DESPERATE TIMES: ISSUE #2
ANYHOW, ANYCLUB, ANYWHERE: THE RISE & FALL OF SAFARI SAM'S (95 pp.)
"Roll the credits in your mind for this story, which has played out since the dawn of DIY (in general), and punk rock (in particular): Anykid in Anytown USA doesn't like what's happening there. Maybe they don't hear their type of music, hope to carve out room for something else...or simply want something else besides the standard issue profit-mongering water hole.
"Whatever the reason, Anykid gets Anyclub up and running. Anyclub survives the initial growing pains (hit or miss bookings, spotty audiences, official and unofficial sabotage). For awhile, everyone has a more interesting place to go. Then, sadly but surely, the obstacles start piling up -- too many to overcome in short order.
"The doors slam shut, and the lights go out, leaving Anyclub to live on, in people's memories, and a big black hole in the local scene once more. Roll the credits: wash, rinse, repeat."
Two-plus years in the making, 95 pages, our first theme issue, chronicling the rise and fall of Safari Sam's, the long-gone, yet warmly remembered, epicenter of punk rock, deep in the heart of Republican Central (Orange County, CA)!
For two dizzying years (1984-86), Gil Fuhrer and Sam Lanni lived that story, as co-owners of a venue that hosted the local and US debuts of Jane's Addiction, and The Jesus & Mary Chain, became a reliable stop for some of alternative rock's best-known names (fireHOSE, the Minutemen, Social Distortion, Sonic Youth), and a slew of local acts that sprang up in their wake (El Grupo Sexo and Exobiota, The Final Tourguides and The Fad, The Satellites and Satan's Cheerleaders).
But that's not the full story. While Safari Sam's established itself as a hotbed of great rock 'n' roll, spoken word and theatrical performances, it's also the story of a conservative social culture, constant harassment from city bureaucrats and cops, and a force that proved too strong to overcome...gentrification. It's a story that was relevant then, one that plays out today, all around the nation.
Now, read it for yourself, and draw your own conclusions. Featuring extended interviews with Gil Fuhrer, and three of the key players in the scene that sprang up around Sam's (Jeff Beals, Holly Day, Dee Madden).
Directly from the author, $10 (postpaid). Contact me for the PayPal link, or visit amazon.com:
DESPERATE TIMES #1 (46 pp.)
"Capturing the strong outsider spirit of 1970s punk in look, feel, and written expression, Chairman Ralph’s new zine, Desperate Times, is a must-read for lovers of music on the margins of rock... In black and white throughout, with design elements that recall cut-and-paste zines photocopied at Kinko’s, Desperate Times #1 will leave you desperate for more. –Gina Murrell, Razorcake
Featuring articles on the Swedish artist Hemliga Bosse, and his 7" single ("New Image Every Day"/"Aldrig Mera Ensam"), Paul Shand/The Numbers (and their self-titled EP), the Jam's second album (This Is The Modern World), "New York Dolls Stories" (onstage history lessons with Sylvain Sylvain), and an interview with Paul Gray, discussing his experience of working with Johnny Thunders (So Alone).
Directly from the author, $10 (postpaid). Contact me for the PayPal link.
MY LIFE AS A VAGRANT (Kindle Direct Publishing)
"Your punk band may crash and burn, but you'll never have a better time before your dream runs aground. The Vagrants are no exception, as Ralph Heibutzki learns in 1989, in six dizzying months of playing bass with them. Like so many other bands, their story ends with the usual kiss off: "So near, and yet so far."
"You've never heard of the Vagrants, who never got out of London, never got signed, never put out a record, never played more than a handful of gigs to pockets of garage-punk fanatics. Yet for these prisoners of rock 'n' roll, the dream often seemed tantalizingly in reach.
"Follow Ralph around London in this short sharp shock, 28 page recollection, as he learns six and a half songs in an hour, meets x-members of the Clash, and shreds what's left of his hearing, as he and his bandmates wait for their rock 'n' roll ship to finally come in."