( Questions 16 )
April 5th, 2009
1. a lot of our readers know you but how would you introduce yourself to our younger readers who never heard of you?
Hello my name is Hudley Flipside. I co-published the Los Angeles based punk rock Flipside Fanzine from 1979 to 1989. I was involved with the early Hollywood California Punk Rock Scene and hung out at underground clubs like the infamous Whisky A Go Go on Sunset Blvd., Club 88 and The Masque. I documented the local and the international hardcore punk rock scene of the 1980s. Flipside came out with a Fanzine, records and live band videos.
2. Would you like to tell us how you are living these days? You still live in LA area, Whittier?
I left Whittier a long time ago. I hear there is a cool scene there now. I now live in West Hills California. I come from the town of bands like Bad Religion and Jughead’s Revenge. I guess you can’t compare Los Angeles of the late 70’s to today’s 2012 LA anymore, but if you “must”, what are the main differences? 2012 is a mixture now of many types of bands and lots of clubs and bars and pubs to hang out at in Los Angeles and Orange County and beyond. There is a big nostalgia thing going on for the original punk bands. For me what unites all these fronts is a network of friends, friends that I have met on Facebook and MySpace, and friends that I have met at clubs and pubs. (Old and new) Recently I presented Flipside issue # 33, the Comic Relief Issue, at the Punk Museum in Los Angeles where living legends of the early scene mingled and viewed bands and enjoyed art and pictures galore.
3. What also changed since the seventies is technology, while I am not so sure if it really gets better…what you think?
What has changed the most via technology is communication. When we started Flipside it was via the post office mail and through distribution of our magazine. All correspondence was by mail or by the telephone, which we never answered much. We went from Xerox copies and stables to printers and commodore computers and HP Scanners. Taking photographs in the 70’s and 80’s was a lot more difficult. We developed all the photos in our dark room in our garage (sometimes in a room in the house, depending on where we lived). Then AL did his magic with many photographic specialties, before we ever laid it out for publication. It took two months to do the work on each issue. I don’t have to explain how easy it is to do this now… fuck!!! I love computers now and I love the WWW and I love Facebook. I see it as an evolution of communication and consciousness. Yet the paradox for me is this… how I can keep things simple, personal and unique too? I find I can do this when I go to clubs and pubs. I find this in the creative process… that is how I balance technology communication and the real world. I have always been a rather introverted person… then give me a few beers and I like to have some fun! Whatever the medium it is good ‘ta keep relationships burning in the punk scene.
4. Could you update us a little bit about Flipside? There is this wonderful homepage about the mag since a few years. Then there was this short-lived FS reunion in 2010, right, with 2 web-mag style pdfs which I liked very much, then it stooped? But you still organize gigs in Los Angeles?
Five years ago I started to go out again to see bands. I went to Mr. T’s Bowl in Highland Park, Los Angeles. I was thrilled to start hanging out with bands again. So many bands came through that inspired me as, The Black Widows, Carnage Asada, A Pretty Mess and Million Kids… to name a few, and in my new bubbling enthusiasm Joe Henderson and Ed Dawson, staff members from the old Flipside days, got together to have a Flipside reunion. It was pretty successful. I turned Joe on to Million Kids. I really liked this band a lot. Million Kids is Billy Cadwell’s band. So Joe, Billy and I came up with the idea to come out with a Flipside 2010. I admit they looked very good and they worked out very well with bands and music. At first I had the old ideals of how Flipside use to be run. We had a pretty tight ship and a very good integrity thing going. Yet, after working with Billy and Joe I found that they had a different agenda then I did. We stopped working tight as a team. I told them this. I felt that Billy and Joe were doing all sorts of things with the new Fanzine online and booking shows without even considering me, behind my back. I felt they were avoiding and using me for the Flipside name. I felt so betrayed. After much headache and disappointment I announced that the Flipside 2010 was over and that I did not give Billy and Joe any permission to use the Flipside name anymore. Out of my enthusiasm to re-live the old days I made a big mistake trusting Billy because in all honesty I did not know him very well. Joe and Billy is not an Al Flipside. It was almost as painful as when I left the original Flipside. Since then Joe and I have made up and we are at least friends. I will never trust Billy again. He went on to do the Online Sparkplug fanzine. So he got what he wanted. I did a show for the Flipside 2010 in the San Fernando Valley CA at a place called Weber’s. It was an ok event. At that time I was not very enthusiastic… In time all things work out for the best!!
5 . I always loved FLIPSIDE very much. It seemed to me that while for example MRR was more like “from the head” and Tim yo more “rational” orientated and so on, FLIPSIDE always had this more easy living “from the heart” LA-vibe. I don’t want to say that MRR is intelligent and Flipside not, I love (d) them both, but FS always seemed to embrace a more ” sixties clever hippie humanist being smart and open Minded and living free” -attitude which I totally loved. Would you agree with me on this? FS really had not this “know it all”- or “better then you” – or extremely dogmatic- attitudes which even the punk zines always had and still have. Flipside seemed to have only one rule: fuck you all, I do what I want and like, it’s my party and I cry if I want to, no rules at all, yeah… haha. I liked that very much!!! Very rare back then. Even more rare these days!!! Some punkers are snobby, “more rare vinyl than you”-type-of-guys-and-girls these days. There seems to be no difference to the once hostile target like arrogant yuppie bankers if punks act quite the same…
I guess we all have our impressions about different Fanzines. Flipside was always about, “BE MORE THAN A WITNESS”, we were a fan, band and label based Fanzine. MRR and Flipside never were in competition with each other. I remember an early issue of FS when Tim Yohannan placed an ad for a radio program that he was doing before MRR.
We respected each other and visited each other. When we distributed our Zine in San Francisco CA we would always visit with Tim. Al and I were a bit envious when Tim was the first to have a scanner set up. I was overwhelmed because I reached a point of hating having to type up classifieds and letters… lots of work. A scanner seemed like a great device to have. There was a cartoonist name John Crawford who did the Revolutionary Fetus and Baboon Dooley for Flipside Fanzine. He knew a great deal of Tim’s past 60’s hippie experiences. Tim was a good deal older than the rest of us. John felt that Tim had an agenda of applying 60’s politics on the 80’s punk culture. I would laugh at this because although MRR was hard-edged, intellectual, and scene-record orientated… Tim was a teddy bear that smoked too much. I got on his case about it too!! When Tim visited us in Whittier CA he would always do the dishes with a sponge with too much soap, one dish at a time?? It was an honor to be his friend. I am glad you loved the FS issues…. We were very sincere in what we were doing!!
6. (If this one is too personal, you don´t have to answer) I did not know that you and al were married / together or did I read it elsewhere wrong? Your relationship stopped when FS stopped? Or you saw him since then?
Al and I were married Dec 21, 1979… I was 19 and he was 22, and he divorced me in 1989…. We had personal issues. I wanted to start a family he did not seem to want this. I was starting to question punk ideology and reality, drugs were beginning to enter the scene, and the hardcore movement burned me out. It was complicated… so I left him for another man but it was just a way to get away from the whole scene. It was life or death for me. I moved to Rochester New York alone and started working as a Home Health Aide for money. I left and had no identify and left everything … to start again… I’d just turned 30. The 90’s punk scene was a whole different ballgame. In retrospection I am glad I did what I did. Also Al Flipside is a great playmate; he was a genius in many ways… I miss him! 20 years of Flipside Fanzine Rules!!
7. Over the years you must have seen thousands of people coming into the punk scene, claiming to be the most punk that you did ever seen and then leave 2 years later only to become a cop, soldier or religious when it was 2 years before “fuck system, church, military”. You are still there. Still thinking independently. You were embittered that people don’t life up to their words and does it became quite ironic over the years like “yeah, if you will be my age and still rocking out to the Dickies we can talk again”? But that could also turn yourself in a more cynical way, I am sure there were before you when you were 21 people saying “yeah, I saw Stooges in 71, where were you” and “even” they were confronted back then with people you saw Elvis live in 1955 and its all the “same fucking thing” like Janis Joplin said, haha…
The years pass and we all get older. Being young and rebellious is different at 15 than at 24, 40 or 53, which is my age. I have experienced being young and angry and on the fiery edge of trying to change the world. I was anarchy and fuck you all rolled up in one little chick!! I went back to college to get my degrees, and I have had children… but what lingers in my mind is the feelings that are associated with a certain music from my punk days… this still inspires me. Sometimes when I wake up in the morning for a few seconds I am hopeful that the last 30 years were but a dream, and that I will wake up as a young punk again in the early 1980’s, with all my buddies nearby, because sometimes I really miss them but this is not the case. Flipside continued to receive more and more records, (or Vinyl as it is called these days), during the 10 years I was there. It was ridiculous how much free items we received. Al and I were not materialistic… so we did not put much value in things. But now when I go to the local pub and see DJ’s treating their records like Icons. I get bummed, partly because I had them all and left them behind, and partly because records have become more precious than the Message of what the punks were saying. For me the message was what Punk was about…or still is! I use to listen to 60’s, 70’s music along to the Circle Jerks and Black Flag while working on Flipside… it is what inspired us! Good Rock and Roll has always been associated with rebellion and raising human consciousness. Fuck, sometimes it was just all about having fun!! I don’t care if some fucker has more records than I do now… there was a time …
8. I always wondered how such a strong independent publication like Flipside could fall down after all, even if it is like 12 years ago… I am not the only one out here right? I interviewed Todd from Razorcake a few years ago and he explained that there were problems with distributor ROTZ?
I Left Flipside 1989 and the Fanzine was growing strong. When Al divorced me it was stipulated that I had lost all ownership of the Fanzine at that time. I don’t blame him. In reality I feel within the punk culture ownership was not an issue, but in this case ownership was created by Al and me for tax purposes with the help of Zed Records in Long Beach California. What showed any sense of ownership was the time and integrity you spent working on each issue. The love of the scene… Back to me…At that time I had no money and pretty much living on the streets in Rochester New York. Al did send me our old Commodore Computer 128 and some back issues. At that time I could have fought for my half of the magazine. I didn’t… I did not care and I was burnt-out. Now I regret that a bit. My point being-Al made some big mistakes towards the demise of Flipside Fanzine in the late 1990’s. There were many negative elements going on. ROTZ went out of business. I am sure ROTZ was not the only distributor that Al had problems with. Mordam Records, based in San Francisco, was another. The story goes that Flipside had some sexist material in the latest issue that they did not support. Al ended their relationship over this and this hurt Flipside’s distribution as well. Yet in all truth, I think Al finally burnt-out, and like me…didn’t care. After this the vultures who did not really understand the bases of what Flipside was all about… sold off elements of Flipside on EBay and such to get their investments back. . Maybe this was justifiable… I cannot say because I was not there. I hold no grudges now at all with anyone… life moves on
9. When you look back; what are your first thoughts on that “trip down memory lane”, good and bad? I know you have answered that question in another interview, but could you again name your 2 favorite covers of the mag (could you send me both for layout)
The Seminary of Praying Mantis: My Punkalullaby, which is my memoir, took me four years (2005-2009) to complete. I am still embellishing it and fine tuning it too. Writing and reflecting on the old days of punk helped me to understand my trip down memory lane. I wrote my memoir fist to sell, next to heal and now who knows what? I am going to set up my own DIY publishing in my garage and get to work again, including hand binding each issue which is back to quality over quantity. I set a good foundation and outline of my Flipside years. In the 90’s I was very bitter looking back at the scene, now I am happy about those days because so many people are interested in the original punk scene. I have met up with so many friends from the day, and met some great new ones due to my punk rock experiences. My original punk days were out of this world wild and we did what WE wanted to do. NO ONE TOLD US WHAT TO DO…Being MORE THAN A WITNESS was a reality for us… it is in my genes and my character. I will never really ever fit in! The Circle Jerks Issue and The Lee Cartoon Issue # 44 issue are my favorite covers of Flipside!
Not really. Flipside in the 90’s did start to have many desert shows. Al and Gus Hudson, my brother, were the originators of this and with bringing out the band Hawkwind… one of Al Flipside’s favorite bands. I was not part of that. Yet many of the original punks from that time period enjoyed the first Burning Man experience. (And still think it is the cat’s meow) It all kind of just happened like the Hundredth monkey effect??? If there is a link between Flipside and Burning Man it may only be through the people that went to both. I tend to think of The Burning Man as more like the Rainbow Gatherings of California. New Agers and such ahahha… Taking drugs and running around naked is not my thing. I am more of a club person, I love my beer!!!. I really don’t like big events like these. I think it is funny when I viewed the “Malcolm in the middle” you are referring to. I also viewed an episode of “Judging Amy” which refers to the straight Edge Movement; we are talking maybe 5 years ago for this series. Now that made me laugh…
11. Do you feel that you got “credited” well in punk rock history? Like FS were so pioneering and was so deep in contact with bands and labels and so on who became big and famous years later… you feel satisfied? Or do you feel pissed that a lot of your older friends became millionaires later and you maybe not? Or doesn´t it matter anymore because it’s so long ago? In a perfect world, I imagine, would all these now big bands send you and al every month a good paycheck and an expensive “flower and wine”- hamper and the punk scene would offer you big hals once in a year where you would tell people from the “punk war stories” back then and get paid 10.000 $. That would only be fair, ha ha. Guess it is not the case or do you get enough “respect” and “appreciation”?
No I do not feel I have been “credited” enough in punk rock history, either has Al Flipside or Flipside Fanzine!! Al had some photographs and some video shots in the American Hardcore Film. Brendan Mullen mentioned Al quite a bit in a few of his books too, with pictures. I have been over looked and ignored and that hurts a little. One picture in particular that I took, of Keith Morris singing in Black Flag after they broke up. They were playing at the Church. The picture is promoted a great deal because it is a very rare and unique shot. I never get credit for it. Funny though if you look in the issue of Flipside it was taken from I get credit for taking this picture. One should always consider the original source. This in when I take a few steps back and realize the punk scene was not easy back in the day, so why should it be any easier now? Thanks go out to Alice Bag, Strange Reaction, Razorcake and Dagger Fanzine for the interviews out now- and coming out, thanks for the acknowledgment!!! Punk war stories… that is true there are a lot of them out there and many books published and new ones coming out on that subject. It is funny why some bands emerge and I remember them now more than others. Some memories emerge from the punk scene now more than others as well. I feel it may well be the same for most of the bands and labels too. Why is it when GBH comes to town they still get me backstage and on the guest list and Social Distortion does not? I loved them both and supported them both. I knew them both personally and considered them my friends. We put them in our fanzines; be it records or videos. The same goes with SST or Epitaph Records… who knows. I did not do Flipside to earn respect, nor did I do it with an agenda. It was a process… an experience! I feel Flipside did it to support a growing punk rock scene when no one else would… we had a symbiotic relationship with bands, fans and labels etc. It really was the embers of a growing fire… Believe me I get plenty of messages on my Facebook page from fans sharing with me their thanks… this makes it surprisingly all worth it. (In all truth it was the Fans that bought the fanzines and then the records. They are directly responsible for contributing to the growth of the punk rock scene!) But Yes, I knew them all…!!! (Picture of Keith with Black Flag at the Church included).
12. Saw the germs 2 years ago on their tour in Germany (Munich) that was really very very good. You saw them back in time, how were they live?
It is good you saw them! I knew the original Germs personally. They were part of the surprisingly small Hollywood scene that I was part of in the early punk scene. I never saw them perform a complete set do to Darby’s crazy ways and over use of alcohol and drugs. Yet, that was the Germs. I have not had the desire to see them now. I would listen to their Slash and What Records in the day. I never was a big fan then… so why should I be now. I am very amazed that people make them out to be such a big deal… funny? Donna Rhia the original drummer of the Germs was one of my female initiators into the punk rock scene…. She is another woman who has been over looked!!
13. In recent years there is this trend in punk rock books that they start with sex pistols and clash and claiming it was all male dominated and then skip to 1990 and explain that riot girls were actually the first female activists in punk rock. While I totally like bikini kill and team dresch and their newer views, I don’t think it is totally correct. maybe it is far away with saying that years before punk, there were woman active in music, Wanda Jackson, more tucker, Nina Hagen, but in Punk you also had active woman, even back then in the late seventies: Crass Women, X, and hey, you too .. Was that ever an important issue for you, the riot girls’ movement? Maybe it was in LA back then different with male/female activism?
I must say I was a woman around many many men…I think Alice Bag book “Violence Girl” is the start of something good in the world of publishing and women as “Female Activists in Punk Rock”. I was inspired by her, The Go Go’s, The Avengers-Penelope Houston, The Alley Cats-Dianne Chai, Anti-Scrunti Faction – Leslie Mah and Tracy Thomas. I must say one of my early inspirations is Suzi Quatro. This is just off the tip of my tongue… I am in the process of trying to get Flipside a lot more attention as a great source of historical documentation of the underground music scene. There were women involved in the 70’s-80’s. Firstly Alice and Patricia Bag worked on Flipside in the early days, and a few woman after I started such as Joy Aoki, Michelle Flipside and Helen Jewell… Sounds like a good book ta write for someone eheheh. Riot girls did not inspire me I was busy having babies and going back to college… In conclusion I viewed male / females as equals…. I still do. We (Crass Women, X, and hey, you too) were all doing it at the same time… and that time went by real fast. I did edit sexism from flipside in the 80’s. Women were different back then, now I am very disappointed in how some women promote their bodies like Madonna and think it is cool. I just feel like it just separates the male female relationship into sex. I realize this has always been around even in the early punk days… I for one tried to bring in the element of androgyny. I was and still am very androgynous… even if the years have given me big boobs. ahahahahah … but that is just me and many punkers oppose me on this issue. (Thank you for acknowledging this all in a great question!!)
14. What are your three favorite bands ever (punk, general, hip hop, doesn’t matter)?
Charged GBH, The Avengers and the Moody Blues. (The Moody Blues and GBH both come from Birmingham England… go figure ahahahah). I must include the Saints. My first punk rock Vinyl LP that I purchased from a thrift store was “(I’m) Stranded”, which I still have to this day.
15. Hey, all historic things in Punk gets re-issued, re-released. There was this massive book on Touch and Go Fanzine; is there an idea to do that with FS too?
All right, Touch and Go!! I would like to come out with a reprint of all the issues of Flipside on a nice white bond paper within a few volumes. I think a nice hardcover coffee book publications would be excellent. That would really be up to Al Flipside though. I might decide to do this with the 10 years I worked on Flipside. I am missing a couple of these issues myself. I would create a fund for Al and take a 50/50 on profits. Then I would take this money and use for the next project ahahahahah. (like we always use to do on Flipside!!!)
16. What is your message and / or greetings to our readers?
Thanks a lot! BE MORE THAN A WITNESS!!!! I believe in the continuity of Punk Rock… It is more than the records, or looks or being cool… (Hey but those are fun parts of it ahahaha ) …it is a way of seeing and living life and you either got it or you don’t!! My Pleasure… and thankx for remembering Flipside Fanzine and me!!