I started doing Cryptic Slaughter zine in 1995. The intention was for it to be ponderous collage-type ‘art’, found material and overheard gossip/snatches of conversation (the name comes from this, just something I overheard, people on the porch discussing old metal bands…).
The first few issues (#1-5) were some of that, lots of contributions from locals, as there weren’t too many other zines around in our town and in the pre-internet days lots of local kids in the punk scene had things to say, and I was willing to print whatever they contributed… These first few issues were not distributed out of town, strictly local in-jokes and gossip and found things.
Later I found that by including band-interviews, and things that went beyond our town, I could send the zine to people elsewhere and they could make some sense of it, and people were more up for trades and so on. So I toned down the local gossip a bit and added more band interviews, record reviews, all that, but it was still mostly a collaborative zine (#6-12, maybe).
As I got older, I got very frustrated and began to travel and move around a bit, and I lost touch with many of the contributors and with our little local scene. This wasn’t a great time period for me and I had a lot of mental health problems, which I’m afraid dripped into the zine and resulted in many angry rants and deliberately provocative rambling attempting to irritate people and get a rise out of anyone I could… I’m quite ashamed of most of this nonsense (#13-20 or so). I took a break and left the country.
By the early 2000s, I was living overseas and often traveling, far removed from any punk-scene, and I’d also become more interested in writing. So, the later issues are most all long-form travel writing, without any overt ‘punk’ content. I think there ended up being about 30 issues or so, the last one being in 2013 or so. Because I had moved away from ‘punk content’, I found that I’d lost the support of the punk network as far as distribution, reviews, etc., and also the internet was fulfilling a lot of the communication aspect of zinedom.
There are plenty of gems here in my zines, and I had a wonderful time doing it, making lots of friends through zine-trading and writing people, but I’m very glad of the ephemeral nature of zines…
The zine ‘crew’ in the earlier years was me, Judd, JT, Cody, Rice Pilaf, DJ Mac, Kameron, Sybille, quite a few others. JT, Kameron and Sybille also did zines and I did splits with all of them. Sybille’s zine was Lockdown (3 issues?) followed by Rien A Foutre (2 issues?). JT did Tangent zine (4 issues?), Kameron had some various zines, Judd also did Funky Snuts zine with me (5? issues, this was essentially a local offshoot of C.S. once C.S. lost that part). There was also Canadian Passport zine by Griff, which was essentially an offshoot of Cryptic Slaughter. The ‘crew’ was the ’95-’99 period, after that the writing improved and the tone deteriorated. Other split-issues were with Gullible zine (Chris Terry from Richmond, Virginia), Heart Murmur (Benji from Seattle) & Larceny (Shaun Allen from Michigan). These were all personal zines, more or less…
Somewhere by the end of the 90s I learned about 2nd Hand Noodles distro (Spokane, Washington). The guy doing that also published a zine of which I only got to see very few issues. Cryptic Slaughter was edited by Giovanni C. – nowaydays an academic with interests in journalism and storytelling, translator and graphic designer – (and some friends). He was kind enough to tell me a bit more about it and contribute some bits. As an ‘appetizer’, here’s an interview he did with ‘Huasipungo‘, the band of my comrades (and volunteers at the NYC ABC No Rio) Esneider & ‘Yeastie’ Jane… Here, in 1996, the line-up was Mike (bass), Dave or Emile (drums), Christian (guitar) & Esneider plus David (vocals).