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Notes From the Underground

Hectic History:
Santa Cruz scene has a rich legacy of underground zines and local compilations

ALL THIS ATTENTION given to the Santa Cruz Sucks! comp is fine, but people should be aware of what preceded it. Hectic Times, a hardcore and skate zine published intermittently by Kym Agresti from 1990-95, released two cassette comps of local bands. The first, out in 1990, included Good Riddance, Vincent's Ear, It., Herbert, Mock, Witchhook Sky, Political Silence, Cara De Nada, State of Grace, Cake, Fiendmaster Freak and Candy Apples. The second, released in 1994, included Fury 66, TNT, Exploding Crustaceans, Lackadaisy, Woodpecker, the Cavities, Blackout, Boobie Trap, Beautiful Green Skeletons, Anomie, Lost in Line, Poppy, Inner Sanctum and Vishnu's Secret.

In 1992, members of a dozen local bands from town and university formed a collective called Standco, led, in part, by Eiso Yamamoto of Bakamono, Andrew from Dark Horse Candidate and Ed Gregor of Hedgehog. The result: a full-length vinyl compilation simply called Standco Noise Coalition. "Standco formed just to make a record, and having that as a focus got the bands more organized, talking to each other and doing shows together," says Gregor. "The idea was to emphasize a sense of community instead of competition."

The collective (and vinyl) included the three aforementioned bands, plus Cara De Nada, Fiendmaster Freak, Candy Apples, Vicious Midgets, Mustard, Blown, Pile, Captain Crunch and Taildragger. They held meetings every few weeks and organized shows at places like Keynote Club, the Abattoir, Kresge College, Whole Earth Cafe, Redroom, Emi's and the Vet's Hall basement. "Back then, we thought there was nowhere to play, and now there really isn't anywhere," says Gregor. "I mean, all these bands were playing constantly, and students were bridging the gap between students and locals."

Both Standco and Hectic Times bands raised the money by playing benefit shows. The Standco collective lasted about a year, dissolving bit by bit as bands broke up or moved away. Bakamono and Mustard, the only remaining bands, work out of SF.

Other local rags at the time included women-run zines Hangy Thing and Baker's Dozen, neither of which have made an appearance in a while (old zines never die, they just hibernate).

Grey Zone was started by talented band photographer Tom Audisio and Daniel Duerr, then 17, around the time Hectic Times called it quits. Duerr and Audisio soon parted ways, and Duerr concentrated on staging local shows, which he and his friends have continued to do prolifically. The zine suffered from inattention and recently reemerged with issue No. 4 after a hiatus of about eight months. Much of the material was correspondingly dated, but Duerr has passed editing duties over to Kyle Carey and, in a letter to readers, says the GZ crew is now aiming for a monthly rag.

Monkey Magnet put out its first issue last November and has put out five to date, plus the SC Sucks! comp. Secret Nicole, a women-run zine with a literary flair, has put out two issues. There's also a little punk zine around called The Finger.

And let's not forget Spleen-A-Zine, an in-your-face little mag that has put out at least five issues over the past few years. Founder Adam Beebe of Ben Lomond is also behind Mishap Records, whose new Better Dead Than Red comp includes a number of local bands not on the Monkey Mag comp. That should bring us up to date.

New Wave

Surf videographer Mike Wiles is finishing up a piece featuring local shredders and wants local bands for the soundtrack. He says he'll consider anything from punk and rap to blues and reggae as long as it works. The video is slated for statewide distro and Wiles expects to sell from 1,000 to 10,000 copies. Bands probably won't get paid, but Wiles says he'll include credits and contact info. He also needs songs for a commercial skimboard video. Send demos to P.O. Box 1454, Capitola, 95010. Final deadline is Nov. 7.


The Muggs play at UCSC's Whole Earth on Friday with Buddys Riot and Soda Pop Fuck You (all-ages, 6pm). On Saturday, 3 Mile Pilot plays SC with Hero and The Damsel (look for fliers). Also on Saturday, TNT plays a Halloween show with Spaceboy and the Muggs at the Whole Earth (all-ages, 7pm, discount with costume). On Monday, Some Velvet Sidewalk plays locally with Dub Narcotic Sound System, Nikki McClure and Nuzzle (look for fliers). Emi's has Sliverlips and Pipe on Sunday (21-plus, 10pm). Down by Law plays at the Vet's hall on Wednesday with Reliance, No Motive and the Lonely Kings (Oct. 30, all-ages, 7pm).
Michael Mechanic

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From the October 24-30, 1996 issue of Metro Santa Cruz

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