Anyone who’s dabbled in the ink-stained, cut-and-paste world of fanzines knows it’s a labor of love, and former Dogtown resident Matthew Thompson is celebrating the silver anniversary of Fluke, a fanzine that was instrumental in giving voice to the punk scene in Little Rock during the 1990s, “7th-and-Chester-style,” as Thompson says, referring to the shows at Vino’s Brewpub.
Originally conceived by Thompson, Steve Schmidt and Jason White (of Green Day fame), who departed from the zine’s creation in favor of other pursuits, the 25th anniversary edition is Thompson’s 68-page “love letter to Little Rock” [Thompson’s words] with two variant covers: a tattoo flash-style art cover from Mitchell Crisp, illustrations from John Pugh (Vision Control, formerly of !!!) and another featuring Ben Sizemore of Econochrist, politico-punk rockers who got their start in Little Rock before gravitating to the Bay Area punk scene.
Thompson’s kept the zine going, publishing at irregular intervals from a new headquarters in Phoenix, Ariz., and has dedicated the anniversary edition to the people whose elbow grease kept that early 1990s Little Rock scene alive:
In the late ‘80s, a punk rock scene began to grow out of an art space on the corner of 7th Street and Chester in downtown Little Rock, Arkansas. It switched hands and names, from Urbi et Orbi to DMZ to Nemesis, then Mandrake’s before Henry bought the place, built a pizzeria and named it Vino’s.
Most people outside of Little Rock won’t recognize most names within this issue, but the names are not very significant. What matters is the connection that was made between teenagers all over the city who found each other at the only “alternative” space Little Rock had at the time. I believe that’s what we all truly crave – a common bond. Something to grab onto and call our own.
This bond that was formed on that corner has stuck and what was once a scene is now something much deeper and more meaningful. To me, punk rock has always been about building something and the greatest structure erected from it has been the friendships we’ve made, and continue to make. It was built from the ground up. Fletcher Clement booked the shows, Colette Tucker hung the flyers, Mitchell Crisp designed the t-shirts and record covers and John Pugh published fanzines. James Brady, Andy Conrad and Colin Brooks played in the bands. Dozens of others did their part, from working in copy shops to taking out the trash at the end of the night.
The 25th anniversary edition features a 12-page spread on Tav Falco and Panther Burns, reflections from Clement, Tucker, Crisp, Conrad, Brady and Brooks, and art that will make you feel like it’s 1993 again. Nate Powell, Eisner Award recipient, creator of the “March” comic book trilogy, and former member of Soophie Nun Squad designed a t-shirt to celebrate and to help fund distribution of the zine. Get the zine here, or if you’re waxing nostalgic, send $5 to: Fluke, P.O. Box 1547, Phoeniz, AZ, 85001.