SPOOEE Magazine spread the word on the New Wave Punk Culture in Detroit that took off from 1978 and continued into the 80’s. It featured interviews with underground acts such as – The Stooges, The MC5, Cadillac Kids and others. We rediscovered these zines from a rare book dealer – Arthur Fournier – who has just moved to New York.
Arthur collects radical and underground publications both nationally and internationally. Befriending provocateurs over the years, he has decided to turn his passion for philosophy, art and photography into a career as a rare book dealer.
Tell us about this set of magazines here.
Arthur: I’m interested in DIY publications and how they relate to history of music as well as radical politics in the city of Detroit. The bands: Destroy All Monsters, MC5, The Stooges and others – have a real history of rabble rousing. One of the great things about the Detroit scene is that there was little distinction made between taking heavy political stances and still having a good time.
What we see here is a very rare complete set of magazines that chronicled the New Wave Scene in Detroit from 1978 through the early 80’s. The magazine gave itself several names over the course of its run. The special preview edition of SPOOEE, which called itself Detroit’s New Wave Rock n’ Roll’s journal - was all of 4-pages.
So, SPOOEE is a unique magazine that looks at the history Garage Rock and Underground music in Detroit with emphasis on the local scene but with a real excitement to what was happening on both coasts. It was proud of its Detroit roots but also looking to New York, Los Angeles and even further afield to London and other capitols of Punk - trying to connect with New Wave energies. At the same time that Johnny Chamberlin and Linda Roy, Tom Sears and the editors of SPOOEE were out there promoting the Detroit local scene, they were also connecting with Johnny Thunder and Patty Smith. They were out there trying to represent their favorite local bands which included: The Mutants, Reruns, Cyanide, Cadillac kids, The Pigs, Brain Police, etc. And some of these bands have been entirely forgotten.
But the magazine does an excellent job of promoting the local guys. For Example, Ron Ashton who is important for many reasons, but mostly for his connections with Iggy Pop. So, SPOOEE continued on for five issues through the end of April 1979. There was also White Noise which was a separate magazine that came first. It was a similar format magazine but it looked to connect nationally and internationally. There are interviews inside with Stiv Bators and Johnny Thunder. Once, White Noise even collaborated with Streetlife - another competing magazine.
These zines were always vying to be the most relevant in tune publication on the scene. But I think by the early 80's everyone began to recognize that the original momentum of Punk Rock had changed and become more commercialized. They were acknowledging that and were trying to jettison that moment in time to let go of their focused commitment to Punk and No Wave, and begin to embrace this broader culture.
You know, it’s interesting that Johnny Chamberlain, the editor of Streetlife, was African American. I think it’s important too that this was a magazine by Punks for Punks but in Detroit, you know, the racial boundaries were not so hard and fast as they were in some places around the country. I think that it has a unique voice and is a true relic of the punk era in the mid 70’s and early 80’s Detroit.