Chainsaw Fanzine - A Brief History 1977-1984

Chainsaw Fanzine was started up in Croydon, in the middle of the 1977 punk boom - and continued until its fourteenth issue, in December 1984. It started out as a "Sniffin' Glue" and "Ripped And Torn" clone, but quickly developed its own distinctive style, by concentrating on (then) totally unknown bands and featuring seriously sick cartoons, articles and newspaper cuttings.

Most issues of Chainsaw were typed on a typewriter with a missing "N" key. The missing "N" was filled in by hand - a laborious process!

The fanzine was written by Croydon punk Charlie Chainsaw - aided in a few issues by Kid Charlemagne (aka Hugh David - where the hell are you now, Hugh??) and cartoonists Willie D. and Michael J. Weller. Willie D. is now rather famous under his real name (which I shall not divulge), and Mike Weller is also well known for his work for Oz (including the notorious Schoolkids Oz) and Cozmic Comics in the early 1970's. Mike also designed two spectacular covers for Chainsaw.

Chainsaw came out on a totally irregular basis - because of lack of money more than anything else. There are gaps of almost two years between some issues. If there was more money around, that missing N on that typewriter might have got fixed (seriously!)

The later issues actually sold enough copies to justify enclosing a free flexidisc with every issue. Chainsaw became the first fanzine to include a flexidisc with each issue - and generally speaking, every band that was interviewed had a track on the flexi.

Editor Charlie Chainsaw is still very active in the London punk scene - running Wrench Records label and mailorder since 1988, and has been in Rancid Hell Spawn from 1988 to the present day.

Michael J. Weller is still drawing comics - and in 1996 published "Michael's Collected Chainsaw Cartoons", a 40-page comic containing every MJ Weller cartoon that ever appeared in Chainsaw.

If anyone finds this web page in an internet search and wants to get a message through to Charlie Chainsaw or Mike Weller - send an email to Wrench Records at mail@wrench.org.

  ISSUE 1 - JULY 1977. The first issue! Only 200 printed, and apart from the cover and two pages in the middle, printed on a clapped-out old Gestetner duplicator. The mag could be better, but it's a bit of history I suppose! No interviews - but has a review of a Jam gig in Croydon.
  ISSUE 2 - SEPTEMBER 1977. Interviews with two of the best bands of the era - Wire and Johnny Moped. Both interviews were done in the best punk venue in Croydon at the time - the back room of the Red Deer.
  ISSUE 3 - NOVEMBER 1977. Shagging pigs on the front cover, and an interview with the Lurkers. What more could anyone want!
  ISSUE 4 - JANUARY 1978. Interviews with Rat Scabies and the Unwanted; reviews of the Doll, Lurkers, Pork Dukes and Wire.
  ISSUE 5 - MARCH 1978. Interview with the Users. The cover pic shows an extremely stoned Users in a room plastered all over with IRA posters (don't ask why! I don't know!)
  ISSUE 6 - JUNE 1978. The first issue with a colour cover! Interviews with the Skids and the Clash, reviews of Buzzcocks, Generation X and Woodentops.
  ISSUE 7 - OCTOBER 1978. The issue that almost didn't happen! Near-bankrupted by the colour cover of issue 6, and then banned by Croydon's cheapest photocopy shop, it was eventually published with a blank front page and a microscopic print run.
  ISSUE 8 - JULY 1979. Another low-budget issue bashed out on an old Gestetner (apart from the cover). Interviews with Patrik Fitzgerald and Dave Goodman.
  ISSUE 9 - OCTOBER 1979. The first issue where Chainsaw deliberately attempted to concentrate on the unknown (but good) punk bands of the time. This issue is the turn of the Acidicx and the Magazine Spies. Magazine Spies are better known by the former name Lockjaw, who released two singles on Raw Records.
  ISSUE 10 - AUGUST 1980. Interviews with Au Pairs and Disque Attack, and the first MJ Weller cartoon to appear in Chainsaw. If you have never heard of Disque Attack, bear it in mind that singer Quentin Cook is now better known as Norman Cook, aka Fatboy Slim. This issue therefore probably contains the first-ever Fatboy Slim interview, and as a result, this issue is as rare as rocking-horse shit. And if you don't believe me, check out the cover - it features a youthful Fatboy Slim!
  ISSUE 11 - FEBRUARY 1981. Spectacular Mike Weller cartoon cover. SPK and Blurt interviews inside, together with two MJ Weller cartoons "War Blummies" and "The Dinner Party".
  ISSUE 12 - SEPTEMBER 1981. The first issue to include a flexidisc. The pioneering bands on this flexidisc are Tronics, Instant Automatons and the Dancing Did. Now listed as a rarity (because of the flexidisc!) in the Record Collector's "Rare Record Price Guide".
  ISSUE 13 - JULY 1983. This issue appeared to everyone's surprise - 22 months after the previous issue. By far the most tasteless issue of Chainsaw! Thanks to a 1920's medical book found in Portobello Road market, the interviews and reviews are interspersed with photos of fistulas, rectal examinations and the like. Includes three Mike Weller cartoons as well as interviews with Butcher and Riot Squad (the South African Riot Squad, that is) with a flexi featuring both bands.
  ISSUE 14 -DECEMBER 1984. The last issue - featuring a 5-colour Mike Weller cover. This issue concentrated on the then-amazing European hardcore scene, and featured interviews with Dutch bands B.G.K. and Mornington Crescent. Included a double-sided flexi with tracks by B.G.K., Mornington Crescent and Butcher.

And remember...

I do a mag called Chainsaw,
It's got a lot of class,
If you don't like the mag
You can stuff it up your arse!