Lists

Queens Fanzine Explosion: Celebrating Crucial NYHC Zines from Back in the Day

Something was in the air as I was getting into the NYHC scene while growing up in the borough of Queens. It seemed like everyone I knew did a zine or helped out in some fashion to getting them made, either by contributing artwork, photos, and/or interviews/reviews.

The following list highlights about a dozen or so choice publications and their makers, starting from the early '80s to the '90s, when this golden age of Queens-based fanzines was at its zenith.

Apologies in advance to anyone I might have unintentionally left out and belated thanks to all the zinemakers that inspired me to do my own zine.

Guillotine

Guillotine is the original Queens fanzine, and by extension, one of the earliest publications covering NYHC. Editor Wendy Eager lived in Jackson Heights from 1978 to 1987, and in that time she, along with Paul "Goph" Grabowski, did 11 issues, the first one coming out in 1981.

I actually grew up 10 blocks from the address listed on the inside cover and remember one time going over to ring the bell in the hopes of scoring some zines and the United Scene comp. tape they did but alas no one was home. Wendy went on to play in Antichrist Newsboys and Sexual Suicide.

After the print version stopped she, along with Don Dissension, maintained a vital presence by transitioning it into an online webzine, which you can check out here.

This upcoming year is their 40th Anniversary and they have something special lined up, hope it’s an anthology of all the printed issues!

Bullshit Monthly

Classic Queens zine done by Mike "Bullshit" Bromberg from Queens Village in 1984 to 1991 in his inimitable handwritten style, from double-sided one-page issues to longer full-sized ones, Bullshit Monthly really chronicled the pulse of the scene.

As Mike tells it: "Ok, so it's 1984 and I've just turned 16 and I take the bus and train from Queens into NYC to go slam dancing at the CBGB's Sunday Hardcore Matinee, which I would do 100's of times over the following years. But concerts can be boring for me, just standing around. I need to do something.

"So, a month into it all I started Bullshit Monthly, first a freebie then like 25-50¢. It was a rag with some reviews, some interviews and a lot of local gossip and stuff on local bands. I was always checking in with bands, when're you playing, or recording, or have any new members, or gossip. And sometimes at shows there would be dozens or even a hundred or more people buying the zine and reading it between bands. Hey, what else're you going to do and it's only a frikking quarter!’

Mike went on to play in SFA, GO!, Ego, and No Mistake. Original issues are available for download here, plus newer ones from the '00s.

Occasional Irregularity

Occasional Irregularity by Queens Village native Howie Abrams, who coincidentally had started out doing reviews for Bullshit Monthly. Starting out in 1985, Howie did 3 issues chronicling the crossover influence creeping into NYHC at the time.

As Howie recall: "Around late '84/early '85, a friend of mine, John Rooney, and I started a fanzine called Occasional Irregularity. We did show reviews, album reviews, interviews, etc. We'd sell them at the matinees and other shows as kids waited to go inside.

"I remember peddling our first issue outside the Ritz before some show and Parris from the Cro-Mags came up and thanked us for reviewing the Age of Quarrel cassette. It was rare that these bands were recognized in any way outside of playing their shows, even in a fanzine, so our efforts were appreciated and that was gratifying."

Howie went on to do the legendary In Effect Records label and has of late being involved with releasing some amazing books covering hardcore, metal, and graffiti. Check out his latest: The Blood and the Sweat: The Story of Sick of It All's Koller Brothers.

Unite

Done by my fellow Jackson Heights native James "Unite" Damion, who I met at summer camp in 1980. We got into hardcore at around the same time and James did a zine called Boredom previous to starting Unite in 1988, that lasted for 5 issues until 1993.

James remembers: "I think I started working on Unite in the spring of '88. It was my senior year and I had already been into hardcore for a few years. I was actively going to shows and had done about eight issues of another zine called Boredom.

"By the eighth issue I had really focused my attention towards NYHC and did interviews with bands like Gorilla Biscuits, Our Gang, All for One, and a bunch of local Queens bands. There were so many reasons I wanted to do Unite.

"I was in love with the music and I felt like I was really a part of something important. Back then you didn't buy your hardcore culture at Hot Topic or google it on your laptop. It was very grassroots and very communal. Doing a fanzine was a way of contributing and doing my part in a sense. Not just sitting back and waiting for the world to come to me."

Here's a cool interview James did with Double Cross.

In Effect

Done by Chris Wynne from College Point in 1988. We actually worked on a fanzine together in ‘87 and Chris caught the bug to do his own thing and that became In Effect, which lasted for 12 printed issues.

Chris resurrected the zine online in 2012 and its as vibrant as it ever was, here’s his recollections of the beginning: "There was no launch date for In Effect, it just kinda happened sometime in 1988 in College Point, Queens, New York, on 8th Avenue and College Place to be exact.

"A group of friends who were automatically drawn to heavier music is what started it. It is a similar story to others who I have come across in the hardcore/punk world."

Chris Wynne from In Effect using New Breed #1 as wall paper in 1988

An anthology of all the printed issues of In Effect will be released in Spring of 2021 on Shining Life Press.

The Village Noize

Done by Eric Weilander from Bayside with help from Chris Bunkley from Queens Village for the first 5 issues. Starting with exclusively covering NYHC bands and a stapled/xeroxed format, first issue coming out in 1987. By the '90s, Eric was covering everything under the sun and the zine had morphed into a full color, magazine type quality with professional production values.

He did 17 issues all together, the last one coming out in 1995.

As Eric remembers: "I started The Village Noize with Chris Bunkley because of a deep obsession with music. I didn’t think being able to play violin and piano was going to get me anywhere with the music scene I wanted to be a part of, I knew performing wasn’t for me, but I had already been creating one-off coloring and comic books and holiday cards for my family as a kid so after seeing a few zines at Some Records, that felt like my calling, to be able to create something in a printable form, from scratch.

"The DIY ethos of the punk/hardcore scene gave me the inspiration to make it happen — coupled with the ferocious energy of so many artists — music, filmmakers and others. Hands down there were questions asked, things written on record, awkward misquotations, and other questionable content and judgements made from the first issue to the last that make me cringe if I open up some of those pages today.

"But those days of my first interview with Prong from the CBGB stage, designing a Murphy’s Law interview layout with Uncle Al’s brilliant characters off the first album cover, spray painting the cover of every issue until we went glossy by the ninth Beastie Boys cover... so many moments were deeply rewarding, big and small."

Me and Eric did a hardcore fanzines exhibit in 2011 in NYC, maybe we should do a Queens Zines one soon!

Yes Zista

After working on The Village Noize, Chris Bunkley from Queens Village decided to do his own zine focusing primarily on NYHC bands and put out 2 issues in 1988 and 1989 of Yes Zista, the name referencing a certain nun at St Robert’s Church in Bayside.

Here’s his recollections: "The 'for the kids by the kids' do it yourself concept of NYHC where the fans were the bands was so inviting. I didn’t own any musical instruments nor have the ability to play one even if I did so a band was out of the question, but I did have a pen and I knew how to write a book report so writing record and show reviews seemed a logical gateway into showing support for the scene.

"Working on fanzines was a totally hands on experience, in these days the cut and paste process actually required scissors and rubber cement."

Chris went on to sing for Queens bands Second 2 None and Terminal Confusion. Here’s a cool interview with Raw Deal (Killing Time) published in the second issue.

Ugly Duckling

Speaking of Queens band Terminal Confusion, their drummer, Doug Williamson, from Bayside, did two issues of Ugly Duckling fanzine in 1986 and 1987 covering NYHC and the worldwide crossover scene

The second issue was a collaboration with fellow Terminal Confusion member John Soto. Doug also played in STD (Skinheads Til Death), Unholy Alliance, and Seizure Crypt. These days he’s an accomplished painter. Check out his work here.

Last Daze

Gina Lawson was a Brooklyn native but she hung out so much in Queens, interviewing many bands from the borough and always hanging out at hardcore meeting spots like I.S. 145 park in Jackson Heights.

People like James Unite contributed to Last Daze so Gina is an honorary Queens zinester. She published 4 issues, starting in 1988 until 1989. Gina also played bass in Queens band Resistance.

Gina Lawson from Last Daze sporting a Unite varsity jacket in 1989, RIP

Sadly, Gina passed away in 2007 and is survived by a son. RIP old friend.

Right Trash/Marching for Trash

Right Trash was done by Whitestone native Rich “The TrashMan’ Oliver in 1988 with the help of Lester Salvador and lasted for 2 issues, covering the CBGB’s matinee scene. In 1990 he rechristened the zine Marching for Trash to cover the burgeoning scene at ABC No Rio and put out 2 half-sized issues.

Rich recalls: "I came to CBGB’s one late one summer and immediately noticed Eric W (The Village Noize) and Mike Bullshit (Bullshit Monthly) selling their zines. I knew I could pull that off, within a few months I was asking Ian MacKaye embarrassing questions about straight edge.

"It was low tech, subversive, (I was so young & naive, I wasn’t capable of asking Amy from Nausea a question that didn’t set her off on a rant due to my clumsily phrases questions) and I met every side of the scene. It was the greatest couple of years, and it cost a few bucks and some subway tokens. When ABC No Rio started Right Trash turned into a digest, Marching for Trash."

Rich went on to sing for Atrocity, The Manacled, and Antiem, here’s Marching for Trash #2. Follow his blog at this link.

The Book of Armageddon

Book of Armageddon was a legendary metal zine done by Flushing natives Ed Farshtey and Terminal Confusion bassist Mark Sokoll. Four issues all together, the first one coming out in 1986.

As Ed recalls: "I first started The Book of Armageddon back in the summer of 1985 with my good friend Mark Sokoll. We both had the same musical interests and we also wanted to be more involved in the underground.

"Buying records and going to shows was great, but there was more of a calling to actually become involved in this growing scene."

The Book of Armageddon's second issue can be seen here. Mark Sokoll went on to play in Seizure Crypt, Darkside NYC, and currently records as CHAKA.

Check out an i-depth interview with Ed Farshtey here.

Just Lies

Done In 1988 by Charlie Adamec (Chuck Love) from Bayside, 3rd and last issue coming out in 1990. He also collaborated on a one off zine called Saboo Sez in 1991 with Lifetime Examiner editor Joe Martin.

Charlie went on to play bass in The Manacled, Animal Crackers, Rejuvenate, Ego, and Stolen Face.

The Lifetime Examiner

Two issues of The Lifetime Examiner were done by Joe Martin from Bayside in 1990, with the second issue coming out in 1991. He also collaborated on Saboo Sez with Just Lies editor Charlie Adamec.

Joe’s recollections" "The more I immersed myself in punk rock it became less about consumerism, and more about participation in all aspects of the scene; you were equal parts press, performer, and producer, and at some point it seemed like just about everyone I knew was doing the same thing."

Joe went on to play bass in Citizens Arrest, Antiem, and Hell No.

Rumpshaker

Done by Eric Weiss from Glendale in 1994 and lasting for 6 issues. Starting from humble beginnings, later issues grew to almost a couple of hundred pages covering personal/political topics as well as music.

As Eric tells it: "I was introduced to hardcore punk through metal. I’d save my allowance every week and head to Numbers Records in Queens to buy whatever album had the goriest, bloodiest artwork. That got me schooled in thrash like Slayer, Kreator, Exodus, and a ton of others.

"One week, instead of buying a super-gory looking record, I went for the band with the coolest name: Agnostic Front. I was hooked on hardcore immediately and immersed myself in NYHC like Sick of it All, Killing Time, Breakdown, Outburst, Gorilla Biscuits, and all the others.

"That led me going to CBGB hardcore matinees, which for better or worse changed my life forever. Rumpshaker was indeed my first foray into the zine world – a world I really grew to love.’

You can order the last issue of Rumpshaker at this link, and here's a great interview Decibel did with Eric.

Monkeybite

Done by Andrew Orlando from Middle Village in 1997, along with Gary Niederhoff,  who at the time was living in California. Monkeybite existed 3 issues, concentrating on the power violence scene.

Andrew remembers: "Gary and I corresponded a lot because of our bands. We eventually discovered a shared sense of humor and love for sci-fi and our music scene. Most of the zines ignored our bands and the bands we liked, so we did something about it.

"Gary and I were influenced by Hardware Fanzine and their no-frills approach to the hardcore zine. We just put our twist on that, basically. Gary took care of the layout duties and I handled most of the interviews and the distribution side of it.

"We did three great issues and we had some material for a fourth issue, but not a lot, and we just slacked on it until it became too late to do it."

Andrew Orlando @ Reservoir Records, Middle Village, Queens, NY, circa 1997.

Andrew played guitar with Black Army Jacket, Milhouse, Hope Collapse, and Disnihil with Gary playing in Noothgrush. He was also behind the label Reservoir Records (Silent Majority, Hellbender, C.R.). You can download Monkeybite #1 at this link.

FTW and New Breed

These are the two zines I did while living in Jackson Heights. FTW (only one issue) was a collaboration with Howard "The Punk" Charcofsky In 1987.

New Breed #1 was done with Chris Wynne and Tatu Paul, from College Point and Flushing respectively, in 1988.

The second and last issue of New Breed came with a compilation tape and that was a collaboration with Chaka Malik from Woodside, done in 1989. You can download both zines here.

Thank you to Chris Bunkley, Wendy Eager, Rob Lawi, Mike BS, and all the zine editors for helping me down this trip through memory lane, Queens zines forever!

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