There was one brief and somewhat tarnished moment during my adolescence — somewhere around 1966-1967 — in which I couldn’t distinguish between the inherent value of the Velvet Underground versus the Monkees or Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention and Paul Revere & the Raiders. That confession is not alarming in view of my age (13 going on 14), but consider the circumstances and suspend revisionism. The late Sixties were the last gasp of true Top 40 radio: At one point in the summer of 1966, for instance, Lee Dorsey’s soulful “Working in a Coalmine” was wedged in on the charts with the Sandpipers’ sappy “Guantanamera” and ? & the Mysterians’ still-vibrant “96 Tears.” A similar week in 1967 saw the innocence of the Turtles’ “Happy Together” and the sheer exuberance of Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels shadowed by the call to arms of Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth.” Those were the days when 16 magazine was selling over one million copies a month to teenage girls just like me.
- Margaret Moser, The Singer Not the Song, 1999
Archive for the ‘Zines’ Category
Music ‘zines, duh.
Music ‘zines, duh.
Posted by s woods on March 10, 2013
Posted by s woods on February 7, 2013
Black Beat, October 1983. From my own stash, though some years ago, when weeding through boxes of ‘zines, I made the decision to just salvage stuff on Clinton and Grandmaster Flash, which might or might not have been a dumb idea. (Delicious font, btw — “Candy Coated Neon”?)
Posted by s woods on February 5, 2013
Posted by s woods on February 1, 2013
Posted by s woods on October 25, 2011
The blog My Life – in Concert! posts scanned highlights from the pages of Sing Out!, the “folk music bible” that served as an early stomping ground for Paul Nelson and was a prequel of sorts to rock criticism.
Sing Out! is a folk-focussed journal that was inaugurated in 1950 and survives until this day. But it was in the mid-60s, at the height of the folk music boom, that Sing Out! reached its circulation peak and had its greatest cultural impact. Suffice it to say, as a magazine collector, student of social history, and music nut who has a big love for a lot of the 1960s folk music and artists, it was one sweet treat to stumble onto multiple copies from this core era.
The post includes gems like this:
The ads are terrific as well.
Posted by s woods on October 5, 2011
A New Schedule and New Feel for Spin Magazine (Ben Sisario, NYT)
Starting with its March issue, Spin’s print edition will be published six times a year in a larger format, which the magazine says will allow it to run longer features and better showcase its photography.
After having its dimensions gradually shrink over the years, the revamped publication will measure 9½ inches by 12 inches, nearly the same size as its first issue in 1985, and be printed on heavier, higher-quality paper stock. (Its current size is 8⅞ inches by 10⅞ inches.)
Posted by s woods on September 6, 2011
[BAM founder] Dennis Erokan, a Lafayette resident who has been running the public relations firm Placemaking Group for the last five years, started BAM magazine as a bi-weekly free publication back in 1975. Over the years, it became an entrenched part of the area music scene, especially once it started hosting the Bammy Awards in 1978. In the ’80s, BAM published editions in both Northern and Southern California, gaining a peak circulation of 130,000. BAM‘s fortunes dampened with the rise of the Internet, which forced Erokan to close shop in 1999.
Posted by s woods on July 26, 2011
Not something one comes across every day. (Sadly, one of my singles-reviewing heroes, Ken Barnes, is sliced by a scanner.)
Posted by s woods on July 26, 2011
Couldn’t say for sure (although maybe it’s mentioned in one of the rap histories out there), but this Billboard piece from November 1979 by Radcliffe Joe and Nelson George surely must be a contender. (Also: woo-hoo, Billboard now on Google Books!)
Posted by s woods on July 19, 2011
A few years ago, it looked like the DVD-ROM was going to be the last refuge of old archives, when venerable titles such as Rolling Stone and Playboy put their catalogs out as a series of discs, housed in DVD-style cases. But the increasing presence of “cloud” data holding is turning public storage into the go-to for private and public collectors alike. And as the price continues to plummet on scanners and image resolution continues its march to eerie infra-humanness, it’s easier to preserve magazines in their entirety for public display — and more reassuring to look at something obviously touched by human hands, on devices that ideally have not — than ever.
Posted by s woods on July 18, 2011
“Sixty-six issues in three decades might not sound like much compared to monthlies like Spin, which have outdistanced [founder Jack] Rabid in sheer numbers. But The Big Takeover has been clocking well over 100 pages per issue since the late ’80s.”
Posted by s woods on July 14, 2011
I don’t subscribe to MOJO or read it with any regularity whatsoever anymore — I did for a few years when I worked at the record store — in part because of the daunting price tag (I think it runs around $13 here) and in part because I’m just not that compelled by its contents very often (though whenever I do look at an issue, I’m usually pretty impressed and think I should spend more time with it), but in any case I confess to being very much in awe of its success. I have no idea about the actual success of MOJO, in terms of sales and advertising revenues, but the fact that it’s still going and still has a readership outside the UK… must mean something. I’ve never understood why an American company didn’t try to capitalize on that success — to produce, in effect, an American version. One that would:
1) appeal largely to an older (i.e., my age and up) demographic;
2) appeal primarily to a demographic that wants 3,000-word articles, sometimes about icons of rock, sometimes about lesser-knowns, like, I dunno, the bassist in Budgie or something;
3) excite the senses with great layout and design;
4) convince readers that they are holding something worth preserving (see #2 and #3 above);
5) convince readers that they are getting in many ways “definitive” accounts of whoever/whatever it is they’re reading about (and in many cases, they just might be).
Why am I thinking all this? Because of the stuff I’m coming across right now about a revived Creem. Purely from a business (never mind a critical) perspective, a revived Creem (at least as it’s being touted at the moment) seems like such a non-starter right out of the gate. The key concept would seem to be “irreverence.” To which I ask: for whom? Irreverence is cheap right now; indeed, it’s free, because it’s everywhere. I’m guessing that the only kind of music magazine that could actually sell right now would be the complete opposite of that, something highly reverent of its subject matter (which does not necessarily preclude a sense of fun or mischief, though it might preclude to some degree having writers with personalities on board), a publication with a “coffee table” sort of aesthetic, a ‘zine that actually comes close to approximating a book. Not saying I would necessarily buy such a thing. Just a hunch that it could be done and might be done with a modicum of success.
Posted by s woods on July 14, 2011
Did Pitchfork Kill the Rock Critic? The changing landscape of music journalism
By Alex Baumgardner, NewCity Music
I’m not really the person to comment on this, given just how infrequently over the years I’ve visited Pitchfork. (I know there are people all over the web who wear comments like that as if they’re a badge of honour or something, but truthfully, I’ve just never felt a kinship with the place or with the bands and genres they are in general known to cover, never really cared for their overall presentation or feel or design enough to even bother delving much into the writing; I’m also not in an endless quest for new music, and haven’t been for over 20 years.) Still, the central thrust of this piece — Pitchfork has been much more successful at promoting the Pitchfork brand than at promoting any individual writers — seems accurate enough. The question is, does it matter? It matters to Jim DeRogatis, who is quoted here while jumping up and down proclaiming that music “is not entertainment” and therefore deserves better (isn’t it? does it?). But does Pitchfork‘s readership care about what Jim DeRogatis cares about? Should they? (If so, why?) Do Pitchfork readers really give a shit about finding “the modern-day Creem“? (Do any of us really need more of that, right now?) Why were no DeRogatis-like experts from Pitchfork‘s actual demographic tracked down for commentary?
Overriding all of this, however, is my growing irritation at the word “curator,” which shows up twice here (it was one reason I also couldn’t resist mocking that Creem story from a couple days ago). When did this stupid notion — of rock critics as “curators” — take root and what can we do to kill it, preferably sooner rather than later?
Posted by s woods on July 12, 2011
Creem aims for comeback: Sardonic rock mag plans return to print (Jeff Karoub, AP/CP)
“‘We just feel the timing is now,’ said Jason Turner, board chairman of Creem Enterprises Inc. ‘There’s so much amazing music happening today but there’s no filter, no curation happening. We think Creem is a great brand to do this under.’”
My two cents.
Posted by s woods on July 5, 2011
“Dozens of magazines sprang up in the early 60s to cover the growth of pop music. Jon Savage celebrates their fervour – and their immense historical value.”(The Guardian, 2009)
“These magazines created an all-inclusive, almost hermetically sealed environment of Super Pop. Things were changing so fast that they were put together without much reflection or much heed of the morrow. Reading them today, they are both time-locked and immediate: they are historical documents yet retain the fervour of the moment.”
Posted by s woods on June 9, 2011
“The writer-directors have penned a new script that has been making the rounds in the past few days to Hollywood studios, say two people who’ve gotten a look at the script but asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to speak about it.
“Titled Pitchfork, it’s a dramatic thriller about the middle-aged mother of an indie rocker who, after her son is killed in a car accident, seeks vengeance on an online blogger who had peddled snark about her son (on the music site Pitchfork, hence one of the title’s entendres). Things take a turn, though, when she finds out the snarker is just a teenager.”
Posted by s woods on July 29, 2009
The Little Sandy Review and the Birth of Rock Criticism
by David Lightbourne in The New Vulgate (“articles of social, political, and psychological constitution”). Recounts in detail the story of the little ‘zine Paul Nelson and Jon Pankake started publishing in 1960, without which it’s entirely possible none of us would even be here. Some nice photos, too.
Just as an aside… via TNV, also found this recent Meltzer piece from the Oregonian about the Beats. In it he notes his discovering the criticism of Leroi Jones (pre-Amiri Baraka): “At 17, I hadn’t read anything that so viscerally spoke to me, and surely it was Jones’ model that enabled me to truck in music-crit myself in the years that followed.”