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Fluke: Keeping Fanzines Alive

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I've been fairly open about my preference for alternative and punk rock music. Obsessed is often a word bandied about. Certainly bias. So as I began this journey into musical discovery a little over a year ago, it isn't surprising I'd eventually stumble upon the various rock music fanzines passed among the truly devoted, featuring the latest kick-ass bands who'll never make it onto mainstream radio and some of the musical icons who did. Fluke Fanzine is one such publication that recently celebrated its twentieth anniversary.

Founded in North Little Rock, Ark., in 1991 by Steve Schmidt, guitarist for the band Avenue Boulevard; Jason White, guitarist for Green Day, what is arguably the most well known band to ever come out of the punk rock music scene; and Fluke, a man who remains anonymous, preferring to go by his pseudonym rather than reveal the mystery surrounding his true identity, Fluke Fanzine is an eclectic mix of interviews with emerging bands within the punk and alternative rock music scene, book reviews, comic strips, art, photos and exclusive behind-the-scenes insight into what is really going on inside the heads of rock-n-roll musicians.

What started as a project by musicians and fans for musicians and fans, whose mission was to document the punk music scene as it exploded in the '90s, Fluke has evolved into a mainstay for the famed 924 Gilman Street crowd, never lacking for contributors or willing interviewees, while still retaining the charm of an intimate local publication. With in-depth interviews and a give-and-take style between the reporter and interviewee not normally seen in an MTV setting or widely circulated magazine, Fluke has the unique ability of showing a side of the musician fans don't normally get to see, with anecdotal stories long forgotten and a back-to-their-roots perspective. It's as if the fans are transported into the exclusive world of the musician, side-by-side as he makes his journey.

What started as small publications passed around by fans in the science fiction community in the 1940s, fanzines have grown to accommodate many different subgroups, from art to science fiction to music to sports to video and online gaming. Many punk fanzines emerged in the heyday of punk rock in the 1970s and 1980s, only to die slow, painful deaths as musical tastes and fads changed. Among the most notable were Sniffin' Glue, named after the Ramones song "Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue" and considered by some to be the "Bible of the punk movement" and Slash, a fanzine devoted primarily to the Los Angeles, California music scene. Maximum RocknRoll, along with Fluke, succeeded in adapting to the changes and remain in circulation today, giving the fans a variety of information about what's happening on the underground music scene.

For the latest issue, more information, or plain ole shits and giggles, check out Fluke's website at http://www.flukezine.com/