Name of first Zine: The Voice
Year of Publication: In Grade 11, so 1997? or 1998?
What/Who inspired you to make your first fanzine? The kids in the year ahead of me made a zine called QWERTY for a class project and I thought it was the coolest thing, so I made one. I got my dad to copy it at work and I handed it out to my friends. I don’t even think I knew what a zine was back then.
What was the zine about? Oh silly things you think are funny when you are 16 years old and smoking pot.
If you had to sum up the content/design in a few sentences, how would you describe it? It was a one sheet, full of jokes, teenaged poetry, trippy doodles and stories made my friends. It was a cut and paste sort of thing, I would print stuff off of the computer and I would paste it on to a master. I even had a way folks to anonymously submit to the zine, I told folks just to slip in into a locker that I had access to. Email wasn’t as big as it is now.
What was the soundtrack of your life during this period? What music or other forms of art were you accessing that may have influenced your zine writing? Jello Biafra and The Dead Kennedys had an influence on me forsure, I had a tape of a tape of a record of bedtime for democracy and fresh fruit for rotting vegetables I blasted that into my ears all day long. I also remember listening to Soundgarden and Korn (yuck). Other kinds of art I was doing was drawing, I was into drawing some weird stuff at that time, cocks I was drawing alot of cocks. I also liked to scatter spray paint in the secret corners of my little home town, well planned out colorful pieces not like drunken scrawl of my later years.
How, or did your early zine making help inform your later art/writing? Well I figured out how to make them pretty early on, and I learned how excited people get when they see their writing xeroxed.
Do you still make zines/chapbooks or participate in zine events? Yeah I have a distro that I pull out on occasion, but I live in a small town so most events are out of town, which is kinda annoying. I also run a zine library, it pretty much runs itself. I make a zine here and then once in awhile usually at the request of someone else
What are you currently working on? I want to get better at teaching (get paid for), not necessarily teaching how to make zines (that too) but the other things I do like design and layout.
Joshua James Amberson
Name of first Zine: Basic Paper Airplane #1
Year of Publication: July, 2005
What/Who inspired you to make your first fanzine? I’d been co-running a small press for four years, which published poetry zines and chapbooks, various art and comics zines, and handmade books. So I’d participated in making a lot of zines, but I hadn’t thought about them in a zine context. Even though I’d been reading zines for a decade at that point, I always thought of the things we made as a press as books or chapbooks. It’s funny to say now, but zines had become kind of stigmatized to us–we thought people wouldn’t respect what we were doing if we called our publications zines.
So deciding to make (what I referred to at the time as) “a zine zine” was an effort to stop taking myself so seriously. Or at least to have a little more freedom in form and content. I didn’t know anyone making zines (and referring to them as zines) at the time, so it was also a conscious departure from what was happening around me–it was something I was doing completely on my own.
What was the zine about? It was kind of a hodgepodge. I wrote about my lifelong obsession with publishing things on paper, I interviewed a cop about sincerity, I wrote a rant against cell phones (I kind of knew I was going to eat my words on that one), wrote a few flash pieces, and did a long interview with my conspiracy theorist friend.
If you had to sum up the content/design in a few sentences, how would you describe it? Oddball variety cut and paste research perzine?
Memorable line or quote? The zine’s introduction ended with, “I’m currently really into tuna fish sandwiches and tomato soup. I think everyone is a genius.”
What was the soundtrack of your life during this period? What music or other forms of art were you accessing that may have influenced your zine writing? Well, the zine itself had a soundtrack. It came with a CD-R of a live DJ mix I’d done on a pirate radio station. Which I remember as being really weird. Maybe noisy and kind of jarring? Some recordings of people yelling poetry through distortion pedals, perhaps? But people seemed to like it…or at least think it was a fun curiosity.
It was definitely a time of my life where I was revising what I liked and what I was interested in. I was 22, almost 23, and my roommates were opening me up to a lot of experimental music and some pretty extreme electronic music. They were also graffiti artists, which was an art form I had never given much thought to–largely because I’d lived rurally for most of my life and hadn’t encountered it much.
I’d also just started working at a bookstore, so my co-workers–who were mostly much older than me–were putting books into my hands I’d never heard of every day. So my brain was trying to grapple with all this new information, and I think zine reflected that and in some ways responded to this information overload.
How, or did your early zine making help inform your later art/writing? I’ve never thought about this way before, but the genres the zine combined are essentially the genres I write in now–creative nonfiction/personal essay, journalism, and flash fiction. So maybe it could be seen as the prototype for my future writing life.
Do you still make zines/chapbooks or participate in zine events? I do! Much more than I ever did before. The small press dissolved within a year of me putting out that zine, and three years later I started a distro–which is still going and now called Antiquated Future. So I go to a few zine events and DIY sales every year and always have a zine project on the back burner.
What are you currently working on? I’m still putting out issues of Basic Paper Airplane. I average one of year, so I’m currently working on the 11th issue, which is (in some way) going to be about books and reading. I’ve also got three book projects that I’m dancing between and constantly trying to imagine and re-imagine.
Name of first Zine: My first (and current) zine that I put out is a literary zine called PAPER AND INK
Year of Publication: The first issue came out in March 2013
Image of Cover? The image on the cover of the very first issue was an awesome illustration by a friend of mine by the name of Maggie Negrete. Maggie has also contributed illustrations to subsequent issues. She’s totally rad and also makes zines herself. Check out her stuff at mgglntcreates.com
What/Who inspired you to make your first fanzine? I was into punk music and underground literature, so I thought I’d combine those two things and make a lit zine.
What was the zine about? As mentioned above, PAPER AND INK is a literary zine. It contains short stories, flash fiction and poetry as well as artwork, photography and illustrations from writers and artists from all over the world. Each issue has a different theme and that very first issue was about heartbreak and contained the work of seven different contributors.
At the moment I am working on the seventh issue, of which the theme is hangovers. Subsequent themes were home, journeys, identity, shitty jobs and childhood. The childhood issue had over forty contributors, so the zine is really going from strength to strength with each issue.
Memorable line or quote? My favourite piece in the first issue is a tough call because I loved all the pieces in it, but if I had to pick just one I’d go with a poem by American poet William James, ‘Kids Like Us Will Be Alone Forever’. For me, it really captured the end of a relationship perfectly. It is about two people who don’t necessarily want to break up but for whatever reason know that their time together is up and it totally kills me every time I read it.
What was the soundtrack of your life during this period? What music or other forms of art were you accessing that may have influenced your zine writing? I was, and still am, very much into punk music and obviously zines are a big aspect of that scene, which is how I discovered them. I’ve also been huge into Bukowski since I was about 17 and I remembered reading a lot about all these underground and cutting edge newspapers and journals that he wrote for and thought to myself “why is there nothing like that around today?!” so that’s kinda how it all came together. Punk Rock Literature. Haha.
PAPER AND INK has really taken over my life. Haha. I have met so many interesting and wonderful people because of it, and it has also inspired me to write more poetry and fiction myself. It has honestly been a wonderful experience and long may it continue!
Do you participate in zine events? I love zine events! I actually did my first one only this year. Well, I did four this year and they were all great. I can’t wait to do more next year.
What are you currently working on? Like I mentioned I am currently putting the seventh issue together. The theme is hangovers so it is a fun one to work on. I am also publishing a novel by writer and regular contributor Joseph Ridgwell. The novel is in zine format and will be serialised over three parts, and also includes photography by the brilliant Abbie Foxton. It is another amazing thing that has happened all because I started making zines… I am publishing somebody’s novel! It’s crazy, really, but awesome. The first part comes out January 4th and is available from paperandinkzine.co.uk
Name of first Zine: ZebraPizza Vol. 1
Year of Publication: 2014, at the first annual OC ZineFest
What/Who inspired you to make your first fanzine? Long Beach Department Librarian and zinester Ziba Zehdar and I decided to collaborate our ideas and thought into one zine to give out to friends and family. Her inspiration came primarily due from her passion and showed how fun and collective the zine world can be. That’s when I kind of decided, ‘yah I want to be a part of that.’
What was the zine about? 12 pages pizza and 12 pages zebra. My pages I like to cut up junk mail and magazines and change around song lyrics and try to create a zine that is random but witty in a delightful way. Ziba’s half primarily goes off her personality as well with different cutouts of places she has traveled, things she has done for the library, bands she likes (Deftones, Braid, Korn, Morrissey), and practically any image of a zebra she finds. Just imagine eating a fresh, hot out of the oven pizza in the safari with David Attenborough.
If you had to sum up the content/design in a few sentences, how would you describe it? ZebraPizza is an entropic force of chaos that has somehow made its way into the universe, but fits together in everyway. Zebras and pizzas go together just like a gin and tonic.
Memorable line or quote? Recently we were very fortunate to be reviewed by the New York Magazine for ZebraPizza volume 5, and they mentioned a page spoofing Drake that read: “I waz runnin’ through the six with my Digoiornioz.” Ever since the first ZebraPizza I always try to incorporate Korn’s A.D.I.D.A.S. acronym which means: All Day I Dream About Slices.
What was the soundtrack of your life during this period? What music or other forms of art were you accessing that may have influenced your zine writing? When we made our first zine, the music we were listening to was all over the place. System of a Down, Korn, Morrissey / The Smiths, Depeche Mode, The Cure, Slayer, Pantera, Braid, Deftones, Lady Gaga, The B-52s, The Get Up Kids, Pitbull to name a few. A lot of metal, a lot of emo, and everything in-between.
How, or did your early zine making help inform your later art/writing? I originally have a degree in creative writing from San Francisco State, and prior with making my first real zine, there were a handful of poems people used in their zines or books floating around out there, so it was really inspirational to make something of my own and seeing people’s reactions made me want to keep doing it because a zine has no rules really, and I kind of like that.
Do you still make zines/chapbooks or participate in zine events? Yes, I just helped hosting UCI’s first ever zinefest and after that LA Zinefest might be the next one in 2016. The most recent zine event here going on is that Ziba, the zebra in ZebraPizza, has gotten her Long Beach public library system to start an actual circulating zine collection in the LBC. She’s hoping to make it the largest public circulating zine collection west of the Mississippi. If you know anyone who wants their zines in the library, send them to Ziba! 2016 seems to be a very big and hopefully busy year for zines, which I am really excited about.
What are you currently working on? I am currently working on my masters in library science at Wayne State University online out of Detroit, Michigan. Besides that, just waiting for the next zinefest in California so we can keep putting out zines and represent the community.