Friday, January 21, 2011
Pins&needles: An interview with a zine
By Brian Polk
Pins&needles could just as easily be called Mulling It All Over with the Nineties Guy, (though I must admit that its current handle is much catchier). It’s what happens when ‘90s punks still believe all the things they used to believe (like zines and records are the pinnacle of punk print and audio), only now they have to do things like work and pay a mortgage. Its author manages to keep a sense of humor about himself while contemplating the finer points of life, like "Seinfeld," sports radio, crappy record stores, dogs, and various existential crises. His prose is engaging, humorous, and above all, relatable, which is the ultimate goal of any good zine. And as a fellow zinester, it’s always nice to know that there are others who, despite all the advantages of going digital, still bend over backwards to create something that can be read in the tub. As you can see below, The Yellow Rake was so impressed with Pins&needles that the zines felt compelled to exchange a few words…
The Yellow Rake: Why would you even think of starting a zine now? Haven't you heard of blogs?
Pins&needles: Two reasons: (1) I am an album guy not a digital download-type guy. I love the whole package, so a print zine makes sense to me. (2) I don’t ever want to be referred to as a “Blogger.”
What do you want people to take away from your zine?
Plain and simple: to be entertained. Pins&needles is more of a sitcom than it is a film. There’s nothing overly deep or controversial, but hopefully there’s a little something for everyone. The best thing that I take away from it is when people relate to some of my neuroses and share theirs with me.
I think every zinester has been the recipient of unflattering criticism from Maximum Rock 'N' Roll. What did you think of yours?
In short, it was not as bad as I thought it was going to be. The reviewer did comment that Pins&needles is really “Just some guy musing on life,” which I believe they meant as an insult but I loved it and used it for the homepage of my website. On the cover of this particular issue of MRR there’s a guy wearing a “New Order Fact. 50 1981 Movement” shirt. I’m either not punk enough or not intelligent enough to understand what that means—or both, which is why I expected a worse review.
Which do you prefer, early Fugazi (Margin Walker, Repeater) or later Fugazi (Red Medicine, The Argument)?
This answer is not going to gain me many readers. I am actually not a fan of Fugazi’s music, but it’s certainly not for a lack of trying. The only album of theirs that I own is 13 Songs and it’s because I love the song “Waiting Room.” Because I respect Ian Mackaye immensely and I love that Fugazi had a code of ethics that could not be compromised, it truly pains me that I do not enjoy their music more than I do so about once I year I revisit their catalog to see if I “get it” yet. So far…no dice. But I have read the chapter of Our Band Could Be Your Life that is devoted to them upwards of four times if that helps at all. (I think it helps. —ed.)