Text (c) Robert Barry Francos
When I started FFanzeen in 1977, there were only a handful of print fanzines around. The scene started changing with the input of British punk, and some of the older fanzines either went for it strongly and started putting down the local New York scene as "dead"; or they found a small niche (e.g., post-garage), and declared the scene dead; or...
Some of the top mags at the time were like this, such as The New York Rocker (after Alan Betrock left), which was especially denegrating to the scene of the very city it was named after, issue after issue. In the Village Voice, the bible for the scene at the time, Robert Christegau turned his back on us, going on and on about how great the scene overseas was in comparison or wrote mostly about R&B (my Managing Editor at the time had a button that said Christegau D-).
I swore that I would never do that, and would fold if I found myself losing interest. At that point, FFanzeen's subtitle became "Rock 'n' Roll with Integrity." It was something I stood by. If a band I thought fit into the concept of the magazine, I printed something; if they did not, well, that's why I turned down an interview with Duran Duran. They were everything I was against. I also said no to Steve Forbert and Southside Johnny, who asked me directly if I would want to write something about them. "No, sorry, does not fit into the format." That same Managing Editor quit because I would not publish something about one of her favorite groups, NRBQ, a talented band that I found particularly dull. When one of my writers tried to interview Iggy Pop she was told by his managing company, "Only if he gets the cover." I turned said no because I refused to be dictated to. He finally was interviewd by us in the following issue, and it was without stipulation; he was indeed on the cover, and he should have been, just not by decree.
Well, the years passed. In 1988 I stopped publishing because I ran out of money and time. While I did not realize the last issue was going to be just that until after it came out, it was the right time for me, personally.
Now I have restarted FFanzeen as this blog for the very same reason I started it in the first place: I want a place to put my writing for general consumption. It is something I enjoy, and from the responses I have received both on and off the blog, people seem to be enjoying it. That cheers me up enormously.
However, after all these years, my tastes have broadened, and I am not just writing about rock and roll, but of all things that come to mind. There's music and film, theater and books, academics and philosophy, events in my life, and my views of culture in general. For that reason, as of today, I have changed the subtitle of my blog to "Culture With Integrity." Does that mean that I would now talk to Duran Duran? Nah, I am still so not interested in that kind of pablum, any more than if Christina Agulara asked. However, I would talk to others that would have fallen out of the concept of the print edition.
That's the thing, you see: just what is the concept of FFanzeen as it stands today? Whatever I want it to be. I do not answer to anyone except myself on it. On occasion in the future, I may have guests writing on here, but for now, it is my vision alone.
My hope is that you will be amused, perhaps learn something (and teach me as well by adding in the comments, or even correcting me), or use what I write to promote yourself. And if and when I lose interest, I will disappear rather than disrespect the reader. That's all I can give.