In the 2000s I was in a band (and sometimes a few bands) and in doing so I knew a bunch of other people in bands and we’d get talking between soundcheck and showtime and gradually I got to understand my humble experience of rock n roll was not that unique.
And one day somehow I stumbled on the launch of this zine someone (also in a band) had made.
And everyone was gushing over it and I was like, um – it’s nice and pretty and simple – but I couldn’t help thinking, “Is that it?”
So I was chatting to another Brisbane rocker at this pub-launch-thing and maybe because it was not the usual time we got to chat – between soundcheck and showtime – that we quite conspiratorially decided to write something decent ourselves. A real exploration of rock n roll.
And it was meant to be us, together. Except, two days later when I had literally finished the entire zine and he had only barely written about 200 words over 2 weeks later I thought I like this idea enough – I’ll just take charge. Many things are committed to in pubs and that’s the end of it – but I understand I am unusual and can’t help it if I get an idea and go a bit nuts with it.
In that two weeks I made and printed this zine – 24 A5 pages in 8pt type – and the gimmick was there was no interviews with bands. There were quotes from people in bands – but no fluffy band propaganda. It was just all opinion and insight about the little stuff that concerns an ordinary band.
And it was FREE. I was already embarrassed enough asking people for money for my music so I assumed my pathetic ramblings were far worse. Apart for the give-aways at my zine launches, the “give-aways” at shows (which was mostly me just stuffing the zine into a guitar case hoping it would get read) I plied the magazine racks in Rocking Horse and Skinny’s with multiple copies. And it seemed as soon as I put 10 of them in – they were gone the next day. They were free of course, but that did give me encouragement. Indeed some people have contacted me saying they got this zine and were all praising it and shit. I just tried to hide. I am not good with compliments.
Design by Matt Jones (AOI)
Art by Flid
So getting back to the zine – it was just about “us” in Brisbane. There were no articles about how your roadie got your guitar’s tuning wrong or how the limo didn’t have a TV or even how shit it is when you got bumped from a TV appearance. The bands I knew were all struggling and humble but also absolutely brilliant and chockers full of dramatic stories about life in rock n roll.
And then I was writing about “stinky microphones”, “how if you have a band play at your party you need to buy them beer”, “the trouble with sound engineers”, “how to be an effective door-person”, and “how to avoid looking stupid when your parents want to come to your show”.
I also wrote about the people (and infrastructure) in the Brisbane scene – the people at least had a bunch of awesome stuff to say – but weren’t recognised. There was Gareth (the G-Man), Jimi and 610. And later I had planned for the 5th issue to interview that guy who plays guns n roses riffs in the valley mall every saturday night. I half finished it – but got a bit bored.
The other reason I started writing was cause I found rock n roll increasingly undignified and quite an emotional struggle. I could deal with the fact you never got paid, you went to work during the Monday-Friday week just to recover from the weekend, you were hated by other competing bands, you had to lug gear so much you had a curved spine at 28 – but when you got sacked or a band member quit…that really, really, really hurt. Like I am grimacing writing these words. It was that bad.
Anyway – more on that some other time. Here is a guide to playing drunk!