Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Punk rock exceptions to the rules

The 16th issue of punk rock zine Riot 77 shows that there are some things which are bucking hoary old trends

Chris Davidson from New Bomb Turks. Photo by Christian A. Calmeyer (http://www.flickr.com/photos/chrisac/)

Fri, Mar 29, 2013, 10:00


Exceptions to the rules are always worth pursuing. For instance, the accepted wisdom may have you thinking that record shops have gone the way of the dodo. But that doesn’t explain the hardy indies who are still with us and don’t require annual shebangs like Record Store Day to remind you of their existence.

Progress and innovation were also supposed to have done for old formats like cassettes and vinyl, yet both are still trucking, albeit without the volume of old.

Similarly, plunging circulation figures for print publications of every hue and disappearing titles from the newstands may have you polishing the obituary for the music magazine as we once knew it. Yet you still have mags like Kerrang, Mojo and Uncut appearing week after week or month after month.

One print staple which was supposed to have disappeared from view, killed by the internet and blogs, was the ‘zine. The most vibrant and visible example of the music and media do-it-yourself Venn diagrams, fanzines were once ubiquitous chroniclers of various musical scenes around the world.

When you purchased one of these inky wonders, you got enthusiasm, spikey opinion (unlike music blogs, there was always room for trenchant criticism), idiosyncratic design ideas and a great sense of what was going on and what was to come. That many writers went onto greater things was a sign that ‘zines were a great training ground for future media scamps and rascals.

Fanzines, though, still operate, something you’re reminded about when the latest issue of Riot 77 arrives. The Dublin-based ‘zone has been on the go for 13 years and its latest issue has pieces on Eric Davidson (New Bomb Turks), Handsome Duck Manitoba, punk rock venue the Thomas House and old-school punk fanzine editor (and U2 graphic designer) Steve Rapid. More info from riot77magazine@hotmail.com

A riot of your own: latest issue of Riot 77