Sunday, January 29, 2017

From Where Did The GAD! Zine Come? part II: Still Not About The GAD! Zine

The Mostly Harmless? : Adam, Ansel, and Kevin (Ash)
  In 1998, while I was goofing around in college, I finally convinced other idiots to start a band with me. We did not know how to play. Literally. WE. DID. NOT. KNOW. HOW. TO. PLAY. But the allure of D.I.Y. and a need to express ourselves were intoxicating. We called ourselves The Mostly Harmless? (not to be confused with another band from the time simply called Mostly Harmless). My friend Kevin, recently rechristened Ash Nagasaki, and I would spend hours in our dorm rooms or driving around concocting different artistic schemes. It wasn’t long before the idea of a zine came up. Both Ash and Ansel “Oister” (the drummer) had gone to the same high school as me, so were very familiar with my zine from that time, “Teenage Lobotomy”. So I guess the idea of our new zine was to be like a bigger “real world” version of TL. We would mix social commentary and politics (this time bitching about politicians rather than teachers) with exciting music. Sounds good. Except, we were only really just beginning to form our opinions on such matters. We did agree that everyone should be treated equally, regardless of age, race, sex, sexual orientation, or religious preference, but we had no clue about anything else. And the other bands that we knew were mostly of the 90’s pop-punk variety and most of them were even less politically motivated. But we still thought we could start a revolution. I wanted to call it “American Vedem”, inspired by the “Vedem” magazine that Petr Ginz and other brave young men had created in a concentration camp during World War II. In my head, it would have been a loving tribute to them. In reality, it would’ve come off like Bieber at the Anne Frank Museum. Fortunately, the project was indefinitely postponed as we always bickered over the format. Kevin wanted it to be full color and glossy and we’d sell it for like $5-$10. I wanted it photocopied and cheap. We also couldn’t find anyone in town who was willing to carry it anyway. So the idea faded and, eventually, so did the band. It’s probably for the best. I found some of my layout pages a few years back and they consisted mostly of really heavy-handed stuff like pictures of Adolf Hitler with Mickey Mouse ears. Ugh.
The first issue of "Something Else"
    I suppose I could also mention that during that time, Ash and I, along with our friend Nathan (AKA Bob 12, for the very brief period he played keyboard for our band), joined and took over the university’s Writer’s Club. It was pretty easy. Not many folks showed up that first day and hardly anyone knew each other. Whatever we wanted to do, we already automatically had 3 votes going for us. Ash became the president, Nathan the vice-president, and I became “the publicist”. My position was made up on the spot. I kinda sucked at it, but I did at least make a few flyers to spread the word. Why am I bringing up this nerdy political intrigue? Well, when we took over the club, we inherited responsibility over the annual literary digest. It had some hideous Latin(?) name that was somehow a play on the school newspaper’s name or whatever. It was forgettable and pretentious and just didn’t roll off the tongue. So we decided to change the name. Somebody said that we just had to call it something else. I said, “That’s it! Why not call it “Something Else”?” It was still pretentious, but it at least sounded approachable. I like to tell people that it also brought up the excitement and energy of Eddie Cochran’s seminal tune, but I was probably more enamored at the time with the Sid Vicious version. Putting the booklet together was almost exactly like the “A Collection” zine I had made in high school. We took the best submissions by students and a compiled them. I was in charge of selecting the poetry. Along with a few other pieces, I stuck in my own ridiculous poem. When a faculty member called me on it, I just said, “My job is to pick the best poetry. Why would I write poetry that I don’t think is the best?”. I was an asshole. I also slapped together a collage for the cover. “Something Else” was printed on a computer and folded to digest size. It really was pretty much a zine in almost every respect.
I would, for a while, make little tiny zines to hand out to my friends, I think one was called “Putrid Green Vapor”, but I didn’t really accomplish any of my creative goals at the time. I soon met a pretty and intelligent and kinda dangerous girl named Miranda, who turned out to be the love of my life. She would be a major influence on the direction of many of my artistic endeavors from that point on. Not as some uninvolved muse, but as an equal partner in sharing ideas and perspectives. The zines would get way better. -Adam Harmless



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