Wednesday, July 10, 2013

ZINE REVIEW: Under the Radar

Olivier Mattson [Pioneers Press]

Now here’s an occupation I’ve given zero thought to previously: Mushroom Picker. I think I would prefer the job title of Fungus Finder or maybe Shroom Wrangler, personally. The point is this: someone is out there picking those wild mushrooms. I went morel hunting once as a kid, out there in the sticks of rural NW Illinois where I grew up. We started in the very early morning, but not too early for my much older cousin, Dickie, to crack a beer. It was fairly exciting, kinda like Easter egg hunting but harder, and nothing tastes like a breaded and fried morel. Even though they look pretty gnarly, you never forget the taste. That was a purely recreational pursuit, however, and many Mushroom Pickers rely on the picking season to support themselves year round.

Under the Radar was written by picker, Olivier Matthon, and it chronicles his time perusing the forests of the Pacific Northwest in search of edible shrooms and a hard-earned buck. (These aren't psychedelic mushrooms, btw, but the kind chefs and restauranteurs will pay good coin for).  Olivier has held a variety of jobs on the outer edges of the workforce and mushroom picker is right at home on his résumé with his other occupations as cherry picker, tree planter, clam digger and firewood hawker. 

Under the Radar alludes both to the hunted fungi that lay half hidden in the undergrowth, but it also refers to the fringe dwelling hunter. Mushroom Pickers exist off the grid and that makes them outsiders and a part of an underground economy and society of nomads. In addition to the sketchy financial rewards of pickers, there are dangers as well. Sometimes I suppose you might find yourself on the wrong side of a fence, and don't forget the marijuana growers. Where there's drugs, there's money and thugs with guns to protect them both. Also, as with many industries, there is an immigrant class who will pick for cheaper and who lack the experience and the reserve to leave the younger mushrooms alone until they can grow into a more valuable future crop.

All in all it’s a hard way to make a buck, but it seems to be about more than money for the pickers. You don’t become a mushroom picker to get rich. It’s more likely you’re already living off the land and by your wits, and this kind of work suits the type of person who doesn’t want to be tied down to one job or one place, for whatever reason. This makes Under the Radar a very engaging read if you're into subcultures as zine writers and readers often areChris Auman

Sunday, July 07, 2013


In 1994, O.J. Mania was sweeping the nation. The World Cup was in the States and kids were just discovering how to pierce and tattoo the crap out of their bodies and attended music festivals with silly names like Lollapalooza and Woodstock. 

It's all bullshit, of course. Don't believe any of it.

From RW#3:


It seems like the Reglar Wiglar is all you hear about these days. People in the clubs, on the street, even on the subway trains, are all talking about the-Reglar Wiglar. They're saying it's thee hippest, coolest, cutting edgiest, most alternative, grungy-type magazine around. Truth be told, we here at Wiglar HQ are a little embarrassed by all the attention, but that's not going to stop us from continuing to bring you the kind of hardcore journalism, in-depth record and film reviews, insightful editorials, and of plenty of what has become known around town as the "Wiglar interview", considered to be quite a prestigious honor among several local artists and at -least one musician.

As for the Reglar Wiglar Benefit and Second Issue Celebration Party at the China Club... none of you showed. To those on the Reglar Wiglar mailing list, hey, my fault. I think I may have put the wrong date on the invitations. I thought for sure they were RSVP, which would have saved me one helluva headache, but I guess we do operate in a PDZ (Postal Danger Zone) according to that recent postal probe they did, which would also explain why I haven't gotten a Hustler in months. The party, had anyone shown up, would've been a good time. There were many local celebs there, which weren't cheap, and for legal reasons we can't mention their names, because under their current contracts, we can't use them as an endorsement for a magazine whose benefit party was not attended by one member of the general public—except my cousin Dave was there.

We were also planning on running a photo essay of the whole sordid affair but we couldn't afford to pay the photographer twenty bucks an hour, plus film and developing costs, to snap photos of celebs mixing it up with absolutely nobody, except my fucking cousin Dave, who most of the local celebs found to be absolutely repulsive to at least three of the five sense.

Fuck it, these things happen and I just want all of you to know that I hold nothing against any of you people who agreed to be on our mailing list. Even if you purposely didn't show up just to snub me and The Reglar Wiglar and to cost us piles of money that we could have used to cover the production costs we were trying to cover by having the benefit party in the goddamn first place! Get it? Benefit? Worthwhile cause? Hello? Are your brains turned on? Do you spend all your money on Fugazi CDs?

I am not bitter, nor am I spiteful, nor do I believe in that eye for an eye, pound of flesh mumbly jumbly. I simply hate all of you.

Anyway, we got some new shit in this here Reglar Wiglar. Underground writer and poet, C.F. Buchanan has agreed, posthumously, to let us reprint some of his provocative and relevant works of fiction, and a poem or two, in our new literary supplement, "Rain Drops". We have an interview with the reigning Queen of Rock, Annie Baldwell, conducted by the always intriguing Jayne Wayne. There's a new record review section focusing on local talent and we also have the first installment of Joey Germ's most recent artistic foray. The rest is pretty much the same old bullshit for you nostalgia buffs so enjoy it 'cause ain't none of us gonna be around forever.


--Chris Auman

Thursday, July 04, 2013


The cover to RW#2 was pretty simple. Kinda riffed on some of the Chicago buzz bands of the day. Ha ha. Did anybody care? Probably not.


Not sure what the impetus was for this parody of a white boy rap group, but here it is nonetheless. Please, try to enjoy it. Btw: I'm not gonna be proofin' these things for typos and shit. Not worth it.


Interviewed by T. BONE

Published in RW#4, 1994

The latest rap sensation to hit the nation in recent months has been two white boys from Rockford, Illinois: White Bred and Honky MC. Their fusion of really annoying, nasally raps and overdone sampling has rocketed their debut record, Chilin' in the Hood, to a number eighty-seven spot on the local radio charts. How this happened we'll never know, but here they are, White Bred and Honky MC. 

Reglar Wiglar: So where you cats from?

White Bred: Yo holmes, we from the hoods of Rockford I. L., bro.

RW: Straight up?

Honky MC: Boo-yah!

WB: Word.

RW: They got crazy hoods in Rockford?

WB: Straight up, fucked up hoods, dog. Mutha'fucka's be crazy out in Rock Town.

MC: Yeah, but we got to give props to the burg though, it's where we're comin' from, right?

RW: So how do you guys cope with people who say that you guys are rippin' off black 
rappers and that your style is completely wack and that you try to portray yourselves as gangsta' homeboys from the hood and—

MC: Shit man, people always be trippin' on that, right? We grew up in the hood, man, with the brothers. Me and White Bred, we down with the brothers, bro. We grew up in the hood, man, and it was crazy.

MC: Straight up, dog. It's crazy in the hood.

WB:: Stone cold crazy.

MC: Yeah, me and White Bred, we be trippin' all the time.

WB: Steady trippin, jack.

MC: And as for all that bullshit about us rippin' off other rappers, that's messed up. What's the difference if we sample other samples? They're both samples right? Why not cut out the middle man, you know? You got a James Brown sample on a rap record, right? You wanna use it on your own record. Why sample James when you can just use the sample that's already there? It makes sense right?

WB: I look at it this way, someone builds a house, right. So live in it, don't go and build another house just to say you built it yourself. If we all built our own houses, man, there'd be no more room left on this rock.

RW: Controversy seems to follow you guys around wherever you go, latest thing is all about how you guys are always dissin' homosexuals.

MC: Shit, ain't that a trip, man. We don't be dissin' people that are homos man. Peoples be peoples, right? All's we sayin' is it ain't natural and God ain't down wit' it, right?

WB: Right, you wanna pop that ass, hey, that's your trip, but bein' a fag ain't cool. That's our message to the kids and there ain't nuthin' wrong with it.

RW: What about the misogynist personae you project, what's up with that?

WB: Yo, I'm not sure what that word means but I've heard it enough to know what you askin', right? It's like this; a ho be a ho and a bitch be a bitch and visa versa. Not all hos is bitches either 'cause you know I respect sisters of all races, creeds and bootys, but like I'm the man, you know? I say what's up in my relationships with females of the opposite sex. But that's not say that you gotta do it that way. There's a lot of sissy men out there lettin' their woman drag 'em around by the balls, but that ain't me. I'm the man, and I encourage all my homies to be the man. That's just our message to the kids, you know?

RW: And what about your sexual bravado.

MC: I'm an artist whether I'm on the microphone or I'm on my girl. I'm a pro when it comes to hittin' that thang, and my ladies respect that. They know what they got and they don't trip. Havin' the tool and knowin' how to use it, that keeps your ladies in line.

WB: That and an occasional slap upside the head.

MC: Word.

RW: I also heard a rumor about a video you guys shot for a local cable access show out there in Rockford that got itself banned. What's up with that?

MC: Awww man, it was straight up bullshit. Me and my homies, we were chillin' on the stoop one day tippin' forties when this idea came to me to make a video featuring all these fly ladies in thong bathing suits dancing around a pool while me and White Bred did our rap thang. You know, they'd be hangin' all over us and we'd be in our bikini briefs with our packages bustin? out 'n'shit. But that station pulled the video after one showing.

WB: Total Hammer thing, man. Turns out our rigs are too big to be shown on TV, man. Ain't that a bitch? The God Almighty blesses me and my boy Honky here with full baskets and we can't even display them in an artistic way. Fuck, ain't that what the Fifth Amendment is all about?

RW: About the size of your unit?

WB: Yeah, isn't that what Frank Zappa was fightin' Tipper Gore about back in the day?

RW: No it wasn't. Anyway, speaking of TV, you guys did a "Just Say No" commercial that aired on local stations. Despite your repeated and much publicized "run ins" with the police over drug related incidents, do you still endorse that "Just Say No" stance?

MC: Well, doin' public service commercials is always a good way to get out of doin' real time in the joint, but it's like this, I gotta chill with my homies. If that means tippin' back forties and smokin' blunts then hey, that's just what we do, but we don't fuck around with crack or blow. Fuck that.

WB: Unless it's offered by a homey. You can't turn down a pipe offered in good faith from a homeboy.

MC: Straight up, but we never buy that shit. Fuck that. 

WB: Yeah, motherfuck that.

MC: And beside all that, just for the record, all those drug convictions, we was railroaded by the man on every charge. The authorities ain't down with boyz from the hood.

MC: Yeah and God ain't really down with the whole drug thing neither.

WB: Yeah, Jesus is the ultimate homeboy.

MC: Word.

RW: All right, it's been a trip talkin' to ya'll, maybe not a good one, but a trip nonetheless.

MC: All right brother, peace.

RW: Yeah, peace. I'm out.