Long term readers will remember that last year, I published a post about local music fanzines of the late eighties produced by David Frost of Brownhills, and what a profound effect they had on the young BrownhillsBob. Whilst rooting for something else recently, I came across a couple of editions of ‘Noize Neuze’, the house fanzine of Walsall Musician’s Collective. This was a similar, but more po-faced effort produced in the summer of 1988. It’s really quite a find, and will mean much to anyone who followed local bands in Walsall during the late eighties.
You can download a full copy of the fanzine by clicking the image above. It’s just over two meg in size, and you’ll need Adobe Reader – but most folks have that already.
Walsall Musician’s Collective was – as far as I can remember – an affiliation of young local musos who got together to help each other and promote local bands and musicians in Walsall. I don’t know who was behind it, except I think they leading lights were part of Walsall’s legendary goth band Bliss the Pocket Opera, who were prolific at the time. I don’t know where the funding came from to produce and print this publication, which was surprisingly well executed graphically in a time before mass access to any kind of computer publishing technology. It is far better graphically than David Frost’s works, but lacks slightly the inventive streak. There’s lots of content from differing voices, but the humour seems a little forced, as if it were agreed by a committee. The most remarkable thing about this is that it was given away free.
I suspect the arts people at Walsall Council had an input somewhere, and probably helped financially or with production. I seem to remember that Jo Digger, who may have been curator of the Flint Gallery at the time – was very keen on youth arts and staged an exhibition that autumn called ‘Crucial Creators’, controversially featuring street art, rap and other local music. I think maybe she was involved.
I have no idea who most of the people mentioned were – Colin on the review page, Claire, Allan, Kevin, Kid Sparrow, Dallas etc., but I do remember the bands named – Bliss the Pocket Opera, The Wimpletodes, The Wonderstuff, Dogs D’amour, Sandkings, Little Red Schoolhouse, Ron’s Neighbours. I also remember buying the compilation tape mentioned, too. Some rather good tracks, if I recall, must see if I can find it.
Amusing bits to note are the ongoing feud with another fanzine ‘Punk Tyranny’, The advert for an event on page 13 that doesn’t say where it is happening, the bitch at local band Split in Two about flyposting respectfulness, and Colin’s review of The Blue Ox Babes as ‘…they sound a bit like Dexy’s Midnight Runners’, which was hardly surprising considering thats who they mostly were, after being sacked by bonkers lead singer and egomaniac Kevin Rowland. The Apna Sangeet review was brave for the time, as asian music hadn’t then crossed over. The band themselves went on to huge success.
I have one more issue of Noize Neuze, from September 1988 which declares itself number 11, and is just called ‘Noize’, which I shall scan and post at a later date. I don’t know what happened to Walsall Musician’s Collective, but I hope it’s exponents are still at least still partially on the scene. They kept me informed, after all.
Walsall was a different place then, but I guess the past always is. Great days indeed.