Flipside was a LA punk fanzine that was published from 1977 to 2000 – although I did not find out about it until I think 1981 or ’82 . You see “back in my day” there was no fancy internet and blogs to keep us updated on music events across the world minutes after they happen.
I grew up in Perth Western Australia – which is the most remote capital city in the entire world. Luckily for us – we had very close ties to Britain , I am not sure of the percentages at the time but our city and the City of Adelaide back in the late ’70s probably had the most British ex -pats of any Aussie cities. Back then Sydney was the most American City and Melbourne was the most European. At the time many of our Television shows, a good 30% (if not more) where British made- we had shows like “London Weekend Update” which most of my friends parents would watch (as did mine) to keep them up to speed on what was going on in the Motherland – I recall as early as 1976 seeing TV specials on Punk Rock and I distinctly remember a class elementary school trip to our local High school in 1977 and seeing my first punk rockers. We had 2 great import record shops and again by the time we read in the British Music press on the latest UK punk bands we could find the records in either one of these stores.
I was also a vert skateboarder and probably had a subscription to the best Skateboard magazine at the time “Skateboarder”. By 1978 or so, the Dogtown boys were already starting to get into punk rock and unlike the rest of my mates, I was somewhat aware that punk rock existed in LA (and America). You see the general consensus at that time was outside of the Ramones Americans didn’t do punk rock. (WTF!)
Its funny as you get older – you definitely have a tendency to forget certain things in your life and what memories you can look back and remember clear as day, sometimes don’t make sense. Well i remember the first time I saw an issue of Flipside and the first issue I bought.It was at Black Plague books in Northbridge – alright I am somewhat spacing on the name of the street (on I haven’t been home in 22 years) but I want to say it was on Aberdeen street – yes it did move to a second location on King Street in 1984. Marina (RIP) the chick that ran Black Plague books – which was basically a punk rock store – had taken a chance and imported a few issues of Flipside and the one I bought had a red cover with interviews with Red Kross in it (anyone know what issue that was?) and the big talking point in the letters pages was the Misfits show which had just been through California and the fact that Jerry Only had clobbered some sap with his bass guitar – some kids said the kid totally asked for it and other kids said Jerry got the wrong guy? Who were the Misfits – I just had to hear them ! I don’t remember too much else about that issue – but c’mon its been well over 30 years since I picked it up – with the amount of beers I have drunk since then you guys are lucky I remember anything !
Flipside opened my eyes up to the enormity of the burgeoning LA punk scene and I read every word of every issue from then on – unlike MRR which was very very political Flipside was always about the scene and kept politics out (Thanks guys!!!) Some where along the way I ended up writing some articles for Flipside (I want to say on my local scene or local bands – again I forget) and when they published my home address I was swamped with letters from kids all over America – that started my experiences with tape trading (it was very pricey to mail 7″ records to people besides you never knew if they would make it all the way there in one piece). At one point I was probably writing to 50 kids a week and to this day I am still in touch with some of those people I was pen friends with at the time (Hi Erik , Hi Adriana)
Some key memories I have from Flipside is mailing away to Joey Shithead from DOA for the “Hardcore 81” record and I “think” that I also ordered Black Flags “Damaged” from him too, hearing about the Exploited’s LA show were all the riot cops came in and cracked skulls, having Shawn Stern from Youth Brigade mailing me the first few BYO releases (Looking for Aussie Distribution) and the 100s of American friends I made a long the way. Writing to Mike from Channel 3 and having him write back was pretty great too.
I moved to England in 1989 and found myself visiting NYC pretty regularly from 1991 onwards – however I never made it to LA until 2000. Of course my first trip there I was name checking every place that was still around that I had recalled reading about in LA back in the early 80s.
I would not go as far as to say if it wasn’t for Flipside I would not be here living in America but I will say that Flipside definitely helped shape my world view of the punk scene and music scene in general. So, thanks guys for all the good times – its been greatly appreciated!