resurrecting 'slash,' the 70s punk zine that chronicled la's wild diy style
A new book collects all 29 issues of ‘Slash,’ the legendary alternative magazine that documented Los Angeles’ burgeoning punk and new wave subculture from 1977 to 1980.
Punk might have been born in England, but in sunshine of Southern California it blossomed into a vibrant and distinctive scene — anchored in Los Angeles, a city where glam rock once reigned supreme. By the late 70s, LA's disaffected youth was fed up with disco and Elvis. Slash, an alternative zine published between 1977 and 1980, documented the development of an urgent DIY punk scene, declaring in its very first issue: "Enough is enough, partner! About time we squeezed the pus out and sent the filthy rich old farts of rock 'n' roll to retirement homes in Florida where they belong."
Slash, founded by then-couple Steve Samiof and Melanie Nissen, published 29 issues before folding in 1980 (though it was later resurrected as a punk record label, eventually purchased by Warner Brothers in 1999). While it regularly covered local LA punk bands like The Screamers and X, Slash also featured pieces on rockabilly, blues, and reggae — legend Peter Tosh appeared on its cover in 1978. A new book, Slash: A Punk Magazine from Los Angeles: 1977-1980, contains facsimile reproductions of every cover from the publication's run (in addition to Tosh, stars include Debbie Harry, Johnny Rotten, David Byrne, and Siouxsie and the Banshees) as well as reprints of some of its most memorable articles.
The collected anthology also provides a unique window into the scene's style tribes — from pin cushion punks decked out in Germs gear to more sharply suited new-wavers. Design nuts will also geek out over Slash's layouts (how good is that Ramones typeface?) and its blast-from-the-past advertising. As soon as time machines are invented, we're going straight back to the midnight double feature of Eraserhead and Pink Flamingos at the Nuart Cinema that Slash promoted under a 1979 interview with Throbbing Gristle!
'Slash: A Punk Magazine from Los Angeles: 1977-1980' is published by Hat & Beard Press. It launches tonight, July 22, at 4859 Fountain Ave, Hollywood from 6pm to 9pm.
Testo Emily Manning