Phoenix Punk Rock Days: Browbeat

by Derrick Bostrom


"Browbeat was, to my knowledge, the first xerox-punk fanzine in the United States. It was David and me and Greg. And Sharon Ehle too. Debbie Dub/Durham was gonna be a part of it, but I think she was out of town that spring and summer. We were totally ripping off Sniffin' Glue from England. We had copies of those in hand, probably from even their first issue, maybe. Browbeat grew out of boredom. I don't remember how many copies we printed but it was something like 200, 250, 300 — it wouldn't have been anywhere near as many as 500, and I was paying the xerox bill, 'cause I had a job. I can't imagine I had more than like $50 bucks in all of life to piss away."

"Although Phoenix was a bit behind the curve when it came to exposing a fluid punk/underground culture, it is interesting to note Bart Bull's claim that he and David Wiley from the Consumers created the world's first xerox-copied punk fanzine called Browbeat in June 1977. It's first and only issues predates L.A.'s Flipside #1 by a month or so. I am not quite sure who was featured or what was written. The Browbeat name lived on years later as the name of Wiley's local music column that appeared in the Phoenix New Times."

"There's no question that David and Greg and me created Browbeat in direct imitation/competition with Sniffin' Glue... but first, way before us and, really, more important, if only because it was first and even less anchored to any apparent existing reality, was KDIL Blues Licks."

Bonus:

BROWBEAT: A COLUMN

Gothic thrashmongers TSOL crashed into town last Saturday for a packed and rowdy summer's eve show. It's the best time of year, spring air in the bloodstream, young men anxious to lock horns, let off some steam. Aggressive music breeds aggressive behavior, yes, but why not fight the things that matter.Take on apathy, the power structure or the media for starters. Throughout the recent local past nobody — but nobody — has manipulated more attention than THE FEEDERZ. Just when their music, a cleverly crafted hodgepodge of infected styles, was reaching an international level of acceptance, commander-in-chief FRANK DISCUSSION has announced that neither the band nor the concept nor that upcoming EP exist. A final performance is being considered. Frank then plans on selling his history-laden equipment and exiling himself from music for the time being. Other members will continue with their own projects.

Last week's debut of PARIS 1942 was every bit as interesting as it promised to be, with each member turning in virtuoso performances of their extraordinary brand of rock'n'roll. Yes, rock'n'roll of the droning, hypnotic variety, oozing with life. As tired a cliche as 'rock'n'roll' is, there are those determinedly dedicated to redefining the term, two examples here in this group and openers MEAT PUPPETS. Commenting afterwards, MO TUCKER was pleased with her first live performance in over a decade although she said no one could hear anything onstage. "It was like a swirl of music," she laughed over the phone as young voices demanded her attention in the background. The group plans one or two more local shows before heading to the West Coast for a pair of dates.

Big news this week is that THE CLASH and THE ENGLISH BEAT suddenly decided to include Mesa Amphitheatre on their upcoming cross-country tour, Sunday, June 13. Stay tuned . . . Two days later another English outfit, THE ANGELIC UPSTARTS, will be paying a visit for a special Tuesday show at the Dog. These guys were one of the original skinhead hands. . . In the meantime there's still much to choose from. This Friday JFA, SOYLENT GREENE and FATAL ALLEGIANCE do the Dog and Saturday CONFLICT and MEAT PUPPETS at the same place. Sunday a holiday Merlin's appearance by VITAL SIGNS.

ALSO COMING UP: From Texas, THE BIG BOYS and THE BUTTHOLE SURFERS . . . BATTALION OF SAINTS, San Diegans of the thrash variety, June 5 at the Dog. . . DREAM SYNDICATE and pholksinger PHRANC . . . instrumental rock lunacy from AFRICA CORPS with performance artist DEVIATION SOCIAL. . . THE MINUTEMEN and THE DESCENDANTS, two of the most unusual uptempo bands . . . a definite July date for controversial SF rockers DEAD KENNEDYS.

BRIEFLY: The KILLER PUSSY record party was a stunning success complete with a tiered pink poodle cake, freshly cut bouquets and copies of the EP that is available around the Valley and selling well. Over in L.A. it's slipped into influential station KROQ-FM's regular daytime playlist. The band is currently planning some followup live dates there . . . Circus Circus in Las Vegas (where else?) set the scene for guitarist PAUL B. CUTLER and effervescent vocalist DINAH CANCER performing the proverbial marriage vows (the bride wore black?) . . .45 GRAVE begin working on a debut album this week. . . Another month for the MEAT PUPPETS LP; the work is complete, now rabid fans will just have to wait. Meanwhile, one selection will be appearing on an SST Italian compilation . . . Songbird BONNIE SOLDER has flown to California, opting sand, surf and Big City Life for up-and-coming primate rockers THE VERY IDEA OF FUCKING HITLER, who plan to continue as a trio. . . New faces: CAUSTIC WEAPONS, CONSTANT COMMENT, THE SECRET IDOLS with PIK RORTER and someone named VANYA from Finland. . . The Tucson cassette compilation "Valley Fever" is out and about, along with new tapes by JACKET WEATHER and a former member of SERFERS, whose name escapes me at the moment, all on Iconoclast Intl . . Local electronic strategist DAVID OLIPHANT has released a cassette, with some unique packaging, of various works including a sampling of DESTRUCTION. Seek it out. . . Lastly, linear avantjazzrock comrades KNEBNEGAUGE have moved to the Bay Area. Greener pastures some would say, but when was the last time they looked in their backyards?

-David Wiley (New Times Weekly, 1982)

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