Ray Gun magazine came out in 1992 and I was a fan from the start, or the get-go.
The founder was Marvin Scott Jarrett, someone who attracted my attention on Instagram recently; he was being interviewed about the launch of his book celebrating nearly ten years of the magazine’s existence. To look at the pages again is an unbelievable feast; I’m still struck by the dramatic beauty and the mystery of the text/picture alchemy.
You either like music or you don’t, but there are degrees of liking, and I would bet that Ray Gun converted more idle listeners into die-hard fans of Eliot Smith, Henry Rollins the Flaming Lips to name but a few. For one important reason: to be included in this hipper-than-hip crowd, to learn to decipher the bent letterforms, and also to relish the throwaway quality photograph the figure on stage, in shorts, his back turned towards us. Unforgettable.
This is a bold enterprise; one untainted by the quicksand logic of marketing functionaries. This would have been incomprehensible to the ‘make it bigger, brighter and bolder’ brigade, but you need someone with vision to allow writers and photographers to enjoy themselves and the art directors to do their job; in other words turn it into art.
That’s what Marvin did.