Big Bad Bo used to say that “you can’t judge a book by looking at the cover” and for the most cases in life, he was right. There are some other though that you really can judge a book by looking just at the cover.
The first KICKS issue came out on 1979’s April… At the time the man behind this keyboard was a six months old screaming n' farting machine… The first time that KICKS publications came to my attention was about a decade ago. I was lookin’ for some Link Wray stuff on the net and I bumped into Norton Records website. It was the first time and all things found there got me immediately excited. The way record sleeves looked, the way they chose artists for their roster... I mean who the fuck was Hasil Adkins anyway? Or who was this guy who ripped Little Richard's persona so outrageously and so in spades? Sooner that you might think, bought their records, hooked deeply into Norton's mascots and from there never really recovered.
On a small html page of this web, it existed (and still does...) a space about some KICKS magazine. Except for the last two issues all others had the sad detail "SOLD OUT" beneath them. Next move of course was to purchase these leftovers. You won’t find everyday mags with the Trashmen or Bobby Fuller on the front cover, right? I remember clearly my anxiety to come these things to my hands safe. The day mailman delivered them on my doorstep, that specific day my life changed. No shit! Every single piece was clever, hilarious and astoundingly detailed for cats that sadly time and history forgot. Well not these guys!
For Billy & Miriam there was no rockabilly, no rhythm n’ blues, no surf, no garage and no exotica! All things were just Rock N' Roll!
From this very day KICKS is my bible. A bible separated in 7 pieces. Ebay helped me found all other issues except for the first (anyone here got it and wanna sell it?). I spent many greens to catch the older issues. With a quick calculation it's something like 300 dollars... It’s not a collector’s thing. I’ve read every article in there, every review and every interview a thousand times and surely never regret on the money I gave to every little prick on the net that tried and succeed to cash in my passion.
KICKS layout still remains the best ever on a music magazine. Many ‘zines the last 30 years, ripped (with no shame!) the way Miriam and Billy have built KICKS. To tell you the truth I suspect that all layout things generated by Miriam’s hands. If you already own or see Miriam’s other ‘zines like the Bad Seed, Smut Peddler or the Flamin Groovies monthlies, you can clearly witness the best template of how a magazine should look.
The last great attempts of books like "Saving the World One Record at the Time" and “Born in the Garage" made me hope for a same treatment of all old KICKS issues. I still wonder why Norton hipsters didn’t do it already. I’m pretty sure many people like me, asked them the same question.
KICKS publications on the late nineties put out a great photo book by Eddie Rocco with astonishing shots on artists like Ruth Brown, Roy Orbison, Dion but the true money worthies are Esquerita’s! If there’s a definition of what is wild and sleazy, take a good look at these pictures! Their last output was a great book by Mr. Rhythm himself, Andre Williams. If you haven’t checked it already, act quickly!
From the pages of KICKS magazines through the years passed many great guest writers like Jim Marshall (a.k.a. The Hound), Tim Warren (label honcho of Crypt empire), Greg Prevost (c’mon you know who the Chesterfield Kings are) and Nick Tosches. Even Lester Bangs wanted to write for KICKS but Miriam turned down his piece!
KICKS were the beginning of what later become Norton Records. For a period of time (about two years) my only ambition was to try find most of the bands or records this hip couple from NYC wrote about. Now my only ambition is to not lose every new release by Norton. Musically Norton’s records are some of the best parts ever produced with this devil’s beat. And the liner notes that accompany them begin from where Issue No 7 stopped. Try gather all these and you’ll have many new issues of this KICKS (hi)story.And that’s why KICKS championed even today by many as ‘The Greatest Rock N’ Roll Magazine in the World!’
Issue #1 (1979)
Everly Bros article + discography, Dave Edmunds article, article on 60s bands in TV cameos, Dictators article, Foul Dogs vs Ha'Pennys review, Pacific NW 60s article, Paul Revere & the Raiders article, Keith Allison article +discography, rare 45 reviews, Vince Taylor article, Rokes (Italy) interview, Velvet Underground article, Shaggs (girl band) article, book & zine reviews, North Carolina rock retrospective, Flamin' Groovies article, London/Parrot label discography
Issue #2 (1979)
Chuck Berry article, Gene Vincent article, French 1960s EP:s, Del-Vetts article + discography, Canada punk article, Wailers article, Etiquette discography, Centurys (PA) article, Foul Dogs article, Ugly Ducklings article + discography, Chicago radio article, Heathens article, San Bernardino article+discography (part 1), Jerry Lee Lewis article, Elvis article, Waikiki Surf LP article, Flamin Groovies article+interview.
Issue #3 (1984)
Esquerita interview + discography, Little Richard article, Motions (OH) interview + discography, Beach Boys article, Collins Kids article, Link Wray article, Del-Fi surf LP, The Phantom article, Benny Joy interview, Tommy Lam interview, Ronnie Dawson article, Hasil Adkins interview, Steve Carl interview, Jess Hooper interview, Herbie Duncan article, White Castle article, JD-literature/Hal Ellson, Groupies article, Frog Death discography, Trashmen article, Bobby Fuller article, Banshees interview, The Heard interview, Savages LP, Shaggs "Wink", Golliwogs/John Fogerty article, Hustlers LP, Dave Kennedy & Ambassadors LP, San Bernardino pt 2
Issue #4 (1985)
Wanda Jackson article, Ft Worth 1960s Teen Scene, Ronnie Self article + interview + discography, Surf top 10, Midwest surf, Electras article + discography, Tempests (NY) interview, Honeymooners interview, "Car 54" article, Ralph Nielsen interview, Ken Davis article, Barbara Pittman article, Hillary Brooke article, Hasil Adkins article, Jackie Gotroe article, Tyrone Schmidling article, Billy Poore, Jerome Green article, "Garden State Gold" LP, Link Wray article, Ledge Stardust Cowboy interview, Buddy Holly article, "Top Teen Bands" LP, Fred Blassie interview, baseball season predictions
Issue #5 (1987)
Hasil Adkins interview + discography, Rivieras interview + discography, Joe Clay interview, Mamie Van Doren, Pyramids interview + discography, Dale Hawkins interview + discography, "alternative music", Fantastic Dee Jays/Swamp Rats interview + discography, Marauders (MI) article, Jerry LL article, Herbie Duncan article + interview, Sterling Hayden article, Bob Vidone article + discography, Ed Roth interview, Moon Records discography, Blue Moon Records discography, Phantom Raiders LP, Kid Thomas article + discography, Revels article + discography, Andy Anderson interview, Danny Dell interview + discography, Twiliters (NY) interview + discography, Carl Cherry article
Issue #6 (1988)
Bobby Fuller article + discography, Sonny Burgess interview, Chicago 60s punk scene, Arch Hall Jr article + discography, Sparkle Moore interview, Ronnie Dawson article + discography, Vince Murphy & Catalinas interview, Elroy Dietzel article, Felco Records discography, Gene Rambo/Plaids/Flames article, Rockin R's article + discography, Andre Williams article + discography, Gene Maltais article + discography, misc TV, Surf Barfin Dozen, Young Tyrants interview, Tempos interview, Mickey Hawks interview, Excels (TX) interview, Big Sambo article, Rumblers Interview + discography, Teddy & Rough Riders interview + discography, Renegades interview, Swags article, Slough Boys article, Crazy Teens article, Stingrays (IL) article, Jack Starr interview, Aquinos article, Billy Poore, Green Fuz interview
Issue #7 (1992)
Trashmen interview + discography, Mike Waggoner interview, Ron Haydock article + discography, Rock-A-Teens interview + discography, "Battle Of The Beat" LP, Dennis Hunt article, Esquerita article, Crossfires interview + discography, Iguanas (MI) interview, Andy Starr interview + discography, White Rock label discography, Part-Aires (NJ) interview + discography, Surf budget LPs, Rudy Grayzell interview + discography, Doug Sahm early 45s interview, Lenny & Thundertones interview + discography, Mexican 60's article, Las Vegas 60's article, Teenbeats article + discography
My KICKS collection...Issue No.1 still missing...