HOW TO MAKE A ZINE
All across the nation, people are creating zines about their local scenes. With so many scenes springing up around bands who sound exactly alike, chances are you're living in or near one right now! So why not make a zine of your own? It's a good way to make fun of people you've never met, propagate your angry yet vaguely conservative political views, and support your local scene no matter how insipid it is. This guide has been provided for you, the up and coming zine writer, in order to enable you to create a zine that can be enjoyed by dozens!
Before you can even begin working on your zine, you have to name it something. All zines have three word titles, totaling no more than five syllables. Your title should have at least two of the following words in it:
ass rock neck
kung-fu death slave
booger fresh march
bitch ugly carpet
money booty homeless
It also helps if your title is an in-joke between yourself and about two other people, thus alienating the population at large from your new insular and incestuous world.
Believe it or not, it doesn't stop there. You now have up to 16 pages to fill up. However, it's not as hard as it may sound. If you think about anything long enough, it can turn into something important (just ask anyone with obsessive-compulsive disorder). If you're ever stuck, just use these starting lines as spring boards to literary genius.
My parents wouldn't lend me the Jeep last Friday.
That saleswoman at the Gap was such a bitch to me yesterday.
We got so wasted we ran down the street singing Def Leperd songs.
We went into the city for a show at Coney Island High and I wished so many homeless people hadn't begged me for change.
My stupid high school doesn't have parking for juniors. When I go to college, things are gonna be different.
The possibilities abound when you consider all the rules you don't have to follow. In English class, they probably told you that you have to use things like periods and commas and verbs. Not here! And it's perfectly okay to end all your sentences with "and stuff," "or something," or "whatever."
Just remember - it doesn't matter what you write as long as it fills up space and it isn't serious. Nothing can kill a zine faster than writing articles that show you actually care about things.
According to Federal laws, no zine can be published without having at least two self- indulgent poems in it. If you've never written poetry before, this may be a good opportunity to try it out. All poetry has lines about dead flowers and falling leaves. These are good representations of your tortured psyche, and the only ones anyone will understand anyway. Here is a sample verse written by Sean McDermott, editor of Ugly Booty Death:
I walked through the park on a sad Fall day
All the birds singing songs of sadness
Sad trees with droopy branches
Let their leaves fall like sad drops of rain sadly
And I though those sad leaves are like me
When Mom said I couldn't go to Myrtle Beach with my friends on Memorial Day weekend even though we weren't doing anything anyway
If this seems too hard, find a budding poet at your school. Poets are easy to spot. They're the ones who wear black every day, write large, indecipherable slogans on their Trapper Keepers with white-out, and refuse to play dodgeball in gym.
When looking for a band to interview, it's a good idea to find a huge local band that everyone already knows everything about. That way, no one can be confused by reading something new. Regardless of who you get to do it, the main object of any interview is to portray your chosen band as a group of loveable scamps who love poopie jokes, fast food, and titties. Besides asking the obvious questions, you should also ask bizarre questions that show your wacky side. Nothing too weird, though, unless you want them to think you're a freak. Some examples:
If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?
What ever happened to Baby Jane?
How many fish can you name?
Have you ever bathed in corn syrup?
What's your favorite smell?
When all else fails, remember that glorious decade: the 1980's. Anything from the 1980's is scientifically proven to be funny. This is a fact you must accept if you want to be a zine interviewer. Just ask a band what their favorite 80's movie/TV show/cartoon/band/song/ sandwich/rest stop/coup d'etat was and watch the yuks roll in! Try to cut off your interviewees if they start to get mad about Reagan or something.
If nothing else, a zine functions to tell its readers what to listen to. And don't think that you can't write about music just because you don't know all the technical jargon like "bridge," "chord," and "bass amp." All you have to do is compare it to things you already know and love. The hard and fast rule: Anything that sounds like something you already have is good. Anything that doesn't is bad. Here are two examples of reviews: one good and one bad.
__________, the new album by ___________, is definitely a must-by! They sound a lot like [circle one] MXPX/Bad Religion/Blink 182/Screeching Weasel, except with a fresh new edge. [warning: you must under no circumstances attempt to describe the fresh new edge] I can't stop listening to it! It's the best album I've heard since __________ [fill in blank with last week's incarnation of MXPX/Bad Religion/Blink 182/Screeching Weasel]! They're playing at [circle one] Coney Island High/The Wetlands/CBGB next month and everyone should check them out! From this album I know just what to expect!
[Note: every sentence must end in an exclamation point!]
___________, the new album by ____________, is absolutely horrible. I don't know why they think they can play music. Looking at the picture of these guys in the insert, you can tell they're losers. I don't even understand half their lyrics, and the music's way too busy for my ears. They should stop trying to play so many notes and try buying better clothes. I don't what they're trying to accomplish, but I don't like it, and I'm sure you won't either.
Every issue must also include show reviews. In case you're not sure, a good show is one where nothing unusual happens. Everything goes just as it should, all the bands sound basically like each other, and the headlining band plays all their big songs and a few 80's song covers. A bad show is any show where anything unexpected happens, or some weird band plays that you can't quite pigeonhole. If you sense trouble, just wait outside for the whole show and look at your friends' clothes until you hear something familiar.
6. Putting It Together
After you've gotten all your articles, poetry, interviews and reviews together, you still have the job of assembling it into one piece. Try to get friendly with some computer nerd, who might be able to help you make it look spiffy with some sort of super genius technology. Nerds are supposed to be good at that, and they'll like to help you cuz they think you wanna be their friend. If that doesn't work out, it's cool for zines to look like shit, so run down to Kinko's with seven dollars and a badly stapled portfolio and go to town!
Remember this principle whenever putting together your zine: Anything worth doing is worth doing as quickly as possible.
Your final task is to get the word out. Grab some table space at local shows and throw things at people until they relent or start to chase you around. You could grab the mic and tell them there are naked pictures of Drew Barrymore inside. Send them to other zines, who will send you their zines in return. Send them to your favorite bands, who will use them to write set lists on if they run out of paper.
Barring all of these options, you can just be lazy and recycle the leftover 300 or so copies for your next issue.
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