As for the history, I caught the zine bug in high school in the early 90's after writing a couple articles for friend’s zines but always thought of myself as a contributor rather than creator. But all that changed after I moved away to college outside of punk stronghold Southern California and found myself in a decidedly smaller punk scene, literally a couple people. So obviously I felt cut off from the punk scene at large and especially all the zines I had easy access to in the past.
Subversion was a way to get back in. So it started like any other, centered on the important things in my life at the time: beer, punk rock and politics. The politics wasn’t really a choice but it was something I liked anyway. See back then there were basically three kinds of zines, the personal diary style like Cometbus and The Probe, the huge columnists/music reviews/tons of ads zines like Maximum Rock And Roll and Flipside and the angry political rants like Slug And Lettuce and All The Answers. Seeing as my life was no where near as interesting as Aaron Cometbus and no labels were sending me anything, let alone anyone that wanted to write/do anything with me, I settled on pumping out angry rant after angry rant.
Xeroxed at the local Kinko’s in ultra small batches, almost no one even saw/read my output but it allowed me to trade for other zines and get a modest amount of free CDs from sympathetic labels. It was enough to keep me feeling like I was still involved at however a small, isolated, peripheral level it was. Then I graduated college and moved to San Francisco, home of the crusty punk and sister city to, at the time, the thriving 924 Gilman scene.
It was fun to be back in a big punk scene, with good shows almost every night, but I soon found myself at odds with a scene mostly comprised of what I thought of as fashion punks. You know the studded belts, mohawks, pants with Crass and Discharge patches etc. who took their music very seriously. This was different from the more laid back jeans and t-shirt surf/skate punks I grew up with. All of a sudden you needed to listen to super obscure crust or ’77 punk only. Heaven forbid you liked Green Day or Pennywise or anything that was ‘gasp’ on a major label. You can see a bit of this in the writing I was doing at the time. Still, I soldiered on, even managing to crank out a full size newsprint edition before finally collapsing under a dual workload of a full time job and an ever increasing music review section (truly the bane of any zine).
While almost all of these were written in the 90's, reflecting both the hot button issus of the day and the deadly earnestness of youth that the older me can't help chuckle and roll my eyes at, I occasionally crank out a new essay. I still mostly write political rants as my life is still not as interesting as Aaron Cometbus and I never managed to get any girls to pose naked like The Probe did, although once a female fan did send me a topless photo. Ah, the glories of zine publishing…
They say history repeats itself which can only mean that people don't learn from their mistakes. Sadly wise men have tried to warn us this would happen, chief among them Thomas Jefferson, but like he said, we're too busy making money to worry about The Patriot Act or wire tapping without warrants. Well, at least we were warned and a long time ago it turns out:
"The spirit of the times may alter, will alter. Our rulers will become corrupt, our people careless. A single zealot may become persecutor, and better men be his victims. It can never be too often repeated that the time for fixing every essential right, on a legal basis, is while our rulers are honest, ourselves united. From the conclusion of this war we shall be going down hill. It will not be necessary to resort every moment to the people for support. They will be forgotten, therefore, and their rights disregarded. They will forget themselves in the sole faculty of making money, and will never think of uniting to effect a due respect for their rights. The shackles, therefore, which shall not be knocked off at the conclusion of this war, will be heavier and heavier, till our rights shall revive or expire in convulsion."