Behind the Zines: Revolution Rock
Jon Brown is the creator of our latest HIVE ZINE, which is about growing up as a punk rocker and a Mormon. In this post, he talks about some background for the zine.
HIVE ZINE-015: Revolution Rock is currently available for sale! Get a copy here.
When I was around 12 years old I discovered punk rock music and skateboarding. I remember sneaking into my older brother’s room and swiping a Minor Threat cassette and a Thrasher Magazine and that was it- I never looked back. I came from a family of 6 kids, so skating and punk were a revelation as I grasped at any form of self expression- anything to break up the monotony of my middle-class-suburban-Mormon-kid life.
Las Vegas was kind of a wasteland in the 90s with explosive growth and lots and lots of families moving to the valley- but not much in terms of culture or entertainment (outside of Las Vegas Blvd anyway). So our only option was to entertain ourselves. This led to a pretty vibrant underground music scene in the mid to late 90s. We would have punk shows in abandoned warehouses or out in the middle of the desert in the huge concrete water basins that surround the city- just plug the amps into a gas powered generator and you got yourself a concert- the party lasts until the cops show up!
These shows would draw in hundreds of kids from all around town – which is pretty impressive when you consider there was no promoter, no real venue and definitely no social media to spread the word. Everything was done DIY and that involved hours at the local Kinkos, armed with scissors and glue sticks, making cut and paste flyers to hand out at school. Which brings me to the point of this story – Kinkos is where I got my start in the zine making business. I spent so much time at Kinkos during my teenage years making flyers and stickers and zines- cutting and pasting and drawing and writing and copying and cutting and copying some more. So when I had the opportunity to do an issue of HIVE ZINE – I knew I had to pay homage to the old cut and paste days of my youth! Technically I did this zine digitally (because these days where can you even find a copy shop that will let a 40 year old man loiter for hours on end??), but I tried to stay true to the style and method I would have used back then.
The zine is named Revolution Rock, after the song by the Clash. In the song, Joe Strummer proclaims “this here music will mash up the nations, this here music will cause a sensation.” This line has always vaguely reminded me of Joseph Smith’s standard of truth declaration- that the truth will go forth till it has swept every country and sounded in every ear. These two young men- separated by seas and several generations- both from humble beginnings, yet both making bold claims that their ideas would spread across the globe. At least in that regard, it seems both of their prophecies have come true.
That was the starting point for this zine and the rest of it developed from that concept. It’s basically an exploration of how those punk rock ideas and ethics inform my Mormonism and how Mormonism informs everything I do. I’m grateful I’ve had these influences in my life and to this day I continue to learn valuable truths from both. As Joseph Smith said “one of the fundamental principles of Mormonism is to receive truth, let it come from whence it may.”
Revolution Rock is now available! Snag it here.
About the Author
Jon Brown is first and foremost a husband to Julie and father to four boys residing in Las Vegas, Nevada. He spends most of his time working as an urgent care doctor and serving in the bishopric in his ward – but when he has free time you can catch him painting, skateboarding, playing guitar with his sons, collaborating on various art projects with his friends in the ARCH-HIVE and searching Mexico for the perfect beach. Find him on socials @jonbrownLVNV