Monday, 30 April 2012

Z is for Zines

In the days before the internet, people shared the music they loved through these beautifully hand crafted things called fanzines.

Taking influence from the punk bands who decided that anyone with enough balls could DIY it by forming a band and making music, zinesters wanted a piece of the action too. Hidden away in bedrooms across the country, zinesters lovingly wrote about the music they were passionate about, cut it all up and pritt sticked it into what can only be described as works of art, then xeroxed the fuck out of it.

Reappropriating images from magazines, throwing in quotes from songs that said something and provoked intelligent thoughts and compiling articles and reviews that removed the pretensions of music mags, zines empowered music fans and gave them a voice for the first time. It wasn't just music journalists who got to have their say and tried to influence opinions on music, for the first time, the fans could do it too.

While it's great that the internet has allowed anyone to do this, as well as let people find music for themselves, rather than just soak up what's fed to them through the radio, websites and webzines just aren't the same. Of course there's a craft to them, but looking at something on the web just doesn't compare to holding that printed black 'n' white booklet in your hands and appreciating the effort that's gone into making it.

Coming across a cool website is also nothing like having hand decorated envelopes pile through your letterbox...

Decorated envelopes always signalled the arrival of something special, adorned with quotes, glitter and stickers.

This is part of my zine collection. A lot of the zines I read during the '90s were heavily Manics influenced.

R*E*P*E*A*T was, and is, by far one of the best zines ever to exist. Fighting the power since 1994, this zine is still going strong, releasing a print edition, as well as running its own record label.

R*E*P*E*A*T's cut 'n' paste interior is art at its rawest.

The zine I wrote back in the day... Rubble 'n' Shit...

When I was 16-years-old, I was frustrated that the bands I loved so much were covered in the music press. To me, the only antidote was to write about them myself and attempt to let others know that were bands they should check out. We got a lot of lovely comments from people, shout outs in other zines, met heaps of cool bands - some of which I'm still in touch with today - got a shit load of CDs and even scored an awesome review in Big Cheese.

These are the originals the zines were photocopied from.
It would be impossible to calculated the hours I spent writing, printing, cutting and sticking these together...

Today, there aren't that many titles still going in print, but along with R*E*P*E*A*T, one that's worth checking out is Maximum Rock 'n' Roll, which is dedicated purely and fiercely to independent music. For non-music titles, head along to Sweet Candy Distro, which distributes a whole host of American titles covering the weird and the wonderful.


  1. absolutely love this post! i misss the 90s (which is when i read loads of zines!)

  2. wow I remember a local one here in SA called Smash Hits. I couldn't wait for it to come out every week

  3. Hello, Fellow Challenger, from #398 - aka Rockin'Chair Reflections! Love your approach to life! Have a long, fulfilling, one and come visit when you can. Thank you for sharing the history of zines, too!