Monday, February 15, 2010

There Was No Logging Truck

So a couple years back, Mark Lewman--one-third of the Freestylin' magazine master cluster with Andy Jenkins and Spike Jonze--contacted me about a limited edition book they were about to drop. Funded by Nike, the book, titled Freestylin': Generation F, would pay homage to the publication that, for many of us, was huge part of our identity growing up. Freestylin' was our New Yorker, our Time, our Texts from Last Night; it gave us our culture, our news, and our cheap thrills once a month. Lew wanted me to answer a few questions for a piece in the book about zines titled "The Xerox Was Our X-Box."

I did a bunch of zines while in high school. The first and longest running--a whopping three issues--was Gus. Then there was Marcel Marceau's Speech Therapist, Amputees, Zipper Full of Scrotum, Shithump, Skunk Jacket, Wiffle Ball...probably a few I can't remember. Truth is, I don't know where any of them are anymore, though I borrowed a few from fellow zinesters Luke Strahota and Mike Daily when I visited Portland last June (Look for scans soon...)

Here's a pic of Luke and I from the late '80s, before we faked our deaths.

Anyhow, the Freestylin' book was massive. Not necessarily in size, but in sheer awesomeness. You know, picture some annoying Brit DJ yelling "Massive!" to scads of sweaty people in bad pants. Meaning, it was bad fucking ass. I was so stoked out, I read the whole thing in a night. Thankfully, it soon appeared online. Check it out here. The zine article starts on page 118, though the whole book will give you a BMX boner.

The reason I'm bringing this up now (the book dropped in 2008), is that I got so stoked out, I started doing a new zine. It was going to be called Mastodon in a Microwave. Not that any of my zine titles ever made much sense, but the below question from Generation F provided the rationale:

It was an outlet, a way to put something into the world that wasn't there before. I think about doing a zine every now and again, just for shits and giggles. Then it seems so weird, like if I gave on to someone, they wouldn't know what to make of it. I'd have to explain it as a concept, and end up feeling like Chaka from Land of the Lost: a fucking Cro-Mag in a digital age trying to cook a mastodon in a microwave. There are some cool BMX, skating, music, and lifestyle sites online, but websites are so ephemeral--content isn't around long enough to be considered temporary. I sound like a huge neo-Luddite, clutching my analog tape and copy machine pages. To be honest, I've thrown out all the tapes and I don't know where my zines are anymore--I think (hope) in a box at my mom's house. It's just hard for me to get jacked on an online underground communique. I want to hold it in my hand. --Duncan Scott Davidson, aka The Swami (Gus)

I went great guns on the project for a few months: dusted off the camera, took photos at events like First Rule's Scrape the Town jam, the first Dave Vanderspek Memorial Ride, the 2-Hip 25th Anniversary Meet the Street, and a bunch of other stuff. I even laid out a few pages, old school cut and paste style. I wanted to do everything like it was done back in the day: scissors and a glue stick. I also contacted a ton of my zine-making homies from the other side of the fog, asking if they'd do "guest pages." Everyone was down, of course, but in the end, only Gabe Decker came through:
yo skunc here is a spread like traci lords.....or maybe peanut butt her...well let me know how it makes you feel..and i will continue on a logo mark kinda like my mastodon? g

Clearly, the man's design skills are a cut or a thousand above mine.

Eventually, I lost focus and everything I was planning on putting in the first issue got stale. The next year's Hell On Wheels and Vander Ride came and went. I still want to put out another paper zine, but it'll have to wait for a bit. For now, I'll be posting periodic installments of the content that was supposed to go into the first issue of Mastodon. Before I do, let me link to few online zines. Some of these aren't particularly new, but I've stumbled across them in my travels through hyperspace, and they're worth a look:


The Lotek blog is the brainchild of the unstoppable Rich Hirsch, head cat at Lotek kicks, Stranger bikes, and Fremont clothes.

Holeshot is a most awesome legit printed on paper zine that has a companion online blog and sample pages.

Cool thing about the cover image there: it was at the 25th Anniversary Haro show at the BMX Worlds in Cologne: Ron Wilkerson, Brian Blyther, Dave Nourie, and a bit of Mike Dominguez, all on old school rides. Here's some video footage of the event:

All us old school heads got a bit weepy-eyed when we heard that the reunion show was going down, but unless you live in Germany or can travel at will, all we had was footage to dig on. Well, this time lightning's struck twice: the fab four will be appearing at Ashland, Oregon's Bike-It festival on August 14, 2010. I've only stopped in Ashland, Oregon once, on the way back from Portland while looking for gas. I found it full of revolting hippies and smug suburbanites with a penchant for Shakespeare, but imagine the incendiary fun of mixing the aforementioned groups with a bunch of half-tanked elderly BMXers looking to rage. I hope I get crabs from a 17 year old jailbait hippie chick named Starflower.

While sort of on the subject of old school magazines, I'd like to hip everyone who hasn't heard of it to check out the Oldschoolmags site.

They've got PDFs of BMX Action from '76-'88, Freestylin', Go, BMX Plus!, and so on. A guy can seriously waste a lot of the day at a desk job geeking out over this stuff. ("Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time."--Bertrand Russell) For instance, what's up with this shot in the July, 1991 issue of Go of Hoffman doing a "hitchhiker drop in." Was this for real, or some kind of gag? Hoffman always rode with a full face (still does) and pads...this seems like an inside joke to me.

Then again, if anyone could do it, it'd be Hoffman. I'm personally not seeing rolling down a 12 foot vert ramp in that postion, but, then again, I'm not the Head Motherfucker in Charge, am I?

All right, back to my aborted Mastodon. I came across these photos I took of the indomitable, inimitable, Shannon "World's Smallest Nipples" Selberg, leader of the fearless noise rock superheroes the Cows, rocking the fuck out with his current cadre of killers, the Heroine Sheiks. Magic. Sheer magic. The show was at Annie's Social Club (may it rest in peace, sniff, sniff, sob...) and featured the equally inimitable David Yow headlining with Qui, and the super surreal John Geek and Triclops! opening. Yeah...fucking epic. Photos from the other bands soon...

Shannon died for your sins. Well, not yet.

Mea Culpa.

The bugle lives in the bassinet.

Can't fake that shit.

The ladies love Cool S. (Yeah, the guitar player is wearing Speedos. And those are probably dudes.)

Here's some fun footage of "Jew Jitsu" with an older lineup and a mini interview with some annoying broad at the beginning:

If you happen across this blog, tell a friend, okay? Good things ahead.

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