Chips & Beer Magazine
Issue #1 (Book Review)
Released: 2011, Indie
It seems that Metal websites have virtually replaced print Metal magazines and indie blogs have virtually replaced fanzines. Being a part of the era that grew up reading magazines and fanzines I've watched the evolution of how Metal fans transmit and receive information; from print to digital, from paper to screens. No one is better than the other, just different. However the current trend is digital. Its faster cheaper and easier to distribute quickly. That why I'm always impressed by fans that go against the grain and actually create a print publication. CHIPS AND BEER is a brand new Metal magazine (not fanzine) and this month I've written a review of the first couple of issues.
The key distinction between a simple fanzine and a magazine is twofold. Magazines have distribution, a bar code and secondly often have a commercial backer. Fanzines tend to be self-financed and independent. It's seems that CHIPS AND BEER straddles both worlds perfectly, it's a professionally produced magazine but with the underground spirit of a fanzine. I'm not a global expert but this might be the first new Metal magazine to come into circulation in years. In recent years many Metal magazines have actually folded so in my estimation it takes a big balls of steel to start a magazine in this economic climate.
The debut is a monster at almost 100 pages with a glossy cover. It’s b&w on newsprint in a standard magazine size. Looks good, feels good. I'm not completely sold on the name for a Metal magazine. Beer, fine. A+ for mentioning beer. Chips? I'm more of a pretzel guy myself. I would have preferred a more 'metal' name for the magazine, You know, something with the terms 'Savage' or...'Steel' or... maybe 'Sword' . CHIPS AND BEER doesn't scream 'METAL!!'. It's more like a low-brow version of Home and Garden or Car and Driver. At least the name is original and you won't get it confused with the tattered back issues of The Savage Sword of Conan you have lying around your man-cave.
OK, OK, what is actually in this thing? (These freakin’ reviews get so long before ya get to the good stuff.) Well, for starters it has a topless centerfold getting her heart ripped out by a metal dude ala Slayer promo photos from 1983. Seriously, topless chicks is worth the price of admission alone. Well, with all the free porn on the 'net maybe not, but it shows that these guys are not about being some bland, corporate rag that regurgitates hype-laden, record label press-releases. The whole issue just oozes the Metal. Issue #1 reminds me of a more serious, less manic version of CHROMIUM DIOXIDE in that it is a magazine by adults for adults who enjoy horror, fantasy, Sci-fi, art and all the good things from the darker side of life. It's not just about shock value, the aforementioned centerfold ties in with an excellent article/interview with horror maestro, Death Metal album cover artist, Matt Carr (aka Putrid).
The major highlights are an epic feature (17 pages long!) on Manilla Road. I’ve never been a huge Manilla Road guy, I only have about four or five of their albums so I found it very fascinating. You’ve got comics, interviews with authors, artists and of course musicians and bands such as Christian Mistress, Vanhelgd and Negative Plane. There are about 30 album reviews, some of them long and detailed, some of them short and caustic. Visually the mag is very cool. It’s loaded with little cartoons, ads from the underground labels and lots of photos.
CHIPS AND BEER straddles the fine line between fanzine and magazine with ease and flair. Its good quality, good value and most importantly a good read so if you buy any Metal magazines anymore add CHIPS AND BEER to your 'must buy' list. And in 10 years when issue #100 is out (full color, on glossy paper with lots of beer ads) and # 1 is worth a fortune on E-Bay, you can be one of the cool kids. You can hold up this issue and proudly declare that you were there in the beginning, and if you are an elitist you can add..."back when it was cool before they sold out"!