Since the day I purchased this one in the Spring of 1988, Too Fun Too Huge! #2 has been a “top quartile” fanzine in my overall “fanzine collection”, so much so that I’ve been trying to find a copy of TFTH #1 for the better part of my life. Do you have one?
I’m going to say right here that it’s not for everyone. Ostensibly there are two editors here – a guy named George Boulukos, who writes an exceptionally unfunny “I Hate Rock and Roll” editorial and then reviews a bunch of metal records, and the guy whom I really associate with this otherwise mostly fantastic fanzine, Patrick Amory. The Too Fun Too Huge! mailing address happens to also be Patrick Amory’s New York street address, so my guess is that he did most of the heavy lifting on this one. What very little I know about Amory came from this lone fanzine and the knowledge that he later went on to help run Matador Records in a “senior position”. Hey, he’s got his own Wikipedia entry.
This magazine epitomizes the late 80s fanzine gusto, panache, and sangfroid (if you will) that made me such a rabid fanzine accumulator at the time. Often nasty, undermining and downright mean, it’s of a league with Forced Exposure, Conflict and Disaster, all top-tier fanzines of the era that knew everything about music, reviewed nearly every record, and were absolutely standing by to tell you why certain small independent bands were not merely “bad at music”, but were the scum of the earth, ought to be shot etc etc. Or even more so, why certain other writers or scene denizens were; Jack Rabid and Chris Stigliano come under pretty heavy incoming fire in this one, as they both so often did.
And listen – I loved every bit of it then, even if it was bands I liked being trashed. I still enjoy reading this 100x more than most music things now. I’ve written about this elsewhere, but I remember unnaturally affecting a bit of this know-it-all east coast fanzine persona in my own conversations & arguments with friends about the music they personally liked, verbally trashing The Replacements or Sham 69 or whomever because I felt it was the right cool move at age 20. Then I’d wince when someone I totally loved at the time – Soul Asylum or Lazy Cowgirls, say – would get the same sort of treatment from one of these adored mags.
My persona didn’t last that long. I really just couldn’t fake enough negative emotion about an independent rock band, and it’s rarely felt satisfying enough to unequivocally trash something in print, mostly because I could never do it as wittily nor with half as much invective as these fellas. And they were running into many of their targets at NYC/Boston shows all the time, I’d have to imagine. I wasn’t, but I still remember the time Mick Collins cornered me at a show in San Francisco in the mid/late 90s and was like, “Hey man, what the fuck is your problem with the Dirtbombs?”. “Um no, Mr. Collins, jeez I….well I really liked The Gories and I….”. Nah, I wasn’t built for it.
TFTH #2 is the first place I ever read anything about Fairport Convention, not exactly a “Topic A” band on most late 80s hipsters’ lips at the time. Amory is also a huge New Zealand music fiend and especially cottons on to The Chills and The Clean as the most essential of the bunch. Somehow this guy reviews basically every Bill Direen disc released over the previous two-year period as well; my take was that those (not-very-good) records were mostly impossible to find in the US. They interview Michael Hudson of The Pagans, who’d recently reformed and who, in 1987-88, were among my top 3-4 “favorite bands of all time” (please note that I heard them for the first time most likely in 1987).
But it’s funny, too, the way Amory gets super worked-up about music he thinks is shit and then devotes a long interview to the Moving Targets (most readers: who??) and then praises the comedic & art skills of Peter Bagge (really?). I mean, there’s no accounting for taste, and thankfully that’s a point Armory himself makes in his full-page Chris Stigliano takedown as well. I also, in today’s re-read, quite enjoyed a guide to what food to eat to every track of Wire’s Chairs Missing (!) and his great defense of record collecting, featuring some Swedish Heartwork Records reviews (which by the way – overrated record label. See, I can do it!).
I don’t know why there’s so much anti-California blather in this one but at least he let his fanzine get some distribution out here, where I happened to be ready & waiting to buy, devour and then liberally quote from it (…”and Rikki from Satan’s Rats leaned over with his horrible breath…”. You’d have to read Armory’s riposte to Jack Rabid to understand this even a little, and to also know who Jack Rabid was). So yeah – anyone have an extra copy of Too Fun Too Huge! #1?
One thought on “Too Fun Too Huge! #2”
Great post! Haven’t seen #1 but it sounds like between those issues Patrick’s tastes really evolved – #1 apparently had stuff like Dag Nasty. Jon Wurster had a good chuckle about it on Rock Writ. Love your Pagans confession, we’ve all been there. Keep ’em coming!