Issuu: That Punk Zine
OPEN LETTER … 3
ROB MILLER … 4
(Any donations would be greatly appreciated.)
KEEP FLYING … 6 SKINNY PELEMBE … 8
The official playlist of issue two:
JAIL SOCKS … 9
That Punk Zine #2
CROWSOCK … 10 ‘AT WAR WITH NO AMMO’ … 11 SUPER JACK … 12
STAFF Associate Editor: Francesca Simone
LOOKING TO CONTRIBUTE?
“Super” Jack Seda-Schreiber
Email us at:
Editor-in-Chief: Steven Keehner
Joaquin Contreras 2
Available for streaming.
I intended on writing this to thank everyone. Issue one went far beyond all of our expectations. From the bands themselves sharing our work, to you, the readers, actually reading, I can proudly speak for the whole staff when I say: thank you so much. For obvious reasons, there’s something else I feel should be mentioned. I don’t need to explain the severity of what’s going on. If I hear the term “tumultuous times” once more, I’m pretty sure I will get physically sick. The world is at a standstill and people are dying. There is no easy way to sugarcoat it. Everything fucking sucks. I’m not here to tell you what you already know because you’ve already heard it. Stay indoors unless you must leave. If you must leave, keep a six-foot distance between yourself and others. If you’re going to take anything away from this, let it be a reminder to never give up. Humans, despite whatever you’ve heard, are actually good. When we look out for one another, take care of each other, and put love above all, I literally don’t believe we can be stopped. Compassion is one of our greatest strengths and it’s vital, even when we face our darkest hours, that we never forget it. While not all of us can fight on the frontline like the essential personnel around the world are, that doesn’t mean that we can’t still help. Donate to good charities, call your loved ones, do everything in your power to ease this hardship, even if it’s as simple as staying home. In extraordinary times, sometimes the most ordinary things will make the biggest difference. From a musical standpoint, I can only suggest this: listen to your favorite artists, buy their merch if you can afford it, share their music with your friends, or even just comment on their social media posts. I can’t promise that more lives won’t be stripped from us for no just reason. No one can. But I can promise you this: we will get through this, together. Don’t forget what we’re going through now, because one day, the world will go back to “normal,” and the true test of all of this will come into fruition. Remember the people fighting for you now and make sure that you fight for them every fucking step of the way going forward. From doctors to postal workers to grocery store workers, never let the efforts of those around you go to shame. And never forget to care and love those who aren’t able to take care of themselves. This is just a punk culture zine. I’m just a kid trying to make a difference. But we, the citizens of the world, are everything. If we look out for one another, nothing can stop us. I promise. Forever and always, Steven Keehner & The TPZ Staff 3
THE ART OF ROB MILLER By Joaquin Contreras A searing smoke trail comes across the sky. A field burns in the distance, and while some men are shown trying to put out the fire, others pull up in their cars to watch the spectacle. The air is grainy and perceptibly palpable, like rain is falling. This isn’t a scene from a movie or a novel, although there are likely scenes from either medium that inspired the artist, Rob Miller, to use it as the base for his work. The image, distinguished on his page as being in Topeka, Kansas, is one of the many disorienting, nostalgia-infused images that make up the oeuvre of the artist. Miller, 30, blends themes from across mediums using 35mm prints. “There is surprisingly a market for them on eBay — old, personal family photos that somehow end up in auctions,” says Miller. “It's like this weird look into the past — most of these slides have probably not been seen by anyone in decades. And they probably haven't been seen by anyone except for the families that took them. It's a really wild feeling, feeling like you have this unique look directly into the past.” The antiquated lifestyle shown in Miller’s collages connects that of the current day, however, the chaotic images incorporated by the artists offer a critique into the angst and confusion going on today. Miller uses these prints as the basis for his artwork, editing them to enhance the intended effect. The subjects depicted are often posing or going about their business, unaware of the supernova which has replaced their sun, or the flying saucer burning a hole in the sky - perhaps a comment on the saturation of the unusual which pervades our culture via the media. Little nods like these - reminiscent of the jabs author Thomas Pynchon makes in his novels, are the result of the artist’s spontaneity when creating the collages. Oddly enough, Miller incorporated the ideas of novels - particularly from post modern authors like Pynchon, Don DeLillo, and Kurt Vonnegut to inform the atmosphere of each work. “I kind of see my job as the artist to juxtapose and manipulate them into some kind of alternate-reality that sits in both the past and the present,” Miller says. “American history is largely glamorized in our country and a lot of the images I use are kind of like ‘idealistic’ American life - families, houses, vacations. But we all know and sense a deep, dark undercurrent in our culture, and I think I try to express that angst by pairing the ideal with the dystopian.” Miller is a Pittsburgh native and graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, is Pynchonian himself, often opting to work solo rather than collaborate and declining commissions for his work. “I have had a bunch of people reach out over the years for me to do an album cover for them, but I usually just ignore the request. It's mostly because my work is a thing that I just do alone for myself and it's hard for me to feel confident in trying to produce something for someone else. I would much prefer that people just license my work than have me make something custom for them.” The most notable (and only) exception being his cover artwork for singer-songwriter Jocelyn Alice’s 2019 album “How Dare You.” 4
A lifelong art lover and creator, he embarked on his career eight years ago, eventually posting his work on Instagram after a warm reception from friends and family. His page (@robcmillercollage) is a popular stop for vintage connoisseurs, with over 4,000 followers.. As his following continues to grow, Miller hopes to make his passion a self sustaining, full-time gig. “In my head I guess I have this vague notion that if I keep doing my work long enough and continue to do it passionately,” says Miller. “Making a living from it will naturally figure itself out. It is a long-term goal to at some point be able to, but I have no specific plan on how to make that happen.” If one word could summarize the opus of visual artists of Rob Miller, it would be “pastiche.” Each photo explicitly pays homage to a certain era of Americana; saturated with references to literary and musical genres. The scenes depicted in these are creative regurgitation of popular motifs and styles, but blended together and arranged to create something completely new. His image “The Adventures of Johnny Justice Vol.4” is defined by a large gunslinger from the Wild West, the bullet barely out of the barrel of his gun, as he stands over a courthouse with an enlarged image of the moon looming in the background. It's as if Miller melted down the best parts of films like “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” and “LA Confidential” and put them on a film poster from the ‘60s. The moon is deeply reminiscent of the cover of blues guitarist Mighty Joe Young’s eponymous 1976 album. Right about now, there is a tremendous urge to think back to the good ol’ days - particularly to a time when most of the globe wasn’t on lockdown and the population wasn’t drastically dropping with each passing day. Back when times were simpler and when technology did what we needed instead of what we wanted. It may not seem like it, but as technology becomes more sophisticated, we depend more on it and we can see our lack of control over the evolving state of society through these advances in the chaotic landscape of Miller’s collages. While there are so many things going on at once, we overlook what is important: people. People at the center of each picture are the definition of mundane, going about the business of their daily lives without noticing what’s going on around them. They are the only tether to reality in a scene that could be defined as the exact opposite of real. Miller perhaps suggests that we as people should wake up and question the “normalcy” of our surroundings, since they may be stranger than we think.
KEEP FLYING: By Steven Keehner The first time I had heard of Keep Flying was at a Real Friends gig earlier this year. While waiting outside the Amityville Music Hall, some guy approached me. I later found out that this was Chuck Bernard, the bassist for the band. He said to me, “Hey Birdman, nice shirt. Can you do me a favor?” He was speaking about my Philadelphia Eagles shirt, which took me way too long to realize that I was wearing. The favor involved us doing the Eagles-arm-flap-thing on video. Being a massive Philly fan, I did it. Before I had even heard the band, I was already on their Instagram account. But then I did get to hear them play.
I can’t quite explain what happened an hour later when they opened the show, but I fucking loved it. It was loud, spontaneous, and fun. I knew I would remember that night for a long time. Between the variety of the band members themselves to their combination of brass and pop punk, I’ve been obsessed ever since.
YOUR NEW FAVORITE BAND Defiantly optimistic yet brutally honest, KF’s music is unapologetic to themselves. While this might mean asking the questions no one wants to ask:
One of these personalities, John James Ryan, who serves as not only the saxophonist for the band, but as their tour manager too, offered me the chance to “Can you give me a cogent reason why I gravitate speak with him on the current state of Keep Flying to things that no one likes? amidst the rest of the world. And do I really want to be this way? No.” “As far as we go, you know the band is based in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, so we The band also can reflect on the most beautiful are in the heart of this. I’ve been working on the feelings, like being in love: KF timeline to be ready to adjust it to whenever we think we’ll be allowed to get our asses back out “Life is the monster. there. The guys love to squad up and play Fortnite. It leaves me weak at the knees. I’ve been re-watching LOST this time with my I feel like I’m blind and there’s no good to be seen mother. Though we are stunted from this current But when I see you smile it gives me a reason to situation, we are busy getting ready to just commit breathe.” to dumping a bunch of content out.” But to reemphasize, this band is not just a The young band’s discography, which can be collaboration of great lyrical efforts — the music is knocked out in about an hour, is addicting; but brilliant too. Full of life and energy, it’s a sound what makes the band most brilliant may lie in the that makes you want to move in all the right ways. lyrical work of lead singer, Henry Menzel. Combine all of this with the seemingly nicest group of people and you have a winning formula. While one may gloss over Menzel’s lyrics during their first listen, it’s important to note how much Being on the road constantly (COVID-19 they complement the music and vice versa. pandemic aside), Keep Flying is a textbook 6
example of D.I.Y. ethics in music today. While their performances are currently on pause, Ryan ensured that their hard work hasn’t stopped, “I’m looking at photos and video clips from the last run, just waiting to hit it again. I’ve been rehearsing the new EP and jumping around just to loosen up. We will try more live streams with the band to get some familiarity. I’m ready to book some shows the second we know it’s safe, and you know we will.” While many can claim that constant work stifles creativity, this hasn’t been a factor for KF, as seen by their excellently named, Keep Flying Cinematic Universe (KFCU). Taking place throughout three of their music videos, “Candy Cane Forest,” “High Cholesterol,” and recently, “Bargaining,” the stories not only tie into the music itself, but add just another layer to a band that has an endless amount of creativity. Luckily for fans, Ryan confirmed a continuation of the KFCU moving forward. On that note, it’s impossible to speak about Keep Flying without mentioning their insanely passionate fanbase. “We spend a lot of time with the people who love our music because it feels extra welcoming. All the band members have had previous bands that have done the punk rock thing, and we started this band with a genuine sense of hope for what was to come. The name of the band speaks for itself, and we uphold that as much as possible.” As later explained by Ryan, this connects to the greater idea of what it means to “keep flying.” To him, it’s a lifestyle; something that, despite our difficult days, needs to be remembered. “I’ll be honest, when Keep Flying started, it straight up saved my life. It brought me right to where I needed to be. And now we are here. Anytime someone comes up after a set and says how badly they needed it, I am reminded of how badly I also needed it. Every night. Keep Flying to me is therapy. It heals me.”
any punk band, I should add, but one with brass. “Honestly, I think we all have a bit of pent up energy built inside us. Not just us, but all humans. Our band is a group of people that have that same psychotic energy. I know when I see my guys rocking hard, I just want to rock even harder. And when the crowd is feeding it back, it just refuels the tank.” Keep Flying still has their eyes set on what’s ahead — this includes the upcoming release of their next EP. Ryan has high expectations for the new music, “It has the best lyrics Henry has come up with and the best horn lines I’ve ever hatched in my career. The songs span a wide range and we are eager to get this rolled out to everyone.” Even though the coronavirus has delayed the process, it’s expected to drop within the year. But as mentioned before, what makes Keep Flying so amazing is how genuine they are. Four months after discovering this, I attended the release show for their new “Unbreakable” EP at the Amityville Music Hall (again).
After watching them perform, I walked up to Chuck Bernard as he put away his bass, to thank him for the great show. Before I even got the chance to speak, he looked up at me and happily shouted:
The humor in all of this lies with their stage presence. Despite their complex and thorough “Birdman!” reflections of life, this is still a punk band. Not just 7
took on many transformations. By Super Jack
Skinny Pelembe is possibly the best new artist right now. With a sound that combines elements of post-punk, indie rock, afrobeat, dance, trip-hop, hip hop, dub reggae, and electronica, it makes an exciting new area of music special to him and only him. Therefore, I was incredibly excited to sit down and talk to Pelembe over the phone about his debut album, "Dreaming Is Dead Now," which came out late last year. Growing up in the United Kingdom, his family played a huge role in not only shaping his diverse sound but also his stage name. "My older brothers were break dancers, and the music that came with that was one thing that impacted me. My dad was mad into the country, like Johnny Cash and stuff. I was the middle child and I've always been a bit of a people pleaser, so I kinda wanted to do something that my brothers would like and also what was 'proper,' that my dad would be into.â€? â€œPelembe is my family's name, and I used to be underweight. My cousins used to tease me and call me 'Skinny Pelembe' and this is my way of getting them back. Now they can't find themselves on google without my face popping up right in front." Pelembe worked on his debut album, "Dreaming Is Dead Now," over a two-year span and the songs 8
he chopped up live. Stripping the song of its female-sung hook, "A lot of these songs started off as Pelembe instead sang the hook himself, all while playing multiple hip hop beats or drum and bass I guitar parts that he overdubbed used to make. And then when I developed my own musical voice over one another and still chopping up the samples on his NPC. It's an and character, the older ideas started happening with the newer amazing performance done skillfully by a young master at ideas in the same place. I got the work. He then followed this new old band to come into the studio exposure by releasing another and jam over that. Unfortunately single from his record, "My Love, for them, I only ended up kinda using them for only one percent of Is Burning Down." Only it wasn't the album version, it was yet again the record, like a snare or a kick here and there. The rest is just me. another alternate version. It even There's a lot of Chloe Beth Smith came with a slightly tweaked on it as well, who plays keys in the name, "My Love Is Burning, Up." band now. She plays with Bryan Ferry and strings arrangements and "Sometimes, I'm just kinda making other stuff. She added quite a lot to stuff and there's a nice texture in the album." the outro or the intro, and I feel like I'd be wasting it if I didn't use "I'll Be On Your Mind" is the song that little section. I feel like all the that got Pelembe into the spotlight tracks have a companion track, or a part two. For that one, though, after his appearance on the the label asked me to do a vocal YouTube show "COLORS," a music program that specializes in version. And it took a while, that one. It is one of my favorites, but it showcasing new artists against a isn't. I finished the track the day painted color wall. before mixing, super last minute. It was a surprise. It worked out nice." "I don't know how that really happened. They emailed the very Pelembe is very busy right now, last minute. We had a week to working on his second album. figure something out. I felt like I didn't really belong in that world with so many people who are "I've been working with a lot of amazing like Sampa the Great, orchestral musicians. I wouldn't who killed it. It's more R&B, rap wanna say that it's gonna be a orientated. I felt like a nerd going 'strings' record, but I wanna say it to a cool party. Everyone was will sound closer to the original telling me to sing over the track as 'Jungle Book' soundtrack. All the everyone else does, but that's not music in that is fucking amazing, me! I'm not even a proper singer! I even the silly music. The 'Trust in figured it out with the NPC and it Me' thing, I feel like I try to copy it was fun; a really cool experience. in every single thing I do. I can't After doing it, I felt a little bit get over the music in that film. more validated." Hopefully, it will sound like the 1967 'Jungle Book' soundtrack." On "COLORS," he performed a different version of the song. Using his suave and vampiric voice to deliver the almost rap type vocal over samples and drums that @thatpunkzine
A (VERY BRIEF) Q&A WITH JAKE OF... Based out of Charlotte, North Carolina, the young trio recently released their debut EP, “It’s Not Forever” to great approval from the emo scene. If you haven’t heard of Jail Socks before, you’re welcome ahead of time., because they’re amazing.
Steven: How have all of you been? Assuming you’re trapped in your living spaces too, what are you all doing for fun?
from many within the emo/indie community. I’d assume that you expected it to do well, but how has it felt to see so much praise for the EP?
Jake: Good! We’re all holding up okay. We’re mostly just playing video games and thinking about our plans after all of this is over! We plan to spend a good chunk of this time working on our next release.
We actually didn’t expect it to do well! We just put out the music that we wanted to hear! We’re constantly overwhelmed to learn that others enjoy it as well.
What are your favorite video games right now? We used to play a ton of Apex Legends together, but we don’t play it much at all anymore. Right now Aidan is going through the entire Xbox Game Pass and just finished the Wolfenstein games. Also, they’re playing so much Farming Simulator haha.
Despite the band’s relatively small discography, each song seems to be thorough and thought out in every regard. What’s the creative process like for Jail Socks? Every song starts with a riff/riffs that Aidan has come up with, and we all work out the rest of the song together! Aidan has a shed in their backyard, so we just lock ourselves in it together and try to make something that’s fun for us.
Aidan and Colman are also playing a bunch of Modern Warfare: Warzone together with some of What are the plans for the band postour friends at home. I have mostly been playing coronavirus? Rainbow Six Siege on PC as well as Minecraft with my partner and some friends I have in New York! Our plans are to tour as much as we can! In August we’ll be recording our first LP and we’re going to For people who have never listened to Jail Socks tour off of that! previously, how would you “sell” the band to them? Is there any chance you would perform on Long Island if you all come to the northeast? (I'm just I can make you rich! asking for a friend, I promise!) Is there a story behind the name "Jail Socks?" Aidan got arrested for stealing pool noodles wearing their favorite pair of socks. “It’s Not Forever” has been heavily approved 9
Hahahaha, tell your “friend” that we’ll do our best to get up there as soon as we can! We were supposed to play Brooklyn real soon, but that got canceled because of the state of the world right now. Any updates we have on touring will be posted on Twitter and Instagram! @thatpunkzine
THAT PUNK ART:
Jen created Crowsock specifically to complement the content of issue two. While it’s easy to question what exactly it was that inspired the crow and sock, the explanation is not that complicated after all. “It’s a shoutout to Keep Flying (the crow) and Jail Socks (the sock),” she said. “I figured [Steven] would catch on sooner rather than later.” Steven did not.
Crowsock By Jennifer Velasquez
spending the past few weeks pushing Sewing face masks doesn’t take as out as many masks and shields as long as it does to print them and they she can. can be made by hand or with a sewing machine. Putnam Valley High School’s Make Model files for 3D face masks and a Difference Club and tech department are working with Steele shields and sewing patterns for face masks can be downloaded for free. to, well, make a difference. After Steele urges all participants to wear sending around her flyer and spreading the word on Westchester’s gloves and masks while they sew or print. NEWS 12 on March 24, about 15 people reached out to her to lend a “If you have time at home, which a hand. lot of us have, you can make a Massachusetts General Hospital was difference with this in so many the first place to receive a mask and ways, whether it’s just spreading the By Francesca Simone shield donation from Steele and her word, sewing the masks, 3D-printing “We are at war with no ammo,” as a army. They sent 30 masks in the first the masks, or just talking about it. So batch and 40 in the second. Later, many hospitals are willing to take surgeon from Fresno, California hospitals in Putnam and Westchester what we offer, even if they just put it described it. County received mask and shield in storage, it makes them feel so Alliyah Steele is a national program donations. much more comfortable doing their co-director for ThinkSTEAM 4 job when they know that they have The masks they’re making will be Girls, co-president of her school’s something that they can protect used not only for health/medical Make a Difference Club, and she themselves with.” also has involvement with the Mercy personnel, but for waiting room occupants, custodial staff, and other Throughout all parts of the world, College Center for STEM non-medical workers too. many groups of people have Education. In response to the high gathered together to mass-produce demand for personal protective medical equipment in hospitals and “There are a lot of essential workers masks and shields for those in need. right now that need them, so I have Like Steele, they are determined to healthcare facilities, Steele created about 10 ready for the post office spread awareness and involve as an initiative. workers and I think other essential many people as they can to help workers such as grocery store staff create a widespread sense of comfort Her first order of business was to and the sanitation department would during this pandemic. They hope recruit civilians that might roll up also enjoy our masks and shields. that all this hard work will aid in their sleeves and either sew or 3DIt’s especially important now that returning normalcy to the world print face masks and shields. She there are CDC and governmental once again. sent out a flyer, including step-byrecommendations for all essential step instructions for printing and Contact Alliyah to help make a difference: workers to wear masks.” sewing them. It even lists contact and shipping information for when firstname.lastname@example.org. they are ready to donate. Steele has a Printing a single 3D face mask or 3D-printer of her own and has been shield can take up to two hours. #HackThePandemic
‘AT WAR WITH NO AMMO’
LOCAL GROUPS TO DONATE TO: •
Astoria Mutual Aid Network
Capital District of NY Mutual Aid Network
We Keep Us Safe
Buffalo Mutual Aid Network
For the Gworls
Red Hook Mutual Aid
Abolitionist Mutual Aid Fund for Incarcerated Comrades
Friends of Westcott Mutual Aid Group
NYC United Against the Coronavirus
NYC Mutual Aid Network
Nail Salon Worker Resilience Fund
FRANKI’S ISSUELY PIECE OF HELPFUL AND NECESSARY ADVICE:
“Lend a hand to those in need. Just don’t actually touch anyone. And don’t leave your house. Please.” -Francesca Simone, 2020 @thatpunkzine
Super Jack Presents:
Coming Soon May 8