Metal History Through Fanzines

Coroner (SWZ)

Live Wire #13 (Germany) Aug-Sept 1988

Live Wire #13 (Germany) Aug-Sept 1988.
Editors: “Jörg Schnebele“, “Jürgen Both”, “Peter Kirchner” and “Manni Rothe” (auf Deutsch)

 

Long running German zine/magazine that was total metal in the golden age…I have a ton of these but to get started here is issue #13. Why? King Diamond that is why! If you dont sprechen zee deutsch, no matter, its still packed with tons of cool pics, some which I have never seen before in English mags. Also, thanks to Leslie Dávid for the contribution, and he also got an interview with zine editor Jörg Schnebele, here are some excerpts below…this issue features interviews, write-ups and more with Angel Dust, Alice Cooper, stories from Berlin, DRI, tons of demo reviews/reviews, Exodus, Forced Entry (GER), Helloween, King Diamond, Kingdom, No Remorse Records, Overkill, Queensryche, Sanctuary, Scanner, Coroner, Slayer, Zed Yago, Znowhite and more…

Back, at the early ’80s, when the metal scene started getting bigger, Germany became very soon the biggest part of the metal community. A lot of bands and fanzines started popping up from Teutonic soil. One of the first, German language fanzines was Live Wire and the editor Jörg Schnebele was so kind enough to speak in detail about this legendary ’zine. Enjoy! (intv. By Leslie Dávid)

So Jörg, how did you discover music and hard rock/heavy metal music particular? What did you find so exciting in this music?

Well, I was born 1960 in a countrified little town, far away from world affairs. I was always interested in music, but in the 60s and under the influence of conservative parents, I heard only German pop songs. In the 70s we had in Germany a music show called „Disco” on TV, and there they showed actors from Germany as well as from UK and the States… „Disco” brought me in contact with the Glam bands, who I liked very much: Slade, Sweet, T.Rex, Alice Cooper etc. One day Deep Purple played „Fireball” and this was key moment for me, to search for harder music. The rampant energy of Purple was fascinating impression, which I follow till today..

Were there any record stores in your area, where you could get or buy magazines, vinyls, tapes etc.?

In the early 70s there were only one record shop in our town. Advantage was, that they played the records, if you wanted to hear the music. So it made decisions really easy, to buy or not. Magazines, as we know from the 80s, fanzines etc didn’t exist at this time. Only one teeny magazin, which is still existing: „Bravo”. They brought a lot of stories about international bands, but not really informative. But they showed, what went on in the big wide world. Mid of the 70s I discovered the magazine „Music Express” which merged with „Sounds” later on.

At which point and how did you turn into the underground world?

For me (and my parents) even Slade and Sweet was already „underground music” 😊 For me the next step into the underground world started, when I finalized school and started studies in Bonn. There I found music store not only with a lot hard and heavy music, but also fanzines: Aardshock, Rock Hard…. At this time I heard by accident about british magazine, Kerrang. Some years I subscribed this „master information mag”.

At which point did the fanzines enter in your life? Do you still remember which fanzines did you get in your hands for the first time?

As I said before, first fanzines I could hold in my hands were Aardshok, Rock Hard, and some more smaller mags. Live Wire developed from club magazin of the in Bonn located „Hard Rock Club”. I was member of this club, lost later on little bit the contact and met some of the guys during a concert. They told me, that they have started the club mag under the name Live Wire. Some years it was publishd with subtitel „Fanzine of Hard Rock Club Bonn”. For number 5 (1985) they asked me to write story about at that time existing metal scene.

How and when did you end up joining Live Wire fanzine? When did the Live Wire start exactly?

Live Wire started 1984; my official start was with number 6 (1985) as free employee; 1986 I became part of editorial office and more or less 1988, I took leadership in the team

Did the name refer to the Mötley Crüe song on the Too Fast for Love record or…

No, not Mötley Crüe, but AC/CDs song „Live Wire” was responsible for the name.

Was it clear for you to write German instead of English? Why did you choose your mother tongue?

At this time not all of us spoke English; and the others such bad, that it was nearly impossible, to do interviews. It was a horror for us… But we did it. So this was one reason, that we never thought about doing our mag in another language. On the other hand our market was 95% Germany, 5% BENELUX, Switzerland and Austria.

In your opinion, were the German bands easily distinguishable from each other in terms of songwriting, producing, sound etc.?

They didn’t want to copy the British bands and created own way to write and produce their music. At this time you recognised from the first seconds of the songs, if it was German or British root. At this time very often a blemish, cause the German bands wanted to sound international, but were detected directly as a German band. Even Scorpions are a good example, how negative it could be, to be recognised as German band. The language, pronunciation etc. BUT, the criticism came predominantly from Germany, less from other countries.

How were they sold and distributed/promoted? Were all of the issues sold out?

We sold our mag exclusively in record stores. So we browsed endlessly phone books, to get telephone numbers to contact the shops. No internet, no mails, just telephone. And at this time every call costs a fortune, depending, which city we called. As soon as print company finished new issue, we sit together with friends, parents in law and other helping hands, packing the mags and took it to the post office.
This was the part of our business, we didn’t like too much… But had to be done. Of every issue we sold approx 80-90%; some issues were sold out very soon as well.

Why and when did you stop doing/going on Live Wire?

1992 we had to make decision, to take professional distribution on board, going on as we did last years or stop it. Distribution brought problem, that they demanded quantity of 30000 pcs for the first year and afterwards every year 10000 pcs more. On the other hand they gave us no insight in their operation method and distribution process. So it was for us a view in a crystal ball. Financial risk only in our hands. To go on as we’ve done before was no option; at this time more and more small fanzines went the way with distributor or stopped the mags. There was barely no scene between. So, in fact, that I leaded the mag on legal aspect alone (cause my partners didn’t want to keep any risk), I had to make my decision. At this time my daughter was born and I had responsibility for a family. This brought me to the hard decision, to stop Live Wire. 1992 Live Wire died.

Did you go on writing for other fanzines/magazines? If so, in which magazines/fanzines did you take part?

Parallel to Live Wire I wrote even for a big magazin called „Shark”; but Live Wire had priority. For many year´s I stopped writing and doing pictures from the front row, but 2011 fever came back and I liked to shoot pictures in concerts again. Some old contacts were still alive for example Weiki from Helloween or Gaby Hoffmann, management of Accept. I asked them for photo passes and it worked. More and more I came back in this business and three years ago a frind of mine, living in my town, started webzine Hellfire (hellfire-magazin.de). I joined after my friends partner, with whom he started this, left the small team. And actually we’re really successful. Great to be back; and much easier, cause you publish more or less by copy/paste.

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Trasher #4 (Germany) Sept. 1987. (auf Deutsch)

Trasher #4 (Germany) Sept. 1987. Editor: “Ulrich Esser” (auf Deutsch)

german zine from 87, MANY great reviews and interviews….in German! If you can not read it, it is still a great look-through. Features interviews/adverts/reviews with Anthem, Atomkraft, Agent Steel, Nuclear Assault, Bathory, Bulldozer, Carnivore, Chastain (Advert – remember him?!), Destruction ‘guess the band’, the Dynamo Festival (NETH), Judas Priest (advert), King Diamond, Living Death, Motorhead, Oz, Riot, Possessed, Sodom, Testament and much more….[Danke S.L for the scan!]

 

 

 


Disposable Underground #3 (VA, USA) 1991

Disposable Underground #3 (VA, USA) 1991, Editor: “Richard Johnson”

Issue #2 of DI, out of the Virginia suburbs of Washington DC. Again, Rich was in early grind outfit Enemy Soil, prior to going on to playing in the likes of Agoraphobic Nosebleed and now Drugs of Faith.  This long running zine can now be found online in downloadable format here, both new and old issues.

This issue has live reviews, adverts, reviews, opinions (one from Deceased guitarist Mike Smith) features and interviews with/on the Foundations Forum, Riki Rachtman, Slayer Zine, Cannibal Corpse, Atheist, Autopsy, Bolt Thrower, Coroner, Death, Dark Angel, Grave, Gorguts, Hexx, Fates Warning, Impetigo, Believer, Overkill, Queensryche, Pestilence, Relapse Records, Suffocation, Sacrifice, Unleashed, Century Media and much more…

 


Totentanz #2 (Germany) 1988 (auf Deutsch)

Totentanz #2 (Germany) 1988 (auf Deutsch) Editor: “Arno Brettraeger” (+Mitarbeiter: Thomas Hanzen)

A nice one from Germany (thanks much to B.B. for this great classic from the late 80’s!). If you can read German, you are in luck, if not, still some great content..check out the early Nuclear Blast ad for example, back when the label was punk (!) Features/interviews with the likes of Assassin, At War, Coroner, Deathrow, Solitude, Living Death, Revelation, Rage, Poltergeist, Tanakard, Voivod, and much more…


Thrash Em All #1 (Poland) 1989 (In Polish)

Thrash Em All #1 (Poland) 1989. Editor: “Mariusz Kmiolek” (In Polish)

Thanks again to Paweł for the contribution. Another relic from the Polish scene to add to the collection…features interviews and features on Coroner, Slayer (Kerry King), Annihilator, Astaroth (PL), Black Sabbath, Kreator, Running Wild, Sodom, Vendetta, Defiance, Mordred, Ghost (PL) and much more.


Thrash Metal #2 (Spain) 1988 (En español)

Thrash Metal #2 (Spain) 1988. Editor: “Mariscal Romero” (En español)

Certainly not to be confused with other mags/zines with the same name, this was a pro-published magazine out of Spain from the late 80’s. The publisher was a company called “MC Editions” that had several publications, selling magazines like this and others in bookstores at the time. For the most part,  there was nothing really ‘underground’ in it, but as a historical/cultural artifact its pretty killer – features and interviews with Agnostic Front, Anthrax, Coroner, Death, Flotsam and Jetsam, Kreator, Leeway, Sabbat, Rage, Nuclear Assault, Slayer, Onslaught, Sodom, Suicidal Tendencies, Testament, Toranaga and Risk; plus additional focus on Spanish bands Fuck Off, Crom and Leviatan.


Pit Magazine #8 (Colorado, USA) 1992

Pit Magazine #8 (Colorado, USA) 1992, Editor: “Wendy Perelstein”

A massive update here….Pit Magazine was published by Mosh Pit Records, a metal record store out of Colorado Springs, Colorado, that is sadly missed. Their magazine started in the late 80s and ran into the 90s with ambitions of being a national magazine of sorts, and they eventually did get okay distribution, but in essence it was really just a nice pro-printed, national zine – and that is what made it cool (It seems there is also still some online presence, as they have a facebook page and an outdated website, yet I think the last print issue was put out about 5 years ago…I could be wrong).

With better content and interviews than most national mags, it was packed with all the relevant bands and more. This issue was no exception, featuring an interview with Metallica-Jason Newsted when the Black album dropped (talking about their songwriting and change), Bolt Thrower (!!!), Nick Menza around “Rust in Peace” era-Megadeth, Chris Barnes from Cannibal Corpse talking about serial killers and why he hates (hated?) Phil from Sacred Reich, Godflesh, Autopsy, Necroticism-era Carcass, Soundgarden, Solitude Aeturnus, Blessed are the Sick-era Morbid Angel interview with Dave Vincent, Anacrusis, an extended interview with Pete Steele for the CarnivoreType O Negative fans, the Hoffman Brothers of Deicide, Exhorder, Immolation, Coroner, Entombed, Cancer, Grave, Gorguts, Napalm Death, Obituary, Unleashed, and many more.