Damage: An Inventory, “the magazine that’s not for everybody.”

by Arthur on Tuesday, December 7, 2010

in Punk

Damage. No. 1 (July 1979) through no. 12/13 (June 1981) (all published). [Title from masthead, Damage: An Inventory.]  San Francisco (Damaged Goods Co.) 1979-1981. [46316]

Issue number 4, January 1980.

Damage: An Inventory. Issue number 4, January 1980.

A pronounced regionalism prevailed in the American underground music scene of the late 1970s and early 1980s.  In California, the micro-climates of Los Angeles and San Francisco each nurtured a distinctive local take on punk rock. Local fanzines reflected this, with publications like Search & Destroy celebrating the eclecticism of the Bay Area while Slash Magazine spoke to the angular defiance of Melrose and Silverlake.  Brad Lapin’s Damage: An Inventory represented itself as a partisan of both communities, and furthermore, sought to connect West Coast punk to developments in Tokyo, Paris, London and elsewhere. The interest in other scenes was not in itself unusual for a punk fanzine, but Damage‘s coverage of the movement’s regional and cosmopolitan outposts was remarkable for a publication of its scope.  Issues regularly featured in-depth reports on developments in Japan, England and continental Europe, promoting a sense of connectedness to the global underground among its readers.

European Report

European Report

Damage also chronicled the minutia of punk and new wave happenings in Northern and Southern California through the eyes of local correspondents (among them later White Trash Debutante and Punk Globe editor Ginger Coyote.)

"Local Newz LA / Local Newz SF"

"Local Newz LA / Local Newz SF"

The Western Front Festivals of 1979 and 1980 sought to strengthen California’s connections to global punk and new wave movements. Its 1980 presentation drew dozens of obscure and well-known bands from the region as well as acts from New York, Canada, and the U.K. for 10 days of performances, films and openings at Bay Area venues. Damage co-sponsored the festivals and devoted special issues to each year’s events.

"Riot on the Western Front!"

"Riot on the Western Front!"

The magazine and its cohort participated in cultural events well beyond the club scene.  Notably, during the 1980 election cycle in San Francisco, Jello Biafra (lead singer of the Dead Kennedys) registered as a candidate and actively ran for Mayor of San Francisco. Lapin, Coyote, and staff writer Tony Rocco took part in the effort to promote his candidacy as  a popular media spectacle and satire of corrupt local politics.

Biafra 6591 Votes (3%) !!

Biafra 6591 Votes (3%) !!

"Time for New Wave Government!"

"Time for New Wave Government!"

In advance of San Francisco Zine Fest 2010, (in part organized by the excellent ‘zine dealer Matt Wobensmith of Göteblud), Lapin issued a statement about his work with Damage that eloquently encapsulates the magazine’s ethos, and its enduring interest for collectors and scholars of the punk era:

“While I trust that the magazine speaks for itself, both for good and ill, I suppose I could say by way of explanation that, beyond all the sex, drugs and rock’n’roll, that is, beyond the pure visceral FUN of punk and life in the underground, there were also deeply serious issues of politics, of social justice and, above all, of aesthetics that connected and inspired the many people involved in the Damage project. Because these concerns were particularly articulated in the scene as it existed in San Francisco three decades ago, Damage’s importance today, like that of the other zines, is as a kind of constant witness to an unique time, place and circumstance; one that spoke and one hopes still speaks to the immanent primacy of youthful idealism and to the notion that there is a deep and abiding value in a radical, even desperate rejection of the commonplace, the accepted, the normal.”

You can read his entire statement here, on Mondo X, The Brad Lapin Weblog.

Damage, issue nos. 12/13 (final double issue), cover detail.

Damage, issue nos. 12/13 (final double issue), cover detail.

F.A. Bernett is pleased to offer a scarce complete set of Damage in generally excellent condition.  Please contact us regarding price & availability. FAB Item I.D. # 46316.

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Thursday, December 9, 2010 at 2:53 PM

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 ron DiMichele Sunday, January 29, 2012 at 9:00 PM

Bill DiMichele, I would like to contact you. Please email me at rond108@yahoo.com. Thanks!

2 bill dimichele Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 5:16 PM

hop i can buy damaged mags here. thanks.

3 bill dimichele Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 5:16 PM

moved to s.f. in 1980 but only caught some damaged mags. i’d like to buy a bunch of them if possible. thanks.

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