Take our ink-stained hands and join us at the OldStand, where Jon McMillan goes to remind everyone what an honest-to-goodness music magazine is supposed to look like.

Spin’s 8th Anniversary Issue gets off to a hot start, with Evan Dando (doing his best Anthony Kiedis impression) lip-locked with Adrienne Shelly. The mercurial (read: so-crazy-he’s-boring) Lemonhead frontman gets a profile, but things quickly shift to a hip-hop vibe. Naughty By Nature receives some much-deserved feature ink (“They’re a bridge between the daisy age and the gangsta era”), Basehead’s “Not in Kansas Anymore” gets the lead review, and “radical feminist scholar” Bell Hooks interviews a Straight-outta-NWA Ice Cube about identity politics, black capitalism, and crappy, family-based comedy.

But let’s get right to the good stuff: Spin’s sorta-definitive, mildly misguided, totally-hilarious-in-retrospect “A-Z of Alternative Culture” list. Craig Marks, in his introduction to the list, starts out by taking on boomer hegemony, but ends up mired in sheepish qualifiers (“The items we’ve selected, when added together, do not equal [italics his] your thoughts, feelings, fears, and aspirations”). Because, like, Spin would never try to tell you what’s cool, no way man!

The list includes words (“like,” “whatever,” “not”), movies (Heathers, Blade Runner), Clintons (Chelsea), and Nirvana. Level One wtfs include “Incest,” “Butts,” and “Sassyism” (which, by unspecified means, could “breed the strongest batch of young women the world has ever known.” Consider me retroactively terrified.). “G” is for The Gap, which is only slightly more alternative than “M” for “Money Machines.” Or, as we in the future know them, ATMs. Major bonus points if you can reconstruct the entire 77-point manifesto from memory. Did Arsenio make the cut? You’ll just have to take the jump.

Also included: Some As and a few Ms, a bold prediction about the year 2000, and political pundit Dave Pirner’s insightful take on the old New Clintonism.


And on my right: these are people who thought Arsenio Hall was alternative! Give it up! Whooo whooo whooo!


Still ironic after all these years.


“It’s the first time I ever voted for a winner,” [Soul Asylum frontman Dave] Pirner says, “and now I am just sort of waiting with bated breath to see if he’s going to come through for us and represent us the way we want to be represented. Everybody’s talking about change, change, change. I want to see it happen, you know.”


Spin’s rating system would be more helpful if they hadn’t given green lights to both Exile in Guyville and Ten Summoner’s Tales.


“John Naisbitt, author of Megatrends, predicts that by the year 2000, 45 percent of U.S. households will have some kind of interactive television.” Megatrends my ass! This guy was off by like 45 percent.


Macs, money machines, and monster trucks. This list is the alternative of everything that’s not on the list.


Recognize the foppish gentleman on the left? (Hint: he’s a firestarter, twisted firestarter!)

Comments (14)
  1. Mo  |   Posted on Jan 21st, 2008 0

    ATMs?!

  2. bookwibble  |   Posted on Jan 21st, 2008 0

    I miss the little Mac with the sad face.

    Chuck Norris?

  3. This is so genius.

  4. Mr. Sassy  |   Posted on Jan 22nd, 2008 0

    Mosh pits were, like, rad!

  5. Bender Bending Rodriguez  |   Posted on Jan 22nd, 2008 0

    I think most digital cable and satellite TV systems would qualify as “some type of interactive TV.” I mean, I can play lame trivia games on my satellite and stuff.

  6. Feminist scholar  |   Posted on Jan 22nd, 2008 0

    It’s “bell hook”, dumbass. No caps!

    You need to read up on your nineties feminist scholars and their ways of spelling.

  7. Lawrence  |   Posted on Jan 22nd, 2008 0

    “Spread AIDS skepticism”? What the hell is THAT about?

  8. Eviljenny  |   Posted on Jan 22nd, 2008 0

    I was so going to write you guys soon and see if you had this cover. Ahhhh, Evan!

  9. @ Feminist Scholar
    Well, it’s actually “bell hooks,” so technically we were both wrong.

    @ Lawrence
    I think the “Spread AIDS skepticism” bit was a SPIN political theme of that era. There’s a Celia Farber editorial in this issue titled “Sex in the 90s” where she outlines a case against AIDS alarmism (eg the “Sex=Death” rhetoric) — and even the validity of the disease itself. Farber, for those of you who aren’t familiar, is a long-time AIDS dissident (some would say “denier”) who has been writing controversial articles on the topic for 20 years (here’s a recent one from Harper’s http://www.harpers.org/archive/2006/03/0080961). Here’s a quote from the SPIN piece:
    “The AIDS establishment has accused me of being ‘against safe sex.’ I’m not against condoms, but I am against enforced political ideology, and against terror as a tool to control. I am fed up with the kind of swelling that surrounds the condom debate, the righteous fervor that demands not just acquiescence but emphatic enthusiasm.”

  10. The Playlist  |   Posted on Jan 22nd, 2008 0

    is that Adrienne Shelly on the cover making out with that dude that looks like Anthony Kiedes?

  11. Michael Quirk  |   Posted on Jan 22nd, 2008 0

    Just want to say I love this series–would love to see expanded versions sometime.

  12. whistle  |   Posted on Jan 23rd, 2008 0

    How effective is a rating system that only has three levels: Murder if necessary brilliant, Mediocre, & Total Crap?

  13. Spin this!!!

  14. My girlfriend wanted me to throw this old issue of Spin away! How wrong she was [is!]

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post, reply to, or rate a comment.

%s1 / %s2