A lot of people know that Bill Callahan was a fanzine guy way back but not many people have seen it. Bill and I had a short letter writing relationship back in the '80s and I contributed to this issue although I'm too embarassed to reprint those reviews. I finally met Bill at the Suckdog show. I went home and later wrote a song lyric about him called "Billy Storm" (never put it to music) - the night I met him, he looked like he had a perpetual black cloud above his head that was so heavy it forced his head down and his body into a slouch. I guess he saw that cloud but interpreted it as Smog instead of a black cloud. That night I went home with one of Suckdog's band members and we lay on my bed kissing all night. I promised (in the throes of passion) to drive them to Ohio, a promise I later reneged on when I came to my hungover senses the next day. A few weeks later, I got a letter from Bill informing that he was going on the road with the very same person (Debbey Puff) and starting his career. It was like he had joined the circus. I never heard from him again.
His most recent work (A River Ain't Too Much to Love) is bar-none my favorite record of 2005 - a year that had many noteworthy releases.
Disaster was a superlative fanzine which was anchored by Bill's careful yet often funny writing (he still does that in his lyrics). There's a reprint of his review of a Broken Siren show (a strident feminist Dischord band that got to play a lot of shows in DC in that period) that just "kicks the dust" out of me. He's got the snarky letters, lots of name checking, tons of reviews, interviews with bands that indicate his superlative taste (well, Sex Clark Five and Halo of Flies). Funny piece on what Tom Pig does during a typical day ("6:30PM Pig has an apertif while watching the sun and his neighbor's wife, go down.") and Bill's trademark Desert Island Discs (who knew Tom Hazelmeyer liked the Soft Boys? and Rob Straker listened to Mozart)
Here are a few pages from Issue 4 which I think is the only one I ended up contributing to.
In Bill's review of GG Allin's Hated in the Nation tape, he admires him for "not faking it" and putting his life "however fucked up -- on the stage." Just for comparisons sake, here's a sample lyric from last year's "Running the Loping":
I lay on the bed in the dark
laughing at things I think of
Getting off on the pornography
of my past
One the same page, he also expresses that he is "increasingly puzzled" by Beat Happening because they are "more of an excuse to get together with friends as opposed to some sorta soul-purging act or whatever"... he obviously chose the latter in his work.
The pictures of Alex Chilton offered without comment include one with Alex and Bill's original teen crush, Paul Westerburg who is receding into the background as Chilton moves up front.
the masthead and Bill's misanthropic editorial...
A sample of Bill's show reviews *click to see it larger*
More reviews by Bill and a Calvin drawring...
A splash page for his Halo of Flies interview - whoo hoo...
Halo of Flies interview continued *click to make larger*
Halo of Flies interview continued
Halo of Flies and the uncommented upon Chilton/Westerburg photos...
Bill's back page "Desert Island Discs" - not the contribution of a certain blogger...