Metal History Through Fanzines

Flotsam and Jetsam (US)

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 ( 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.



Baphomet Zine Compilation (1987-1995) Vol. #1 and #2 (Italy)

Baphomet Zine Compilations (1987-1995) #1 and #2 (Italy) (eds: Enrico, Sarmax, Paulo and Claudio) Italiano (early) & English (later).

Long-running Italian zine brought together over 2 digital volumes. Includes a WIDE variety of metal, extreme metal + punk and hardcore and other genres (as their tastes varied and expanded over the years) + plus some film and author write ups, essays, reviews and more. This original and sincere presentation is a great pleasure to read,  both volumes are available here (vol 1) and here (vol 2).

Issue 1: [Italian] Anthrax/Testament Live review, Creepin Death, Jag Panzer, Anthrax, Def Leppard, Metallica, Voivod, Celtic Frost, Dio/Black Sabbath live review. Taurus, The Accused, Mayhem-Deathcrush, Reviews, demo reviews, and essay on ‘posers’, Zephir, playlists and more.

Issue 2: [Italian] Candlemass, Post Mortem, Flotsam and Jetsam, Arpia, Scream, Vendetta, Darkness, Mayhem (w/ Euronymous), Trojan, A.C.T.H., Extrema, Bloody Anger, Peggio Amico, Mania, Sodom/Whiplash live review, Ice Age, Xandril, video, demo and album reviews, playlists and more.

Issue 3: [Italian] S.N.F.U., NOFX, Raw, Helstar, Bandana, Massacre (Chile), The Accused, Madhouse, OKA, Jesus Went to Jerusalem, Demo reviews, Silverwing, Crash Box, Afflict, 7 Seconds and more.

Issue 4: [Italian] Saint Vitus, Haunting Souls, DOA, Conquest, Pentagram, Gas, Son, NOT, Bloodstar, Astaroth (CA), Domine, Die Kreuzen, Ice Age, Anacrusis, The Missing Links, Monumentum, Outrage, Drowning Roses, demo reviews and more.

Issue 5: [Italian] Internal Void, Revelation, Arpia, Traumatic Voyage, Obliveon, No Rules, Dorso, Caos, Growing Concern, Infezione, Fire Party, Domine, Articoli Su, Deceased, Nuclear Death, Massacre (Chile), Epitafio, Domine, Misguided, Altri, Hexx, Ulcera, playlist, posers, demo reviews and more.

Issue 6: [Italian] New Model Army, Lemonheads, Elektra Drive, Spermbirds, Soul Reaction, No Remorse, Opera IX, Solitude Aeturnus, Caras de Hambre, Maelstrom, Latin Posse, Warrior Soul, Post Mortem, DOA, Rock Progressive Italiano, demo reviews, playlists and more.

Issue 6/7: [English] Nuclear Death, Cathedral, Soul Reaction, Post Mortem, Protected Illusion, Dogma, Maelstrom, Murnau, Caras, De Hambre, Spermbirds, Brain Damage, Headcrasher, Sentenced, Order From Chaos, Wild Rags, Axemaster, Slint, Humanicide, reviews, Dracma records and more..

Issue 8: [English] Confessor, Nosferatu, Decay, Sentenced, Noise Culture, Psycopath, Affirmative Action, Political Asylum, Prestige, Bedlam, Church of Violence, horror cinema, Wild Rags, reviews, vampires more…

Issue 9: [English] The Obsessed, Paradise Lost, Extrema, Necrosanct, Gutted Pulp, Dovercourt, Sadist, Apatridi, Brokenglazz, Nuclear Blast, Rosicrucian, snuff/mondo movies +more

Issue 10: [English] Type O Negative, Inverted, Non-Fiction, Industrial music feature, demo reviews, news, Beyond Reason, Anathema, Mortified, Brain Police, Fanzine reviews, New Model Army, Glacial Fear, Nervewomb, Psychosis, Paul Chain/DeathSS, Christopher Lee, Zombie movies, The Mentors..

Issue 11: [English] Fanzine reviews, Soulgrind, Mortuary Drape, Novembers Doom, Slug & Lettuce zine, demo reviews, Sepolcrum, Monumentum, Eterne, Necromass, Beyond Dawn, Robert Bloch, Lucio Fulci, Mariano Baino, Shiver Records, video reviews + more


Phoenix Militia #3 (UK) 1986

Phoenix Militia #3 (UK) 1986. Editor: “Bill Steer”

Bill Steer’s (Carcass) zine from his teenage years, includes interviews and features w/ Atavistic, Bulldozer, Necrovore, Lord Crucifier, Casbah, Vacant Grave, Desecration (Cali.), Bolt Thrower, Diatribe, a Maryland (USA) scene report, Doomwatch, Flotsam and Jetsam, Assassin (GER), Nuclear Assault, Mutilator, Master, Protector, Catalepsy, Obliteration, Rancid Decay, Sacrifice, Deviated Instinct, SNFU, Straight Ahead, The Accused, Wehrmacht and more…



Metal-Core #2 (USA/NJ) 1987

Metal-Core #2 (USA/NJ) 1987. Editor: “Chris Forbes”

Long running fanzine out of New Jersey from Mr. Forbes, who also maintains an online version located here. This is the second issue (which he kindly scanned for me to put up alongside the interview he provided below), which was released in early 1987, so a lot of the reviews and content reflect releases and shows from 1986 – a very pivotal year for metal that saw thrash getting more and more explosive. Very centered on the underground at the time, the demo reviews include early offerings from Repulsion, Annihilator, Deathrash, Lethal Aggression and Heathen, among others. Additionally, there are cool interviews with Gene from Dark Angel, Mike from Possessed, Savage Death (NJ), Savage Thrust, New Renaissance records’ favs Dream Death (who are reunited by the way) and At War, plus Tom from Hallows Eve and some live reviews.

PDF of Metal-Core #2: Metal-Core # 2

SBMS: What drove you to start the zine and what were your first impressions of the international underground, once you found out about the tape trading and fanzine culture?

Chris Forbes: I had been into music even at a young age and around when I was 15 I was getting into rock n roll, but not your typical bands. While such bands in 1980 like The Rolling Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin, etc were selling millions of records, I was more into rock and metal bands like UFO, Ted Nugent, Saxon, etc. I was into reading such magazines at the time like Creem and Circus (even had a subscription) and there was a local music store, called “Listening Booth” and they started getting in a magazine from England called Kerrang. Then I started to read all about the NWOBHM thing. This store would also stock imports so in addition to reading about the bands, I was able to purchase music from these bands. Good ole cassettes (ha ha). At the time I thought Kerrang was like the ultimate bible for metal as it blew away crap that Creem and Circus and Hit Parader were writing about. Well the store also began getting other magazines in like Metal Forces. So from there, I read about, discovered and became fans of such bands as Motorhead, Raven, Venom, and Metallica etc.

I actually discovered the world of fanzines probably around 1985 or so. I was hanging out with a couple of the guys in the band Anvil Bitch and on a whim they asked if I wanted to go up to Lamour’s in NY to see the band Overkill, who I was a fan of, as well as many of the early thrash bands like Exciter, Anvil, Exodus, etc. On the way up there we decided to stop off at a store called “Rock N Roll Heaven.” When I walked in I was totally blown away. Here was this small store, but all that was stocked in the store was wall to wall underground metal. “Listening Booth” only had a small section of metal and it was nowhere near as godly as this was.

I was always a magazine junkie, so when I saw a publication called “Kick Ass Monthly” I picked it up, and from then on and there that was my introduction to fanzines and also to tape trading. Now I didn’t do a lot of tape trading back then, I did some, but at the time I was heavily involved in the underground scene, I had already started writing and was soon to be doing my own fanzine. Soon after I discovered ‘Kick Ass Monthly” I found out about the whole world of fanzines and even some punk zines such as “Maximum Rock N Roll” and “Flipside”.  Another one was Ron Quintana’s ‘Metal Mania.”

At some point in 1985 I purchased a fanzine called “Total Thrash.” This was a local fanzine put out by Scott Helig, who was based out of Philadelphia, PA. I saw he was looking for writers so I asked if I could write for him and he said yes. I think I wrote for him for 2 issues when he had said to me that I was sending him so much stuff (reviews/interviews) that he suggested I start doing my own fanzine! I looked at like a challenge and I love challenges, so I decided to start my own zine and in late 1986 the 1st issue of Metal Core came out. It was ½ size, no pictures, no logo, no nothing. Just typed words on white paper and I printed 150 copies and got rid of them all eventually by selling them at shows. It just contained some interviews, some demo reviews, show reviews and a few zine ads.

I kind of stole the name from a little mini tour that was booked up in the Northeastern part of the US. Overkill and SOD played a 7-date mini tour and called it the “metal core tour” so since I was big time into metal and hardcore I thought “metal core” would be a great name for a zine, so that is how the name came about.

The entire underground scene, with its many fanzines, bands, etc. stretching out from everywhere was insane. Once I had a couple issues out, I was getting mail from all over the world and I was having bands send me demos from not just the US, but from Europe, South America, Canada, etc. I was getting up to 10 letters a day and around 10 packages from bands every week. Then it even got crazier when labels started sending me promos to review and I started trading with every zine I could. I was a big time zine junkie. I would write to every band I saw reviewed in the zines, spending hours writing letters and sending out orders, etc.

SBMS:  What were the important venues for metal in and around your area? Were there any important record stores or radio shows in the late 80s/early 90s that were important for the local scene? Were there any memorable early shows or tours that stick out in your mind, that you can talk about?

Chris Forbes: Well I lived in NJ (still do to this day) at the time and I was based in South Jersey, right across from Philadelphia, PA. To me Philadelphia never has had a really strong metal scene at all. Even when “hair metal” was at its peak the only band to even do anything was Cinderella and for underground metal back then it was Anvil Bitch and Blacktask. There was a venue back in the day called “The Empire Rock Club” that would do all age metal shows on Sunday nights. They did occasionally have the heavier bands play. Sepultura played their 1st ever US show there and Anvil Bitch or Blacktask would open for such touring bands as Testament, Nuclear Assault, etc. There also was a club called “The Trocedero”, which is still open and they have had underground shows there over the years, they also filmed “Ultimate Revenge 2” there with Death, Dark Angel, Faith or Fear, Forbidden and Raven.  To me NJ had the way better music scene/venues back in the day. However, the ultimate venue for me was Lamour’s in Brooklyn, NY but I’ll get to that later.

South Jersey was pretty lame, we had one club called “Bonnie’s” that had shows on Sunday nights after the “Empire Rock Club” stopped doing them. The owner of the club loved all that “hair metal shit so all these “poser” metal bands would play most of the time, with the exception of Deadly Blessing who were a power metal band (this is 1988) of sorts that were on New Renaissance Records, who I was helping manage at the time. North Jersey was where it was at. You had tons of clubs (City Gardens, Obsessions, The Show Place, Satellite Lounge, and The Cricket Club) and many others that I have forgotten I am sure. You also had the bands, Whiplash, Savage Death, Bloodfeast, Blessed Death, Insaniac, Fathom Warrior, Hades, Nuclear Assault, Overkill, etc. Now as far as stores go, well after “Rock N Roll Heaven” closed I didn’t really have to buy much stuff as I was getting it all for free (ha ha). There was a cool store up in North Jersey called Vintage Vinyl that stocked a lot of metal which is still up and running and is still kicking ass. In NYC, you had Slipped Disc and Bleeker Bob’s, which I never got to visit, but wish I did back in the day.

There was no good local radio where I lived, but when I would head up to North Jersey I would also put on WSOU 89.5 which was based out of Montclair, NJ and that station is still up and running, but it is a shell of its former self. Now to me Lamour’s was easily the best club I’ve ever been too. Back in the 80s I would take the 3 hour plus drive up there, only to get home at 6am as the headlining band didn’t go on until 1:30 AM and the show would be over at 3 AM, and then time to go home!

I saw so many classic shows up there, Slayer in 85, 86, 87, 88, etc. Carnivore, Blessed Death, Savage Thrust, Possessed, Overkill, Anthrax, Megedeth, Testament, Voivod. I saw Agent Steel get booed off the stage, the crowd was just not into the singing (ha ha), Nuclear Assault. The pits at the shows were insane. When Pete Steele would say “kill each other” trust me people almost did. One night Paul Baloff was sick on tour, so Exodus came out and did an all instrumental set and the crowd sang every song. Possessed in 1986 let Slayer come out and did a 4 song mini set prior to “Reign in Blood” coming out. There are many more I am sure I am forgetting.

City Gardens was a club in Trenton, NJ and they did a mix of hardcore and metal shows. I saw bands like Agnostic Front, DRI, Leeway, Sick of it All, Black Flag, SOD, etc and at these shows in the 80’s were some of the sickest mosh pits, just 1000 people going absolutely crazy. They also began doing metal shows so I saw Slayer, Megedeth, Overkill, Venom, Death, Dark Angel and other bands there as well. I remember I sold quite a few copies of my zine at that venue in the 80s and even into the 90s. At the Slayer show in 1986, on the “Reign in Blood” tour, I dove off the stage and almost broke my fuckin neck.

G. Williker’s was another club in South Jersey, where a girl named Annie Bowman was booking shows. She booked the way underground bands like Immolation, Incantation (before both were signed), Bloodfeast, Paineater, Prime Evil, Autopsy, Nuclear Death, etc. That was another venue where I sold and traded a lot of my zines because shows with the bands mentioned above were all attended by die-hard fans and though not always crowded, the shows were great and contain a lifetime of memories. Some other early shows that still stick out in my mind…seeing Metallica/Wasp/Armored Saint in 1985, Motorhead/Exciter in 86, Vio-lence blowing me away when I saw them in ’88, all the Milwaukee Metalfests back in the day, seeing Sodom on one of them, and getting to meet a lot of the people I wrote to back then at a fest like that was amazing,  because back then that was the only fest we had [in the USA]. Lastly, I did some cool shows in 1989 with a band called The Log, which was a band that I sang in with three of the guys in Deadly Blessing. We did a demo, which sold over 3000 copies and we were a crossover band like DRI/SOD. We played around 12 shows and we did our original songs along with a few cover tunes.

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.

Eruptions From Below #5 (Toronto, Canada) 1993

Eruptions From Below  #5  (Toronto, Canada) 1993. Editor: “Laurie Fortune

Copied and stapled zine out of Ontario (formerly out of Buffalo). Solid and packed with ads, representing the ’93 death metal underground quite well. Features numerous reviews, and (brief) interviews with Cannibal Corpse, Lucifers Hammer, Deteriorate, Angelkill, Exterminance, and more, with the highlights being the killer live reviews of the classic Suffocation, Obituary, and Deicide tours from that year.

Enigmatic Delusions #4 (NY, USA) 1993

Enigmatic Delusions #4 (NY, USA) 1993: Editor “Fawn”

Stapled on Xerox copies. Featuring Enemy Soil, Internal Bleeding, Sigh, Astaroth (notable for VERY early Tony Laureno), Impetigo, Acheron, Sigh and more…