In January 1976, the first issue of PUNK Magazine #1 was published. It changed the world. That first issue created the anti-disco movement, transformed Lou Reed from glam-rock burnout into “The Godfather of Punk,” and heralded The Ramones as the most important punk-rock band in the world. Its hand-lettered graphics also inspired a fanzine movement that featured many more crude and badly-produced fanzines, such as England’s “Sniffin’ Glue” (by Mark P.), “Ripped and Torn” (by Tony P.) and Scotland’s “Next Big Thing” (by Lindsay Hutton), as well as “Slash,” “Flipside” and “Search And Destroy” in the USA, among many, many other ‘zines across the universe.
• The first issue of PUNK Magazine was developed, created written, drawn and printed in a very short time: Mid-November 1975 to New Year’s Eve 1976. It appeared three months before the Ramones first album and a year before the first Sex Pistols record were released. It didn’t cash in on a popular movement; PUNK Magazine created it.
• The radical look of PUNK magazine—hand-lettered editorials and page layouts, feature articles presented in photo-comic formats, and a cover that caricatured Lou Reed as a horror comic icon—created an authentic visual “punch-in-the-mouth” for what we insisted was a genuine social movement, and it became a knockout. “Punk Rock” before PUNK magazine appeared was a vaguely-defined term that described the New York Dolls, the Bay City Rollers, AC/DC, The Standells, the pub-rock bands popular in England at the time (Eddie and The Hot Rods, The Stranglers, etc.), and many mediocre rock bands who appeared atat CBGB. After PUNK Magazine appeared, punk rock was about the Ramones, The Dictators and the Dead Boys in the USA and the Damned, the Sex Pistols and The Clash in the UK. Thousands of great bands have emerged since then.
• PUNK was the first media outlet that viewed the downtown scene at CBGB as more than just a new music scene: It was a social schism separating the previous late ‘60s-based rock culture that was dominating the East Village at the time and replacing it with a new aesthetic, based on the original bohemian and beatnik elements that preceded the hippie movement. In other words, PUNK foresaw a “New ‘Hood Order.” Within a few years, most of the hippie shops in the East Village had disappeared and a few dozen punk rock shops were doing good business.
• PUNK Magazine was often descibed as a “fanzine” in the 1970s, suggesting a small circulation and a limited editoiral viewpoint. In fact PUNK was a legitimate newsstand publication, publishing 25,000 copies that went to newsstands and subscribers before its demise a few months later. Although it sometimes utilized the elements of fanzines for parody, PUNK would be more properly described as an “artzine.” It was definitely the first “punk ‘zine.” inspiring many other magazines and fanzines in its wake, notably “Sniffin’ Glue” and “Search And Destroy” in England, and “Slash” in the USA.
• On January 14th, 2016, PUNK magazine’s artists, cartoonists and illustrators will mark the publication of the first issue with a group gallery show at “Howl! Happening: An Arturo Vega Project,” located in the heart of the East Village, a stone’s throw away from where the CBGB club and Arturo Vega’s loft (where Joey and Dee Dee Ramone lived with him in the 1970s) were located until a few years ago.
• This kickstarter campaign will enable fans of PUNK (and non-fans who think this is a good investment), to purchase stuff from the Howl! Happening gallery space, as well as PUNK Magazine stuff. For instance, PUNK #19, which featured The Bullys on the cover, will be a more interesting item now that the band’s music can be heard on the PUNK kickstarter video. They’re great, right?
• The exhibition catalog will include writing from James Wolcott, Steve Heller and Carlo McCormick, as well as an article about Ged Dunn, Jr., PUNK Magazine’s founding publisher (by John Holmstrom), as well as lots of graphics and stuff from the original PUNK Magazine and details about the artists in the show: Each of them contributed to cover images for PUNK. I think this catalog will become the next PUNK Magazine collectible. As everyone knows, our back issues sell for too much money on eBay, well, this is an effort to reprint them and make them more accessible. So if we make enough money from this kickstarter, we can plan reprinting other issues. But we will need a huge response to do that, reproducing PUNK #1 and putting together this kickstarter campaign? UGH! Too much work!
Okay, that’s our pitch.