Usually there’s a contributing writer or photographer occupying this space on Saturday, but I had no takers from my pool of contributors to contribute something, so you’re stuck with me today. And I’m kind of beat tonight, so I’m not going out anywhere. I recently found some photos I had taken for my magazine, fishwrap years ago when I was publishing it out of my tiny little apartment in New York City. These were taken in the pre-digital age and I thought I’d scan them in and write something about them for today’s post. So that’s what I’m going to do. But first, I need to get a beer!
Okay, I'm home on a Friday night after work. Let's see what sort of beer awaits me before I start on today's post.
Well, well, well, it's a smorgasbord of beers: Milwaukee's Best, Pabst Blue Ribbon and Budweiser. I think I'll grab a Budweiser and we'll get this show on the road. And yeah, that's the same jar of pickles from the other week. I'm aging them, so just leave me alone.
This was the Winter, 1996 issue of fishwrap. Up till this issue, I had been publishing fishwrap as a twelve page, black and white fanzine. Fishwrap got written up in Sassy magazine and then the New York Daily News did a feature on it in 1995 and so in 1996 we made the jump to a four color cover and a 48 page magazine. We scored a distribution deal with Big Top publishers out of San Fransisco and I was back into the sick world of magazine publishing. Spin magazine was huge at the time and I had gotten to know Bob Guccione, Jr. who was the editor of Spin. Bob really liked fishwrap and agreed to let me interview him for the first glossy issue. I decided we'd do a rock 'n' roll magazine themed issue and here's some photos I took for that issue back in the winter of 1996.
My friend Clare was the art director for the magazine and here's the opening two page spread she laid out for my interview with Bob. The Spin Doctor's were big at the time, So I incorporated them into the title for the interview.
After I had gotten to Spin's offices on 18th Street near Union Square Park, I settled into Bob's office and before we started the interview, he casually informed me he wouldn't let me take his picture. He said he was uneasy with me taking his photo in his office and that I could work around it. Well, this was a little more than unsettling to me as he was the cover story for our first glossy issue. And we had to go to press in three days. I decided to let this statement ride and started asking him questions for the interview. The whole time I was trying to figure out how I was going to get photos for the interview. My stomach was in knots the entire time.
I had bought a stethoscope to use as a prop for the whole, "Spin Doctor" title. After interviewing Bob for an hour, I took it out and asked him to put it on. He started messing around with it and I just took my camera and started snapping photos without asking permission and much to my relief he didn't say anything and I got some shots for the article.
Since the theme of this issue was rock 'n' roll, I interviewed three rock 'n' rollers and asked them about their favorite rock 'n' roll magazines. The three people I interviewed were Marky Ramone, Jayne County and Sally Timms from the Mekons. I interviewed Jayne and Sally in person, but the Ramones were on the road, so I did a phone interview with Marky. You can read about that interview here (scroll to the end of the post.)
Sally Timms was one of the first persons I met in New York City. A friend of mine lived in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and invited me to a party her neighbor was having the first week I arrived in the city, back in July of 1993. I always loved the band the Mekons and after talking to the host of the party, I was more than surprised to find out she was Sally Timms who was a member of the Mekons. This was my first week in New York and I remember thinking, "This might be an interesting time in my life." And it sure was.
I interviewed Sally at a cafe on St. Marks Place in the East Village and afterwards we went out and took these photos.
I don't recall why we took them at a phone booth, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. I'm sure this phone booth is long gone and there's probably a 7-11 store in its place.
I had scored the Marky Ramone interview through the Ramones publicist, Ida Langsam (read a great interview with Ida here.) Ida also represented infamous punk transgender star, Jayne County and asked if I'd like to interview her and of course I agreed. We met at Ida's office in midtown Manhattan and here's Jayne tearing up a magazine for me.
Here's Jayne reading one of the black and white fanzine versions of fishwrap. During the interview she kept endlessly obsessing over how David Bowie had ripped her off and I was kind of glad when the whole thing was over.
The other week I went to Chicago to see my friends The Handcuffs open up for a reading by Legs McNeil, the co-author of the book, Please Kill Me. I did an oral history of the book in this issue of fishwrap which came out in 1997 and some of the photos I found the other day were of Legs and Gillian McCain, the other co-author of the book.
Here's the opening two page spread for the oral history in fishwrap, once again expertly laid out by Clare.
Legs lived in the East Village on St. Mark's Place at the time and I interviewed him there. Here he is reading his own book, "Please Kill Me."
Here's Legs posing near a "Please Kill Me" poster on the door in his apartment.
The very next day I interviewed Gillian McCain, the co-author of the book. I can't remember where her apartment was located, but I do remember being impressed by it. It actually had two floors! Gillian's really cool and it was fun interviewing her.
I never saw Gillian again after this interview. I was hoping she'd be in Chicago the other week with Legs, but he told me she couldn't make it.
And here's Gillian reading, "Please Kill Me." Looking at these photos sure brought back a a boat load of memories for me! But now it's time for another beer, so it's time to put this all to rest. See you all tomorrow.