MUSIC IN PRE-PUNK FANZINES
Since the subject matter of fannish SF fanzines has always been whatever the editor felt like writing about it was inevitable that on occasion some of them would write about their appreciation of music, be it in the form of record and book reviews, artist profiles, concert reports, or tales of personal encounters. This section collects together and links to some of those pieces and fanzines. More will be added.
From the mid 1950s, SF fans began to publish whole fanzines devoted to music. I had thought the first of these was John Brunner's NOISE LEVEL (10 issues, 1954 - 1958), which he ran through OMPA the UK's first APA, but though it contained pieces about folk and blues, actual examination of the issues rules it out as a fanzine solely devoted to music. Its tenth issue - coinciding with his becoming the London correspondent for CARAVAN - covered the first Aldermaston march.
(Brunner wrote the CND marching song, and more on his activities with them can be found here. Also, there's a photo of fans getting ready to leave the 1959 Eastercon to join the second one on this page, and of fans taking time out from the 1960 Eastercon - held that year in London - to greet the marchers arriving from Aldermaston here.)
It may well be that the first was actually Mal Ashworth's JAZZ-ZINE. The British Fanzine Bibliography dates this as January 1955 and has it down as a quarto-size, mimeographed, six page one-shot. If anyone has a copy I'd be interested in scans. Also, while it's possible - probable, even - that music enthusiasts had produced amateur publications prior to this devoted to the music they loved, this may have been be the first anywhere to self-identify as a fanzine!
Michael Moorcock came out with JAZZ FAN in 1956 and US fan Lee Hoffman with her folkzine CARAVAN in 1957, while in 1961 Liverpool SF group member Bill Harry used the skills he'd acquired in fandom to publish the first issue of MERSEY BEAT. This was a newspaper devoted to the burgeoning music scene in that city in general, and in particular to a band formed by friends of his called The Beatles.
In the US in 1966, Paul Williams launched CRAWDADDY and Greg Shaw came out with MOJO NAVIGATOR, the first fanzines devoted to rock music. Shaw's fannish fanzine METANOIA apparently also sometimes carried music pieces. Shaw started up WHO PUT THE BOMP? in 1970 when he moved to LA, the Fall 1973 number of which was a 'British Invasion' issue that inspired Brian Hogg of Dunbar in Scotland to launch his fanzine BAM BALAM (14 issues, 1975 - 1982). This in turn influenced Mark Perry to start up punkzine SNIFFIN' GLUE. Which is how the word 'fanzine' was transmitted, a piece of fannish terminology largely unknown to the general public in 1976. As Mark Plummer notes:
The Mick Farren/Susie Shaw-edited BOMP! collection from a few years back includes facsimiles of WHO PUT THE BOMP? and MOJO NAVIGATOR. The latter absolutely looked like 'our' fanzines, right down to the Rotsler illos and at one point a 'Who Sawed Courtney's Boat?' interlineation in the middle of a Country Joe and the Fish interview. There's a photo a very young and clean-cut Shaw, hand on a mimeo crank, ranks of GALAXYs and other SF mags behind him.
Another perhaps inevitable consequence of fannish interest in music was some fans becoming professional musicians themselves. Gene Klein was known in fandom primarily as a fan artist and contributed work to many fanzines in the 1960s. He also published the fanzine COSMOS - later renamed COSMOSTILETTO. These days he's better known as Gene Simmons of KISS. Then there's Lenny Kaye, who went on to play guitar with Patti Smith. He wrote for many SF fanzines in the 1960s and later published the "NY rock tabloid" CHANGES, which in 1970 included a comics-centred issue reviewed here. Alas, this and most of the other zines named above are not online so I can't link to them, but here's an early piece by Kaye.
ADDENDUM: It turns out Lenny Kaye's fanzine collection - about 2100 issues - is housed at the University of Miami
(My thanks to Mark Plummer, Ted White, and Greg Pickersgill for research help.)
Harry Warner Jr
Francis Towner Laney
Vernon L. McCain
Eric Bentcliffe and Sandy Sandfield
Ted White (see also his music reviews website Dr Progresso)