Jul 31, 2008

The Mechanic's Guide

“Way back in about 1989 both of us were involved in Positive Force, a youth activist group based in Washington, DC. That year, Positive Force and Dischord put out a compilation CD/LP called State of the Union, which was a benefit for the Community for Creative Non-Violence Shelter. Positive Force members contributed to the LP insert, adding helpful information about simple things, like how to start a group and how to help in your community. This LP insert generated a torrent of mail to Positive Force from young people across the country who wanted to know more. That LP insert turned into a more detailed pamphlet about musical things: how to put on a concert, how to do sound, and how to put out a 7" record. Since we were hardly experts about this stuff, we asked our friend Steve Skrzyniarz to write the first version. Steve and his friend John had a small label called Leopard Gecko Records out in Tacoma, WA and had already put out, two… maybe three 7"s – far ahead of us in this record label stuff.”

 Kristin Thomson and Jenny Toomey, 1991. Pic by Jim Saah

“About a year later, when Simple Machines had a few 7"s under the belt, we got a call from Sassy Magazine. They had seen the pamphlet and wanted to make it the 'cool zine of the month'. After hearing from friends that we could expect up to 1000 letters from Sassy readers, we knew that we had to switch out of the xerox/stapled pamphlet version and make something that was easy to mail. We expanded the original pamphlet into a 20-page booklet, which Barefoot Press in Raleigh, NC graciously offered to print up for free. It included all the steps involved in putting out a 7" or cassette, and our friend John Henderson wrote a piece about how to put out a CD. True to what we'd heard we got about 800 letters from Sassy subsribers, all of which got a free copy of the Mechanic's Guide. After we ran out of those, we decided to update it a bit and keep it in print. We kept the Mechanic's Guide in print in four editions from about 1991–1997, with many, many insert updates in between.” Kristin & Jenny

Get it here.

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