I have been a fan of Start Today Fanzine since picking up issue 3 in 2003 at a Hardcore alldayer in Nottingham.
I’m pretty sure someone had brought the pile of them back from the States after Posi Fest in 2003.
Ever since that I have owned every issue that’s gone to print, bought directly from Jeff Lasich, and all the other PDF issues.
I have had some contact with Jeff on and off since 2005 and have always admired him for ST.
It’s probably my favourite Hardcore Zine ever published as it was really current with all those bands I loved in the early 00’s, like The First Step, Carry On, Champion, Count Me Out, Face The Enemy… just to name a tiny handful.
So now given the chance to publish a definitive history of this great collection of Hardcore literature, I’m literally so syked and very thankful to Jeff for wanting to do this.
In the coming posts there will pictures, exerts and even full interviews from early issues of ST.
Face The Enemy.
Start Today Bio.
Words and all photography By Jeff Lasich.
The first time I thought about doing a zine was around 1988. I didn’t know much about zines, with the exception of MRR and the Zine Thing column that was in Thrasher. I didn’t make it too far, pretty much writing down a couple thoughts about skateboarding, straight edge, and school. I guess those were pretty typical topics. At the same time, I was making flyers for local shows and stickers for the local bands.
The First Step.
I was a 14 year old grommet who wanted to do something, but didn’t really know how to do anything. I thought playing guitar would be cool. I took guitar lessons for two weeks, but then I broke my elbow skating a curb, while imagining I was Ray Barbee in Public Domain. That ended my musical career. I spent the next few years skating as much as I could and going to shows if I knew about them. Living an hour outside of Pittsburgh, I didn’t always know what was going on, and often found out about shows weeks after they happened. By 1996, I was going to Erie for shows. They had a great hardcore scene there, plus it is located equally between Buffalo and Cleveland, and Pittsburgh was only a few hours away. I bought so much music at those shows, along with a ton of zines. Around that time, I got inspired to give zine making a try thanks to zines like Surprise Attack, Anti-Social Brat, Trustkill, and Quarantine. I did a crappy half page zine, that looking back at now, totally embarrasses me. But at the time I was happy I was able to do something.
The second issue was also half size, and was slightly better. I probably would have been done after the first one, but I was doing college radio at the time and had set up an interview with Jerry Only and figured I’d use it. This was right around the time American Psycho came out, before he make a joke of “The Misfits.” By the time I did issue #3, I moved up to full size. I would scam copies from where my stepdad worked and it would take me weeks to put them all together. The content was pretty basic, band interviews, reviews, some stuff about Star Wars, animal rights, and of course straight edge.
The zine wasn’t too photo heavy because at the time I was more concerned with dancing and singing along to the bands. I had a basic point and shoot camera and would hardly take pictures. I wanted the zine to be a vessel to exchange thoughts and ideas. I have always been really shy and am not very good with small talk and often think I am forgettable, so I tend to keep to myself unless I really know someone. To me the zine was a good outlet for me. Oddly enough, for as much as I love skateboarding, there has never been a whole lot of skate talk in my zines. In 1997, I started splitting my time between Pittsburgh and Geneva, NY. Geneva is located between Rochester and Syracuse. Gym Class Heroes are also from Geneva. On a side note, their original bass player was a kid named Ryan who sang for a emo/screamo band called Cast Aside (not the one from Virginia.) I went to a ton of Syracuse shows.
Even though they aren’t crucial, and the argument can be made they aren’t “hardcore” bands, it was great seeing bands like Poison the Well, Eighteen Visions, Everytime I Die, and Throwdown play at coffee houses and recreation centers. Adapting to my environment, I would end up interviewing the bands for the zine. While I liked those bands, and still do, I always had a soft spot in my heart for more traditional hardcore.
I did my last issue of Death Before Dishonor in 2000 and I was done with zines. In February, 2001, I moved to Philly. The scene there was completely different from what I had experienced in Syracuse and Pittsburgh. There were so many shows, bands, record stores, venues, great places to eat, and lots to skate. My first show there was American Nightmare, Count Me Out, Strike Anywhere, Go Time, and The Final Plan. One day while record shopping, I came across Cut the Tension Fanzine. When I looked at the contact info, I realized the guy who did the zine, Donny Mutt, lived pretty close to me. I really didn’t know anyone there at the time, so, like a weirdo, I sent Donny an email and we were soon friends. His zine kinda got me thinking about doing another zine. But I wanted it to be something new to me…
Youth Of Today.
The First Step.
I got the Burn 7” sometime in 1990 and instantly fell in love with it. Not surprisingly, I never had a chance to see them. Well that is until July 1, 2001. The night before the show, I was driving into Philly to pick up dinner, completely excited to see Burn the next day. I had an apartment in Upper Darby, and was driving back thinking about doing a zine. I wanted it to be fun. I didn’t want it to be too serious, which I was seeing a lot of in both the scene and in the mirror. I was listening to Gorilla Biscuits- Start Today at the time. That record had always been symbolic to me and was in constant rotation all throughout high school. In 9th grade, I ever tried to get my haircut like Civ’s on the back of the lp. That was the moment I decided I was going to do a new zine. I was going to call it Start Today to capture that moment. (I also thought it would be a good name to do a Suicidal Tendencies logo rip off, but that never actually happened.) I got home and quickly came up with a few questions to do a Burn interview.
The Hope Conspiracy.
The next day at the Rotunda, I nervously asked Chaka if he would do an interview with me for the first issue. He agreed without hesitation and the zine had officially started. At the time, I really didn’t know what direction I was going to go with it. There were a lot of free zines out, with interviews written more like articles. I attempted to do that with the Striking Distance interview, and to this day I hate myself for writing it that way. Although it was only 16 pages, I hate that issue so much. But it had to start somewhere.
Count Me Out.
Once it was finished, I sent it down to Small Publisher’s Co-Op in Florida. They had connections to local printing presses and would mass print zines for extremely reasonable prices. A lot of people used them during that time period. I printed issues 1-5 there, until they went out of business. I’m still bummed they are gone. Donny and I printed a bunch of Start Today and Cut the Tension shirts in my basement. The DIY approach we took lead to printing most of the One Up shirts as well as the start of Bottled Up Records. All of those things go hand in hand and are a great representation of that time of my life. I time I will always cherish. A time to remember.
In My Eyes.
Running Like Thieves.