From 1982 when I was 15 I made a skate and music zine called Revenge Against Boredom, starting on Long Peak's Route in Estes Park, Colorado and ceasing publication in Honolulu after a five issue run two years later. One day on Summer Street I got a letter with an address stamp that read "84 Eldridge Street #5, New York, NY." That really blew me away because I only thought of New York as having avenues and numbered streets. The letter was from Thurston Moore and said something like "Hey send a copy of R.A.B., I heard it's cool." It was a timely coincidence because I had just bought "Confusion is Sex" out of the "record store" located in the trunk of the Punk Rock Brothers' (Rich and Ed Tarantino) battered Toyota Corolla. I listened to that record a lot, and it was in no small way an inspiration for the only-played-in-their-living room-when-the-parents-were-at-work noise group Jon and James Kroll (later of Chokebore, more recently of A Newborn Riot of Dreams) and I began called Nok Mub, so named by reversing Bum Kon, an amazing unheralded Denver band that I'd seen back in Colorado. Besides tons of hardcore from both sides of the Atlantic-Black Flag, T.S.O.L., The Faith, Double O, The Necros, J.F.A., The Neos, Rudimentary Peni and Flux of Pink Indians, just to name a few-my friends and I were into slightly harder to categorize stuff like the Big Boys, The Proletariat and Middle Class as well as Test Dept., SPK, The Birthday Party, PIL and that first (well, actually second, but first to us) Sonic Youth album. A letter from a member of Sonic Youth who lived on exotic Eldridge Street was the kind of connection to zine makers, band members and fans in New York, DC, Boston, Texas, SF and LA that helped us immensely. Hungry for any news of the outside world, it made our exile in the far-off Sandwich Isles seem less drastic and made us feel at least a little bit in touch with all the amazing cool music and art going on elsewhere. I sent Thurston some R.A.B.s and I think he might have sent back a copy of his zine KILLER, though I'm not really sure of this because the only KILLER I have is the one with Madonna on the cover and that's from later, so if he did it might have gotten lost along the way. Not everything made it through subsequent moves during the next twenty-two years.
Two decades later the letter was long gone but I wrote about the incident in my skateboarding
history and memoir The Answer is Never--A Skateboarder's History of the World.
I sent Thurston a copy and got back a nice thank-you note, and around the same time started
making a new zine called ELK after a twenty-year zine-hiatus. Then roughly around the same time three things happened almost simultaneously. I was writing about the great "Pet Rock" band Flipper for another book project and asked Thruston some questions via email since S.Y. had played with them, he mentioned that he bought a copy of Elk (the one and only person to do so, and I believe he didn't know who made it at the time of purchase) from the St. Marks Bookstore consignment rack and really liked it, and I got a group email asking for submissions for the "punk" issue of Thurston's Ecstatic Peace Poetry Journal #6. This was 2003. Around that time I had started doing the record cover photos of my albums that I'd retrieved from my Aunt's basement in Cleveland after having stored them there for twelve years. I
sent over a couple and a few months later got the E.P.P.J. with contributions by
Ian Mackaye, Jack Brewer, Anne Waldman, Richard Hell and my
photo "Negative FX--First LP (Cover Design/Graphics: Choke)."
A few months after that Thurston showed me mock-ups for these collages before a John Ashbery reading at Umass in Amherst and that eventually led to "Today Your Love, Tomorrow the World."