"YES! TO FANZINES"
Some people will have first come across Kevin Pearce's writing in the fanzine Hungry Beat. It is all a long time ago now, but there were three issues of Hungry Beat and one of its successor The Same Sky. It is fair to say these fanzines had something of a reputation for their inspirational, argumentative, enthusiastic and contrary content.
These fanzines covered the best of the underground pop sounds of the day (roughly the mid-1980s), with a strong bias towards some of the early Creation Records acts. In fact Alan McGee liked Hungry Beat so much that he included the first issue as part of the cover photo for the Pass The Paintbrush, Honey mini-LP by his group Biff Bang Pow!
These fanzines were eagerly snapped up, and readers included Matt Haynes (of Sarah Records fame) who, with his friend Mark Carnell, started a fanzine called Are You Scared To Get Happy? which was directly inspired by the first issue of Hungry Beat.
Unlike most fanzines of the time Hungry Beat did not feature reviews, interviews, or local bands. Instead the opportunity was seized to expound at length about pop music. And it was predominantly Kevin who did the writing, though one Pete Whiplash was an occasional contributor with articles on Love, Vic Godard, Fire Engines, Julian Cope and The Jesus and Mary Chain. Pete Whiplash was a pen name for Bobby Gillespie, though that was kept quiet.
The actual process of putting fanzines together way back then was a challenge, with a battered portable typewriter, a bottle of Tipp-Ex, scissors and a Pritt Stick, WH Smith's equivalent of Letraset rub-on lettering, sneaky use of the office photocopier, and so on. Kevin, it has to be said, was more interested in words and ideas than the design process. What he wanted was to create something that became a work of art in itself, part of the whole pop experience as much as the music.
Many years later, writing in The Times, Bob Stanley described Kevin's fanzines "as droll, intelligent and fiercely passionate about pop. The three Hungry Beats deserve to be reprinted as Penguin Modern Classics." Bob included the cover of the third and final edition of Hungry Beat as one of the illustrations in his book Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Story of Modern Pop.