PATRICK THE LAMA'S
GUIDE TO ANCIENT PSYCH & GARAGE ZINES,
COMSTOCK LODE was an excellent British fanzine that existed circa 1977-82. Edited by John Platt, the zine's main focus was on the 1960s Bay Area music scene but all sorts of material was featured, including lengthy pieces on Beat era poets and early 1960s UK r'n'b, all of it thoroughly researched and based on unique interviews. Many later writers owe much to Platt and his associates, something which is not always acknowledged.
David Lindley/Kaleidoscope interview, Stefan Grossman, west coast Beatnik scene, reviews
Chet Helms interview (brief Elevators talk), Mad River/Lawrence Hammond interview, mid-1970s S F scene, reviews
Big Brother/Pete Albin interview, Pete Brown (UK guy) interview pt 1, Ed Cassidy interview on pre-Spirit days, Kaleidoscope (US) chronology, reviews
International Artists label (LPs), Gary Snyder retrospective, Mayo Thompson/Red Crayola interview (some Elevators talk), Pete Brown pt 2, reviews
Viv Stanshall/Bonzo's interview, International Artists pt 2 (45s), Mike Wilhelm/Charlatans interview (brief), current (1979) music scene exposť, reviews
London music scene 1955-1965 incl interviews with Brian Knight and Bert Jansch, current music scene, Terry Reid interview, Fred Sokolow/Notes From The Underground interview, reviews
Early London r'n'b scene, Mouse (poster artist), current music scene, Bay Area 1960s family tree (by Pete Frame), 1940s-50s LA r'n'b scene, reviews
Interim 3-page newsletter with some brief news items and classifed ads from Hans Kesteloo and the embryonic Funhouse Records! Thanks to Ross Hannan for forwarding me this rare "issue".
Peter Stampfel/Holy Modal Rounders interview, Roky Erickson interview, UK Beat writers, Robert Wyatt interview, Lew Welch (beat poet) retrospective, Bridget St John interview, reviews
Roger McGough (UK poet/Scaffold etc) interview, Ron Nagle/Mystery Trend interview, Phil Lesh/Dead interview, Mickey Hart/Dead interview, Glen Campbell/Misunderstood interview (brief), current music scene & reissues, Bruce Cockburn piece, reviews
dBs interview, David Meltzer/Serpent Power interview, John Mayall family tree (by Pete Frame), Mike Daly/Mystery Trend manager interview, Hugh Hopper/Soft Machine chronology/discography, current music scene, reviews
DARK STAR was founded in England 1975 and kept going well into the 1980s. The early issues are clearly in a fanzine mode with no interviews and very little unique material, based instead on the extensive knowledge and record collections of the guys involved. Interviews and feature articles gradually became more prominent alongside a more ambitious layout, making it similar to any rock magazine (except for the superior content) on the shelves from around issue #10 and onwards. The name "Dark Star" has probably lead many to think this a Dead-Head zine, but fact is that the Dead are among the groups least featured in the magazine; considerably more space is given to acts like the Airplane/Starship, Spirit and, well, Clover. The coverage is almost exclusively westcoast rock and countryrock, mixing new and old with a focus on the late 60s/early 70s timeframe. The quality of the writing varies but the knowledge and taste is impressive still today. Not quite as outstanding as Comstock Lode (whose founder John Platt wrote for DS before starting CL) but still essential to any westcoast fan. The main guys were publisher Mike Bushill and writers Steve Burgess, David Prockter and Nick Ralph.
In addition to the feature articles and interviews, all issues contain dozens of reviews of obscure westcoast (mostly) LPs old & new.
v 1.1 scans of various articles now added, 2007-December
Grateful Dead & Jefferson Airplane/Starship news, Roger McGuinn article, Youngbloods article (see scan), Neil Young article
Eagles retrospective, Grateful Dead/Carousel '68 article & tape review (see scan), Great Society article (see scan), brief Country Joe interview, Redwing article/review
Hot Tuna retrospective, Gene Clark article, Jerry Garcia interview (from '66), Youngbloods article
Jackson Browne retrospective, Kingfish article, Rick Griffin interview, Brewer & Shipley article, Firefall article, Blue Oyster Cult article/review
Stills-Young article, Don Harrison Band/Creedence interview, Beau Brummels retrospective (see scan), Andrew Gold article, Hall & Oates article, Michael Nesmith article
Jorma Kaukonen/Hot Tuna interview, Sneaky Pete/Flying Burritos interview, Robert Hunter prose, The Association retrospective, Clover interview, American Flyer article, April Wine article, Dillard & Clark article
Poco interview, Mike Wilhelm interview, Texas 1960s Rock retrospective, Rick Roberts, Grateful Dead
8. April 1977
Interviews with: David Lindley/Kaleidoscope (see scans), Craig Chaquico, Flamin' Groovies (Cyril Jordan), Andrew Gold
Articles on: Texas 1970s rock, Jim Morrison
Boz Scaggs, Gene Clark interview (see scans), Billy Talbot, Beach Boys, Grateful Dead
10. August 1977
Interviews with: Chris Hillman, Meal Ticket, Tom Petty, Billy Talbot/Rockets/Crazy Horse (see scans), Tom Jans
Articles on: Spirit, Crosby Stills & Nash
11. October 1977
Interviews with: Big Star, Kingfish (see scan of 1st page)
Articles on: Bob Dylan unreleased tapes, Beach Boys, Bay Area 60s-70s hornrock, Commander Cody band
Jefferson Airplane, Doobie Brothers, Grateful Dead, Country Joe, Eddie & the Hot Rods, Barefoot Jerry
13. February 1978
Interviews with: David Bromberg, Greg Kihn, Joan Baez
Articles on: Byrds rarities, John Martyn, Jefferson Airplane retrospective pt 2, Joy Of Cooking
14. April 1978
Interviews with: Emmylou Harris, Spirit (Jay Ferguson), Flamin' Groovies, Dennis Linde, Dickey Betts, Clover (Johnny Ciambotti) pt 1
Articles on: Alligators, Jefferson Airplane retrospective pt 3
15. June 1978
Interviews with Randy California, Michael Stanley Band, Atlanta Rhythm Section, Clover (Johnny Ciambotti) pt 2, Jay Ferguson, Muddy Waters,
Articles on: Sandy Denny, Grunt records, Byrds rarities pt 2, JJ Foote
+ flexi disc with 2 rare Spirit tracks included
16. August 1978
Interviews with: Tubes, Big Star (Jody Stephens), Tom Petty, Clover (Johnny Ciambotti) pt 3, Good Rats, David Freiberg/Quicksilver (see scans), Rubinoos, Ian Matthews
Articles on: Bob Dylan, Joanne Mackell, Spot The Dog, Dire Straits, Jefferson Starship
Championed as "the greatest rock'n'roll magazine in the world" and "the best fanzine of all time", KICKS magazine isn't exactly in great need of staunch supporters. Nevertheless I must pay at least a brief tribute to this terrific, irreverent, fact-laden and often rip-roaringly funny zine. Founded by New York City couple Billy Miller & Miriam Linna in the middle of the late 1970s punk fallout, KICKS carved out a gigantic niche in musicology and did this in such an irresistable manner that you find yourself reading long articles about obscure rockabilly artists you wouldn't have looked up in any other context. Billy Miller is one of the few truly great pop culture writers, taking elements only hinted at in Lester Bangs and Nick Tosches and bringing them to their logical conclusion, in a style that is a rare representation of rock'n'roll as literature -- and doing so with a priceless New York sense of humor that flips a gigantic bird in the face of pompous "rock critics". Of course there's more to KICKS than this, including sharp editing, marvellous layout, brilliant guest writers and a lifelong love for the music of the 1950s and pre-hippie 1960s. Issues #1-2 show some traces of the punk era DIY approach, while from #3 onwards the KICKS world is fully developed. Issue #5 is my personal favorite, and at least to me the single best fanzine ever made. Issue #7 was the last, after which Billy & Miriam focused entirely on their wellknown Norton record label.
In addition to the contents below, each issue is full of reviews of obscure 45s, compilation LPs and retrospectives, plus assorted brainstorms within the realm of American Pop Culture.
Everly Bros article + discography, Dave Edmunds article, article on 60s bands in TV cameos, Dictators article, Foul Dogs vs Ha'Pennys review, Pacific NW 60s article, Paul Revere & the Raiders article, Keith Allison article +discography, rare 45 reviews, Vince Taylor article, Rokes (Italy) interview, Velvet Underground article, Shaggs (girl band) article, book & zine reviews, North Carolina rock retrospective, Flamin' Groovies article, London/Parrot label discography
Chuck Berry article, Gene Vincent article, French 1960s EP:s, Del-Vetts article + discography, Canada punk article, Wailers article, Etiquette discography, Centurys (PA) article, Foul Dogs article, Ugly Ducklings article + discography, Chicago radio article, Heathens article, San Bernardino article+discography (part 1), Jerry LL article, Elvis article, Waikiki Surf LP article, Flamin Groovies article+interview.
Esquerita interview + discography, Little Richard article, Motions (OH) interview + discography, Beach Boys article, Collins Kids article, Link Wray article, Del-Fi surf LP, The Phantom article, Benny Joy interview, Tommy Lam interview, Ronnie Dawson article, Hasil Adkins interview, Steve Carl interview, Jess Hooper interview, Herbie Duncan article, White Castle article, JD-literature/Hal Ellson, Groupies article, Frog Death discography, Trashmen article, Bobby Fuller article, Banshees interview, The Heard interview, Savages LP, Shaggs "Wink", Golliwogs/John Fogerty article, Hustlers LP, Dave Kennedy & Ambassadors LP, San Bernardino pt 2
Wanda Jackson article, Ft Worth 1960s Teen Scene, Ronnie Self article + interview + discography, Surf top 10, Midwest surf, Electras article + discography, Tempests (NY) interview, Honeymooners interview, "Car 54" article, Ralph Nielsen interview, Ken Davis article, Barbara Pittman article, Hillary Brooke article, Hasil Adkins article, Jackie Gotroe article, Tyrone Schmidling article, Billy Poore, Jerome Green article, "Garden State Gold" LP, Link Wray article, Ledge Stardust Cowboy interview, Buddy Holly article, "Top Teen Bands" LP, Fred Blassie interview, baseball season predictions
Hasil Adkins interview + discography, Rivieras interview + discography, Joe Clay interview, Mamie Van Doren, Pyramids interview + discography, Dale Hawkins interview + discography, "alternative music", Fantastic Dee Jays/Swamp Rats interview + discography, Marauders (MI) article, Jerry LL article, Herbie Duncan article + interview, Sterling Hayden article, Bob Vidone article + discography, Ed Roth interview, Moon Records discography, Blue Moon Records discography, Phantom Raiders LP, Kid Thomas article + discography, Revels article + discography, Andy Anderson interview, Danny Dell interview + discography, Twiliters (NY) interview + discography, Carl Cherry article
Bobby Fuller article + discography, Sonny Burgess interview, Chicago 60s punk scene, Arch Hall Jr article + discography, Sparkle Moore interview, Ronnie Dawson article + discography, Vince Murphy & Catalinas interview, Elroy Dietzel article, Felco Records discography, Gene Rambo/Plaids/Flames article, Rockin R's article + discography, Andre Williams article + discography, Gene Maltais article + discography, misc TV, Surf Barfin Dozen, Young Tyrants interview, Tempos interview, Mickey Hawks interview, Excels (TX) interview, Big Sambo article, Rumblers Interview + discography, Teddy & Rough Riders interview + discography, Renegades interview, Swags article, Slough Boys article, Crazy Teens article, Stingrays (IL) article, Jack Starr interview, Aquinos article, Billy Poore, Green Fuz interview
Trashmen interview + discography, Mike Waggoner interview, Ron Haydock article + discography, Rock-A-Teens interview + discography, "Battle Of The Beat" LP, Dennis Hunt article, Esquerita article, Crossfires interview + discography, Iguanas (MI) interview, Andy Starr interview + discography, White Rock label discography, Part-Aires (NJ) interview + discography, Surf budget LPs, Rudy Grayzell interview + discography, Doug Sahm early 45s interview, Lenny & Thundertones interview + discography, Mexican 60's article, Las Vegas 60's article, Teenbeats article + discography
Here's an idiosynchratic index to all issues of the legendary and very good Mojo Navigator rock fanzine from San Francisco 1966-67; generally regarded as the very first of its kind. Editor Greg Shaw was only 18 years old when he founded this zine, which is invaluable for S F historians and a rather mindboggling read today. Scans of all issues are available here. I wrote this as part of my 13th Floor Elevators book research, which is the reason for the constant Elevators references below.
Half or more pieces in Mojo Navigator are by editor David Harris, other half by Greg Shaw and assorted guest writers, including Mystery Trend manager Mike Daly who wrote several collector-oriented articles.
Spring 2007 Update: unfortunately, it appears that the scan archive linked to above no longer exists, so the Mojo Navigators are once again elusive. Greg Shaw passed away recently, after a long and outstanding career in the service of little-known and local music. R.I.P.
Winter 2008 update: added scans of the missing issue 1967-1 below. Also, the brand new BOMP book ("Saving The World One Record At A Time") contains many pages and covers of Mojo Navigator in glossy, high quality print. Don't miss.
1st Airplane & CJ & Fish EP mentioned as coming releases, also news of Dylan's famous accident...Wolfman Jack introduced....bunch of cool namedropping from people who were obviously right in the middle of the 1966 music scene. Note that the page order is messed up in the scan.
Jim Gurley has neighbor problems, the Great Society guys' Indian music studies initiated, soon it would lead to them going to India for 3 years and missing the entire (commercial) SF explosion... SF radio stations reviewed, with Sly Stone being applauded for his good music knowledge ("he's also an excellent musician")... Syndicate Of Sound dismissed as a "really depressing band" - that was a new one.
Upcoming first issue of the SF Oracle mentioned, first ELEVATORS reference "...The Thirteenth Floor Elevator [sic] is a local band, apparently having no connection with a group out of New York having the same name, which group has reportedly broken up..." - uh, hope Shaw got better sources later on, also listing of ELEVATOR[S] gig at Fillmore, and the first Avalon gig the week after... clueless dismissals of Sam The Sham, the Wailers & the Raiders in the same paragraph - all 3 bands were much better than Big Brother ever were... Greg Shaw reveals the secret of the alternate "Freewheelin Bob Dylan" LP (today one of the most valuable records in the world) and offers to tape the 4 missing songs for readers... first Airplane LP reviewed favorably but with reservations... Sons Of Adam 45, and New Tweedy Bros non-LP/pre-LP 45 (it sucks BTW) are both mentioned as new singles out... also this unbelievable little ad: "The Grateful Dead are looking for a place to live where they can practice without bugging anyone; some secluded spot, preferably in Marin"... 35 years ago, what a strange long trip it's been.
Long Grateful Dead interview, cool and funny, upcoming studio sessions & acid tests discussed, a must-read for any Dead-head... Garcia informs us that the Vancouver Trips Festival consisted of the Dead, Daily Flash and the Painted Ship, unreal.... legendary mystery act New Tweedy Bros discussed by him too... ELEVATOR[s] reference: "...the 13th Floor Elevator failed to show at the Fillmore last Saturday night due to contractual obligations with the Avalon - Quicksilver Messenger Service filled in..." [not true, see issue #5] - so the audience wasn't stuck with just Sopwith Camel then, good to hear... NO mention of any Elevators gigs for the coming week... awesome CJ & Fish "Bass Strings" EP is reviewed as "sensational"... Greg Shaw putting down Paul Revere & the Raiders again, give it a rest man...
Second part of Dead interview, Golliwogs discussed... ELEVATOR[S] reference in Dead interview:
GARCIA: [on groups from other cities] ... it sounds like it could be San Francisco groups, the 13th Story Elevator...
GARCIA: ... the Thirteenth Floor Elevator, they're supposed to be up at the Avalon this weekend, their sound is like a San Francisco sound sort of, a little like Big Brother... [end of 13FE talk]
Mystery Trend recording session rumors... Greg Shaw triumphantly declaring that Bill Graham now has stopped booking Paul Revere & the Raiders, fortunately Greg later saw the light on the Raiders... Mojo editor trashes the SF Oracle's music coverage as uninformed and shallow, that's what I always thought too, overrated mag... ELEVATOR[S] reference: "... when the Thirtheenth Floor Elevator cancelled out at the Fillmore, they were replaced by Country Joe & the Fish, not the Messenger Service..." [see #4]... again NO mention of any upcoming Elevators shows in SF.
ID Magazine's annual "San Francisco Band Book" out, anyone got a copy?... dig this: "the Velvet Underground has released a lousy single on Verve Records - Andy Warhol produced it, Nico sings (hah-hah) on it. It's the musical equivalent of a painted Brillo box which sells for $400" - seems VU:s arty heroin NYC chic didn't go over too well in SF... interesting news on Great Society, Count Five, Daily Flash and more... cool tech scoop on first Airplane LP... New York area radio stations discussed in detail, prob of great interest to music historians... bunch of now famous LPs reviewed including Butterfield's immensely influential "East-West" which gets thumbs up... the Both/And benefit reviewed... NO Elevators references whatsoever.
Interview with SF DJ Tommy Saunders... sales figures for CJ & Fish EP reported... rumor of Grace Slick joining the Airplane... big, crude cartoon ad for CJ & Fish gig, ditto for Freedom Highway/Flying Circus - not SF poster art at it's finest... Charlatans Codine 45 being pulled off the market... Remains upcoming LP mentioned, "they are one of the most interesting East Coast groups" - fucking aye... Belfast Gypises first 45 mentioned, surprisingly... ELEVATORS gig at Avalon listed, no other references in this issue.
Long Big Brother interview, they explain how they hate Chicago where they just had a poorly received tour, though the Little Boy Blues liked them (!)... The Doors signing with Elektra mentioned by Mojo LA correspondent, "former Whiskey house band, a good local group"... more crude ad artwork... SF street rally against the prohibition of LSD being planned, as everyone knows this was enforced October 6, 66, i e the number of the Beast... ELEVATORS reference (I think): "local group [in L.A] called the 13th Floor, mad because of S.F group with the same name..." - curiouser and curiouser... new Harbinger Complex 45 mentioned... yep, Darby Slick & Peter whatshisname now off to Calcutta... 2nd Seeds LP reviewed favorably...the Dead sign with Warner Bros... Cream being formed in England... no reference to any Elevators gigs. Page order messed up in scan again.
Jim Kweskin interview... Dead fan-club started, Pigpen sweatshirt for sale, join now... ELEVATORS reference, the band played at the Avalon after an SF street-event, Artists Liberation Front's Free Fair: "...After the Fair the Family Dog held its first anniversary dance at Avalon, with Big Brother & the Holding Company, sounding great, the Sir Douglas Quintet, sounding terrible, the Oxford Circle, the 13th Floor Elevators, and a couple of jam-groups..." - the "s" now in place for the Elevators... later on more ELEVATORS talk, re the same night, and now we get the full low-down:
"... The most interesting group musically was the 13th Floor Elevators. They are a really freaky group. They look strange, they sound strange, and they are all good musicians, doing all original material. The lead singer, whose voice is truly odd, also plays lead guitar pretty well. The drummer is excellent. They have one guy who does nothing but boop-boop-boop with a jug. The songs they do are new and different, though they tend to have a sameness because of the unchanging quality of the jug sound and the singer's voice. They will have a new single out soon and an album."
- anyone still doubt the impact of the Elevators in SF?... piece on 1950s Dootone records out of LA, funny to read a collector-oriented "retro" article from 1966. Page order completely screwed up in scan. No references to coming Elevators gigs.
Long Mystery Trend interview, the one early SF band that never got anywhere - Ron Nagle should've worn a Beatle wig... Mojo Navigator reporters banned from the Fillmore by Bill Graham who "screamed for several minutes in a rather incoherent fashion" - sound familiar? - Greg Shaw writes a fiery 1st Amendment editorial on this... later Shaw has a "complete physical collapse" and is hospitalized (no joke, he says so), remember that he was only a teenager at the time... big concert & record ads show an improvement in artwork, one is by Mouse studios... some photos creeping into the Mojo as well at this point... retro/collector article and discography on Little Richard, label shots apparently too expensive so someone has drawn a crude likeness of a Specialty 45, funny... these collector-oriented articles are not by Greg Shaw BTW, but by Mike Daly, who talks and thinks exactly like collectors still do today... Gene Clark leaves the Byrds, Blues Magoos first LP out... CJ&Fish recording a "new EP", must've been early sessions for the 1st LP... ELEVATORS listed for upcoming Avalon gig, this is the "pink eye/pyramid" poster one, opening act Moby Grape hyped by Mojo... also a full-page reproduction of this very poster/handbill, looks bad in the scan though. No other Elevators references.
Mystery Trend interview pt 2, badmouthing Bill Graham... CJ & Fish interview +photo, more talk of "new EP" sessions and the Fish's calendars and stuff, Berkeley vibe different from SF bands... full page reproduction of Family Dog handbill, poor quality in scan again... reader comments on recent Sunset Strip riots in LA... open letter from Bill Graham to Chet Helms inviting him to sort out their differences, puzzling reply by Chet (full name Chester L Helms)... legendary Oxford Circle 45 out... Remains & Blues Magoos LPs reviewed... great pic of Bob Weir... California Hall handbill reproduced in decent quality. No Elevators references whatsoever.
British r'n'b/blues boom retrospective... Mystery Trend interview pt 3 still sorta dull, you can figure why these guys never progressed... CJ & Fish interview pt 2, praises the Dead... full-page Dead handbill reproduced OK... bunch of now famous LPs reviewed, plus Charlatans 45... reader informs on the San Diego scene, which seems rather lame actually... new Beatles film "being prepared", I have no idea what they're talking about... Fish signs with Vanguard... Beach Boys "Good vibrations" praised despite the un-hipness of the band, cool... "Surrealistic pillow" early rumors... first Cream 45... kinda dull issue.
Blues Magoos interview, Phil Spector article, the Lovin' Spoonful snitch scandal,lots of reviews including the debut LPs from the Doors, 13th Floor Elevators, Grateful Dead and more.
Hendrix photo on cover... page order a mess in scan, plus a bunch of pages missing... Greg Shaw calls himself "Gregory" now... First Dead, CJ & Fish, Moby Grape LPs reviewed, all favorably with reservations... 1st Left Banke, 2nd Blues Magoos, 1st Kaleidoscope (US), 1st Hendrix also reviewed... Doors interview, Robbie Krieger does most of the talking, Ray Manzarek presents his theory on "The Negro" (unbelievable), Robbie says that sales of their LP is doing well considering they don't have a real hit - patience, man, Jim M only gets interested when talk moves on to a new LSD derivative which is discussed in detail, I've never seen this interview anywhere else... long Chuck Berry retrospective all in caps... Monterey festival reviewed by Mike Daly who puts down almost every band and seems to hate the whole "love-fest", pretty funny... a piece on Clapton... already at this early point the once formidable SF street fanzine Mojo Navigator is a dull, pedestrian rock magazine.
The Lama Workshop