REST IN PUNK: SLASH
One of the best and most famous Punk zines, it was established in 1977 in the USA by Steve Samiof and Melanie Nissen, known also for the work of Bob Biggs. It was pretty sophisticated for a fanzine by Punk DIY-ers; printed monthly on a large format newspaper with captivating visuals. The illustration, photography, type and layout is a heady mix that defines the underground scene. It created a perfect bridge between the crude photocopies of Sniffin Glue with skilled design and music journalism. It’s everything you could want from a magazine.
The writing is intelligent, hilarious and honest. It has identity, personality. Some reviews are interesting to read looking back… you can find a somewhat harsh evaluation of ‘Lust for Life’. Then you remember it was Iggy’s first solo album. It brims with good intention and love for something more than the sound of disco and the Beatlemania that had reigned supreme. You feel a community seeing what was happening elsewhere and wanting to take the inspiration and do something more with it in their own hometown.
Aside from aesthetics and good journalism, what separates it from other fanzines of it’s time is the broad scope of who they featured. Clearly experts and fans of their field- their reports covered the New Wave Punk of New York; the men and women of the London Punk scene; the burgeoning LA Punk scene. If it wasn’t for Slash, LA Punk bands like The Germs and The Weirdos would have struggled to have made a name for themselves outside of California. By mixing the types of influencers and names outside of the Punk sphere they broaden the scope of Punk identity. Along with The Damned and Sex Pistols, they covered Reggae stars like Pete Tosh and Pyschobilly legends like the Cramps. This opened a whole new world of genre and sound to Punk fans, and showing that you didn’t have to dress or look like a Punk to be Punk.
To surmise, some first words and some last words:
“Today this madness is mostly an English phenomenon, but there are signs that it will not stop there. This publication was born out of curiosity and out of hope. Curiosity regarding what looks like a possible rebirth of true rebel, music, hope in it’s eventual victory over the bland products professional pop stars have been feeding us. May the punks set this rat-infested industry on fire. It sure could use a little brightness!”
“What next? Is rock and roll and punk rock and everything else worth living for, dying? … Maybe the music will kill us before the Communists. Nazis and AOR radio can. I hope so. I’ve had it!!
End of Slash. Rest in Punk”