Introduction and interview by Dan Piro
I remember back in 2005 going to see No Redeeming Social Value a good handful of times, and at every show, they had a zine prominently displayed on their merch table. A really well done zine with a glossy cover in which they themselves were in. “In Effect” emblazoned across the front in big bold white lettering. In Effect issue #10, my friend bought it and I would obsessively read it whenever I hung out at his place, soaking in every interview, every review, every ad even. Hardcore at the time still had a relative air of mystery to it, given that I had only been going to shows for about 3 years and I hadn’t really gotten into the swing of meeting people, coupled with the fact that information about these bands on the net was sparse at best. Some bands had a MySpace, and that was it. If you didn’t live near a record store with an owner who knew the deal (thank god for Trash American Style in CT), or didn’t have a hip friend with an older brother to make you mixtapes, there was really no way of garnering info about your favorite new bands. This launched a personal hyper obsession with zines; The paper zine becoming an extinct species through the mid 2000’s, I made it a point to buy every single one I saw at a show from that moment forward. The ingenuity, the creativity, the goofy comic book imagery, the confident DIY work ethic, every facet of zine production fascinated me. In retrospect it probably spoke to me as I grew up collecting and reading Mad Magazine. Despite my preoccupation with the idea of the fanzine I never once took a moment to think about where they came from. Who were these inspired individuals that devoted their time and energy into what seems to be the most thankless, yet most essentially crucial contribution to the scene? Some people start bands, some people book shows, maybe a handful of people will dabble in putting out records. But the chosen few put out zines. Fast forward 9 years, I’m introduced to Chris Wynne, the man behind In Effect, the very zine responsible for my fanzine mania. I’ve been writing reviews for In Effect for a little over a year now in it's current online form, and in celebration of 1,000,000 page views I feel it’s time we speak to Chris. He’s been helping us learn about new music since 1988 and now it’s his turn to speak a little. Ladies and Gentlemen, the man behind the words, Chris Wynne…
1: Introduce yourself/say whatever you’d like.
CW: I am Chris Wynne, I run the In Effect Hardcore website which grew out of my old fanzine called In Effect. The fanzine started in 1988 and although was not a continuous effort ran from 1988 to 1999 and had 12 issues total. The website will be 5 years old on February 12th, 2017. I am originally from Queens NY and have lived in NY my entire life. I never thought I would get interviewed on my own thing here by someone else so thanks for coming up with the idea Dan.
2: What motivated you to start In Effect Fanzine?
CW: I met my long time friend Freddy Alva who was starting a zine called New Breed probably in 1987 and he asked me to be a part of the process of putting it together. Myself, Freddy and Paul from the band Oxblood put out the first issue with Freddy showing us the ropes on how to put together a cut and paste DIY zine. I did some mail away interviews with Pressure Release and I believe also with the NY Hoods. NY Hoods were definitely in that issue, I am just not sure 100% that if it was me who did that one. I learned a lot from the process. Along the way I got the itch to do something like this on my own and put more of the bands I wanted to have in and that is where the motivation for starting In Effect came from. Freddy would later go on to put out the famed “New Breed Cassette Compilation” which is still a relevant piece of NYHC today all these years later.
ISSUE #1 OF IN EFFECT/1988
3: Did you do everything by yourself? How did you initially finance it?
CW: I did almost everything by myself. For issue 1 I borrowed a typewriter from my friend Angela B. Her 2 brothers you may know from bands like Coldfront, Fit Of Anger, and Everybody Gets Hurt. I had help with printing as well. Either Angela’s mom or Todd from Fit Of Anger’s dad printed me up 50 copies for free at their job. All I had to do was staple them together. Chris B. put the cover together and I did a bunch of interviews with bands like Outburst, Leeway, All For One, and Beyond. I would try to sell them to stores and out of my backpack at shows but I was kind of timid with pushing it and took no for an answer way too easily. Getting rid of 50 copies is still fairly easy and I ended up getting rid of all of them.
4: Break down what it was like to do a paper zine back in the day; cost, difficulty, Xeroxing, etc.
CW: Issue 1 was straight up photocopied and didn’t have the look that some other zines of that time had. Other zines were using this thing called velox on their photos and it made their photos come out crystal clear… almost like a newspaper. The velox was not cheap but it made the photos that were used look amazing. I wanted to keep the layout neat while using the velox for the photos. I was introduced to my friend Chris Bunkley while going to Queensborough Community College and he gave me all the info I needed. Chris was part of the zine Village Noize and later he went on to do his own zine called Yes Zista. Chris pointed me in the direction of this place called Queens Quick Copy right off of Main Street in Flushing, Queens. I had all of my photos for issue 2 veloxed there and they did all the printing for that issue as well. It was not cheap but I thought I could make my money back with the zine having a higher quality look to it. For issue 2 I printed up approximately 200 copies and I put much more effort into the interviews. Highlights from issue 2 were getting Lou Koller from Sick of it All to do an interview in a Burger King after school and getting Gorilla Biscuits to do an interview in the old CBGB’s Record Canteen next to CB’s. I started to see that it was pretty easy to get people in bands to do interviews if you were patient. I started bringing my tape recorder with me to most shows and would think up questions I would ask certain bands if I ran into them. A lot of the people in bands would be at the shows anyway and if you would hang around you would eventually be able to grab them alone for a second and ask if they would do a quick interview.
ISSUE # 3 OF IN EFFECT/1989
5: Was it hard to get momentum in the beginning? Or were bands enthusiastic about doing interviews?
CW: Bands were always willing to do an interview. I can’t recall a band ever saying no. The thing I wanted to try and do at the start was get In Effect into record stores all over my area and in the beginning it was insanely hard to get them to buy them. I would go into Manhattan and make the rounds at the record stores but they weren’t too interested at first and usually would take a couple of copies if I was lucky, pay me on consignment and then double the price on them. I always wanted to keep the price low and have a good quality product. I was willing to sacrifice a few bucks here and there in hopes of gaining something down the road from it. My goal was always to just make my money back. Bleeker Bob's and Generation Records in Manhattan were the 2 places you wanted your demo, record and especially zine in if you wanted to get them out to a lot of people and when I was able to get In Effect in both of those stores it was a huge boost. Generation Records is still there today and they treated me really good. Bleeker Bob's and some of my interactions with the man himself range all over the place. He was throwing me out one time after saying no to buying some new issue and turned to one of his punk staff members and said "Do we need this magazine?" and the guy just looked at him with this look of "absolutely". Bob was a shady character as many who sold stuff to him back then will attest to. He would never pay up front and would only do consignment and his window for paying once everything was sold was only on Saturday's. He squirmed so many times trying to get out of paying me and the only time it ever worked is when i flat out lost my consignment receipt and didn't have any proof. Fun times.
6: Who was in the first issue, and what made you pick those bands? Were they friends of yours, or were they just the most accessible?
CW: I mentioned the bands in issue 1 earlier. Outburst and Leeway were chosen because I love both bands and they became extremely accessible. Angela’s family (Angela who lent me the typewriter) moved to College Point from Astoria which is only about a 15 minute drive from where i lived but opened up a lot of doors for In Effect. Astoria was like this breeding ground for a huge chunk of NYHC bands and they were friends with most of the bands. Angela’s brother Nick said to me “just write down some questions on a piece of paper and I will give them to Jo-Jo from Outburst, I hang out with him all the time”. The same went for Leeway’s AJ Novello. All For One were always hanging around outside of CB’s and they were an obvious choice as well. Beyond had their house address out on Long Island inside their demo and I figured why not just mail them some questions and hopefully they will write back with some responses. Everything came together. Keep in mind this is back in the sticks and stones ages where cell phones weren’t really even a thing yet. Getting contact info for bands was a pretty big deal.
7: What was your first hardcore show? How’d you hear about it/find out about hardcore in general?
CW: All my friends for the most part were into metal at first. Iron Maiden was the first big metal band I got into and I love their stuff still till this day. As time went on we started to discover more of the thrash metal stuff like Metallica, Anthrax, Exodus, Testament and around that same time was when the crossover sound started to emerge. Agnostic Front’s “Cause For Alarm” album and the Crumbsuckers’ “Life Of Dreams” were two albums that come to mind that fit that crossover sound and were huge kick starters for me and my friends finding out about hardcore. My first trip to CBGB’s was to see Possessed and Dark Angel at a metal matinee on a Sunday but it wasn’t too long after that I returned to see Trip 6, NY Hoods, Nausea and Agnostic Front. At that show someone handed me a flyer for an upcoming show with Uniform Choice and Breakdown. Me and my friends got sucked in pretty quickly and I would say from that point on we would spend the majority of our Sunday’s taking a bus and 2 trains from Queens into Manhattan to go to shows. CB’s was the home base at the time but there would be other shows that would pop up as well. You would be drawn to people handing out flyers for shows. That was the social media of the time. I almost forgot to mention that the first Suicidal Tendencies album was a huge influence as well. I remember buying it along with Venom’s “Black Metal” at the Broadway Mall in Hicksville, NY. The name Suicidal Tendencies and the album cover to me just seemed insane and when I got home I played it really loud from my room with my little brother who is 4 years younger than me. My mom heard the lyrics to “Suicidal Failure’ (which are pretty clear if you know the song) and came bursting into the room and crumbled up the lyric sheet telling us we weren’t allowed to listen to it. She then took it and threw it into the garbage can in the kitchen. My brother fished the lyric sheet out of the garbage and we got it photocopied a day or two later and it was like new again.
8: How many issues of In Effect did you put out? How long in between issues and why? When was the final issue? What made you stop?
CW: 12 issues in total. Issue 1, 2 and 3 came out back to back to back and then I stopped for a while. A few reasons for stopping included the fact that hardcore shows were becoming these warzones with people always fighting and venues not wanting to book these types of shows as well as me trying to actually pass some college courses I signed up for. For the record I was eventually academically dismissed from Queensborough Community College mostly for skipping out on classes I had later in the day. It was extremely hard to try and sit around for 6 hours in between my last 2 classes with 2 bus rides equaling about a 90 minute trip home after that. While I was still at Queensborough I got this job in a warehouse where I had a lot of downtime as well as access to a photocopy machine. A few years later hardcore shows were getting back to normal and with the free time at this job I started to get ideas together to put out a 4th issue. I went back to accessible bands to interview in Coldfront, Crown Of Thornz, No Redeeming Social Value, and Leeway once again. From the time issue 4 came out until the final issue came out it was a continuous process with no lapses but with each issue becoming bigger and bigger the process of making each issue took longer and longer. There were gaps of about 10 months between some of the later issues. Issue 12 had 132 pages. The whole thing came apart after issue 12 came out. Mostly due to being burnt the fuck out. Around issue 9 my then girlfriend Gina B. started helping me with the layout. She worked with a MAC at work and made the layouts look 1000 times better while keeping the clean basic look. In Effect became a second job that didn’t pay. I was still just trying to make my money back on each issue and would literally get 3 to 5 new releases sent in to me in the mail per day. I would end up on record company mailing lists and they would send me out every release whether it was hardcore related or not. These were mostly in the form of CD’s but there was vinyl too. I would get country music sent in, all kinds of death metal… you name it and it probably was sent. At this point it became a major chore to try and just keep up with everything coming in. I had writers who would do some reviews but the majority of the writing and gathering info was on me and Gina did all the layout on the last 3 or 4 issues. We would be up sometimes from midnight till sunrise doing layout even though I knew deep down that she didn’t have the same passion for it as I did. When we broke up it was pretty much the final straw and I scrapped everything. It was a relief in a lot of ways. It was just not fun to do anymore.
9: How many hard copies of each issue do you think are floating around out there? Do you have any old back issues on hand?
CW: I have at least one copy of every back issue for myself. The only issue I still have a bunch of is issue 10 with No Redeeming Social Value, Breakdown and Agnostic Front. For issue 12 I printed up 10,000 copies and I am very proud to say that I got rid of all of them. I remember not even being able to fit all of them into my old apartment and I left them in the hallway outside my door. I would load them into my trunk and drive all over the tri-state area hitting record stores. At this point the momentum was built and it was very satisfying to go into a store that told me “No” to buying earlier issues and now see them take upwards of 200 copies and pay me in cash up front. The internet was in play at this time but it was not set up like it is now with the amount of contacts you could make. I went to a lot of shows and met a lot of people. I ran into 2 people who became very important to the distribution of In Effect. I had 1 guy from Japan who would fly into NY a couple of times a year and he usually would take 100 copies back with him. Same thing for another guy in Belgium. I was hustling and getting rid of zines anyway I could. Trades were huge for me. I would trade with other people who did zines and do 1 for 1 swaps that helped me reach even more people. Rick Healey from 25 Ta Life and his hardcore swap meet table was another big mover for me. I even had a deal with Tower Records who did distribution on the last issue. They sent me a breakdown of where each issue was going and seeing it in places like Israel and other places where you don’t immediately think of hardcore was pretty cool. The photo shown here is issue 10 all bundled up in my old bedroom just after picking them up from the printer. To answer your question though i would say all in all there were probably 20,000 to 25,000 actual hard copy issues out there if you added up issues 1 through 12.
10: What made you want to re-up In Effect as a website? When did you start work on bringing it back?
CW: I was sitting around one day watching a football game on TV and saw a commercial for a webserver that claimed to be as “easy to use as Facebook”. I always felt tech challenged but right away it got me to thinking. This could be a way for me to make In Effect happen again and have no physical content to sell. The selling and distro were a huge time consumer and here was a possible way to get back into it. I started working on it in late 2011 and it went live online on February 12th, 2012. I didn’t want to call it In Effect at first but had a lot of people push me to call it In Effect again. I didn’t want to be like a lame reunion band that came back and half assed it and then shuffled off into obscurity. I had no idea what the response would be and how big or little the workload would be once things got going. In Effect.com was taken so I decided to put HARDCORE into the new name. The initial response that I got was amazing. People actually remembered the old zine and from the start of the website there have been many old heads who have helped get the word out that In Effect was back but online. (Above photo is a screen shot from the 1999 Velebit Productions Documentary "NYHC").
11: What’s the most difficult part about keeping In Effect going and is it worth it?
CW: Is it worth it? Haha! Ask my wife! She sees how much time I put into it and all the times where I say “I will be in bed in 10 minutes”. Haha. I will say this though… as long as it continues to be fun I will keep doing this website. It means a lot to me to be able to contribute to a music scene that has given me so many great moments over the years and doing what i do is not hard. To me it is creative. News get out about bands breaking up and new records, tours etc in literally minutes because of social media. I love the challnege of trying to create content that will not get dated easilly. Hardcore is also the soundtrack to my life and at age 46 I doubt I am ever going to grow out of it. Things that make this thing difficult are chasing down bands for interview answers. A very selct few who will remain nameless have been the ultimate in being highly useless human beings. These interactions have been rare as the majority of people in bands have been very responsive to answering questions about what their band is up to.
12: Have you ever thought about scanning and uploading/archiving the original issues?
CW: There were plans that date back to 2009 for Kevin Gill of SFT Records to take all of the old In Effect material and put it out in book form. I mailed Kevin 2 boxes containing every original In Effect photo/scan/logo/ that I had from all 12 issues to his home in California and the plan was to have almost like a greatest hits type of thing with the best interviews, old advertisements from that time period, old show reviews etc, etc, etc. Here we are now in 2017 and I haven’t seen any real progress and Kevin still feeding me the same lines that it’s gonna get done, blah, blah, blah. He is apologetic about the whole experience and how slow things have moved but at this point i am beyond frustrated. As time has gone on I have started plugging some old interviews from the older zines into the In Effect Hardcore website and will continue to do so with updated layouts. Original text and answers but just improved photos from the time periods the interviews were done in.
13: Would you have any interest in doing another paper issue?
CW: On a regular basis? HELL NO. Just too much involved and too time consuming. On a one time basis or something that would not be as regular I would consider it especially if someone else was the main guy doing the leg work. On a side note I have also started writing for this UK magazine called Down For Life which is this full color glossy magazine on newsstands in Europe and some bookstores here in the US. I did a NY scene report as well as an interview with Sick Of It All in their first issue and have contributed to their second issue which is out now.
14: How do you feel about the state of zines in 2016?
CW: Zines now are more of a luxury these days because of the internet but there is still nothing like sitting down and digging into a good one… and there are a few of them out there that I really look forward to. Hashtag Hardcore out of the Netherlands is/was one of them with just this sarcastic and funny take on the hardcore scene on a whole. Others that I enjoy are Not Like You out of New Mexico, Chiller Than Most from Hungary, Outsider from upstate NY, and Proof That I Exist, also from New Mexico. They all bring a unique something to the table and I enjoy getting my hands on new issues when they come out. A while back I did two separate features reviewing fanzines that were sent in and you can check those articles out by clicking HERE and HERE.
15: Were there any bands that were difficult to work with? Any bands ever outright say no to an interview or give you a hard time? Any bands every approach you and have a problem with something written about them like a bad review, or some other bands talking smack about them?
CW: I can’t recall ever having a problem with a band after them reading a bad review. I have always stuck to this idea where I will only write things that I would say directly to the band members faces. If I can’t say it to their faces I will not write it. The use of constructive criticism is important and anyone who reads our reviews knows we are here to support the scene and not hurt it. Also coming from a failed bass player I find it hard to rip people who are trying their best. I have had bands actually thank me in the past for a bad review and say I was right and they were working on fixing whatever it was.
16: Favorite band to see live back in the day?
CW: Underdog always put on a really good live show. I always preferred to see them over listening to their records. Murphy’s Law of course. Jimmy is one of the best frontmen ever in this music and their show at Webster Hall with Sick Of It All last year showed that he will always have it. Certain Sheer Terror sets at CBGB’s come to mind where there weren’t a lot of people in attendance… and there were a couple of them. My friends and I would be almost pissed that they didn’t get the recognition they deserved before their first album came out. We also drove up to the Anthrax Club in CT once and saw them play with Paul drunk off his ass stripped down to his boxer shorts. He was rolling around on the stage and had cigarette butts sticking to his sweaty back. They were so fucking good leading up to “Just Can’t Hate Enough” and it literally baffled us how they weren’t this huge band that everyone into hardcore loved. No Redeeming Social Value may not be as back in the day as what you are looking for but in the mid-90’s they were an absolutely amazing live band. They had great songs and you never knew what they were going to come out dressed as or do once they took the stage.
17: Any new/young bands you are really into now?
CW: Tons. I wouldn’t be able to do the website if all I was covering were bands from “back in the day”. The Rival Mob, Take Offense, Fury, Regulate, and Manipulate are a few names that come to mind right away. Scarboro, Kids Insane, Zero Rights, Nation Of Wolves, Ache, Too Many Voices, Cornered... the list goes on and on. Everyone knows the big named bands that do the big tours and are the big fish but I have to say that the next tier of bands that are out there that may be flying under many people's radars are just as good or better than their counterparts from both the 1980's and 1990's.
18: Favorite non punk/hardcore band old or new?
CW: Iron Maiden! I kind of fell off after “Fear Of The Dark” but I check in with them from time to time and the stuff that I grew up with is still in regular rotation on the old i-Pod. They were my first ever concert at the Nassau Coliseum in 1986 with the "World Slavery Tour". Proud to say that we didn't pay to get in as my freinds father knew an usher who worked there who opened a side door and let us in.The fact that they are still doing it probably in their 60’s is amazing. For straight up rock music I get into some Gaslight Anthem as well.
19: Have you ever made a cent from selling zines/did you ever at least break even?
CW: From issues 1 through 11 I probably lost thousands of dollars in total and I probably made it all back on that last issue #12 as everyone and their mom wanted to take out ad space for that issue which helped pay for the entire print job which was a few thousand bucks in itself. The website only has a few expenses that are minimal. I would feel uncomfortable making money on any of this and the reason can probably be traced back to the bands I first saw and how they went about the way they sold merch and dealt with their fans. The music was the priority, not cashing in. That thinking stuck on me although it may not have stuck with all the bands, haha.
ART BY: CHUN-ONE. 1 MILLION VIEWS REACHED OCTOBER 2016
20: Do you think you’ll ever get tired of it? Has it ever interfered with your personal or family life?
CW: I do get tired of it from time to time as doing this is very time consuming for starters. New music is what motivates me. When a band contacts me with new music or I go see a band I have never heard before and they blow my doors off I immediately start thinking of covering them in some way. I get into ruts where it seems like months go by with no new music that strikes me and then a band like Fury comes along with their “Paramount” album last year. Right this minute it is this band Scarboro from NYC and their new album which just came out called "Here Comes The Hangover". And to answer the question a little more it does at times interfere with family life as I work a full time job and then do the bulk of the website needs when I get home usually late at night causing for a following day of being tired and then put that on repeat. I try to pace myself but I really only know one way to operate. I think I am getting better at the balancing part of all of this. We will see. Thanks for the idea of doing this interview Dan, it was a cool surprise to be asked and get a little of the In Effect history out there. One last thing that can hopefully clear up some confusuion and that is that In Effect Zine and In Effect Records were 2 seperate things. We had the name first but with only 50 copies of our first issue and 200 of our second issue not many people heard of us right away. I sometimes get people asking me about old In Effect releases and to set the record straight that was not me. Howie who ran the record label is a friend of this site is still in the music game and has actually contributed some work for us in the past as well. And lastly for issue #3 of In Effect Zine I went to In Effect Records headquarters in Hollis, Queens to interview Agnostic Front guitarist Steve Martin. They were on Combat Records which was affiliated with In Effect Records and when Steve came out he said "In Effect Zine is here to interview AF at In Effect Records?" with sort of a half smile and a laugh about us having the same name.