Sniffin’ Glue: The definitive first wave U.K. punk zine
10:27 am

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…......

Posted by Martin Schneider
10:27 am
‘Raw Energy’: Punk Rock the Early Years 1977-78

England: Thirty-five years on from Punk, and what the fuck has changed? The Queen is still on her throne. Celebrations are underway for another jubilee. The police continue to be a law unto themselves. The tabloid press peddles more smut and fear. The Westminster government is still centered on rewarding self-interest. And Johnny Rotten is a popular entertainer.

The promise of revolution and change was little more than adman’s wet-dream. All that remains is the music - the passion, the energy, the belief in something better - and that at least touched enough to inculcate the possibility for change.

Raw Energy - Punk the Early Years is a documentary made in 1978, which details many of the players who have tended to be overlooked by the usual focus on The Sex Pistols and The Clash. Here you’ll find Jordan (the original not the silicon pin-up and author) telling us, “it’s good females can get up on stage and have as much admiration as the male contingent”; the record execs explaining their dealings with The Pistols, The Clash, The Hot Rods and looking for the “next trend”; a young Danny Baker, who wrote for original punk magazine Sniffin Glue, summing up his frustration with “all you’re trained for is to be in a factory at the end of 20 years, and that’s the biggest insult…”; the comparisons between Punk and Monterey; the politics; the violence against young punks; and what Punk bands were really like - performances from The Slits, The Adverts, Eddie and The Hot Rods, X-Ray Spex, and even Billy Idol and Generation X.


Posted by Paul Gallagher
07:45 pm