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This issue might come as much of a shocker to you as it did to me. A mere 12 pages, the smallest issue I’ve done since I can remember. I’ve been saying for a long time now, that times were tough and that it was hard to gets ads, etc. And over the past few months that feeling got worse and then it seems like everything just hit a brick wall. I think that everyone is either completely spaced out or traveling cause I didn’t even hear back from half the regular advertisers, and even some of the columnists. It makes me feel like my email reminders are going into people’s already overwhelmed junk mailboxes, but that is just yet another one of those downfalls of technology. So with lacking ads, comes lacking revenue, comes lacking pages. It’s too bad cause I had a ton of great photos from all the spring fests and travel and favorite bands that I got to see, I took over a thousand photos alone in Austin at the Chaos in Tejas fest! I wanted to do another photo collage, but instead I had to pick just a few. There are also a lot of things that should have been reviewed in this issue that aren’t simply because of space, and I admit that some of that happens pretty randomly so don’t be feeling bad if you expected something reviewed and it’s not in here. We’ll catch it next time around. And hopefully the next issue, the fall issue will be back to a normal sized issue. As of now this is the plan: normal issue in the fall, no winter issue —I’m gonna have a baby instead, and then the spring issue will be the 20 year anniversary special issue. And then after that, we’ll see what happens. Things feel so dire these past few weeks, the zine seemed to lose the momentum that it’s had on it’s own for so long. I’ve looked and thought long and hard at the state of things in zine publishing and punk rock, and while I still think that S&L is important, and I still think that print zines are important, and I know from the feedback that I get that people want to see the zine survive, especially when so many others are folding, but in order for that to happen I guess it might come down to you all to help out somehow, cause at this point, I can’t do it on my own.
So backing up to May, I had the whole month planned with big crazed travel plans and shows out of town every weekend. Initially, I was expecting to have a big socializing punk rock party. But having found out that I was pregnant in April, I realized that at least some aspects of the party were going to change. I kinda only slipped a mention into the last issue about being pregnant, cause it was really early on, and most people don’t talk about, let alone announce pregnancies within a few weeks or the first month or two, but I have a terrible time keeping my mouth shut about stuff, and I’m not most people. But I also didn’t want to make too big of a deal about it. Well now, things are moving along with the pregnancy, I’m starting to really look pregnant and not just like I have a beer gut. The scale tells me I’ve only gained a couple pounds, but my belly feels absolutely huge. I feel good, but I’m excessively tired, and already feel a bit of a change in my motivation to do things. The heat doesn’t help, combined with the utterly ridiculous schedule that I have, of working 12 hour days nearly every night, staying up till 6am and sleeping until 2 in the afternoon, only to do it all over again. It seems like I don’t get much done for a good reason. In a few days I’ll find out if we’re gonna have a boy or a girl, cause yes I have to know. And then as the days get hotter, and I get bigger, I don’t even really know what will happen. But I’m due on Christmas day, so how is that for irony. And that is why I’ve decided to be realistic and skip the usual January winter issue, because I’m sure that I will have my hands full, and heck, in 20 years I haven’t missed an issue.. I think this is a good excuse.
So all those shows in May that I was talking about, started out with us heading down to Savannah GA for the Damad reunion. That was really awesome. I’d been wanting to go to Savannah for years, convinced that it was a cool city with unique plants (love that Spanish moss), and a bunch of friends. It was kind of a sleepy town, and the moss was really cool, but I was afraid to even touch it for fear of the living creatures that call the moss home. Damad playing again was awesome. It was a one off show, a fund-raising benefit for Jack Control, and I felt lucky to have been able to be there. I know that it was an emotional experience for many. It was also a first for some of the younger punks to get to see them, but for me, having seen them a bunch over the years, it just felt right. Victoria is the goddess as ever and damn, it was good to see them.
Not too long after that it was off to Austin Texas for the Chaos in Tejas. Four days of bands, after parties and swimming in the springs. And looking at record distros, and perusing bookshops, and eating awesome Mexican food every day. Severed Head of State and Tragedy were the highlights for me. No secrets there. Lots of great bands played, and I thoroughly enjoyed most all of it. The Bayonettes, Signal Lost, Look Back and Laugh, Fucked Up, the Pedestrians, Limp Wrist, BSA, Krum Bums, Career Suicide, and of course Warhead and Forward. And at the after parties there were more shows and cover sets and there was a Filth cover band with Jake Filth singing and that was seriously one of the best things ever. I think if people would have known about that they might have made the trip to see them alone. One of my favorite moments was the show on the bridge where everyone was playing cover sets again and the bridge was actually vibrating (yes, they have this outside pedestrian bridge in Austin where they have these after show shows at 4 am, it’s crazy!) and Look Back and Laugh played the Citizen’s Arrest cover song, which happens to be one of my all time favorite songs and I had one of those crazed moments of utterly cutting loose and dancing around like a maniac. It was awesome. So many fun things happened, and hot as it was, it was survivable. I know that I am forgetting a bunch of bands that played... The Dicks and Dead Moon playing was a big deal for many, but I didn’t really care so much. I know there are other bands I did care about that I’m not mentioning, but it feels so long ago already.
The next weekend Erik & I went up to Youngstown Ohio for the Emissions from the Monolith festival, which is a heavy music fest. It is a fest that I have thoroughly enjoyed going to the past few years and each year I’ve gone for another day, until this year we were there for all 4 days. Baroness and Kylesa played, Minsk, RWAKE, Orange Goblin, Grief, Stinking Lizaveta, Graves at Sea, Grey, loads of great bands, and I survived it all dead sober, which I thought would be frustrating but actually wasn’t so bad at all.
The next weekend was the Tragedy weekend. We went up to DC to see them with Fighting Dogs and Government Warning, and then they played here in Richmond, again with Government Warning, My War and a DC band. Tragedy are my favorite band. I’m nuts about them. I don’t think it would be possible for me to ever get my fill of seeing them live. They have a new record that came out, just as they went on tour w/ Forward and Warhead (“Forhead”) a crazy bunch of maniacs from Japan. Tragedy sold out of their records before they even got halfway across the country. Crazy. Anyway, the new record is awesome, it makes me happy even thought is dark and dismal and tragic... but like I said in the long gushing review, I feel like Tragedy are the quintessential result of this present time and place that I am living in. Like all of our past histories of punk rock have brought Tragedy to this time period to have this effect on me. I don’t just for ME, but it represents an awful lot to me. So I got to see two more shows, which wasn’t enough, but it did the job. It was funny, back in Texas on the last night of the Chaos fest, The Business were playing in the other part of Emos that night and I thought it would be cool to check them out. I always liked the Business. I got to see them in the early 90s, and it was awesome, but then I kinda lost interest and track of their new stuff. They played at the same time as Tragedy, so there wasn’t any chance I was going to extract myself from my euphoric moment, but it makes for a funny story to have those two bands playing at the same time, almost in the same club. No hard choices for me. After all of this travel and shows I was exhausted and I don’t think I really went out for a long time. Oh there has been a few shows here and there, Limp Wrist in DC in the middle of a flood, some local stuff I’ve made it to and some stuff I’ve missed. Right now I’m saving up all my energy for 4 days of shows in Philly next month. Hellshock, Severed Head of State, World Burns to Death, Kylesa, Thought Crime and No Hope for the Kids. I’m excited (and overwhelmed). And then the following weekend we have this Best Friends Day fest here in Richmond, that in addition to a bunch of shows with some good bands (Kylesa, Caustic Christ, Municipal Waste, etc) there is swimming at Hadad’s, and games, and all kinds of other summer camp stuff. I’m just glad to have the party come to Richmond for once!
So the future of the zine it seems, is completely up in the air. I don’t want to see it end, and hopefully you don’t either. I figure that it will sort itself out like it always does. In the meantime, we’re cleaning out our house as best as possible to make room for the baby. A big task for a pack rat with a lot of stuff I can’t bear to part with. Records, books, fanzines, and photos, lots of photos! Not exactly things to discard. I finally started going through mail from 20 years ago and realizing that I really literally did save every letter, and every order I got for the zine. I stopped that a long time ago, but still tearing open a box of mail that is 20 years old is an intense and crazy thing. It throws you back in time and place and makes the head spin a bit to start going through stuff like that, kinda like reading old journals. I managed to get rid of some of it, but for the most part I gotta keep all this stuff— I’m an archivist after all. I am gonna stop the book distro though, and I’ve got some good books still in stock that are going for cheap prices, so if you wanna check that out - send me an email or SASE (in the US only). I also have cool t-shirts that Jeremy Clark designed, and those embroidered patches for sale (see the ad at the bottom of the page). So get out your magnifying glass, cause the type is small in this issue.