A terrifically robust fanzine subculture sprouted up around the great third wave of garage punk wave in the 1990s; you know, the one defined by bands like the Cheater Slicks, Supercharger and The Gories and by labels like In The Red, Crypt and Goner. Or, perhaps I should qualify and say that crew helped defined the first half of the nineties; there was also this additional berzerk blitzkrieg of loud-fast-raw garage punk in the decade’s second half that one might instead associate with an avalanche of Japanese bands; Rip Off Records, and some of the better material on labels like Estrus and Sympathy.
The Europeans – they got in good during this latter stage, and were regularly importing American and Japanese bands over to tour, and were cranking out some of their own fine imitations & even a few moderately original variations. Everyone knows that if you’re a podunk North American band drawing 15 people a night in your own backyard, but you have Euro distribution and a small set of fans across the pond, you’ll be treated like pampered dukes & duchesses in places like Utrecht, Ghent, Madrid and Munich.
It was also the Europeans who were producing the best garage punk fanzines of this era (aside from Eric Friedl’s Wipeout!, which we’ll come onto one of these days soon; Todd Killings’ Horizontal Action also made the grade) – well, at least I think so. Two Europeans, anyway. We already discussed Tom Arnaert’s Bazooka on this site. The other total ringer was Swede Henrik Olausson’s Human Garbage Disposal. I only have two issues, #4 and #5, and they’re small-batch, small-page-count, small-print expositions on the crude, feral and exciting world of garage-based punk sounds, 1960s-present. Not small-brained!
Olausson, like Arnaert, had a command of the English language that far outweighed that of most of my own countrymen, and unlike Arnaert, he was pretty fucking snotty and dismissive. Red lines were set and not crossed; the whole “turbo-charged” big rock sound of slobs like The Hellacopters and Turbonegro was verboten in this mag, except to mock mercilessly. No, Olausson had phenomenal taste, and even re-reading 1997’s Human Garbage Disposal #4 again last night, I was discovering stuff I missed back then, like a Spanish band with the dumb name Pretty Fuck Luck whom I then “googled” and found some ripping, underwater lo-fi garbage clang from. See, in ‘97 or ‘98 when I first had this magazine, you couldn’t just leap from print to digital to hear what you were reading about; even Napster and all that started later, and it took me a good four years to even try those services because I was petrified that I’d be served with a $20,000 cease-and-desist for downloading a Wire bootleg or something.
Human Garbage Disposal #4 is 12 pages of record, live and fanzine reviews, divided into “modern music” (with a great 1979 new wave font), 60s punk reissues and 70s punk/KBD stuff. There’s an explainer on Kinky Friedman (of Kinky Friedman and his Texas Jewboys), following up on something from the previous issue that I don’t own. So no – Olausson wasn’t necessarily bound by a commitment to rock at all costs. He praises the debut Demolition Doll Rods LP after saying “Their previous singles left a little more to desire”, one of which I actually helped put out (!). He and I actually part company there; I couldn’t find much to like about that band after their first single, and it all seems pretty stupid now, wouldn’t you agree? He does a great job eviscerating aspects of the Amphetamine Reptile label while laying it on thick for killer records by The Bassholes, Supercharger, the Murder Punk comps, the Urinals and then some.
I don’t suppose that any of you out there know how I might get in touch with Henrik Olausson of Landskrona, Sweden, would you?
3 thoughts on “Human Garbage Disposal #4”
Let’s not forget to mention The Rip-Offs themselves (of same label name), Oblivians and The Mummies. Their idea to make a compilation LP by just playing and recording all their 7″ records on cassette is still an All-Time Top Five Genius Move in my world.
It could be a be inconsistent but I also dug Gearhead. They did a lot to support the scene and gatherings like GarageShock.
Hey Rob, yeah, I’m definitely always trying to set context for that era by mentioning MY favorite bands as the touchstones, in hopes that this is how history well remember the era….! I probably saw The Mummies 20+ times but they didn’t age as well for me, personally; but I do love many of the Rip-Off Records bands, Oblivians etc. If I can help make Supercharger and Cheater Slicks the first two names people think of when they think “90s garage punk” (along with the Night Kings and Gories), then I can truly say I’ve helped re-write history.
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The Mummies peaked for me at the 1992 NYE show at Maxwell’s in Hoboken w/Mudhoney but those memories are so fond I’ll always think favorably of them.
Still listen to The Gories all the time and thank you(!) for reminding me of Night Kings – talk about a vastly unappreciated and little known band that was hands down one of the best of that era/genre. Haven’t been sleeping well and the ole brain just wouldn’t kick in despite remembering what the 7″ singles looked like.