Monday, January 17, 2005

So far as I can see, Rolling Stone magazine actually had one good music article published within its pages in the 1980s. That’s one more than expected. It was in the August 1985 issue, the one with rock musician Clint Eastwood on the cover. It’s also the only issue of Rolling Stone I own. I used to work for a sub-distributor of RS and I remember asking a workmate if he’d seen the latest issue. It was a stupid question, since neither of us ever read the thing. He summed up my attitude better than I could at the time: “I can’t read that thing, it’s just so dispiriting”.

My high school in the ‘80s subscribed to RS, so every month I’d read it anyway, even though I only found about 5% of it to be of any interest. That one article by Michael Goldberg entitled PUNK LIVES! stuck out like a sore thumb. I photocopied it and kept it in a file for years. I’d forgotten about it for a decade until a few years back when I was at a garage sale and spotted that same issue glaring at me. With a 20-cent price tag, I made the investment. I’m glad I did. I think Joe Carducci once noted it as being RS’s sole attempt to come to grips with rock music in the 1980s. If you look through the rest of the issue, you’ll no doubt agree.

The article in question covers the US post-HC underground scene in an intelligent and non-patronising manner, with Goldberg making the point that this “underground” music is not just some weird cabal of noisemakers, but is in fact the rock music of the ‘80s. I doubt Jan Wenner or whoever the fuck he is decided to give Zen Arcade a spin on that recommendation, but I’m glad the article exists. In it you will find interviews, photos and stories concerning the music of Black Flag, Minutemen, Flipper, Husker Du, Meat Puppets, Steve Tupper of Subterranean, the Replacements and even token mentions of such unit-shifting megastars as Saint Vitus, Tom Troccoli’s Dog and Saccharine Trust.

I just looked up the Rolling Stone web site and, in between the gratuitous articles on important and influential rock artists like Gwen Stefani and Sum 41, I couldn’t find an archival section to refer to. I guess you’ll have to scour a garage sale near you.

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