Mike Brown isn't only the abrasively offensive lead singer of The Fucktards, he's also a zine maker! --- I know what you're thinking to some degree, and it goes a little something like, “I've heard the Fucktards live, so I can only imagine what his unfiltered opinion is!” But shockingly, the material found in the pages of Leviathan is actually quite funny and somewhat insightful as Brown's look on the world is photocopied and passed around the city for cheap.
The next edition of the zine will be released this Friday at Mike Brown Fest, a concert in which the Urban Lounge turns into a skatepark, and this time around The Fucktards will be playing a tomato show, where if you truly hate their music you can chuck the red veggies at them during their set. Today, I chat with Brown about the zine and the festival before they happen this weekend. (All pictures courtesy of Mike Brown.)
Gavin: Hey, Mike. First thing, how've you been since we last chatted?
Mike: Good, man. I think I saw you two days ago, so I’m fine. Unless you meant the last time I was on your blog. In that case, I’m probably the same asshole you talked to back then.
Gavin: How've things been going with The Fucktards, and what have you got going on with the band as of late?
Mike: Um, the band has been going great and just how I want it. We play shows strictly whenever the fuck I feel like booking a show, and right now the biggest challenge is keeping our guitarist Dan Rose sober, and I use the term "sober" very loosely. Basically, I spend a lot of time keeping him away from Ryan Jensen. But Dan is looking great these days. I don’t anticipate him passing out in the middle of our next show, which was prone to happen in the past.
Gavin: Getting right to it, what made you decide to start a zine in to begin with?
Mike: When I was 17 or 18, I befriended a punk-rock chick named Angie who was in the same Mormon ward as me. We would always ditch the last couple of hours of church together and became friends. She sucked a lot of dick and even puked on a guy's dick one time. She never sucked my dick, though; our relationship was strictly platonic. My dad loved the fact that I was friends with her because her dad used to be a Mormon bishop. My dad knows nothing about bishop’s daughters. Anyway, Angie and some of her other punk-rock friends started a shitty little punk-rock zine called Maybrick's Diary. I’ve always liked to write to express my suppressed feelings or whatever, so I submitted some shit to this zine. The rest of the zine sucked pretty bad, though, so I decided to start my own.
Gavin: How did you come up with the original format, and what made you choose the name Leviathan?
Mike: I thought the name sounded bad ass. The original format was simply based off of cut and paste. Literally, you print out your article or picture, cut it out, and paste it on a piece of paper. There was no such thing as photoshop back then, e-mail barely existed and the zine community seemed more tied together because of that. To this day, construction process of my zines has stayed the same.
Gavin: What was it like putting the first issue together, and what was the public reaction to it?
Mike: It was awesome. Believe it or not, I was a peer counselor at a teenage drug rehab. And they had a room with a big-ass copy machine that no one hardly ever used. That was a big inspiration for the first issue, knowing I could print them off for free while I was on the clock and waste the company's time and money. People seemed to really like the first issue. But it was super-underground. And very juvenile. I guess things haven’t changed that much.
Gavin: When you started, did you have any set schedule you were going try and follow, or was it simply writing one whenever the moment came to you?
Mike: It’s always been about putting a zine out whenever the fuck I want. Working with deadlines has never been my strong point, as is evident with my SLUG articles.
Gavin: Because of the content, were you pissed because of a lot of places wouldn't carry it, or did you enjoy the fact that if people wanted it they really had to find it?
Mike: That’s never bugged me. And to be honest, I’ve never made an effort to distribute it. I liked the fact that it would turn up in weird places. I used to send stacks with random punk bands that would tour through town and it would wind up in weird spots all over the country. I’d get letters from people in all sorts of random places, with dollar bills in them asking for new copies. That’s part of the fun for me. The fact that you have to meet me to get it I think gives the zine more of a sentimental value, which I think is worth more than money.
Gavin: You've changed the format a couple of times including doing one on cassette. Do you like changing it up, or do you prefer the traditional way of writing it out and photocopying it?
Mike: I prefer the traditional format. I like trying new things like the Women, Duh series and what not. But mostly I think I should stick to what works: staying up late writing crap and then going to Kinkos at three-in-the-morning to print some zines.
Gavin: What made you start up the Mike Brown Festivals at Urban Lounge?
Mike: I would do zine-release parties from time to time there anyway. I’ve been friends with the guys who run the place for years. Once when booking a zine release, I think it was issue #10, Will Sartain, who books most of the shows there, said, “Why don’t we call it Mike Brown Fest?” I have a massive ego so that sounded great to me. And this was before I lost all my street cred so people actually wanted to show up. The first Mike Brown Fest was basically a spontaneous skate session in the bar and shit went down. Some of my skater buddy’s killed it and it wasn’t super-packed but ridiculously fun. It took off from there.
Gavin: What kind of a challenge is it to get Urban to let you do with the room as you wish, like convert it into a skate park?
Mike: It’s pretty easy given the fact that one of the owners is in my band. The owners and staff are all my friends, but they are all beyond cool when it comes to putting up with me and all my asshole friends who show up to the shows. Chris Wright, who is the majority owner of the bar and has the final say on things, is actually a ripping skater and is way down for the supporting me and the scene. And after they let me do the pudding wrestling, I pretty much figured I could get away with anything I want there.
Gavin: The next Mike Brown Fest happens this week. What have you got planned for the show's first music and festivities?
Mike: Dead Bod is playing. They are a fairly new punk band formed by some of Salt Lake's finest musical veterans. Also, Swagitha Christie, this amazing baller white rapper chick from Portland -- she’s mad thuggish and doesn’t take shit from anyone, and she skates better than most boys. I’m so pumped to have her come down and play.
Gavin: You're also releasing the latest Leviathan. Can you give us a glimpse of what you've got in store for that issue?
Mike: Lots of stuff about my cat Jet Pack. A guide to the Salt Lake bar scene, an article on Mormon sex and some shit about Instagram. It should be pretty good.
Gavin: What else have we got coming up for the rest of 2012?
Mike: Hopefully, the apocalypse.
Gavin: Aside from the obvious, do you have anything you'd like to promote or plug?
Mike: My buttons. I got a button maker and I’ve been making the world's most awesome buttons. You should buy some of those, too. Also the Fucktards tomato show at Urban Lounge on Sept. 30. I’m selling tomatoes that people can throw at The Fucktards. People always throw shit at us anyway, so I might as well get paid for it. But yeah, it’s gonna get messy.
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