of the time the fanzine coverage eventually went by the wayside. Still this was a good place to read about what I'm sure the writers read about in the English weaklies and passed on second-hand, plus it's also a good place to find out just what fanzines are worth seeking out now that these old ones are becoming rarer'n chaste homos in San Francisco.

A very worthwhile endeavor especially for anal retentive savant types like myself who can't get enough into his system as far as seventies rock fanzines are concerned. And yeah it sure is heartening to know that, even back in the seventies, there were people who did care about the state of rock 'n roll enough to have created such a fine fanzines as this. For those of you entertained by the form, COWABUNGA will stir embers in your musical mind of a time I'm sure you wish you would have immersed yourself in, but where is a GILLIGAN'S ISLAND rerun-watching bloke like you gonna find out about the Detroit scene anyway? Certainly not Adam VIII oldies commercials.



Like I once said...whot a racket!!!! Get the Buffalo State College to fund your fanzine via the Student Activity Fee and put out a regularly published rag ("alternative Thursdays during the academic year and monthly during the summer") while soaking up international fame in rock fandom even if the majority of college kid readers who pick this up for FREE will probably barf at the decidedly anti-hippoid CREEM angle found therein. For those of you who liked the CREEM method of rock writing as opposed to the ROLLING STOOL Marin County beat off, SHAKIN' STREET GAZETTE was one mag that really would have brightened up your otherwise droll rock existence especially if the only rock readin' you got was via the torn cover CIRCUS back issues given away for free at the local record emporium..

An outgrowth of the STRAIT student newspaper, SHAKIN' STREET GAZETTE really did have its finger on the pulse of the better (or at least more interesting) aspects of mid-seventies rock 'n roll miasma, and like big guys at CREEM they were more'n anxious to promote the the old standbys and new fresh sounds that were being released in between the usual humdrum. Not that "humdrum" was absent from its pages as these guys covered just about EVERYTHING hotcha (and worthy of your feeble attention) that was happening in a music world that was a whole lot better'n what some early-seventies loathers have told us for years on end. Of course that meant that such greats like future CREEM contributor Joe Fernbacher would thankfully be laying waste to a Cat Stevens album and it sure was CATHARTIC reading alla those reviews where the staff would tear into alla those acts that I found so pompous and hydrogen-filled, giving them the proper discard that they've oh so needed their entire careers. Maybe that's why SHAKIN' STREET GAZETTE lost its funding and went outta biz, to which I say SO WHAT ELSE IS NEW???

's funny, but many fanzines had been promising that editor Gary Sperazza (later to drift off into WHO PUT THE BOMP-work and eventually the ether) was gonna have a new SHAKIN' STREET GAZETTE out 'n about "any day now" although that never did materialize. SSG subordinates like Mitch Hejna and Bernard Kugel was somehow able to keep the Buffalo fanzine spirit moving with 1976's FOXTROT but this tabloid ended amid a clash between the rockers and the higher ups who were more or less trying to emulate ROLLING STONE's New Journalism ineptitude 'stead of CREEM's sarcastic implications. Oh well, another one for the FANZINE FANABLA graveyard of not-ready-for-prime-time-players who always seemed to outshine the professionals at every turn no matter how professional and downright nauseating every twist and turn had become.
Of course I've omitted plenty if only for the sake of what I wished would have been brevity. But as you already know I do love the biggies I purposefully left out. I mean, I've blabbed on about BACK DOOR MAN's and DENIM DELINQUENT's snot nosed reflections of the wilder side of rock fandom which automatically places both of them, along with the seminal FLASH, at the tippy top of the fanzine heap. (Besides, in case you didn't know there was, on my humble part, a total SUBJECTIVITY in my creation of this list which would figure considering the subjectivity that has been heaped upon me o'er the years.) It would also be criminal not to mention CAN'T BUY A THRILL and a few mags yet to be discovered which just might fit into the upper echelons of seventies North Amerigan fanzine greatness. I'm sure that everybody who has read this far down the overwrought page already has each and every issue of these particular mags which have been honored and hosanna'd by me to the point of puke. Then there are the others who should have popped up somewhere in the above mess yet got left out of the kerfuffle like BOMP (actually TOO BIG even for this particular appraisal), BIG STARTWIST AND SHOUTO. REXTACY, TEENAGE RAMPAGERAW POWERGULCHERPIG PAPERHOOPLACHATTERBOX, ROLLIN' ROCK, USELESS INFORMATION, CLETEENAGE NEWS and many more I have yet to discover, and I am sure there are plenty. Let's also give a big hand job to the furrin' competition...THE NEXT BIG THINGI WANNA BE YOUR DOGROCK NEWSHONEY THIS AIN'T NO ROMANCE, FEELING, AYLESBURY ROXETTE, OUT THERE (still looking for hi-quality copies or even originals of the entire run of JUNGLELAND and some of the very early PANACHEs if anyone out there wants to HELP OUT THE CAUSE!)... They did their doody and did it well, and maybe one-a-these-days they'll all get some earthly reward for bein' such hep cats in a world that not only celebrates, but encourages banality.


Molly Hatcheck Girl said...

Doesn't New Order #2 have an... interesting photo in it?

PS: Jeffrey Epstein didn't kill himself.

PPS: Pete Townshend didn't pull a Cosby on his own rear end.

debs said...

lol captain bee fart again lol

Alvin Bishop said...

Quiet a haul, Chris! I confess: I've never even heard of any of these! Obscure!

As for rock 'zines, I eschewed Rolling Stone. Too corporate, even in the early days. I went for Crawdaddy (Paul Williams era) and Rock. Later, Trouser Press and NY Rocker. But they were Time or Newsweek compared to these homemade efforts! Mind boggling what you unearth!


Joni Mitchell said...

They paved paradise, put up a parking lot for a record store that sells my records made out of petroleum-based stuff. And the record covers are made out of murdered trees! Those trees di'n't make it to the tree museum for you to see 'em! Sorry, not sorry. Ha ha ha! Buy my records, ya dumb dopes! I need heroin money! PS: Jeffrey Epstein di'n't kill himself! Nope! No more than poor Pete Townshend sodomized his own heinie! I may be a dope addict, but I ain't no dope! PPS: I call Yoko Ono a Big Yellow Taxi! Or is it Screaming Yellow Zonker?

Pops O'Reilly said...


MoeLarryAndJesus said...

Crescenzo Capece still writes reviews (mostly on music) for Amazon. Maybe you can contact him and see if he has that 3rd issue.

Steve Rowland said...

Hi Chris, Steve here - I'm researching fanzines for new book on British Punk fanzines published in march 2021 (but going to print in Nov 2020). We reference early mid 70s USA and I'm after covers including Punk by Billy Altman which is how I came to your blog. Looking for help getting scans of covers like this one - would that be possible please? best regards Steve, Punkzines (UK)

Christopher Stigliano said...

Steve, there is a scan of the original PUNK #1 on this blog somewhere. If I can find my original copy I can try to send a better quality cover repro to you.

Steve Rowland said...

Hi Chris, thanks for reply, I did see a copy on the blog but you are right - a better quality repro is needed for print (300 dpi same size scan is ideal) hope you can find it - thanks steve

Christopher Stigliano said...

Hey Steve---try this link!

steve said...

that's great thank you chris

Christopher Stigliano said...

Steve, let me know when the book is available. I'd like to buy a copy.