Here’s a full and complete scan of the first fanzine I ever put out, SUPERDOPE #1. It was written 24 years ago and released to the people in Spring 1991. Obviously a project like this created in the bloom of one’s youth (I was 23) engenders a strange mix of pride and revulsion. Pride – well, I put this together completely by hand over several months, using scissors and glue and 3-cent photocopies at a local place who gave me a discount. I used to lug home a gigantic beige Mac from my workplace which was running Windows 2.0 (or whatever was five years before Windows 95) and some rudimentary version of Word, and peck this magazine out at home in the evenings, before returning it back to the “shared workstation” at Monster Cable the next day.

Revulsion? Just the normal embarrassment over meaningless in-jokes that I don’t understand myself anymore, appalling syntax and sentence structure, and reverence for ludicrous rock and roll bands that I forgot about mere months after I wrote about how amazing their records or live shows were. At this point in my life, I was going to see live music 3-4 nights per week, spending all my free money on records, and basing the great majority of my friendships and people-judgments based upon the kind of music they were most enthusiastic about. Besides that stuff, I think it’s pretty cool to be sharing it, finally. It’s been out of print since the year after it came out, and I was shocked to find that I only had 1 copy left myself. So this is truly digital self-preservation. I only made about 500 of these and I’d assume that at least 300 were at the recycling center within a decade after its release.

A few notes on the first issue of SUPERDOPE:

• The magazine’s name, which I was never truly comfortable with, but came to peace with eventually, was given to me by my co-worker Bernice Reilly. She had a habit of calling me her “superdope homeboy”, after the MC Hammer song so popular that year.

• I was fortunate enough to have 4 excellent contributors – Kim Cooper (who later went on to start SCRAM magazine and recently wrote this excellent book); Grady Runyan (guitarist for Liquor Ball and Monoshock); photographer Nicole Penegor; and the recently deceased Steve Watson, a great guy whose SONIC’S RENDEZVOUS BAND piece was actually cut off and sent to the printer before either of us noticed. Read it – it’s got a somewhat clunky ending. We talked about getting a Part 2 in my second issue, and I guess we both just sorta forgot that too.

• Re-reading this recently, I realized how in thrall I was to certain people that year, as young people can be; in particular, Brandan Kearney, the guitarist of World of Pooh and proprietor of Nuf Sed records. I thought his whole rejection of the “music scene” and sardonic personality to be a breath of fresh air, plus I totally dug his band and some of the records on his label. I just wish I hadn’t kissed his ass so hard.

• After this came out I got a personal letter from Byron Coley, who was only my favorite rocknroll writer on the planet. It wasn’t mocking me, nor was there any cease-and-desist notification attached to it. Seems that Kearney had actually encouraged him to buy a copy when Coley was visiting San Francisco, and he actually enjoyed it. I mentally coasted on that one for a few months until the next issue – the jumbo SUPERDOPE #2, which I’ll try and post here on DH in the next couple of weeks.

Download and read SUPERDOPE #1 in its entirety here.


SONIC’S RENDEZVOUS BAND article written by Steve Watson for Superdope #1, a fanzine I put out in 1991. Steve passed away yesterday, and it’s hit those who knew him pretty hard despite ample warning that his passing was coming.

Funny story about this one: Steve gave me his typewritten pages for the piece and I published it as is. I thought the ending was a little clunky, but good, and neither of us thought anything of it until we actually saw it in print. That’s when Steve realized he’d forgotten to give me the last couple of pages (!). We talked about putting “Part 2” in Superdope’s second issue, and somehow it never happened.

The flyers in the piece came from Steve’s personal collection; this was his favorite band while he was growing up in Michigan. Best wishes to him in the great beyond, and to all who knew him.