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Notes From the Underground

The Kids Are Alright:
SC youth gets off its collective butt to get involved

THERE'S BEEN MORE AND MORE CREATIVE OUTPUT recently by young people in Santa Cruz-- in zine publishing, new band formation and active participation at shows. After all, teenagers and pre-teens generate the revenue that has sustained, at least financially, the rapid local expansion of "punk" music in the last few years. It's about time the kids made a noticeable contribution locally (besides shelling out the almighty allowance dollar for a record or show ticket) and began actually concerning themselves with the ideas represented by the music.

The do-it-yourself spirit has shown itself alive and well with a large number of shows being staged by local teens. Young publishers are unfurling their colors with fanzines like You Go!, a funny little quarter-pager devoted mostly to ska. The mini-zine sports a charming checkerboard background, reviews of shows, albums and videos, a page of stupid jokes and a "Secret Rude Boy" page.

The third issue of a little fanzine called Debris (that's deb-REE, not deb-RISSS, the kids point out) is circulating around. There's not much in there, unfortunately, save an interview with 19-year-old James Rickman of Slow Gherkin that features silly kid questions like, "If you met two guys named Hugo and Flippy, which one would you think liked dolphins the most?" (The public has a right to know, dammit!) Rickman didn't respond to that one, by the way. They also ask the Gherkin frontman what kind of pickles he likes, at which point Rickman revealed that he doesn't like pickles. (Gasp!)

Concussion is a larger, more professional-looking zine, devoted mostly to the joys of skateboarding, and it pays some attention to underground music. It has quite a bit of potential and an open perspective--unless, of course, you're an in-line skater.

There's also a recently established local zine called Welcome to the Nightmare, which focuses on the psychobilly scene here and abroad.

This is a time when many older people in the scene are bracing themselves for the ultimate collapse of "MTV punk" and the unexpected, largely unwanted attention it drew to a culture that has historically maintained itself through alternative channels. Those in it "for life" tend to have little faith in the latest wave of punk fans, expecting them to soon vanish along with their greenbacks.

It seems, though, that one fundamental message is finally getting across--kids are going out and expressing themselves to an unknown public, which is always a bit frightening. If they also succeed in expanding in a useful way on the ideas of the last d.i.y. generation, this scene may actually survive to see old-folks' homes fill up with Mohawks and faded Black Flag patches.
Arwen Curry


Young Pioneers and the Pee Chees play SC on Thursday (look for fliers). Don't miss San Diego's Hemlock at Emi's with Gorehounds on Sunday . Coming to town soon: 3 Mile Pilot, Dub Narcotic Sound System, Down By Law, Angora, Rhythm Collision and Bouncing Souls.
Michael Mechanic

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From the October 17-23, 1996 issue of Metro Santa Cruz

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