It's humbling, and a little painful, to read stuff I wrote when I was 18. It's not something I indulge in too often. But cleaning out a few weeks ago, I came across the sole issue of "The Bottom Line," my hardcore 'zine of the early '90s.
TBL had a complicated path just to its one, solo, under-printed, not-reviewed-in-MRR issue -- my friend Daron had conceived it around 1988 or so, never did anything with it, I came on the scene and we started working on it, Daron dropped out, and Brendan from Groundwork came on to wrap it up with me. That led to a little bit of incestuousness, as Groundwork was one of the bands interviewed within, but since I'd already compromised myself by helping put out Groundwork's first 7", such concerns were obviously not too high on the list of priorities.
The cover (shown above) caused confusion right off the bat, with the art leading people to think it was a Hare Krishna-oriented 'zine (for the unitiated, that was a very big deal in those days); the back cover, with requisite ironic use of art from a Jack Chick tract, led some to ask if we were anti-gay. The schizophrenia continued inside, in our columns -- my snotty denunciation of the Hardline movement (details here -- rest assured the reality managed to be far more ridiculous than it sounds, if that's possible) was side-by-side with Brendan's criticisms of drinkers, non-vegans, religion, abortion, and plenty more. It's the kind of stuff borne of my fervent belief that people were looking to the tall, skinny guy in a Turning Point t-shirt for deep insight on, say, abortion rights.
The bulk of the mag was interviews, reviews, and photos -- the interviews were 411 (fun, bombastic), Triggerman (actually pretty insightful as hardcore band interviews go), the aforementioned Groundwork (very sincere), and Pittbull (meatheaded). The reviews... well, I'd forgotten I ever owned, much less adored, the vast bulk of New Age Records' early catalog. The photos were of whatever bands came through Tucson (most photos with a young, floppy-haired, serious-looking me somewhere in the background) plus whatever photos I could grab from better-located and more-experienced zine-producers like Dave Sine and Dave Mandel.
There was a second issue, largely completed, with a Born Against interview, Kent McClard interview, and I forget what else (I think I was going to put a photo of Supertouch on the cover, which boggles the mind). Brendan and I had some sort of hazily-remembered dispute about something unimportant -- I believe it was whether to put in an interview with Struggle, which may have been the worst band ever -- and it fell apart. A few years later, some Tusconans were assembling a "community 'zine" called "Alarm!", and the Born Against interview was resurrected for that, along with a kind of stupid interview I did with Integrity, and a column I wrote asserting that the band Spitboy's suckiness set back women in hardcore (possibly the most accurate thing I ever wrote). I dunno if "Alarm!" ever came out -- in any case, I don't have any copies.
Now, it's 15 years later, I'm no longer straight edge, no longer vegan or even vegetarian, and no longer skinny. The Bottom Line has become the Post-Pessimist Association. At least I'm not having to pay for printing here.