In July 1976 Mark Perry saw the Ramones open for the Flamin’ Groovies at the Roundhouse and Dingwalls. A few days later he was looking for some magazines about his new passion of punk music and was annoyed to see that there wasn’t much in that line available. So he started a zine celebrating punk music and chose as its name Sniffin’ Glue, a nod to the Ramones’ “Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue.”
The full name of the zine was Sniffin’ Glue & Other Rock & Roll Habits. Created with a children’s typewriter and felt markers, it wore its amateur/fan status on its sleeve. Perry was working as a bank clerk but quit his job to start the zine. It is routinely mentioned as one of the most important and influential zines in a scene that quickly generated many of them. Sniffin’ Glue provided the first venue for the writing of Danny Baker, who later moved to London Weekend Television, where he documented the new wave of British heavy metal as well as acts like Depeche Mode. Perry’s lively volume Sniffin’ Glue and Other Rock’n'roll Habits: The Essential Punk Accessory, published in 2009, is very much worth a look.
Sniffin’ Glue founder Mark Perry
After a year or so of publication, Sniffin’ Glue’s circulation had swelled from double digits to a whopping 10,000—the project had gotten so big that Perry stopped the magazine after roughly 15 issues so that he could concentrate on his band Alternative TV, which made its debut at London’s Rat Club on September 14, 1977. Early rehearsals took place at Throbbing Gristle‘s Industrial Records studio with Genesis P-Orridge on drums; you can hear those recordings on the Industrial Sessions 1977 release. ATV broke up in the spring of 1979. Perry later started a band called Good Missionaries and ATV’s guitarist, Alex Ferguson, would join Genesis and Peter Christopherson in the original incarnation of Psychic TV in 1981.
Perry’s first mention of the Sex Pistols was a negative review but he soon came around. As he wrote, “The Pistols reflect life as it is in the council flats, not some fantasy world that most rock artists create. Yes, they will destroy, but it won’t be mindless destruction. The likes of Led Zeppelin, Queen and Pink Floyd, need to be checked in the ‘classical’ music section. They’ve got to make way for the real people and the Sex Pistols are the first of them.”
As Tony Fletcher put it,
Within the space of three issues, Mark had connected the dots from the Ramones to the Flamin Groovies, through Eddie And The Hot Rods and the Damned, and onto the Clash and the Sex Pistols - and Sniffin’ Glue had become the mouthpiece for the British punk underground in the process. Punk germinated underground just long enough for Sniffin’ Glue to become indispensable within the scene - it had already put out five issues by the time the Pistols swore at Bill Grundy on live television and punk exploded as a media concern. As Perry and Baker note of contemporary so-called subcultures, even that short a period of gestation won’t happen again: “everything is now exposed to the masses instantly.”
What follows is most (not all) of the covers of Sniffin’ Glue from its short but influential run.
After the jump, more covers from Sniffin’ Glue…......