cover art for Ep. 22: Perzines Are Awesome with Liz Mason & Billy McCall

The Fanzine Podcast

Ep. 22: Perzines Are Awesome with Liz Mason & Billy McCall

Liz Mason and Billy McCall are two of the more prominent U.S. “publishers” of what are affectionately called “perzines,” fanzines as expression of self. Liz publishes or co-publishes Caboose, Cul-de-Sac, Awesome Things and The Most Unwanted Zine and works as manager at Quimby’s bookstore in Chicago, which actively sells ‘zines. Billy puts out Proof I Exist, Behind the Zines, The Difference Between, has published at least three different pocket-sized memoirs, distributes fanzines online, and designed and initially produced the Zine Game. On this episode of The Fanzine Podcast, they join Tony Fletcher to explain the how, why, when, what, and where behind their phenomenal output, and dive deep into the thriving world of contemporary zine culture.

You can read much more about Billy and Liz, and see pictures of their zines and the conversation we had, at

Billy is at and

Liz is at and

The Best Of Jamming!: Selections & Stories from the Fanzine That Grew Up, 1977-86 can be found here and signed copies are available in the USA direct from

Theme music by Noel Fletcher. Logo by Greg Morton.


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  • Ep. 24: The Birth of Jamming! and a Fanzines Update

    Please visit (and subscribe to) for more writings on zines and beyond.In this episode, Tony offers a short update on the Fanzine Podcast's future episodes and some of the activities around the zine scene before using the opportunity of being in the UK for a while to revisit the debut episode of what was then called The Jamming! Fanzine Podcast, "From Classroom To Clubs." The episode was summarised at the time as follows:For this debut episode of The Jamming! Fanzine Podcast, Tony Fletcher connects with three old friends who all played an important part in the Jamming! school days, and each of whom wrote an introductory piece for The Best of Jamming! book. They are Richard Heard, Jeni de Haart and John Matthews, and over the course of a lively group call, they discussthe onset of punk,the birth of Jamming and why John Matthews declined a rolefirst gigs at The Marquee on Wardour Streeta shared love of The JamJamming's eclectic tastes - including The Fall, Scritti Politti, Killing Joke and moreattending the Setting Sons recording sessionsApocalypseselling fanzines at gigsbeing taught 'Teenage Kicks' on guitar by The Undertonesthe violence surrounding the tribalism of the late 1970sthe influence of John Peelfave gig memoriesand why those years mattered so much and why they are all still friendsThe Best of Jamming!: Selections and Stories from the Fanzine That Grew Up 1977-86 is published by Omnibus Press and available from all good book shops.on Sep 23 in the UK/EU, and Dec 2 in the rest of the world.More information and online purchasing options available Meantime, if you're a former fanzine editor interested in contributing to the Guest Ex-Editor project, "The concept is to bring various zine scene alumni out of retirement for one or two pages. Contributors might use their page(s) to revisit memories of their old zine, re-evaluate it, resurrect it (maybe with a modern twist to reflect where life has taken them since), or pilot a brand-new zine idea." Write to Alison via confessionsofanexzineeditor@gmail.comZerox Machine: Punk, Post-Punk and Fanzines in Britain 1976-88 available now in the UK from Reaktion Books Worley's Facebook group Subcultures, Popular Music and Social Change'The Jamming! Fanzine Podcast Theme' is by Noel Fletcher. Copyright reserved.The Jamming! Fanzine Podcast logo was designed by Greg Morton, who also assisted with editing.The Best of Jamming! book cover was designed by Martin Stiff.
  • Ep. 23: Sniffin' Glue with Mark Perry

    To win a copy of the compendium, Sniffin’ Glue and Other Rock’n’Roll Habits, published by Omnibus Press, as mentioned on this episode, please visit - and don't forget to subscribe to the Substack account if you haven't already. Competition ends March 19.Back in 1976, given that there was no other publication dedicated to covering the Ramones or the new bands popping up around London, Mark Perry founded Sniffin’ Glue, the original British punk zine. Barely a year later, after a dozen issues that saw circulation rise from 10 – as in ten, total - to 20,000 copies, Mark walked away from it, partly because he was disillusioned with punk, but also to focus on his group, Alternative TV.Now, in 2024, copies of early Sniffin’ Glues go for ridiculous sums of money, but they have also been gathered up for a new edition of the compendium, Sniffin’ Glue and Other Rock’n’Roll Habits, published by Omnibus Press. The Sniffin’ Glue compendium gathers up every single page of that zine's 12 (and a half) issues, including all the ads, and has an extended intro written by Mark, along with various photographs from back in the day.On this episode, we discuss how Sniffin' Glue started, what the scene was like in London at the time, what was good about the zine, how it became so successful, and why Mark walked away from it after only a year.Mark Perry, Sniffin' Glue and Alternative TV can all be found at Mark Perry can also be found on Facebook.If you enjoyed this episode, please do the usual like-review-subscribe, and check out previous episodes if you haven't already.Theme tune by Noel Fletcher. Logo by Greg Morton. Tony Fletcher takes credit and blame for everything else.
  • 21. Ep. 21: NYC's Ira Robbins (Trouser Press) & Jack Rabid (The Big Takeover)

    The Fanzine Podcast finally gets across the Atlantic, and talks to two of the mainstays of the New York 'zine scene.Ira Robbins started Trouser Press in 1974 as "hopefully the first consumer-oriented, ( inter }national rock fanzine" and went on to produce 96 issues that got up to a 60,000 circulation before calling it a day after exactly 10 years; Trouser Press continued life as a record buyer's guide, a website, and now as a publishing imprint too.Jack Rabid started The Big Takeover in 1980 as a one-page broadsheet devoted to New York punk band The Stimulators before gradually turning into an reputable zine that has been publishing twice a year for four decades now, circulation peaking at 30,000. The Big Takeover also has a website and a radio show.Between them, Trouser Press and The Big Takeover have published 181 issues, and counting.As well as discussing how and why they started out, how their zines turned into magazines, and why they have persisted in the world of small publishing all this time, Ira and Jack discuss their best and worst interviews, the bands that turned them on and some of those that did not. Acts discussed in this episode include: The Planets, Bad Brains, The Who, Pink Faeries, Even Worse, John Lydon, The La's, The Stranglers, The Buzzcocks, The Damned, The Ramones, Talking Heads, Blondie, The Mumps, Rory Gallagher, The Mad, The Stimulators, and many many more.The Trouser Press Archives are here. The ongoing Trouser Press website is here. Trouser Press books is here.The Big Takeover web site/magazine is here. The Big Takeover Radio is here.The Best Of Jamming!: Selections & Stories from the Fanzine That Grew Up, 1977-86 can be found here and signed copies are available in the USA direct from SIgn up for Tony Fletcher’s weekly newsletter, long weekend read, and for exclusive access to archived interviews, including those from his Keith Moon biography, at Theme music by Noel Fletcher. Logo by Greg Morton.
  • Ep. 20: What Was The First Ever Fanzine?

    What was the first ever fanzine?When was it published? In what country? What did it write about? Where can I find it? When was the word fanzine coined? By who? Where does it come from? What is a Gestetner? Or a Roneo? Where can I get one? Actually, why should I care?To help answer these questions, I am joined on Episode 20 of my show The Fanzine Podcast by: Hamish Ironside, fanzine editor, book publisher, and co-author of We Peaked At Paper: An Oral History of British Zines; and by Rob Hansen, fanzine editor, archivist, and author of multiple books including Then: Science Fiction Fandom in the UK 1930-1980.Please visit for more information, including visuals of the first ever fanzines, and links to Rob and Hamish's various publications. While there, please subscribe to the weekly newsletter.
  • Ep. 19: Postcard from Post-Punk Scotland with Bobby Bluebell & Alastair McKay

    For an episode playlist, to see covers and pages of these zines, and for much more about the fanzine culture in general, visit Midweek Update #12: Fanzines are Alive & Kicking Edition.In 1980, in Glasgow, Robert Hodgens started Ten Commandments alongside writer Kirsty McNeil and photographer Robert Scott; after four issues, known now as Bobby Bluebell, Hodgens moved to London with his band The Bluebells and became, briefly a pop star.In 1983, between Edinburgh and Aberdeen, Alastair McKay started Alternatives To Valium. It lasted four years until Alastair, who freelanced for Jamming! during this time, set off to pursue his dream career as a full-time journalist.Both zines were resolutely Scottish in spirit, and each strongly influenced by Postcard Records, the independent label that called itself 'The Sound of Young Scotland.' In this conversation, Bobby and Alastair compare fanzine notes, share interview stories, and talk about how the Scottish post-punk scene shaped their lives. Alastair additionally talks about how Robert Smith told him The Cure were finished in a 1983 interview he took five months to publish, and why Paul Weller and Mick Talbot tried to punch him at a Red Wedge press conference.Among the fanzines discussed in this episode: Granite City, It Ticked And Exploded, Juniper Berry Berry, Fish Pie Tales, Jungleland, Slow Dazzle and more.Among the bands discussed in this episode: Orange Juice, Simple Minds, Josef K, Fire Engines, The Go-Betweens, Lloyd Cole & The Commotions, Altered Images, Defiant Pose, The Pastels, Positive Noise, The Fall, Echo & The Bunnymen, Another Pretty Face, The Waterboys, and more.Tony Fletcher’s weekly newsletter, long weekend read, and exclusive access to archived interviews, is at By signing up, you avoid the algorithms of FB & X, and you also have the opportunity to support those creators you want to support.The Bluebells' wonderful new album 'In The 21st Century' is out now on Bluebell can be found on Twitter as @R0Poem and The Bluebells Instagram is @thebluebellsglasgowAlastair McKay's excellent memoir, published in 2022, is, Alternatives To Valium: How Punk Rock Saved A Shy Boy’s Life.Hecan be found on Substack at,The Best Of Jamming!: Selections & Stories from the Fanzine That Grew Up, 1977-86 can be found here and signed copies are available in the USA direct from music by Noel Fletcher. Logo by Greg Morton.  
  • Ep. 18: Modzines and the Mod Scene with Eddie Piller

    "No other youth culture or subculture centred on fashion or music, or both, has ever had as many fanzines dedicated to it as the mod revival." So wrote Eddie Piller at the start of his 2918 book Mod Zines (with Steve Rowland) and he should know: as editor and publisher of Extraordinary Sensations, Piller saw his 'zine sell a phenomenal 15,000 copies at its peak in the mid-80s, as many as legendary punk zine Sniffin' Glue had managed a decade earlier.Over the course of an hour-long conversation with The Fanzine Podcast's host, Tony Fletcher, former editor/publisher of Jamming!, Ed talks about some of those zines, about the success of his own zine once he brought in Terry Rawlings as partner, about the lasting allure of mod culture for him and thousands of others all over the planet, and especially, about his new memoir Clean Living Under Difficult Circumstances: A Life In Mod from the Revival to Acid Jazz. Published in 2023 by Monoray Books, Clean Living follows Ed's adventures through his East End upbringing to his West End clubbing, through trips to Australia and journeys round Europe, covers the violence of the era in gory details, ands with him founding the legendary Acid Jazz label, which is still going strong today.Additionally, as well as being a DJ, a podcast host himself over the years and an inveterate party promoter, Piller is the founder of Totally Wired Radio which since 2019 has broadcast DJs "who specialise in Jazz, Soul, Hip Hop, Ska & 2Tone, Country, Soundtracks and Library Music, Reggae, Film, Folk, Funk, EDM, World Music, Afrobeat, Latin, Gospel, Rare R&B, Poetry, Punk, Psyche and Garage, Disco along with Podcast Interviews." Oh, and he also co-wrote the book Punkzines, also published by Omnibus Press.Modzines referenced in this issue include Maximum Speed, Get Up And Go, Shake, Direction Reaction Creation, South Circular, XL5, Go Go, Shadows and Reflections and more.The Best Of Jamming!: Selections & Stories from the Fanzine That Grew Up, 1977-86 can be found here and signed copies are available in the USA direct from SIgn up for Tony Fletcher’s weekly newsletter, long weekend read, and for exclusive access to archived interviews, including those from his Keith Moon biography, at Theme music by Noel Fletcher. Logo by Greg Morton.
  • Ep. 17: Confessions of an Ex-Zine Editor

    Ten years after she ceased publishing her 2000s rock’n’roll fanzine Bubblegum Slut due to the lifestyle it induced (i.e. drug addiction), Alison B. found herself producing a new zine about her old zine, the lifestyle it induced and the year she spent in limbo before getting clean. That zine is entitled Confessions of an Ex-Zine Editor and it is astonishingly original and entertaining. Partly a “trainwreck memoir” in zine format, it has the benefit of additionally being side-splittingly funny, what with its reviews of old clubs that are now train stations and of snail mail that no longer brings free CDs. With Confessions now up to Issue 3, Alison is also the first ongoing fanzine editor to be featured on this podcast.Alison is joined by Jane Appleby, who produced multiple different zines in the 1990s and early 2000s, including Jezebel, Bambi, This Is Our Truth, Pretty But Schizo, Pussy Rock, Jezebel, and Trophy F*ck. In conversation with Tony, Jane and Alison talk about their zines and the scenes from which they sprang, about sex and sexual stereotypes, about publishing and printing, about how the Manic Street Preachers inspired more zines than any other band of the era, about recovery Bingo and receiving explicit fetishist letters in the mail.Bands mentioned in this episode include Hanoi Rocks, Guns ‘n’ Roses, the Manic Street Preachers, the Glitter Band, Sheila E, Shampoo, and We’ve Got A Fuzzbox and We're Gonna Use it.Franchises mentioned in this issue include Taco Bell and Trust House Forte.Plus, Tony learns a new word: Edgelord.Alison’s current Confessions of an Ex-Zine Editor and Bubblegum Slut can be found at copies can be ordered via: Appleby’s fanzine archives can be found at: is active on The Best Of Jamming! can be found here and signed copies are available in the USA direct from For Tony Fletcher’s weekly newsletter, long weekend read, and for exclusive access to archived interviews, just visit Theme music by Noel Fletcher. Logo by Greg Morton.     
  • 16. Ep. 16: James Brown & Mark Hodkinson (Attack On Bzag/Untermensch

    (Sign up at to receive this podcast interview in unedited form.)James Brown and Mark Hodkinson both hail from the Pennine District in Northern England. Both ran fanzines in the 1980s (Attack on Bzag and Untermensch). Both stayed in publishing. Both now have successful memoirs out about their lives in the world of words.Beyond that, their paths have been different. James left Leeds for London, and after 10 successful issues of his fanzine, joined the NME. He then founded Loaded, which was selling 350,000 copies by the time he went to edit GQ after 36 issues. He's written about this - plus his addictions to alcohol and drugs and his subsequent recovery - in his memoir Animal House. Mark stayed in Rochdale, and started a small imprint called Pomona, which published books by people such as Bill Nelson, Barry Hines and Bob Stanley; in his memoir No One Round Here Reads Tolstoy, he explains how a boy who grew up in a house with one book ended up with 3500. Both memoirs are now out in paperback.In this conversation with host Tony Fletcher, the three of them discuss:Leaving home vs. staying putWhy Untermensch was a revolt against RochdaleThe joys of selling fanzines at gigs - or not.1980s fanzine culture with references to The End, Cool Notes, Idiot Stregth, Furious Apache, Raygun, New Youth, KvatchHow James could even sell a fanzine to a working policemanThe night that James, along with former podcast guest Richard Edwards, raided Tony's Filofax for famous people's numbersHow Loaded was James' ultimate fanzineWhy Pomona was a critical success but rarely a commercial oneHow Attack on Bzag got it wrong about The SmithsJames Brown is on Instagram and Facebook.Mark Hodkinson is on Facebook. The Pomona Books catalogue here Also discussed in this episode:'The Politics of Fanzines' episode with Richard Edwards can be found here'One Step Beyond Ep. 27' with Mike Peters of Love, Hope, Strength is here:'Tacky Tiger,' Sparks zine on a Gestertner, is here.The Dear Boys single 'Blink Of An I' can be viewed, streamed, or purchased on Bandcamp from Best Of Jamming! can be found hereFor weekly articles by Tony Fletcher, news of upcoming writings, books, events, podcasts, and for exclusive access to archived interviews, sign up for his newsletter at music by Noel Fletcher. Logo by Greg Morton.