Last month’s ABQ Zine Fest showed that in these days of instant blog gratification there is a resurgence in cut-and-paste words on paper. Our earlier local zine culture had diminished at the dawn of the aughts, when UNM students graduated into the workforce, band kids moved to Portland and the so-called punk revival heralded by “alternative rock” died as guitars were overshadowed by turntables.
But in the mid ’90s, zines were available at any number of shops in town. Exploito-trash video shop Wavy Brain (owned by Brad Beshaw of Luxo Champ, now a member of Seattle’s Steel Tigers of Death!). Relapse Records (run by Jerry DeCicca now fronting The Black Swans). Bow Wow Records (where one could find Marty Crandall of Flake Music and later The Shins, behind the counter). Book shop Tulane Exchange, which hosted an early Weekly Alibi-sponsored parking lot show.
The mother lode of them all, however, was Mind Over Matter. This shop closed during what I call the Great Punk Rock Exodus of 2000, when at least two dozen musicians, artists, zinesters and anarchist weirdoes fled Albuquerque that summer. For a few shining years partners Bob Tower and Edith Abeyta sold an extraordinary mix of vinyl, books, CDs, comics, shirts, stickers, buttons and a plethora of zines from across the country.
Me, I wandered in one day looking for copies of the only comic book worth killing trees for, Love and Rockets (the band of the same name stole their moniker from the comic, by the way) but was soon hooked on vinyl and zines. I was in there so often that Bob and Edie would toss all kinds of freebies my way, including a mix tape Edie called “Girl Musixx” because she got to know my tastes.
Mind Over Matter was my late-blooming intro to “punk,” which the pair demonstrated was not about being an offensive dick but building your community by actively supporting it. There were in-store shows by everyone from Man or Astro-Man? to locals like Braddy Janet (which featured Kim Baxter, now a member of All Girl Summer Fun Band and Portland's Rock and Roll Camp for Girls) and creative “outsider” musicians who are still going strong, such as Alastair Galbraith. Mind Over Matter also served as a mailing address and drop-off point for pirate station Rebel Radio, since we couldn’t very well advertise our location.
Bob recorded and engineered local bands like Chinese Love Beads, Blind Nine and his own outfit The Surlies. Edie put together an impressive zine installation at Harwood Art Center: a room empty but for a few chairs and pillows upon which one could sit and read any of the 50-or-so zines hanging from its walls, an onsite zine library if you will.
Of course many of the zines Mind Over Matter stocked were too obscure to sell many copies except for stalwarts like Cometbus, Profane Existence and, inevitably, Maximum Rock’n’Roll, which paid the bills. Instead of ditching unsold copies, Bob and Edie made zine grab bags: a 3- or 4-inch stack wrapped in posters and flyers, and which might also include stickers, a button or a stale piece of bubble gum.
There was also a series of handmade, limited-edition Mind Over Matter-edited zines like Edie’s Quench and Bob’s Seventies Mutation, each copy one-of-a-kind with actual photos pasted inside or homemade paper covers with a “soundtrack” cassette or CD included and, yes, a piece of gum.
These days Edie and Bob live in Los Angeles and still support their respective community through art, installations, book editing and batches of homebrewed beer. There’s a great crew of Burque folks that do zines, run community-oriented shops and create DIY culture, but as far as I’m concerned, we’re still trying to fill the gap that Mind Over Matter left more than a decade ago.