Sunday, February 26, 2006

Disaster #4 (Summer 1987)

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.

Some observations:

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...

Monday, February 20, 2006

Shredded Slime #7

Presented in its entirety, it's full xerox, Mac-art, glue layout, staple on the upper corner glory - From 1987: a massive, tense, awkward and funny NO TREND interview, a Traci Lords review, a page (seven) from Brett of PSYCODRAMA, a BUTTHOLE SURFERS slag, THE SHAKES interview (the one from Illinois) and a psychotic rant I received on Mr. Magoo. Enjoy. Or not.

One observation:
- NO TREND were prescient in their musing that in the future people will make CDs that sound like LPs: "that's going to be the wave of the future, adding noise to CDs to make them sound like LPs" (page 15)

*Click on the images to make them bigger to read - if there's a magnifying glass substituted for your cursor, it means you can click again to get it bigger...

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Sound Choice #1, Jan/Feb 1984

This week's posting is one of the two offspring of the John Foster's OP magazine, one of the first "catalog" independent publications. OP begat both Sound Choice (1984-1992) and Option, the more commercial of the two (it went out of publication in 2004). Sound Choice, as you can see from the cover terms itself the "music magazine for the INDEPENDENT minded" and it continued in this abashadly non-commercial vein for its life. Whereas Option looked for greater distribution and introducing the underground and independent to the mainstream, Sound Choice instead took the approach of trying to make the current community more intertwined and creating a resource to help others "join"

Hence, you didn't subscribe to Sound Choice, you joined the "Audio Evolution Network." If you were an independent minded musician, listener or a writer, there was a ton of info in Sound Choice - radio station addresses, record labels, artist addresses, and even classifieds in the back. And of course, if you sent your recording in for review, you would get a review (one paragraph but a review nonetheless) whereas many magazines expressed editorial selection over what they would review. The downside is that such a one-size-fits-all approach can be pretty boring and watered down. There's even two pages of reviews in the which the reviewer (Mykel Board) states he won't make any "value judgements"... Well, I guess that's all find and good but without opinions, things can get pretty bland quickly. Although the other reviewers include their opinions - they usually do so tepidly. But there was ONE value judgement made implicitly in that if you were on a "major label" you wouldn't be written about in Sound Choice...

In this 72-page ish, lots of articles on stuff beginning with the letter A (mimicing OP's quirky approach - the next issue would have lots of "B" things and so on). So Algebra Suicide, Art Bears, Albany's acoustic scene, anarchist radio, album covers (reprinted below) and American Splendor get featured. The reviews are many - good stuff residing with the bad stuff (no editorial selection, just review whatever they sends you I guess). I was interested to verify that the underground's love for Ennio Morricone is not just a recent thing - there's an enthusiatic review by a J. Stacey Bishop (hmmm, any relation to Sir Richard Bishop?) of Morricone's La Grande Bourgeoise soundtrack. Jandek and Jarboe (pre-Swans) releases are reviewed (the reviewers express concern for the mental health of the artists). Mostly underwhelming then and now - the most interesting article, or at least the only one I read all the way through, was Diana Zincavage's memoir of doing punk album covers for the Circle Jerks and Lisa Fancher (she also did China White and Adolescents) - reprinted below.

*click to enlarge*

Fuzzlogic has a searchable index for Sound Choice (and OP and Option)
Sound Choice's Editor-in-Chief David Ciaffardini's rarely updated blog

NOTE: Once again, I wanted to note that this is a group blog - if you want to join, let me know and I'll send you an invite.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Official Premiere Posting: Teenage Gluesniffin' 101 and Damp #2

UPFRONT SPIEL (to be reprinted in first coupla postings).

So, welcome to Teenage Gluesniffer, named in homage to two great songs and one great lost fanzine, which I only read in someone else's bedroom, as all good fanzines should be read.

This is a GROUP BLOG - if you want to join it, please drop me a line (you need a blogger account) - I'd love to have ya.

The mission is write about and scan in samples from your favorite saved fanzines, memorabilia of the past. Since my "past" is defined as spanning the years 1979 and on and in case you didn't catch on from the title, the focus is on the post-1979 American / UK punk-alternative-indie music scene but if you're into old lady's lingerie catalogs, then by all means, bring it on. The only constraint is you gotta write about it, talk about what you like, don't like, even try to make it funny and interesting (since I'm blog editor, I reserve the right to be a boring jackass, however).

Note that this is intended to be a "fair use" only site and not an archive nor do we want to infringe on copyright. As such, we accept no advertising or promos or swag or whatever. If you're the owner of one of these fanzines, tough, write insults in the comments section if you don't like it and maybe we'll just start an old-fashioned flame war or maybe I'll just drive to your home and set your lawn on fire, suburban bitchhole.

Please recommend some blogroll and links to put on the side here. Onto the first posting.


DAMP 2 came from, as most fanzines do, a small town - South Millington, Connecticutt (a state which I manifestly refuse to learn how to spell on general principle - please rename it Cutt or something) - issue #2, already a newsprinty, 8 1/2" x 11", staple-binded 46 whopping pages is dated 1987. Editor Kevin Kraynick seemed mostly inspired, like many zines of the era, by Forced Exposure and its jazz editor Byron Coley- so much so that not only is Coley the subject of a two part interview, he's mentioned in the first sentence of the lead editorial and a letter Coley wrote is reprinted in full at the top of their "Letter Nook" section. Coley commends them for covering Mofungo in their first ish and suggests they also investigate the Blinding Headache / Information Nucleus family tree. Not that the guy who rediscovered so many forgotten artists and made the career for a many other deserving folk doesn't deserve his own fanzine, but should have just called this Coley Youth instead of Damp. But then come to think of it, they're pretty much the same thing.

The 'tude is mostly Too Smug in Suburbia or I Know Who The Residents Are, Do You? - here's Kraynick in his lead editorial moaning about people who live in big cities (read: Boston and NYC) and write fanzines full of band gossip:
"You people want to live in a goddamn stinking ant farm go right the fuck ahead, but I'd prefer to kick back here in Nowheresville and be left alone. I see all about all the shows I need to see by shagging my ass to Providence or New Haven every once in a while."
He then proceeds to relate all the latest band news and gossip from Boston and NYC (and The Residents).

The record reviews are 2nd-rate Coley - what they lack for in originality and innovativeness, they make up for in unintended artful mockery of his scatological 2nd-rate Melzter imitation. Here's what's reviewer Dead Bob writes about the Grateful Dead's uber-crap In The Dark album: "Following the pattern of the locust, these tour-crazedgestalt emissaries have shit out their first studio log in seven years. Holy bashoogi! About fucking time, I was starting to wonder if Jerry would die first." But you can't hate an acolyte for trying and Bob's Band Equation (reprinted below, page 44) more than make up for it.

Here's their acidic take on the long and properly forgotten Hugo Largo's Drum album:
"Currently standing trial on gange rape charges in Pasadena with tour mates the Beastie Boys. Former mosh monster who now prefer the "hip hop styles." Co-produced by Mumbles Stipe who helped write their tune "Second Skin" about the harrowing operation he recently underwent to have his foreskin reattached to his penis. I was tear-dropping for days"
There are more samples of record reviews on page 33 below. The interviews are kinda silly and true to fanzine form, overly long - they ask Snakehand what his favorite salad dressing is only because they want to hear the London-born guitarist say "Raunch, Raunch dressing" so I give them credit for that. An excruciating Zoogz Rift interview crowns the issue. But reading an artist, any artist, yammer and whine about how expensive it is to tour (yawn) and how he debates making his records more accessible with his label to get more radio play (double yawn) - well, you get the picture. Much more interesting is reading Zoogz talk about obsession with Frank Zappa who he calls a "father figure" and brags "cannot kiss Frank Zappa's ass enough" (he then proceeds to trash Zappa's latter period synclavier work) . If Zoogz wasn't a creepy enough guy for ya, he even frets over why Frank won't respond to his mail: "...he might resent my existence thinkin' to himself, 'Oh Christ, I could do alot better than that. This guy's being compared to me? This geek?'" Heh.

On the Internets, Damp 5 is remembered best as it was an all Beefheart issue and Beefheart fans pretty much own a small country in cyberspace. Here's a reprint of Kraynick's embarassing phone call to Don van Vliet
and United Mutations has a photo of Damp 5's cover. Well enjoy these page scans from Damp 2 and tell me if you like this blog. If Kevin or any of the staff writers are out there, please drop in some comments and let me know about your experience with Damp.


Wednesday, February 01, 2006