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Zine-O-Mania: Send Back My Stamps!

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Before blogspots, there were zines. You had something to say, you liked bands that print magazines didn’t cover, and you had access to a copy machine. Either you bitched and moaned (oh, to live in a halcyon time before Internet negativity), or you started your own zine. (You! Over there! Bitching and moaning! Start your own blog!) You put out one issue, realized how much goddamn work it was, and that was that. Yesterday’s one-issue zines are today’s abandoned blogspots.

As Bazillion Points’ anthologies of zines (Touch and Go, Slayer, excerpts in Swedish Death Metal) demonstrate, yesterday’s zines had charm. The writing was often bad, the layouts were often creative, and the interviews had a whoa-time-machine quality impossible in today’s hyper-self-aware metal climate. Plenty of zines carry on this tradition, but many today are almost too good to have that charm (e.g., Annick Giroux’ beautiful Morbid Tales zine).

Jason Netherton of Misery Index has a big stash of death metal zines from back in the day. Now he’s sharing them with the world on Send Back My Stamps! (See here for the origin of the name.) This is a gold mine of metal memories, and I’ve whiled away much time perusing these treasures.

His most recent artifact is Curious Goods #5 (1991). This was a mag out of Oxnard, CA, but one of its writers was a Richard Johnson who conducted interviews in DC. I wonder if this is the same Richard Johnson who’s in Enemy Soil, and who did a zine called Disposable Underground (also featured on Send Back My Stamps!). Curious Goods‘ layout screams “Print Shop” (for those who remember the original Apple computers), and its font makes the zine seem like one long cash register receipt.

But the whoa-time-machine quality is on full blast here. Check out this excerpt from an interview with Nuclear Assault’s Dan Lilker:

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Or this bit from a pre-Nevermore Warrel Dane, then in Sanctuary:

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Or Cannibal Corpse’s Chris Barnes dishing on then-new death metal bands:

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Due to time constraints, Netherton is only scanning and uploading highlights from his zines. That’s a shame, as in Curious Goods #5, I would have liked to have read the interviews with Tad, Sick of It All, Cyclone Temple, and Wrathchild America. But there’s plenty of goodness in what’s uploaded – interviews with Nuclear Assault, Cannibal Corpse, Godflesh, Napalm Death, and Sanctuary. I suggest taking on these zines slowly and one at a time. It’s tough to bite off more than that at once. Just this one zine, Curious Goods #5, has blown my mind for days.

— Cosmo Lee

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