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Lakes Report Card. Phone: Do you have any formal art training or were you one of the many DIY artists who produced this form of urban folk art? However, I did take an Industrial Arts class, which allowed me to explore various outlets, including typesetting, photography, screen-printing T-shirts, making buttons, and other media.

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My brother, on the other hand, was deeply trained in art and entered college right at the cusp of mail-art, Xerox art, and conceptual art. His friends were sending mail-art to Alaskan fanzines and playing in noise bands, ala Boy Dirt Car , early Sonic Youth and Butthole Surfers , and he sought out punk gigs from the likes of The Cramps and Black Flag, so he melded both worlds. My brother always encouraged me to make art, in ways that made sense to me. When my sister dropped me off for a weekend in a rough downtrodden section of Chicago, where he lived in a partial basement flat, he immediately gave me some paint and a board and said, make something.

Partly, I suppose, he attempted to keep me busy, but I think he genuinely wanted me, even at age 10 or 11, to find some kind of mode of expression. A handful of years later I made my first flyer for the classic punk band The Adolescents at Rotation Station, a roller skating venue near my high school that hosted terrific punk bands.


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  8. No doubt, visionaries like Jamie Reid Sex Pistols and Winston Smith Dead Kennedys understood the impact of ugliness, of the ripped and torn, and the cut and re-assembled. They were keen observers of art history, and later illustrators like Pushead Septic Death , Metallica and Shawn Kerri Germs , Circle Jerks were skilled and adept, but for punk material they often relied on skulls and corpses, though they could draw anything. Kerri sketched comics for the likes of Hustler, which were lewd, rather than crude.

    It was also a reaction to the splendor, craft, and naturalness of some of the hippie era styles, which tended to disgust some punks.

    Album Review: Bird, “Figments of Our Imagination”

    On the other hand, copy machines itself offered their aesthetic and economic appeal. Toner was inconsistent, quality itself varied from machine to machine, and many times flyer construction was quick and furtive, especially if a show was only days away. Sure, some entrepreneurs like Dirk Dirksen Mabuhay Gardens in San Francisco printed offset flyers, in bulk, which tend to look more artful and finely-designed, but a kid in Tulsa often relied on different skill sets, technological options, and materials available, which might have been no more than scissors, stick-on letters, and a pen.

    A few bands like The Dickies were signed to major labels, but the rest relied upon their own members and fans to spread the word, and more often than not, wheat paste their flyers, sometimes en masse, like Black Flag, across light poles and freeway underpasses. So, flyering became not just about art, but about events as well, the infiltration of contested space and the surveillance of local police and neighbors.

    Flyers evoked not just more flyers, but lore as well. It depends if you are a purist, I suppose. Some designers like Russell Etchen may still use old-fashioned means, like cut and paste, but also use a design program for the finished product, melding both worlds.

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    Last night, I ventured to Hot Topic, looking for discount vinyl records, and discovered a small batch of flyers stuck in a display rack. Those vernacular touches are very important to me, just as much as the wear and tear of the flyers exposed in the elements of cityscapes — the torn, solarized, faded, and yellowing process, the fissure. Why do you think a lot people simply associate punk rock with angry white men, and what are some of the biggest contributions these other groups made to the punk community?

    Historical reconstruction is devoted to the memory of the nameless. It also means using the flyers to document the participation of women, people of color, and gays like my brother and lesbians in the multicultural punk sphere. I very close to my sister growing up and spent endless hours listening to her Gun Club , , and Iggy Pop records.

    My first wife and I attended the same punk shows as teenagers, like Fugazi. Women have played with me in innumerable bands, including my current unit No Love Less. Hispanics, women, blacks, and gays and lesbians have always been a huge portion of the backbone of punk culture. Black music formed a template for punk, and anyone who has listened to The Jam and The Clash already knows this. Just recently, the bass player for The Carpettes told me when the band formed, they played Chuck Berry covers.

    If the New York Dolls and Stooges, both steeped in black traditions, were proto-punks, then punk is directly linked to black music. Lastly, before I push too much, the Bad Brains , despite their sexism and homophobia, made an indelible impact on punk, transforming it into hardcore via their jazz-skills. Think again.

    Why do you think this subgenre created that impression and do you agree with it? I also think that hardcore bands actually retain a great deal of intelligence and forethought, from MDC to Strike Anywhere , but their messages are sometimes lost in the anomie, aggression, and adrenaline of their audiences. Wendy O, Williams was herself proto-hardcore, as was Alice Bag of the Bags , so they proved that women were not soft or weak, but many of the male bands clung to old notions inherited from the master narrative of American culture.

    Some punk men refused to change; the same could be said of homophobic and racist punks too. I do think that hardcore lacked some of the stylistic variety that punk offered, since the earlier generation seemed to embody an umbrella genre that could fit early Bs, Cramps, XTC, and Television.

    Not all people believe they belong in the same category as Minor Threat , but I do. Bands like The Dicks , Mydolls , and Really Red here in Texas proved that punk-in-the-hardcore-era did not have to exude chainsaw riffage and caustic vocals bolted to mph beats. Does it still exist in some form?

    A whole book could delve deep into the profound equation and marriage between the discourse and material culture of fanzines and punk ideology and identity, so any attempt here is a bit futile. So, I will answer the question by exploring the personal impact of fanzines on me.

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    Punk rock was my high school, more so than my own high school, which mostly bored me. I felt, like many punks, a strong sense of the trans-local — part of a group of people strewn throughout the world, connected by music and fanzines rather than my neighbors. The fanzines were not just JC Penny catalogs of punk product but a primary source of my knowledge and insight into punk issues, mores, and style.

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    By the mids, I had a subscription to Maximumrocknroll I contributed to them as a writer since , read Flipside voraciously, and even had copies of regional zines like Non-Stop Banter and Last Rites , both from Chicago. The whole idea, reinforced to me by Steve Shelley of the Buzzcocks , was punk offered fans an option: one did not have to be a mere consumer, passive and exploited, but could become a force of culture, an active agent in making and maintaining a culture of his or her own.

    I stole a line from Henry Rollins and turned it into my fanzine name, No Deposit No Return , sought a few nearby bands for interviews, managed to use some clip art and early computer graphics for design purposes, and asked my dad to copy the whole thing for me by the dozens after-work at his factory, which he did.

    Years later after graduate school I was bored and restless and started sending reviews and poems to papers and magazines. Thirsty Ear in Santa Fe, NM was generous enough to allow me to write for them on a regular basis, including interviews with everyone from the Violent femmes to Merle Haggard, all of which I relished. But the magazine only took requested sizes of articles, which often left me with excess material. Simultaneously, I was hired as a full-time college instructor, which boosted my income, providing me some to invest in a magazine of my own making.