The Thriving Culture of DIY Publishing & Fanzines

“DIY publishing is anyone who has ever taken an idea and made it a reality.” Martin Appleby shares a love of punk fanzines and independent publishing.

Guest article written by Martin Appleby. Martin is a Hastings-based poet and writer, and the founder of Paper & Ink Literary Zine: a high-quality collection of fiction and poetry. Catch Martin performing at Manchester Punk Festival at 13:00 in The Thirsty Scholar.

Fanzines are as old as punk itself, and have always been an integral part of the scene, especially in pre-Internet times: an open and unbiased resource for spreading the word about new bands, albums and gigs. A cheap and easy format to make and distribute.

You may think that the format is now obsolete and unnecessary, what with the world wide web at everybody’s fingertips, but zines and zine culture is thriving, and the internet has not hampered that.

If anything, it can act as a formidable marketing tool for zine makers, now able to reach a far wider audience than they arguably could have ‘back in the day’ when zines were only shared at shows and amongst friends in their own scenes.

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Many punk zines have come and gone over the years, but a personal favourite of mine, Lights Go Out, has been consistently putting issues out since 2008. I recently caught up with the dude who runs it, Mr T, and asked him about his zine:

“For me it’s an important part of the scene; it’s an honest opinion. It’s a way to find new bands for people and also for me, with the amount of stuff that comes in for the team to check out, I always hope that every record is going to be my new favourite. Continue reading “The Thriving Culture of DIY Publishing & Fanzines”

Punk Rock, Anxiety, Phobias and Friendship

Ben (ex-Paper Champ/The 4130s) shares a personal story of how fear and anxiety have hindered his enjoyment of punk rock.

Guest post written by Ben Wiles, previously of Paper Champ & The 4130s. This is part of our #MentallySound series, discussing mental health in music. 

Hi. I’m Ben and I’m an emetophobe! There, I said it.

Emetophobia is a fear of vomiting. I’ve been emetophobic for as far back as I can remember.  I have no idea of the origins of this phobia and, if you are reading this thinking, “Woah, that’s a strange one,” you’d be right.  I think the exact same thing; everyone throws up right?

Fuck – some people actively go out of their way to drink enough booze to puke every Friday.  Fair play to them.  I don’t drink.  It’s not my bag. Over the years not drinking has had a big impact on being in a band and, by extension, being in a gig setting.  I never wanted to be ‘that guy’ who was down on a party and stop my band mates enjoying themselves and getting wasted.  But it was getting harder and harder to be around drunk people. Continue reading “Punk Rock, Anxiety, Phobias and Friendship”

Booze, Music & Saving Your Sanity

Sober punk Jon Turner shares the story of Petrol Bastard, and why you don’t need to be drunk to be punk.

Guest article by Jonathan Turner, chief of the excellent SoberPunks blog. This is part of our #MentallySound series, discussing mental health in music.

Somewhere back in August 2015 there was a standard weekend happening for me. Standard in that it had become the norm ever since the birth of Petrol Bastard in a Huddersfield pub in 2012; a crazy techno-punk band borne of a manifesto drunkenly written up between me and my bandmate Ben:

  • Fast music only
  • Live recordings only
  • Repetitive lyrics so they’re easy to learn
  • Tons of swearing
  • Never write or record sober
  • Never gig sober
  • Never do anything sober

We both enjoyed some pretty hardcore drinking already, but this new set of rules made boozing the absolute centre of everything we did as a band. This was gunna be a crazy ride; a band BY the drinkers, FOR the drinkers. Songs about being drunk, written whilst drunk, and performed whilst drunk. WE ARE PROFESSIONAL ARTISTS AND WE REQUIRE BOOZE TO OPERATE. Continue reading “Booze, Music & Saving Your Sanity”

The Monster’s Teeth Aren’t As Big As You Imagine

LITFO’s Jimmy Carroll explains how getting onstaged helped him overcome social anxiety and shyness.

Guest post written by Jimmy Carroll, bassist in Laughing In The Face Of. This is part of our #MentallySound series, discussing mental health in music. 

I was a painfully shy child.  Other kids who had never met before seemed to be able to integrate with each other in a way I would never understand, only observe.

It wasn’t without trying or effort, I just couldn’t seem to summon up the courage to simply say ‘hello’.

In my mind at the time the prospect of rejection or even worse, all out mockery was too terrifying a prospect to entertain.

This isn’t to say I was friendless or a total loner as a kid but I would never make the first move in an interaction of any kind.

Fast forward to my early teens and this social anxiety was supplemented by a broader type.  All the ‘what if’s and over-analyzing every single aspect of the most trivial things led me to my first panic attack (which at the time I was convinced was a full blown heart attack) and left me fucked up for about a week in the aftermath.

I think a big part of it was unfounded paranoia.  Are they looking at me? Why are they looking at me? Are they talking about me?  Why are they talking about me? Continue reading “The Monster’s Teeth Aren’t As Big As You Imagine”

Derry Girls Cherym Breathe New Life Into The DIY Pop-Punk Genre

Discover Irish DIY pop-punks Cherym before they explode.

Article by Alan Corcoran. Cover photo by Mickey Rooney.

Every so often a geriatric pop-punker like myself will see a band that serves as a reminder as to why you like this ridiculous genre in the first place. Derry’s Cherym are one of these bands.

Hitting the stage as a cluster of energy and a little bit of endearing nervousness, it took about 30 seconds before they won the crowd over and had everyone in the venue mentally filing the moment away for future, “I saw them before they were a thing,” conversations.

For such a young band to have songwriting chops this good is frankly sickening. Every song skirts the line between power pop and 77 punk. Every melody and musical movement is delivered with a half smile and a shrug of the shoulders, as if it’s all happening by accident. They are either naturally musically gifted or incredible at acting and this curmudgeon isn’t sure which is worse.

Lead single Take It Back sets out their stall: you’re gonna get driving basslines, drums that will kick you upside your head, plenty of fuzzy guitar tones and vocal melodies to tie these disparate things into approx. 3 minutes of pop punk goodness. Continue reading “Derry Girls Cherym Breathe New Life Into The DIY Pop-Punk Genre”

We Are Just Like You, We Just Don’t Have Instruments

Simon Widdop explains why punk poetry is worth your attention.

Guest article by Simon Widdop, a punk poet from Wakefield. Simon’s debut poetry collecton is Sending A Drunk Text Whilst Sober is available from simonwiddop.com.

The old adage of, “Here’s three chords, now go start a band,” can be translated into, “Here’s a pen and paper, now go start a poem.”

Poetry ain’t dead, far from it. It’s alive and beating hard in books, at lit fests, on TV adverts and at gigs. Yeah, that’s right. But not to be cliche, the poetry you’ll find at shows isn’t the same as the stuff we were forced to recite in grey tones in GCSE English lessons.

But where does all this tie into the punk scene?

Let’s rewind to the initial explosion of punk. You’ve just entered the Mayflower Club in Manchester, waiting for The Buzzcocks when suddenly a matchstick legged, drain pipe jeans clad, backcomb rocking John Cooper Clarke takes to the stage. 20 minutes later (or shorter, depending how ‘Ramones’ he was feeling that night) you’ve just experienced the godfather of punk poetry. Fast delivery, sharpshooter word play and a right hook to the senses. At the same time, across the pond and in the belly of CBGB, Patti Smith was reciting her kitchen sink realism and strong feminist works to an audience of fellow New Yorkers at the height of the New York Scene. Continue reading “We Are Just Like You, We Just Don’t Have Instruments”

Death or Salvation: A Year In The Life Of Tim Loud

Antifolk singer-songwriter, Tim Loud, gives us a track-by-track insight into his latest album, ‘Salvation’.

Folk-punk antihero, Tim Loud, is due to release his third studio album Salvation via TNS Records on 28th September 2018. Salvation follows new musical and lyrical themes; a musical chronical of Tim’s personal quest for redemption. Shout Louder asked Tim to give us the background.

I was due to start pre-production on Salvation in December of last year, after a pretty shitty few months. Three years of heavy touring and trying to cram in some semblance of a personal life in the 5-10 day stints when I was back ‘home’ had taken its toll. I tried to go sans abode, thinking that if that financial pressure was gone then it might be better… but the uncertainty that added only made things worse.

My head popped at the end of a tour in August last year. I had to work out a more healthy way to carry on making music, if it was even worth me carrying it on at all?

I’d been drinking a lot over the years and had grown accustomed to taking a good ol’ cocktail of drugs to balance me out on the daily, so I decided to knock those things on the head. I still had a sparsely populated tour for September and October to complete, so I decided I would make those my last dates before taking a break. I wouldn’t stress too much about filling the last dates and maybe even take some days off to camp out in the Western European woodlands. I was doing this tour on my own; I often travel with another performer but due to my state, I knew I had to go this part alone.

Tim Loud Salvation Album Cover.jpg

I managed to stay off of everything for one month and then gradually began falling back into old habits, although with less gusto this time. I felt the time to clear my head had been useful. One of the last dates I played was at the ADM festival in Amsterdam; I have played there maybe a dozen times over the past 4/5 years and I have a lot of good friends there. They were all busy running the festival and tour fatigue had put pay to what remaining social skills I had left after the head-popping incident. I spent most of the festival wandering round on my own. It was nice, but it’s a strange experience when everyone else is so involved with each other and you’re just an individual.

So anyway, I wound up taking some acid and in the dawn-light in the back of my van. As electricity danced through every structure and a thin layer of ice shimmered atop everything in my line of vision, I had an epiphany of sorts. Two phrases kept repeating themselves in my head, “Find a home,” and, “I am me, and that’s OK,” for about 6 hours.

I put that together with everything else I’d been thinking for the previous years. It was time to take a break from touring. Continue reading “Death or Salvation: A Year In The Life Of Tim Loud”