Zine Review: NO FUSS #1
The Oi! scene ain't dead yet.
The first issues of zines are always an interesting proposition; presumably after weeks, months or even years of toiling with an idea or desire to write about something, everything eventually falls into place. From then on, the zine will take on a life and form of its own, gradually transforming and evolving along with its authors. NO FUSS is one such new zine, which introduced itself to the world in August of 2021 and proudly proclaims on its cover that it is a “fanzine for underground rock‘n’roll”.
The superb black and white cover and back cover really stand out and grab the eye (at least mine) while letting you know what you are in for; think of all of the great 1980s A4-sized USHC zines and you are halfway there! This stark and gritty aesthetic and vibe is further hammered home with the author’s decision to make NO FUSS in the old school cut-and-paste style, with the scissors and glue (you can see some of the work-in-progress on the zine’s Instagram page).
As far as the content goes, I knew I was in for a great read from the intro, where the author calls out people “sitting on the fence” (as far as politics go) and telling John Joseph to go fuck himself. I am happy to see that more people are fed up with his boomer vibes and call him out. NO FUSS is primarily interviews with bands, zines and labels that have an Oi!/punk slant, so it’s great to see the author clear up that he has no time for “apolitical” bullshit. Each interview is prefaced by a small introduction, where the author enthusiastically sets the tone and context, talking a bit about how he got to know the people and bands he’s interviewing.
Specifically, in the first issue there are interviews with Béton Armé, Parole 80, Lethal Dose, Cuir, Basti Skräck (from The Detained), Squelette, Fizzy (from Criminal and New York Hounds), Denim, Nagon, Oi! the Boat Records, Kolpeka, Concrete Elite, Violent Way, Schubi from Noister Fetzn Fanzine, Primitive, Offside Records, Victor Sauvage (AKA Wattie) and two DJs who organized the Kickstart Nighters in Vienna. I’ll be honest, I was only familiar with a couple of the aforementioned, but reading through these laid back and playful, in attitude, interviews motivated me to check more of them out—Lethal Dose and Squelette sound like they should be right up my alley.
In particular, I quite enjoyed the interview with Max from Oi! The Boat Records, who had quite a lot to say about the realities of running a label and the current state of the American Oi! scene. It is always fascinating to see how labels operate and see themselves now that it is seemingly easier than ever for a band to release a record (both physically and digitally) on their own. I also really liked how Denim and Nagon interviewed each other in this first issue—I can see how this can be a nightmare to set up, but I think more zines should try to do this, it can be really entertaining and illuminating.
Aside from the interviews though, there isn’t much more to sink your teeth in, which is a real shame since the author seems very passionate about Oi. There is a reprint of an article from Oi! The Boat Records and a few record reviews (or rather recommendations) to fill up the pages near the end, which will hopefully expand in future issues. Overall, this is a very promising and entertaining start that managed to pique my interest in a bunch of bands I did not know about, so mission accomplished! The bar has been set here in terms of interview content, so I am really interested to see how the next issue pans out.
Guest review by Ioannis Pelegrinis (Crucial Zine)