A Month on the Road with $100 and a T-Shirt

A Month on the Road with $100 and a T-Shirt

The Perfect Mixtape Segue #4: A Month on the Road with $100 and a T-Shirt

by Joe Biel

Microcosm Publishing

How do you describe the rollercoaster experience of touring? Pour it all out into a zine — especially if zines are the whole point of the tour. An obvious choice, but one that still posed a problem for Joe Biel, owner of the Portland-based indie press, Microcosm. In writing about his 40-city zine tour, Biel wanted The Perfect Mixtape Segue #4: A Month on the Road with $100 and a T-Shirt to be more than a travelogue, more than an itemized list of places “where we ate and shat.” Finally, after Biel had scrapped draft after draft, the light-switch flicked on — demonstrate to his readers that just as anyone can make a zine, anyone can go on the road. The only necessity is having the desire (and the willingness to go into a bit of debt).

In addition to a can-do attitude, touring and producing DIY print media share another thing: it’s better to not work alone. Illustrated over and over in the retelling of Biel’s road trip, friends (or lack of them) determine the success of missions with more heart than mighty dollars. Help can be a map to the venue (the hand-drawn maps Biel collected from the tour illustrate his zine), or help can come from friends also willing to brave bad road food. In the van with Biel are Dave Roche who reads from his book On Subbing: The First Four Years, Nicole Georges who presents her zine “Invincible Summer” via overhead projector, and Jack Saturn, author of We Ain’t Got No Car. But headlining is $100 & A T-Shirt, the documentary Biel produced on zine culture.

Since Biel and his touring gang resemble spirited seniors more than raging rockstars, the name for their tour, “Cocoon: The Zine Tour,” came from the 80s sci-fi movie about elderly folks acting like teen folks. Unfortunately for Biel and company, life on the road guarantees prodigal bedtime hours and disrupted eating habits. Biel also translates the suspense of touring, making it easy to finish this zine in one sitting: Which shows will be a success or a bust? Have the promoters hung flyers? Will the staff show sympathy or indifference? Will Biel with his racehorse metabolism ever get to eat again? The Perfect Mixtape Segue #4 captures not only the pain of sleeping on sofa beds but also the glory of showing small-town youths that self-expression is as available as the nearest blank sheet of paper and copy machine.

Microcosm: www.microcosmpublishing.com/catalog/zines/1359

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Bully
    Bully

    Bully greets Orlando with apathy and anger toward one of its theme parks. Jen Cray smiles and thinks, “Man, this band would have fit in well in the nineties!”

  • Luther Dickinson
    Luther Dickinson

    Blues & Ballads: A Folksinger’s Songbook: Volumes I & II (New West Records). Review by James Mann.

  • Conway
    Conway

    Big Talk EP (Self-Released). Review by Jen Cray.

  • Freakwater
    Freakwater

    Scheherazade (Bloodshot Records). Review by James Mann.

  • The Haymarket Squares
    The Haymarket Squares

    Light It Up. Review by Carl F Gauze.

  • Ani DiFranco
    Ani DiFranco

    Years pass, and so do our legends, but one constant remains: there are always artists living and breathing that are worth your time and attention. Ani DiFranco is a major one, according to Jen Cray and a whole legion of fans.

  • Javier Escovedo
    Javier Escovedo

    Kicked Out Of Eden (Saustex Media). Review by James Mann.

  • Eszter Balint
    Eszter Balint

    Airless Midnight (Red Herring). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Arthur Lee and Love
    Arthur Lee and Love

    Real to Reel (High Moon Records). Review by Al Pergande.

  • The Rentiers
    The Rentiers

    Here is a List of Things That Exist EP / Black Metal Yoga 7″ (Square of Opposition Records/Death to False Hope Records). Review by Jen Cray.

From the Archives