*54 In China With Green DayThe great DIY Vs Major Label debate is generally presented in black and white. There is so much talk about ‘selling out’ that we sometimes forget that some people live in both worlds simultaneously.

Niall Hope got me the latest issue of Cometbus fanzine and it is fascinating. It also gives a great insider prespective on what happens when a band moves from DIY to major label.

While Loserdom is still my favourite current zine, this issue of Cometbus (number #54) may well be my favourite issue of a zine in ages. It is a 93 page diary of Green Day’s former tour manager reunited with the band (as their paid guest) on part of their Far Eastern tour. Most people who pen a loving tribute to any band who provided such a trip, but not Aaron Cometbus.

Instead he uses the zine to detail his feelings about being in the Far East, being around a band he used to work for unpaid, and to reflect on some of the people (including Green Day’s early drummer who has never cashed to cheques sent to him by the band!.

This is a very rare piece of rock and roll writing. It lives in the great gray area where real people do real things even in the surreal surroundings of a great American band playing to stadia of young Asians. Additionally there are some interesting insights about the various audiences in the different countries.You’ss have to read it to see which country has a strong cultural taboo against putting you hand on anyone’s head!

One interesting insight is the bond of friendship shared by the three members of Green Day. Rare in this industry and after so many years. The enduring image from this mini-book is the band (along with the fanzine writer and one of their touring musicians) playing Scrabble together in the hotel at night.


the wildhearted outsider

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