I first came across Hinman’s writing through Superdope, a fanzine that he published through the 90s. A true cut and paste job, Superdope, comes from an almost romantic time when zines were assembled with scissors and glue and copied/published at Officeworks. The issue that I picked up at a record swap included features on The Night Kings, Fly Ashtray, Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 and Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments, a band who until then I’d not heard of but after reading the interview and tracking down their records became one of my favourites.
Dynamite Hemorrhage continues in Superdope's celebration of the weird and underrepresented bands and the latest issue includes an interview and career spanning retrospective of New Zealand musician Bill Direen, an in depth interview with Crypt Records Tim Warren and his the new volumes of his Back From the Grave 60s punk compilations.
It also features current bands Nots, Honey Radar and Sydney’s King Tears Mortuary, and a stack of record and book reviews.
I sent Jay some questions to find out more.
Noisey: You are a fanzine writer but have also done time as a radio dj, podcaster and blogger. You are a bit of a musical curator. What do you think of the term in 2015?
Jay Hinman: Hey, I’ll take it. Self-styled curators are at the front-end of every great band, record or song that I’ve discovered over the years, from 80s fanzines like Forced Exposure, Conflict and Matter, to US college radio, to people wasting time on the Internet posting stream-of-consciousness record reviews and digitizing their 45s. In a time of nearly limitless music to absorb online and elsewhere, that quote-unquote gatekeeper still has a pretty crucial role to play in cutting through the morass, and in helping push us toward whatever corners of the musical underground we need help locating. I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t at least ninety per-cent of the reason I do any of this stuff – the hope of positioning myself as someone worth trusting, just as I’ve trusted many others – with the remaining ten per-cent of my motivation being pure, selfish, unbridled ego.
You can get a good idea of DH from the two covers so far- Bill Direen and the Flesheaters. Has your interest always laid with the more obscure punk, garage and pop bands?
Other than a stint as a teenage new waver in the early 80s, yeah. From a pretty early age it became clear that the stuff worth paying attention to was located at the margins, and it’s always been so much more rewarding to go out and find it myself than to let it come find me. I think the definitive template for what I enjoy was stamped on me late in high school and early in college, when I ingested a whiplash combination of hardcore punk; the SST sound of The Minutemen, Meat Puppets and Black Flag; disjointed female-helmed post-punk like the Au Pairs and Delta 5, and classic American underground rock like Mission of Burma, the Flesh Eaters and the Gun Club. Then as I started getting clued in about what was going on in other countries and micro-genres (fidelity-challenged New Zealand pop; ballistic garage punk; any and all Velvet Underground impersonators; C86 feedback crush etc.), I added those to my personal holy musical canon as well.
In the latest issue you mix up the new (Nots/King Tears Mortuary) with a piece on 70s Jamaican dub and a chat with Crypt records Tim Warren. How do you decide on content?
Top consideration is given to how much I personally enjoy whatever it is we’re covering, of course, with the goal being to get others just as rabid, frothing and fanatical about it. Secondary consideration is how under-covered the topic is; for instance, I’d never read what I thought were definitive interviews with Tim Warren nor Bill Direen; nor had I ever really seen anything where Chris D. of the Flesh Eaters covered his earliest years in punk rock and writing for Slash magazine. Chris D. happens to be an all-time hero of mine, so once he agreed to stoop to talk intelligently to the likes of me, I knew we were in business and that this magazine thing was going to happen.
Superdope was great in championing neglected or overlooked punk and garage. I have a friend who is still trying to collect all the records from the ‘45’s that Moved Heaven and Earth!' feature.
I wrote Superdope, my first fanzine, from 1991 until 1998. It certainly reflected my tastes well at the time – very garage and punk-heavy, as that was a terrific era for classic global lo-fi garage punk (Supercharger, Gories, Night Kings, Dirty Lovers, Cheater Slicks etc.). The issue you reference, Superdope #8, was the last one I did in 1998, and unless I’m forgetting something (likely), it’s the first truly archival piece I ever wrote, one where I slapped down a couple of paragraphs each on what I then considered my favorite forty-five 45rpm singles of all time: Pere Ubu, the Dangerhouse singles, Electric Eels, The Cramps and so on.
Naturally, having written that stuff 17 years ago (before music was really even available online in any form), there’s a lot I’d change today. It’s nice to know that someone’s still chasing the records down – I’m sure many of them cost a bit of coin to change hands in this day and age.
What music trends would you like to see disappear in 2015?
I wouldn’t know a real trend if it slapped me across the cheek. I only catch on to what others are complaining about years later: bearded hipsters, cutey-pie female singers and so on. We’re in a golden age of selective curation, in which you can customize your RSS feed, your Tumblr/Twitter/Facebook, your newsletters etc. to only spoon-feed you what you’re interested in. Obviously there’s some danger in narrowing one’s perspective that way, and I try with some success to keep my ears open for things outside of my comfort zone.
Yet as for trends, I am nearly bereft of answers. I’d maybe like to see “icy goth keyboards” vanish once and for all, and for all-male bands who fashion themselves as “aggro” and “brutal” to mellow the fuck out.
Issue two of 'Dynamite Hemorrhage' is available now.