ACC Magazine wasn't a magazine. It was a 'zine. It was made with scissors and glue, and it was photocopied early Sunday mornings onto 8.5x11" paper at a secret location. It was stapled by hand. It was designed on the bedroom floor, while my shins bled and my elbows ached.
|ACC was a black & white labor of love dedicated to everyone who cared deeply about freestyle bikes (now generally referred to as BMX), skateboarding, silly haircuts and unpopular music.
The X Games weren't around then and we were the only people who thought we were cool. You probably called me a little bike-riding faggot that one time in Cleveland. My response still stands: Fuck you.
The 'zine ran from 1988 to 1993. It was started after I injured my hand in a freak hedge trimmer accident (don't ask). I couldn't ride my bike for a month or so. During summer. Seemed like forever.
While I was recuperating, our little riding group decided to go into publishing. I was the Art Director, Adam Liber was the Chief Photographer and Bob Burbick was Music Editor (scoring us loads of awesome advance music and band interviews). While we were all editors, the 'zine quickly became my baby. Everyone still helped, but it was my passion and as the issues added up I wrote, shot and designed nearly everything.
So ACC is the reason I'm a designer and photo editor now. It's the reason I got into design, photography, journalism. It's the reason I work for a kickass visual communications company. It's the reason I can talk about Alexy Brodovich, Mad Dog Moeller and rolling perverted decades in the same sentence. It's the reason I ended up in St. Louis, married to a wonderful girl. And it's why I like outsider art, custom typography, found objects and things made by hand. And unpopular music. I am mostly over the silly haircuts, but I still think 'zines are cool.
ACC reached at least 15 countries and 40 out of the 50 United States, never running over 200 copies per issue. There were 14 issues total and a few one-off 'zines: BullWinkle, Graphic Laxative, HBI, the ACCalendars and some others that never really saw the light of day...
ACC stood for Atomic Circle of Chaos. Bob came up with that. Thank you, Bob.
I met a lot of great people through ACC at contests, at bike shops, in the 'zine trading scene and just riding. Riding was really what ACC was about. And back then, riding was the only thing that seemed to matter. Usually, I think, when you look through the yellowing pages of ACC, it shows. We really loved what we were doing.
Though the 'zine died a slow, withering death as other things occupied what used to be my riding time, it's one of the things I'm most proud of. It's one of the things that gave me real direction when I was younger. And I think it gave some other kids a little direction too.
Anyway, I have a new BMX bike now. The first one in a while. I don't ride as well as I did 12 years ago, when I was 19. But the feeling is really close. It's still amazingly fun and I don't suck too bad. And there seem to be a lot of riders at the local ramp park. I just wish someone around here was making a 'zine.
Because 'zines mean you really fucking love it.
4 Feb 2002