OldStand: Spin, July 1989

Who says you can’t launch new columns in the last week of the year? Many months ago, we nostalgia tripped over a couple of dogeared Rolling Stones (see May ’86, June ’85). In 2008, we’ll be revisiting old rock magazines in this space on a regular basis….

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 July 1989 issue was a monster, in both quality and quantity: eleven features in all, ranging from a profile of Brazilian icon Gilberto Gil to the obligatory, Rolling Stone-esque “conspiracy” article, about an all-powerful, Pope-worshipping cabal called the Knights of Malta. Ever heard of ‘em? No? Good. Because if you had, you’d already be dead.

Nenah Cherry, Billy Bragg, Tin Machine, the Cure (it’s the eve of the 90s, Disintegration is about to drop, and — get this — Robert Smith is thinking of calling it quits! Noooo!), and David Byrne all get the in-depth interview treatment, while the review section features Pre-James McNew YLT, Paul’s Boutique, and a handful of vintage Spin-isms (“[The Goo Goo Dolls sound] like what would happen if you locked the Ramones and The Smiths up in a mailbox during their formative years”). Talk about a premature evaluation.

But there’s really only one reason to dial up 7/89: Spin’s third-annual Swimsuit Issue, featuring Martika, Ice T, both Julie Browns (downtown and otherwise), and not one but two pictures of Tom Jones in a green “sequined bathing brief.” It’s not unusual, but it is disturbing.

After the jump: CMJ’s top 30, a free call to the Bobby Brown hotline, Voice of the Beehive (?!) on the beach, and one of the 6,715 reasons Flea should be in jail.

Tom’s junk. Man, Bob Guccione, Jr. was like the Thomas Edison of irony.

Come on, Flea: slapping babes on the beach with your “limp dick”? At least Corey Glover is only assaulting our sense of fashion.


As confusing, self-referential ad campaigns go, this one was pretty epic.

“A call to the Bobby Brown line (900 909 BOBB) costs about as much as a copy of this magazine. Here’s what you’ve been missing, on a typical day.”