I have this idea for a new project that will unspool itself in blog form, which is just perfect because the idea of a blog has by late 2022 become such an anachronism that I’m already marking myself as obsolete, regressive and partial to failed communication mediums. Not only that, I’m already super-late for the great “rock fanzine craze”. You know, the one kick-started by the Fuckin’ Record Reviews site that is itself so anachronistic that it still exists on Tumblr. Tony, the guy behind it, started making a small empire out of scans from his 80s/90s underground rock fanzine collection around 2013 or so, and he subsequently kick-started something of a wider digital focus on the analog world of printed music material of the past.
Others followed. There’s a terrific podcast hosted by Armen Svadjian called Rock Writ in which he conducts “explorations in rock criticism and old-school fanzine culture”, with interviews of writers and publishers past and present. He’s even interviewed me, for crissakes. Dave Lang, longtime blogger, Australian and record store empresario, has a great Instagram in which all he does is scan fanzines from his collection, then wax lyrical about them.
So let’s just say Fanzine Hemorrhage isn’t especially breaking new ground. My idea here is to pick a single issue of a fanzine from the many I’ve collected and saved over many years, then use that issue as a jumping-off point for writing about whatever I think might be worth blathering about at the moment. It might be the magazine itself; it might be something covered within that issue, and hey, it might even be some nostalgia-drenched tale of the time & place in which it was created, or some story I’ve heard or experienced that connects to something in that issue. It could be something else entirely, we’ll see. But I do have a lot of rock music fanzines. I think they’re one of the great underground cultural art forms of our time, a radical democratization of publishing, and – as of this writing – a nearly dead medium. I collect the good ones and add them to my stable as often as I’m able to afford them.
What gives me the right, you ask? Look, I’m not trying to monetize anything here; this is just a way to try and keep my writing chops, such as they are, fresh enough to stave off eventual dementia. I myself have published printed music fanzines in fits and starts since 1991, with a lengthy time off between 1998 and 2013 as I took part in the blogging era which is itself now long-past (until this new blog of mine, of course). I even traveled to Shenzhen, China in 2018 and gave a talk called Underground Music Print Fanzines in a Digital-First World, no joke. In my Dynamite Hemorrhage magazine, I’ve covered Forced Exposure fanzine at length (issue #7); Slash magazine (the entirety of issue #8) and Take It! fanzine (issue #10).
With kudos and thanks to the aforementioned others who’re mining this field wonderfully, let me see what I can come up with here; hopefully it’s worth a hoot from time to time. Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org, and please, drop a comment here or on one of the pieces if you have something you’d like to add or an anecdote to share.