Superdope #4 – 1992

superdope-4-coverOf the 8 issues of SUPERDOPE fanzine that I self-published in the 1990s, this fourth issue from Summer 1992 probably had the lowest print run and is the most “rare” (which is not to be confused with “desirable”). If anyone’s been waiting to read it, and has been bidding up the price of any copies that make it to eBay (this truly happens with some of Superdope’s back issues, which was once amazing to me, but given the interest in fanzines in general thanks to this guy, understandable), well, here you go. It’s so rare that I only have one beat-up copy myself.
This came out only about 4-5 months after SUPERDOPE #3, which you can download here. Like that one, it was a small-format ‘zine I pumped out very quickly, run off at some long-gone printer on Fillmore Street and distributed mainly at Tower Records stores, local San Francisco record stores, and See/Hear in New York. I got more serious (again) with the subsequent issue, but I’m getting ahead of myself and will post that one presently.

A few thoughts about this one:

• The contributors this time were Doug Pearson – a local pal who, at one point, was front & center at every single rocknroll show I went to – and Tom Lax, then as now the proprietor of SILTBREEZE records. I wrote the rest. I knew of Lax as a writer first, before he started the label. His stuff was funny, deeply knowledgeable and intensely aware of every sub-movement and sub-sub-movement in every forgotten crawlspace of underground rock, in every nook & cranny of the globe. When he still writes for Bull Tongue Review and elsewhere, which is unfortunately too infrequent for my tastes, it’s essential reading. I thought it was a “pretty big coup” that he felt Superdope good enough to lend his name to.

• Nicole Penegor was the staff photographer. She was great. I’d buy her ticket into a show, she’d spend the entire time taking photos, then she’d develop them “by hand”, in a darkroom, like they did in the olden days. Then we’d see each other 5 days a week at Monster Cable, where we both worked. Now she’s a lawyer, mom and rocker in Wisconsin.

• Though THE BRAINBOMBS interview was the first attention they ever really got in the US or elsewhere (I had been blown away by that “Jack The Ripper Lover” single), I’m not all that happy that I furthered their legacy, such that it is. I’ve come to see this hate/kill/blood music as stunted children’s music. It’s something that underdeveloped twentysomethings appreciate, but like Freddy Kreuger and Che Guevara, also something that is easy,and relatively painless, to “age out of”. When the otherwise right-on Z-GUN magazine, put out by intelligent thirtysomethings/fortysomethings who should have known better, once did a frothing, multiple-contributor “Brainbombs tribute” in an issue, it struck me as totally preposterous. Smart people, with highly-developed BS detectors, praising a band who sings about mutilation, child rape and torture, like it was somehow bold, daring and shocking. What’s shocking is that anyone could be intellectually stunted enough to still get a thrill off these mental pygmies. Mea culpa. I made a mistake giving these guys any press beyond a record review or two, despite the musical thud of their early 45s.

• 1992 was obviously a very good vintage for raw and exciting underground rock. Looking at the then-new records we covered in this one – Night Kings, Claw Hammer, Sun City Girls, Cheater Slicks, Thinking Fellers, Venom P. Stinger – I’d have to mark this particular year as my “peak” for intense music & record adulation. The stuff we covered was better than in previous issues, and the records we praised are more lasting (“The Woggles” – wha? – notwithstanding).

Download and read SUPERDOPE #4 here.

Get the older ones too – Superdope #1, Superdope #2 and Superdope #3.

3 thoughts on “Superdope #4 – 1992

  1. Thank for this. Superdope sure was a great zine but have to say, man are you off about Brainbombs! Super nihilistic humor – which a good bunch of their stuff is (not all though) – may not be one’s cup of tea, but going from there and comparing it to Freddy Kreuger? And then implying that since the songs are written around those issues they kind of promote them as well?? I mean, come on… From when exploring a certain area of any issue through art, means the artist is into it as well?

    Brainbombs are as far as I’m concerned one of the best rock n’ roll bands from the 90s on. The total of their output up until (and including) “Fucking Mess” is pretty much flawless.

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    1. Nick, I get it – I was there once as well. But there’s a difference between stuff like “Danny Was a Street Whore”, stuff about dark underbellies and whatnot, and songs about child rape & saying that “Anne Frank was a whore who f**ked the nazis”. Is that “humor” to you, nihilistic or otherwise? There were so many great things going on in the underground in 1992 that I’m pretty sure I could have found much more worthy cover stars, no matter how rockin’ the Brainbombs’ guitar sound was.

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  2. Hey Jay,

    that particular line you quoted from the interview hit me as something that is written to upset, and nothing more. Don’t believe there is a political undercurrent to it, more than to piss someone off. Not all of their work is like that, although a big part is. As far as the child stuff goes, I’m pretty sure the members have said in the past that those were the hardest to write, although a song like “Obey” isn’t merely shock value if you read the lyrics. Let alone stuff like that literally take place every day. Hard to stomach, but are real and do happen. So i don’t see why it is not valid to write a song about it, but that’s just me I guess. In the end it’s a matter of preference.
    best,
    N

    Liked by 1 person

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