A New Hope. Episode IV

made debut at Mephiskapheles' Water St. Music Hall show June 5, 1997. This saw bits of chaotic development as 2/3 editors defected – and increasingly looked as if HP was cursed to be some old trilogy; Lucasfilm was revising its special editions at the time. Still, we'd been stockpiling 6 months worth of interviews from larger name "3rd wave" groups like Scofflaws, Hepcat, Mephiskapheles, Isaac Green & The Skalars, King Chango, and Pietasters – it would have been a real waste to give up there. Not to mention it took 10 interviews all conducted elsewhere before the first hometown interview. We got so diehard good at traveling by this point, ska shows in Rochester come few and far between.

Coming soon... Blimpie!
By now our Mobil had gotten a major facelift and was masquerading as the Hoboken-headquartered deli sub shop grocery On The Run. [the scenery changes not unlike petrol prices daily & by January 2011 it's a 7-Eleven]. Similarly, Dan was now pursuing bass fiddle dreams in Professionals and local A.R.A., so rarely came by dorms to work on layout. The band attracts a significant crowd by now having been on City telly (Mike Lee's Reggae East cable show) while we accumulate numerous press clippings from local music papers. With such exposure its obvious newly interested ska fans, some built by the Miggedys were becoming active again locally. Or actually not at all – right place, right time for new blood. As such, there was a bumper crop of fresh local bands and a biography section was started up for them. Let's Face It is released March 11 and ships platinum, knock on wood. But I don't at all remember exactly when this Reel Big Fish band exploded.

Mustard Plug plays gig #424 at the old Milestones 8 April 97, meanwhile Bechle's van is burglarised and numerous discs robbed. By the summer this came out its editor was living in apartment 59, it took longer to pull together solo – plus now he'd taken up the job reading books, using the staff photocopier, buying Dick Dale CDs and drinking the endless parade of free mochas from the hotties at Barnes & Noble, newly in the old B. Foreman building. What up Audrey?

With more texts and info available, page count nearly doubled and showcased more publishing-style layouts (returning to Quark & Pagemaker fx with watermark logos ghosted behind text thinking it'd look better easier: nope), + more thought out reviews than last time. Dug deeper into older music and particular albums, then hoped to share it with new audiences. Add tagline "ska for the man in the street" a nod to our Greek name and Don Drummond's Sixties classic.

A hand-drawn crossword of historic trivia (all clues / answers appear within context of the issue). An uncannily accurate editorial about all the petty scenester politics, the Evolution of the Sub-Cultural Elite from the recurring Yuzo Watanabe. May 4 was the local Professionals with FL's Magadog at Penny Arcade. May 9 they and another (5head) open for Bim Skala Bim at Water St. Prior to proliferation of cars and low-cost cellphones, a stranded Johnny was forced to walk the 6 miles in so missed both openers.

Barcode on cover fooled a lot of people but recognizes ska growing commercial maybe, and inside was a coupon issued by management of Fantastic Records who had a great ska selection at the time. June 12: "Ska is Mighty Hot" page 32 of Rolling Stone #762. June 18: Bosstones perform the hitsong Impression on the David Letterman show. June 21: Teenagers Jason Pollack and Melissa Klotz are tragically struck and killed by freight train on Conrail bridge over Erie Canal in Pittsford, so legislation begins to forbid all pedestrian access and install camera surveillance – the Miggedy Combat Rock demo tape photo will never be imitated. June 28: Carson Daly hosts MTV's Skaturday on the tube. July 4: Skadependence Day when the Professionals join the Scofflaws, Slackers, Regatta 69 and Radiation Kings on a bill at the Wetlands NYC; ask anyone who played, it was just awful.

Lifetime supply of Vans shoes
Completed all the right paperwork to fax publicist at Nasty Little Man a request to obtain a photo press pass for the big Vans Warped Tour. Soon after, the Professionals won Vans sneakers and House of Guitars battle of the bands, so were to play the local stage anyway (a shade under 2 years since Dan & Neal's GKW Java Cows Canandaigua). Once inside the gates we resold our tickets to people waiting in line over PB & jelly sandwiches – a free ride when you already paid. It poured all day, but maximum copies sold that afternoon. The night before, when Toots & the Maytals performed at Rochester's Musicfest in Brown Square we peered through the rusty chain link fence nearby an old rasta with a walking stick. I don't have that kind of money.

Pros w/ Skavoovie
Alt Press #109 cover is Bosstones. HP! gets crucial feedback from wider audience too, because this issue was sent away and read in 42 states. Took some copies to New England Skafest in Medford, MA and met other zine + ska people that August; round about the great UPS strike of '97. It is tough to argue this issue did not influence Cosmic Haystack #4, Lenexa Kansas because some content is quite the same. Next, Sarah Rice went to Europe on a school trip so we asked if she could import the new German-only Sony Music Busters disc Stompede. And at 32DM she even did too! Another rainy night up in St. Catherines, Ontario and police accused us of attempting to buy some Canadian crack. Silly van, borrowed plates.

Around when WRUR djs Jeff & Liz had inspiration for a very short lived and steep $5 weekly vegetable club night "Ska Beets" at Freakazoid [similar in spirit to Doc Awk & Jah Crunchy's SKA Wednesdays at the Abyss 11/2/94] owner and ex-Scorgies doorman Richard Kasa got ahold of our 'zine and phone number, found it a great effort and excitedly called up raving about all the possible publicity. Danielle took a message but that was just about the extent of it.
"Rascal King" charts #68 on Billboard 9/13.

1968-1997: Defactos NYC lead Alex Montalvo is killed in a marine accident off Long Island July 19. A benefit at Wetlands is held 9/28. He will be missed.

Rebound Ska Tour package arrives 9/28, and mid-October a reformed 90s Selecter came to town for just 25 people. The Pietasters join to Lint's new Hellcat label with Willis, Slackers with Redlight the following week. The big NYC SKA MOB tour hits Buffalo and Neal's wheel fell off, so we trucked in Jimmy. November 30, Professionals open for Coolie Ranx's brand new Pilfers at the Penny Arcade, all ages alcohol free. A tiny girl who'd evidently read #4 and seen the initials J-A-V in it approaches, introduces herself and asks about a mix tape dubbed off her friend Martin's older sister years before. I laugh, this was Little Amy. An April '97 Chicago Tribune article claimed you don't meet girls putting out a fanzine; Harvey Pekar would disagree too.

BRAND RECOGNITION: Orange Street drummer Bob Timm mentions our own Hoi Polloi! by name in a print vs. internet article [Rude Boy Web] in Stubborn Records' Black and White Fall 97 issue. He maintains The Mining Co. website and will very soon admin the big ska.about.com, which itself arrives 2-10-98

After Christmastime, and after Pietasters Water Street 2-12-98, can't wait another day: Hepcat performs on NBC's Late Night w/ Conan O'Brien February 20. Right on time – or better late than never?

"What do I care, I'm headed for the rude boy hall of fame"

– Hepcat (1990)

"A real, honest to goodness 'zine. With the random photocopies of class notes, coupons, and newspaper, it's a huge mish-mash resulting in a desktop publishing nightmare. But it all doesn't matter because HP #4 is so damn cool. Sometimes I think that something is lost with a lot of the more "professional" zines, because they aren't really fan-zines that are the bread and butter of the ska scene. I guess my main preference is that the content usually matches the layout. HP #4 breaks those stereotypes and actually has interesting text to match the outlandish DTP. The album reviews are a tad short, but the interviews cover some of the more popular bands on the east coast. Overall, Hoi Polloi! shines in the area of style, and that reason alone is enough to send in two bucks. I only wish more 'zines that looked like this actually had as interesting copy."
Hepcat No. 1
– Y. Watanabe,
RiMSHOT! e-zine
9/10/97
CLICK HERE FOR EVEN MORE SHAMELESS,
LENGTHY, PIG 'EADED SELF-AGGRANDIZING!

p.s. – i just read through an older hoi polloi you gave me from '97 or so, and there was this great article about "scenester evolution" i see it in all sorts of different things, ska or not and i thought it was very poignant and amazing...
THANK YOU AGAIN!

– :: smo ::, 9/05

NUMBER CRUNCH 11 leaves = 44 pages. Price increase to the $2 rate is about when we invested in a long-arm booklet stapler, in retrospect the best $25 ever spent.
That mimeograph* effect: After trolling a phone book calling around for the cheapest printer, we found this sketchy place called RPI on the 16th floor of a Franklin Street office building 6/2/97. What's a phone book? It wasn't a "proper" printer, but a mailorder lingerie distributor! Go figure. The Eastview Ave lady working the night shift did our job under the table (during Seinfeld reruns), so that's why her quotes were so dirt cheap. After our job of 200 booklets was "done", both printing machines had broke and they ran out of both black toner and white paper! HP wreaks havoc on quickprinters? Turns out most copies were so unusable and illegible, couldn't sell them and required reimbursement. The next day, Doug the Boss was huffy and pissed off at us because his 2 machines were broken. We got back like 50 bucks and kept the imperfects (easily $30 worth of the CASE of cream-color paper and blue ink). That box sat at the base of the stairs for ten months until the proper quality 100 b&w copies from 6/3 Minuteman Press Midtown + 100 more Staples East Ridge had been sold away. This is why the cream variants don't have any [fireball red paper] Mephiskapheles pg. 16 nor the ultra sweet custom die-cut record store coupon in them.
Should this seem like meaningless babble, read on...

Doomsday?!
A weary saga could've almost ended then, as No. 5 was near complete, except for one thing. Think about how Mearns left free stacks of the misprints around town to dispose of for whoever wanted them. A mysterious guy named Fritz apparently acquired a copy at Mt Hope Record Archive and really liked it, as we were sent a thank you letter via U.S. mail immediately. He had helped Aaron Skalepeño and Gabe on ska radio one time last summer. Boastful from the very start, he mentions personal associations with NYC production guru Victor Rice and also details his vast ska collection – "the largest in the free world" – as if Red China has a hidden cache right?

This event alone will change things bigtime next chapter...

OPERATION IV TRIVIA–

Scan the naturally evil 666 UPC symbol here and it comes up a harmless 20 oz. box of Cheerios.


Ektachrome cover photo
originally March 1971


Local bands innit:

Skalepeños / f.k.a Skacho Cheese

The Professionals (ex-GKW)

The Verge (ex-Willard Scott Fanclub)

5Head (ex-Dog's Life)

Big Roots (ex-Majestics)

Good Samaritones (ex-Miggedys)

HP: What exactly IS that button for?
ANDRE: Giving women orgasms
BRIAN: Aw, is that what it is?
OSHO: Yeah, it doesn't work though
Meph 10/96
Davie
* mimeograph machine (for younger readers, that's a hand-cranked drum full of ink that you cover with a stencil, basically a sheet of wax that must first be cut on a manual typewriter, to print up your own writings. Very messy. In the dark days before Xerox, this is how fanzines were made right up to sometime in the early seventies.)





#4

Laurel Aitken – Jamaican Ska: The Bluebeat Years (Moon Ska)
f.k.a. The Story So Far (Grover Germany)
Bim Skala Bim – Universal (BIB Records)
Dr Ring Ding & Senior Allstars – Dandimite! (Grover 1994/ Moon 1995)
Easy Big Fella – Eat At Joey’s (Moon)
Hot Stove Jimmy – Salute (Jump Up)
Isaac Green & The Skalars – Skoolin’ with the Skalars (Moon)
Judge Dread – Dreadmania E.P. (Trojan Creole UK 1972)
Madness: The Business/ Definitive Singles Box Set (Virgin UK)
Bob Marley & The Wailers: Birth of a Legend 1963-66 (Epic Associated)
Bob Marley & The Wailers: Legend (Tuff Gong/Island)
Mighty Mighty Bosstones – Let’s Face It (Big Rig/Mercury)
New York Ska Jazz Ensemble – Low Blow (Moon Ska)
The Professionals – Watch Your Step (self-released tape)
Punch the Clown - Each Sold Separately (Raj Records)
Ruder Than You - Horny for Ska (Moon)
Skinnerbox – What you can do, what you can’t (Stubborn/Moon)
Skunks – Chaos in Skaville (P.U. Records)
Slackers – Better Late Than Never (Moon)
Slow Gherkin – Double Happiness (Raj Records)
Toots & The Maytals – Time Tough: The Anthology (Island Jamaica)
Tricia & The Supersonics – King Bravo Selects Ska Authentic (Moon)
Trojans – Trojan Warriors, For your protection: Best Of (Moon)
Various Artists – Aces, Twos & Fews (Escadrille)
Various Artists – Intensified! Original Ska 1962-66 (Island Mango 1980)
Various Artists – More Intensified! Original Ska 1963-67 (Island Mango 1980)
Various Artists – Joint Ventures in Ska (DVS Media)
Various Artists – Latin Ska Volume 2 (Moon)
Various Artists – Mash it Up! Vol 4: More Ska & Bluebeat Boston style (DVS Media)
Various Artists – Rudies All Round (Trojan Records UK)
Various Artists – Ska Bonanza: Studio One Ska Years (Heartbeat)
Various Artists – Skankaholics Unanimous: Under the Influence of Ska (Moon)
Various Artists – Skarmageddon III: A New Beginning (Moon)
Various Artists – Ska Ska Skandal 1 & 2 (Pork Pie Germany)
Various Artists – Ska Ska Skandal 3 (Pork Pie Germany)
Various Artists – Ska Ska Skandal 4 (Pork Pie Germany)
Various Artists – Tougher Than Tough: Rudeboy Ska, Rocksteady & Reggae (Trojan UK)
-------------------------
'zines:
ARA News - January ‘97
Black & White #5 – Winter ‘97
Candy Guts #11
Flying Harold #1
KYTZYL #3
Moonlight Magazine #1
Moon Skazette - March/April ‘97
Nemesis #3
Rather Be Dead Than Cool #10
Skatastrophe #4
Skary Joe #3
Skary Joe #4
Tattoo Flash #20
Troublebound #5
Troublebound #6
2Strokebuzz #1
2Strokebuzz #2
You Could Do Worse #7
Zednosh #1 (Cornell)
-------------------------
Books:
Jamaican Music © 1982 Michael Burnett
Maroon Societies © 1979 Richard Price
Rastafari Roots and Ideology © 1994 Barry Chevanes
Rastafarians © 1988 Leonard E. Barrett Sr.
Rastafari & Reggae Sourcebook © 1990 Rebekah Michele Mulvaney
Reggae Bloodlines © 1977, 1992 Stephen Davis