We’ve digitized issue 5 of xXx Fanzine! Read the full issue in its original form HERE; featuring Jerry’s Kids, Black Flag, Broken Bones, and more. Read author Mike Gitter’s reflection below:
”Released just a few months before I graduated high school in 1984, xXx Fanzine# 5 was the issue where things felt like they were coming together. Probably for that reason, it’s still one of my favorites of the zine’s six year run.
While I had yet to discover that half-toning photos would give things more visual punch (THAT’s what those Forced Exposure guys were doing!), I had mastered the art of shrunken typewriter font layouts (borrowing liberally from Flipside, Forced Exposure and sundry rags of record), stepped up my writing and found enough collaborators, photographers and labels who would trade records for ad space to make it look like I was cranking out a semi-legit early-80’s Hardcore-zine. Hell, we even had scene reports and the first few cartoons from Brian Walsby, who would remain part of the xXx gang til the end, and is still a friend to this day. Check out his artwork for the back of the xXx book as well as the accompanying Bridge Nine comp: Still Having Their Say.
I’m sure Brian’s cartoon of Michael Jackson joining the Bad Brains still has him wincing. Remember, it was the early 80’s. Thriller was a thing.
OK, 1984 kicked off strong. Little did future Slapshot members Steve Risteen and Mark McKay know that the January 12th gig they put together at Malden Eagle’s Hall, so Steve’s band at the time, Terminally Ill, could play with The F.U.’s and Jerry’s Kids, would become the first wave of Boston Hardcore’s last stand. It was a killer all-Boston gig on a cold and snowy night. A verging-on-metal D.Y.S was added to the bill: promising that this would be the last time they would play the likes of “Circle Storm” before heading into heavier sonic turf. Of course, as with any gig they played at that point, it was Jerry’s Kids who stole the show. JK’s live was the musical equivalent of an exorcism. Paul Johnson’s photos of their set really show how intense a live prospect they actually were – especially with Chris Doherty slinging second guitar.
Couple of side notes: The opening band at that show was Post-Mortem, who would eventually boast a pre-Anal Cunt Seth Putnum on bass. That was also the show where the swastika-ski-masked Andrew Brady was caught by Bruce Rhodes stage-diving: the very photograph that made the back cover of the D.Y.S. Brotherhood reissue, Wolfpack.
The issues’ explosive cover shot of Chris Doherty, who, at the time, was playing with the likes of Jerry's Kids, Stranglehold and Dicky Barrett’s proto-Bosstones ensemble, The Cheapskates, remains my favorite cover image and thusly became the cover of the xXx Fanzine 1983-88 book. At least for yours truly, that shot has passed into the realm of “iconic”.
The interview with Charlie Harper of the UK Subs done a few months before is probably the most glaring omission from the xXx book. The Subs’ impact on the early days of US hardcore was certainly sizable enough and Charlie has always been a pretty affable bloke, so chock that blunder up to having only so much space to work with and being deluged with a ton of great content. Truthfully, you wouldn’t believe some of the pictures we got our hands on as Chris Wrenn and I were putting the book to rest…oh, for another 60 pages!
While the Subs were in town that time at The Channel, I did manage to corner their then-bassist, Terry “Tezz” Roberts, also known for the being the founding drummer with UK legends, Discharge. Tezz had just parted ways with his brother Tony “Bones” in Broken Bones. Tezz is largely credited as the dude that gave the world the D-Beat and would go on to play with the likes of Ministry before returning to a reinvigorated Discharge on second guitar. Even to this day he’s an affable maniac. It’s an OK chat with a little bit of insight into the pre-Grave New World era Discharge, at best. Probably why that quasi Broken Bones feature didn’t make the book.
One lesser known band that we opted to include in the book from this issue was Western, Mass’ Outpatients. Formed off the back of the legendary Deep Wound by the Helland Brothers: Vis and Scott, the Outpatients took the hardcore energy that Scott vexed with future indie rock heroes: J. Mascis and Lou Barlow and channeled it with Motorhead-ish intent. The trio, rounded out by drummer Mike Kingsbury, became a Bay State regular. Sadly, with the exception of an excellent 1983 demo tape, a track on a Flipside compilation and two tracks on Gerard Cosloy’s Bands That Could Be God comp, the band never focused on recording which has relegated their legacy of incendiary live shows to semi-deep-dive status – with the exception of the xXx book, natch!
A glance through the record review section shows the brine of a few sea-changes afoot. Between the “side-2” slowcore of Black Flag’s My War, The Misfit’s hardcore fixation on Wolfsblood/Earth A.D., Marginal Man’s debut as well as demos from Verbal Assault and Siege, the baby that was no longer cute was exiting salad days and entering its teenage years. Later in the zine, there’s even a live review of featuring none other than Husker Du opening for some Atlanta indie mob called R.E.M.!
Enjoy this issue of xXx which we are presenting in its original form here online. We plan to do this same treatment for all 20 issues – in no particular order, really. Given that our old pal, Chris Doherty is presently recovering from a stroke and there is a benefit gig being held at The Paradise in Boston to help with his medical expenses on January 12, we wanted to get this one in front of old friends and anyone who wasn’t around in 1984 to grab the rag. If you’re in the area, go to the benefit and catch Slapshot, Springa and His Sonic Droogs and a reunion gig from THE OUTLETS (yes, Boston’s greatest power-pop band) all doin’ it for Doherty! Get well Chris. We expect to hear you onstage belting out “Rabies”, “Sold Out” and of course, “Alcohol” very soon!”