Hardcore History Part #2. A Look Back At ‘Cut The Tension’ Fanzine, Part 2

By: Ed

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Part 2 of 2 on Donny Mutts Cut The Tension Fanzine!

Bio by Donny Mutt.

All of the photographs used in Cut The Tension were taken by me for the most part. Every issue I had friends and people I met off the Rev Board send me photos that I used. In issue number one the photo contributors were Stefanie Siu, Mike Riley, Jason Wiley, Christina Dong, Brian Convery and Christina Garcia. Robby Redcheeks let me borrow his binder full of flyers for all the shows he ever booked. A lot of the flyers I used in the zine came from his shows which were a huge part of the Philadelphia hardcore scene and my introduction to hardcore. My first hardcore show was Friday, April 26th 1996 and Robby helped book the show with Damnation AD, Shades Apart and Cast Iron Hike that I attended.

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Another big aspect of the zine was printing everything once the pages were all laid out. This is where Tony Pointless, then resident of local punk/squat venue Stalag 13 and later singer of R.A.M.B.O., comes into the story.  Some how back in the late ’90s going into the early ’00s there were a lot of cool scams going on. Before cell phones were a thing bands would use dialers to make free long distance calls to set up shows and tours. Another good scam was the bootleg Kinko’s cards. Basically someone worked at a Kinko’s and stole a card reader and it somehow ended up at someones house. Next thing you know all the show flyers in Philadelphia are being printed for free at Kinko’s. At some point I meet Tony who was the ring leader and he sells me a $100 Kinko’s card for $20. This was crucial for printing Cut The Tension back in the early days. After a while Kinko’s started to catch on so the card value went down to like $50 or something but it was still a bargain. I remember hitting Tony up a few times to recharge my card those first couple of years. Eventually Kinko’s got rid of those card readers because of people doing exactly this.

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Now that I had my printing situation under control I decided that the only rational amount of issues I should print for the first issue was 88 copies.  Many a late night was spent at a Kinko’s photo copying flyers, record covers, album art, photos, you name it and I photo copied it if it was related to hardcore or punk. This was one of the funnest times during the existence of Cut The Tension. Just figuring out how everything should look for the first time was thrilling. Over the next five years I printed six issues of Cut The Tension in total. The first two issues were photocopied at Kinko’s while the last four issues were printed at the Small Publishers Co-Op in Florida. Looking through the Cut The Tension back issues brings back a lot of fond memories from that time in hardcore. My personal favorite back issues has to be the third issue featuring The Hope Conspiracy, Rain On The Parade and Count Me Out. This was the first issue printed at the Co-Op, the layouts were some of my best work and those three bands captured everything I loved about hardcore at that time.

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Next year for the 15-year anniversary of the first issue of Cut The Tension I plan on doing a 15-year retrospective/final issue of Cut The Tension to be released at the 2015 This Is Hardcore in Philadelphia, PA.

Cut The Tension chronology:

CTT #1:  I Hate You, Right Brigade, Floorpunch
CTT #2:  Kill Your Idols, No Justice, Life’s Halt
CTT #3:  The Hope Conspiracy, Rain On The Parade, Count Me Out
CTT #4:  Striking Distance, Carry On, Death Threat
CTT #4.5:  The Final Plan, Holding On, Stay Gold, Far From Breaking
CTT #5:  Desperate Measures, Punishment, Coalition, Terror, No Rights

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