A new magazine for new music

The cover of Re•Press no. 1 (fall 1982).

The cover of Re•Press no. 1 (fall 1982).

A note of explanation: This is an article I wrote for Halifax Today, the newspaper organ of the King’s College University Journalism program. It was published on November 10, 1982. I’ve fixed up some of the typos but it is otherwise unchanged.

Re•Press number one has just hit the stands; it’s Halifax’s newest and most ambitious fanzine to date.

According to editor Gary P. LeBlanc, the magazine is meant to be a focus for alternative music in Halifax – “an alternative to the mainstream bands downtown who play top 40 hits.”

The magazine’s first edition has a striking cover (a picture of grimacing youths lifted from a 1959 Star Weekly magazine). Inside, the layout is a hodge-podge of reviews, articles and opinions about alternative music in Halifax and elsewhere.

The fanzine is the creation of co-editors LeBlanc and KimRilda van Feggelen. They both moved from Toronto to Halifax last year.

Although only van Feggelen is a native of Halifax, both saw a need for a fanzine for the city’s music scene. LeBlanc said the music scene of Halifax is much weaker than in other cities.

A Re•Press editorial blames this problem on “the tendency we all have of labelling things and joining tiny cliques … it makes life ‘safe’.”

Promotional poster for Re•Press (late 1982).

Promotional poster for Re•Press (late 1982).

LeBlanc said the music scene is so fragmented in Halifax that he and van Feggelen decided their fanzine would need a broader base than most. This policy lead to a format where an article about the skateboard lifestyle can be found on page 19, while a review of the heavy metal band Rapid Tears takes up the opposite page.

Audience enthusiasm is the only unifying element: “Headbangers show a tendency to get wasted at a concert, while the punks get into dancing,” said LeBlanc.

The skateboarding article stems from one of several rivalling sub-cultures in local high schools. The skateboarders have a whole scene of hardcore music, punk fashion and skateboarding techniques.

But high school student Wade Fleet, vocalist for the Suburban Rebels, has small regard for skateboards. In an interview in Re•Press he called their music “just like the Beach Boys with short haircuts and louder guitars.”

The high school aspect of the fanzine doesn’t stop there. LeBlanc admits a leaning towards younger bands like the Suburban Rebels because Halifax has very few experienced and established alternative bands.

The aim is to bring the new bands to light, and help them get established in the Halifax music scene.

LeBlanc said it was unfortunate that the powerful musicians’ union in Halifax made it difficult for the young bands to find a venue.

A concert by Suburban Rebels, Zeitgeist and Urban Attack was planned for the King’s College theatre on November 13, under Re•Press sponsorship, but fears that the musicians’ union might black-list both the bands and the hall caused the event to be quietly cancelled.

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