Flesh and Bones #6

This is what we call an “all-timer”. No, not in the way that a Slash, a Forced Exposure, a Conflict or a No Mag might be, but an all-timer in the sense that if I were forced to hold on to only 25 of the fanzines in my collection, Flesh and Bones #6 just might make the cut; it made that much of a mark on me when I bought it in 1987. Its sensibilities were just goofy and mocking enough, and its tastes in modern sounds so aligned with mine at the time (Pussy Galore, Scratch Acid, Dinosaur et al), that I read, photocopied and shared wisdom from this issue as frequently and as far & wide as I could. Of course, its Tiger Beat/16 Magazine cover homage was well executed and really hit the spot for me at Age 19.

Editor “Jeffo” was coming out of hardcore, and as someone whose attention had been turned toward the long-haired punk and caustic underground noise of 1987, he mocked hardcore punk relentlessly, with frequent jokes about the Boston Crew, “Revolution Summer”, the Cro-Mags and Jodie Foster’s Army. He covered and reveled in “grunge” before it was grunge, while taking the best potshots at ’81-’82 HC and at heavy metal wasteoids I’ve ever seen. A lot of his live reviews were actually just made-up fantasies of getting in fistfights at gigs with people like Thurston Moore or Glen Danzig; stage-diving to mellow acts like Salem 66; and heckling multiple bands “with a Big Stick wig on” (remember Big Stick?). 

The graphics were all hilarious cut, pasted & jumbled items from other magazines, many of them from the hippie 1960s, as well as a few homegrown comics (mostly Jeffo’s) that were usually quite OK. An example of a typical graphics might have a lowbrow dildo advertisement placed on the left (“The Erecto”, “The Giant Bone”), with a strategically whited-out musical equipment ad saying “We’ll make that ___ of yours as big as Tommy Dorsey’s!” on the right.

Flesh and Bones also had a few staff photographers who took excellent band shots, usually of the modern acts with the longest, filthiest hair and the most thrift store-adjacent clothes (Raging Slab seemed to be a favorite, a band I don’t think I’ve heard anyone talk about since 1987). This was not a mag I really read as a consumer’s guide; it was one I celebrated because it was laugh-out-loud funny, and contrary to some quarters, I like to laff! The Redd Kross interview in Flesh and Bones #6 is right up there with my all-time favorite band interviews, ever, and the Dinosaur (Jr.) interview (beautifully hijacked by Thurston Moore, who also loves making fun of hardcore) is outstanding as well, considering how dour those guys typically were.

Jeffo also swelled with New Jersey pride, probably somewhat tongue-in-cheek, yet proud to represent the Garden State nonetheless. 1987-88 was an unusual time in the American underground, particularly when you look at the photos. Hair was long, metal wasn’t verboten and abrasiveness was a band’s ticket to ride, particularly if they wanted coverage in Flesh and Bones. I’ve searched in vain for copies of Flesh and Bones #1-#5 for years to no avail, getting only so far as photos here and here.

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