The Unofficial Story of SLUG Magazine

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From Issue 134, February 2000

For some god awful reason there seems to be some discussion as to the beginnings of SLUG Magazine. I don’t know how I got dragged back into this—I thought I was rid of all of this nonsense when I pawned this trash off on Gianni. Well, Gianni waved a stack of second rate CDs (sent to him for review) if I would rear my ugly head. It’s no secret, nor is it all that interesting, but here it goes.

The original concept of SLUG (Salt Lake UnderGround) was conceived in the bar of the Speedway Café over shitty beer with Paul Maritsas, Ziba Mirashi and myself. The idea was to spotlight the music being featured in the alternative genre of the Salt Lake music scene. At the time, the larger magazines were not spending a lot of time on what we were doing (Speedway Café and The Word) and very little focus on local talent. More importantly we couldn’t afford advertising in those same newspapers (The Private Eye, The Event etc.). We decided to do our own.

The original idea was put out the paper and The Speedway Café would put up the money. The first issue come out in December of 1988 as a 4-page Kinko’s copy. Any talk about Zay Speed starting SLUG is not correct. Zay was always a big support and could build and fix stuff better than MacGyver, but he didn’t have much to do with the paper– even the Speedway Café became just another advertiser. Paul Maritsas and Ziba Mirashi were always a help, but soon faded away, like most people who wanted to help.

I am not about to toot my own horn (if I could I’d never leave the house) but I was the only consistent element of the paper. There were great writers and staff why were always around like Jon Shuman, Matt Taylor, Bill Frost and Dan Keough. Athey wrote more himself than all other writers combined and none of them ever got paid. Those of you who think the bigger newspapers are the enemy are the deluded ones. SLUG would have been dead after the fourth issue if it weren’t for John Saltas (publisher of City Weekly) who put me behind his own  computer and helped me keep SLUG on the road for a long time.

I would love to say there was some romantic notion of keeping some rock n’ roll dream alive or fighting for the love of punk rock, but there wasn’t. The paper evolved on its own with the help of whatever the writers felt strong about. The advertisers were the real support and the true believers. Why anybody would have ever bought music from anybody but Raunch Records and the Heavy Metal Shop I will never understand. People who order Dominoes pizza instead of Freewheeler should have their tongues cut out. It was all about sliding past and self promotion.

When Nirvana hit it big, I knew it was all finished. They did more damage to rock n’ roll than The Beatles. The paper was far from “underground” with ads from Sony Records and other big wigs, but you still picked it up. My apathy level was at an all time high and I wanted out. I was about to trash the whole thing and Gianni entered the picture. Gianni’s only problem was that he gave a shit and was ambitious. I sold him half the paper and we continued in a sick and wrong partnership for a year ‘til we decided one head was better than two. He bought the other half of the paper and I joined a hippie band and hit the road. I spent all my money on Tesla CDs, Burial Benefits bootlegs and a bitchin’ TV so I could stay in touch with the psychic network.

Sorry kids, there were no heroes, no fantastic journey through the world of punk rock. Just a bunch of people milking the “alternative music scene.” It’s all bullshit and you all sucked it in. It was fun, we were just pumping ourselves at your expense. I shouldn’t speak for everybody, but I will anyway: you got hosed.

So long suckers!