Metal History Through Fanzines

Noise Records (GER)

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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Loud ‘N’ Proud #1 (East Germany) 1990 (auf Deutsch)

Loud ‘N’ Proud #1 (East Germany) 1990. Editor: “Andreas Schoewe” (auf Deutsch)

“Das Erste Hard Rock und Heavy Metal Journal der DDR” – Nice historical gem here. I was told (and it is also stated in the contents/credits) that this was the first hard rock/metal zine to come from the former East Germany (Rostock-Deutsche Demokratische Republik or DDR/GDR) prior to reunification. It appears it might be true, because for some reason this issue has a number of photos ‘redacted'(?), so perhaps it was censored before it was released? Who knows. Anyways, great snapshot of the German scene in the late 1980s with some Noise Records bands and others including Accept, B.O.R.N., Bonfire, Defcon, Hardholz, Kreator, Lanadrid, Mephisto, Noisehunter, Rage, Running Wild, Scorpions, Titan, U.D.O., Vice and a review of the X-Mas Metal Meeting in Dusseldorf  on December 19, 1989, that featured Manowar, Saxon, Fates Warning, Sabbat and Lizzy Borden, plus album reviews. (Thanks to N. Barsch for sharing).

 

 


Metal Forces #21 (UK) 1986

Metal Forces #21 (UK) 1986. Editor: “Bernard Doe”

[Once more, it’s a given that Metal Forces was certainly not a fanzine, yet it still deserves archival status. As previously stated, the importance of the magazine for the development of the global underground and all ’extreme’ genres can not be understated – they covered many notable bands before any other press did, and were a reliable go-to source for news in the pre-internet era.]

Here I have issue #21, all 47 pages- it’s a good mix of speed and thrash (heavily on the rise at the time), along with the token glam rock sprinkled throughout (posers!!!??)…I wonder why they even bothered with the glam rock then, because if you check out the “Readers Album Chart”- its all thrash and speed?! Lots of cool reviews though with the essential “Demolition” demo review section (Nuclear Death!), pen-pal and fanzine addresses etc. One thing I question however is the “78” review for Fates Warning’s Awaken the Guardian …come on!? And Zebra gets a 91? Anyways, reader mail, plus killer live reviews of Deathrow (plus intie), Overkill, Whiplash, Metallica, Voivod, Possessed and more, as well as features on Anthrax, English Dogs, Attacker, Crumbsuckers, Dark Angel, Helstar, Steeler, Voivod (again) etc.


Metal Forces #20 (UK) 1986

Metal Forces #20 (UK) 1986. Editor: “Bernard Doe”

Once more, it’s a given that Metal Forces was certainly not a fanzine, yet it still deserves archival status. (As previously stated) the importance of the magazine for the development of the global underground and all ’extreme’ genres can not be understated – they covered many notable bands before any other press did, and were a reliable go-to source for news in the pre-internet era. Here I have issue #20, and to some extent I was forced to eliminate the posers from the scans, because as we know, SBMS has never supported poser bands and never will!!!!!!! (Just kidding…well, not really). This issue was put out at the end of 1986, so it features the news about Cliff Burton’s death, and even has a review of his last show with Metallica in Stockholm, Sweden (along with Anthrax) in the “Frontline” live reviews. Also there are live reviews from the Crumbsuckers/Carnivore, Destruction and Kreator. Interviews/features include Abattoir, Possessed, Destruction, Kreator, Overkill, and more, in addition to a fanzine list, penpal addresses, playlists, and news.


Metal Forces #27 (UK) 1988

Metal Forces #27 (UK) 1988. Editor: “Bernard Doe”

Okay, so Metal Forces was certainly not a fanzine, yet it still deserves archival status. The importance of the magazine for the development of the global underground and all ‘extreme’ genres can not be understated – they covered many notable bands before any other press did, and were a reliable go-to source for news in the pre-internet era. With that said, I will be featuring scans of Metal Forces semi-regularly alongside the DIY zines. This issue features  a cover story on Australia’s Mortal Sin, interviews with Agnostic Front, Blind Illusion (pre-Primus), a young Testament, Destruction, and Venom. Tons of cool label ads (like the back cover for Manic Ears Recordscheck out their story here), and a year-end poll to give you an idea of where things were headed at the end of 1987. Finally, there is an interesting interview with Martin Ain of Celtic Frost, that discusses among other things touring, the then just-released “Into the Pandemonium,” and Tom Warrior’s ongoing feud with a Metal Force’s writer.