Fluke 13 review by Ashley Naftule at De'Lunula

Fluke 25th Anniversary Issue

“It’s the people who put in the sweat that make a scene go.”

Fugazi were legendary for putting on cheap shows. Paying $5 to see a band of their stature is just nuts. Throughout their career, they could have asked for significantly more money from people and they would have gotten it- hell, they would have DESERVED it. But as a matter of principle, they kept their art affordable and accessible. I wonder if that is the same reasoning behind Fluke’s $4 cover price.
$4 for a zine of this size and quality is an insane price. To say its generous is an understatement. I have no idea how much it must cost to print out a run of zines that are as dense as these Fluke issues are, but I would be surprised if they’d be able to break even at just $4 a pop. Even if the zine was pure dogshit, I would have to give them props for making their work so accessible. 

Luckily Fluke’s 25th anniversary issue is far from dogshit: It’s a very compelling zine, put together with strong layouts and striking photos. This issue focuses entirely on the punk scene that emerged in Little Rock, Arkansas. Fluke digs through the scene by not just talking to bands, but also talking to the people who helped make the scene happen: Promoters and graphic designers and the peeps who put up the fliers get just as much print time as the musicians themselves. It does a great job of not just letting you know what the Little Rock scene was about, but giving you a sense of what it was like to live through it in the first place.

There are great stories scattered through this issue about skater kids growing up in high school, about Fugazi tricking out the inside of their touring Penske truck (they nailed in Lazy-Boys and furniture to turn the back of the truck into a living room), about Tav Falco taking a chainsaw to a guitar in front of Alex Chilton. Interviews with Falco from Panther Burns and James Brady from Trusty go in depth on what it was like playing (and eventually leaving) the Little Rock scene, and also include insights about people like Chilton, Ian MacKaye, and artist buZ blurr.

What makes this issue interesting is that it approaches its subject in such a way that even if you have zero interest in Little Rock’s scene, it’s still a fascinating read. While I doubt I’ll be doing a deep dive into the music of Econochrist or any of the other Little Rock scene mainstays anytime soon, I’m glad I was able to spend some time getting to know them and their community.

In addition to the lengthy interviews, Fluke also has some fun crosswords and one word horoscopes mixed in. Not bad for a measly $4.

Fluke is available at Wasted Ink Zine Distro, Lawn Gnome Books, and at their online store.