Music News

The Broke Music Fan's Guide to Denver: Fanzines

Fanzines have helped form part of the popular musical landscape since, well, popular music began. In the modern era, pretty much anyone can start an online zine with minimal, if not zero, costs. Why wouldn’t you get some of that action? Who knows? You might get into a few shows for free.

5. Print zines

From near-legendary, certainly scene-defining zines like Sniffing Glue and Touch and Go to Etch and Bubblegum Slut, and including Denver efforts like Suburban Home, historically a print fanzine has proven able to become a hub of a scene, offering a central spot where fans can read the views of other fans. Maybe the writing isn’t particularly great, maybe it is. Maybe the humor is caustic, but that’s all part of the charm. Often, as is the case with Suburban Home and Touch and Go, they’re linked to indie record labels. 

4. Online zines
Free to produce, an online fanzine is, if anything, more difficult to distinguish from the professionally produced websites nowadays, because thanks to the great software that’s out there, when done well (as they often are), they look amazing. Gone are the days of photocopied and stapled zines. In fact, the term "fanzine" itself is starting to become archaic. Rather, we have independently produced online publications. After all, that’s how Pitchfork got started.

3. Blogs

Maybe you want to rant and rave about music without structuring a site into something cohesive and professional-looking. Maybe you have no discernible talent as a writer or a critic, but you feel that your opinions should be out there in the public sphere. And why the hell not? Just start a blog. These things are easy to do, and, hey, before you know it, you could be the Perez Hilton of music.

2. Check out the local talent
A visit to the Denver Zine Library and the website will tell you that the organization is "a non profit organization founded in 2003 whose mission is to preserve,  protect and promote the culture of zines and self published original work through archival collection, workshops, and events. The Denver Zine Library currently houses one of the largest zine collections in North America, with a preserved collection of over 15,000 independent and alternative zines."

There are workshops to get involved with, and there's a festival in June. Check out Karl Christian Krumpholz's 30 Miles of Crazy / The Denver Bootleg, Brainteaser Comics, and Rotten Bananas out of Wheat Ridge, to see what determined people are capable of.

1. Check out these cheap live shows for a deal IRL.
When you're done with free streaming of your music, here are a few options happening this week in Denver:

Cover Boy, Thursday, July 7, 3 Kings, free.
Friends Without Benefits, Sunday, July 10, Quixote's True Blue, $5

For more information, go to
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.