Teenage Gang Debs
Selection: "Janalyzing Eve"
Sample: $3 from P.O. Box 1754, Bethesda,
MD 20827 (checks: Erin Smith)
When did you launch your zine? What inspired you to do so?
My sister Erin really launched
TGD. She had long been a keen observer and had written for other
zines in the mid-1980s when she was in high school. I was a program
director at my campus radio station at the time. She had something
to say and there was no place to say it but at home, in our parent's
Why publish a zine?
The only people who should
publish a zine are people whose ideas bubble up like lava from
a volcano. The best zines come from people who have no choice
but to make their idea known. Publish a zine because every piece
of journalistic writing you've every seen is wrong and you can
What can you tell us about the selection you provided for
"The Book of Zines"?
The Eve Plumb interview was
a blast. She's a very nice, very sarcastic woman. A lot of ditzy
people have trouble with her attitude, because she's so smart
and so willing to make fun of the ridiculousness around her.
Eve's very punk, she's a hardcore
rebel. At an art show of hers, I saw these dumb-ass parents
say insulting things to her, but instead of smiling and taking
it, she would just roll her eyes and turn away. Then they remarked
how rude she was. Sheesh, she should have hit them.
Have you ever published any other zines?
Erin and I did a zine called
Action Teen, which there was only one issue of so far. We put
it out in 1991, when there was this amazing music scene swirling
around us. I also did a very short run zine in 1984, but there
wasn't much to it.
Any general tips for aspiring zinesters?
Take great care to craft every
story like you want it to last for a lifetime. It very well could
end up in your "Collected Letters" anthology after
you become a rich and famous writer.
Seriously, never finish a
story because you're tired of it or because you just have to
get the zine out. The zine can wait another week while you come
up with a point as to why you're writing that piece. Never run
record reviews. Record reviews suck. Interview the band instead.
If you can't seem to interview the band, why are you writing
Never let technology force
your layoutdecide on a layout and then force HTML or Pagemaker;
or scissors and glue and paper to do your bidding. Send your
zine everywhere once it's writtento everyone you've ever
admired. If it's good, you will get more credit than if you sent
it around to half as many people. Trust me, you can afford the
postage if it's good and if it's not good don't publish it at
What's your favorite part of doing a zine?
This may come off egotistical,
but I love it when I mention I did the zine and people suddenly
make the connection and tell me they liked it. When we first
met Beck several years ago I was all, "That's such a great
record." And he was like, "Wait, TGD? I love TGD."
And I'm sitting there kind of stunned. That's what life's all
aboutpeople you respect reading your zine when they were
teenagers playing guitar in their bedroom.
In my other life, I'm a:
I am a former archivist with
the U.S. National Archives but recently made the career transition
to Web designer (how zine-oriented) for the Department of Health
and Human Services. The website I most recently worked on is
www.healthfinder.gov. Erin is a high school yearbook photographer
and the guitarist in the band Cold Cold Hearts. She was in the
band Bratmobile for several years, toured the U.S. and U.K. and
released three CDs plus many singles.
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