Disposable editorial

Originally published in ‘zine issue #25, 2001

A few thoughts looking back on the last ten years…

I started this ‘zine after developing my own ideas of how a ‘zine should be done. Previous to that I wrote for a few other zines, being Curious Goods, Deathcheese, and Whatever. The latter was the first one I wrote for. I had a class in community college with the editor and became interested in contributing after talking to him. The idea of writing about my favorite bands at the time, like Autopsy and Deceased, was very appealing. So I penned reviews and interviews with metal bands. Somehow I got in touch with the editor of Curious Goods, who was located on the other side of the country, or he got in touch with me. It might have been through a local band who we both knew; right now I find myself unable to remember. For the past several years he’s been writing for established mags, Metal Maniacs to name one. While writing for his ‘zine, I started tape trading with another one of his writers, HellFarmer, and that led to working on his ‘zine, Deathcheese. When I came to the realization that I wanted to be the captain of my own ship, as it were, I stopped writing for those publications and started this one in the fall of 1991.

I had them done up bi-monthly at a print shop. I knew someone from the local metal scene that worked there. I had between 250 and 400 printed each issue. I focused on featuring informative, fair, and timely reviews, various opinion columns by a number of people I knew as well as by the writers I worked with who were doing reviews for me, and interviews that weren’t the usual bullshit that you read in “professional” magazines. After a short while I strived for more innovative interviews, that is asking intelligent and original questions of the bands I liked, ones they hadn’t heard before.

I eventually tired of distribution hassles, so starting with issue five I began photocopying the ‘zine at Kinko’s at smaller amounts instead of having it printed at a shop, and I introduced limits on review lengths to conserve space in the ‘zine. I was getting tired of the work. That method continued until 1995 when I ceased promoting and selling the ‘zine altogether. I only produced enough copies to distribute to the bands and labels that sent submissions for review and were interviewed. I was still getting quite a lot of mailorder due to word of mouth and the tons of ads I’d passed out in the mail over the years. The issues became shorter and shorter.

The slant of the reviews had been gradually changing for some time, ending up with being less and less concerned with being “fair,” but yet remaining one hundred percent honest. It became such that I, nor any of my various writers who came and went, never bothered to look for something, anything, positive to say about a band anymore, nor would we go to the effort of listening to the entire release as we wrote the review if we decided we hated it enough by then. The reviews became very direct and even mean, because by that point I’d become sick and tired of the proliferation of rock stars with huge egos in the underground scene that took a negative review, constructive or otherwise, as a personal attack instead of with a grain of salt, because they couldn’t believe anyone had the audacity to publicly express dislike of their shit band. I made a lot of enemies that way and became more and more jaded towards the scene, especially locally, and felt like a tired old man, even though I’d gotten into the underground music scene at a relatively late stage in the game (the late 1980s to be more precise). I finally flipped my wig and made the announcement in issue 7 (1993) that I’m changing the musical focus of my ‘zine to exclusive coverage of political hardcore and grindcore. That was my way of dealing with all the static I was getting in the local scene and in the mail. I didn’t have the gumption to actually make the change though, as it turned out. Then later, in issue 18 I proclaimed that I was “back with a vengeance,” meaning I’d still take no shit but try to recapture the attitude of the old issues when I was trying to contribute something to the scene. It took me a few issues to get it together but I think I’m getting closer to my goal.

These days I’m totally reinvested in my ‘zine and I’m having fun again. On more than one occasion in the past I’ve felt like giving up, but for some reason I kept the ‘zine going. Today I can’t imagine not doing my ‘zine. I’m not going away! I hope some of you people got as much satisfaction out of my ‘zine as I have. Thanks for reading. Bye. ■

An image of inspiring words from Disposable Underground 'zine.

Image: from issue #25 of the ‘zine


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