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Not Just a Zine: the “Rollin Under” Zine and Thessaloniki’s DIY Music-making (1985 – 1990). Thessaloniki’s DIY Music Scene


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For over thirty years now, musicians of different backgrounds, meet at DIY rehearsal and recording studios in Thessaloniki “outside” of the recorded, official, local histories of music life. From the middle 80s those places along with squads outside and inside of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, had been a springboard for a series of crucial musical and political osmoses. With the DIY ethos as a common ground and Thessaloniki as the specific urban setting lots and different kinds of popular music idioms (from hardcore punk to reggae and trip hop idioms) had blossom throughout, those 30 years of constant music creation. This rich and constant music-making wouldn’t have been so vivid during its 1st period (1982-1994) (Karamoutsiou, 2019, Upcoming), without its own pillars of distribution which were: independent labels and music stores, pirate radio stations and fanzines. From the middle 80s there was an outbreak of fanzines productivity (Souzas, 2012) in Greece. In Thessaloniki, during that time (1985), “Rollin Under”, one of the most important Greek fanzines was born. “Rollin Under was probably the ultimate 80s fanzine“, (Vertigo, 2008) that firstly, was published as a booklet of “Lazy Dog” cassette releases. However, it ended to be one of the most participatory zine of its time (Souzas, 2012) “Rollin Under always hoped that somebody will sent music and texts that would have been unforgiveable not to be released” (“To Papari”, #07, January, 1990). In this presentation “Rolling Under” history will be told along with stories of DIY music making of its time. Through those stories, I hope that I will answer to the following questions: In which specific ways did this zine contribute to Thessaloniki’s DIY music scene flourishing? Does researching, “Rollin Under” and other participatory zines, open the way to a more “bottom up” and inclusive critical music historiography?
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Not Just a Zine: the “Rollin Under” Zine and Thessalo-
niki’s DIY Music-making (1985 – 1990). Thessaloniki’s
DIY Music Scene
Alexandra Karamoutsiou
For over 30 years now, musicians from different scenes, ages and educational
backgrounds have been meeting at do-it-yourself (DIY) rehearsal and record-
buildings, especially on the west side of the city centre, above stores and bars and
1980s these places were the springboard for a series of crucial musical osmo-
ses, operating as places of communication and networking but also the formation
of musical collectives. With the DIY ethos as common ground and Thessaloniki as
their urban site, several different kinds of popular music idioms (from hardcore,
punk to reggae and trip hop) blossomed throughout these 30 years of ceaseless
           
the term “music scene”?
ing the 1980s as a critical opposition to the term “subculture”.1 Music scenes have
1 PETERSON, Richard A. – BENNETT, Andy. Introducing Music Scenes. In PETERSON, Richard A. – BEN-
NETT, Andy (eds.) Music Scenes, Local, Translocal and Virtual. Nashville : Vanderbilt University Press,
2004, p. 1.
KARAMOUTSIOU, Alexandra: Not Just a Zine: the “Rollin Under” Zine and Thessaloniki’s DIY Music-
-making (1985 – 1990). Thessaloniki’s DIY Music Scene.
From the early 1980s, with the common ground of the DIY ethos, lots of and different kinds of popular
music idioms (from hardcore, punk to reggae and trip-hop) blossomed in Thessaloniki, Greece. This rich
and constant music-making would not have been as vivid during its rst period (1982 – 1994) without its
own pillars of distribution, which consisted of independent labels and music stores, pirate radio stations
and fanzines. In this essay I will focus on Thessaloniki’s emblematic fanzine Rollin Under, which was
active from 1985 to 1992. I will show the relationship between Rollin Under, Thessaloniki’s music scene,
theDIY ethos and the Greece’s historical and political context of that time. Finally, I will describe fanzi-
nes as alternative cultural spaces through which we music historians can “hear” the voices and untold
stories of the participants of the music we research.
Keywords: DIY Music Scenes, fanzines, 1980s in Greece, Metapolitefsi, “bottom-up” music historio-
Forum Historiae, 2020, Vol. 14, No. 2
        
   -
graphical place.
The concept of a community was used before “music scene” and is considered
to imply a not so stable and homogeneous group of people.4 Nevertheless, re-
cent critical approaches use the term “community” to describe a more romantic
and wider construction in which music is a common practice of its members and
is exalted as a common way of living, away from the hierarchical relationships
of the music industry.5
In any case, if we try to describe the DIY music activities of Thessaloniki through
the aforementioned concepts, we are faced with several problems. In the case
of using the term “music scene”, we will not be able to deal either with the plu-
rality of the music idioms that we meet in the DIY music of the Thessaloniki phe-
nomenon (because when we are talking about a “music scene” we usually talk
6) or with the historical background of the phenome-
non. Moreover, DIY music studio activities have not been as clearly removed from
the hierarchical relationships of the music industry as the concept of a music
community (Stefanou, Graham) implies.
      -
riod (1985 – 1990) of DIY music-making in Thessaloniki, as they were written
and documented in the Rollin Under fanzine.7 We could describe Thessaloniki’s
      
We are therefore talking about a productive DIY music community in Thessalon-
punk, garage punk, new wave and hardcore.
DIY is the acronym of the phrase “do it yourself, which constitutes a political at-
titude8        9 However, this
2 STRAW, Will. Systems of Articulations, Logics of Change: Communities and Scenes in Popular Music. In
Cultural Studies, 1991, No. 5,
3 BEALLE, John. DIY Music and Scene Theory. Revision of a paper presented at a meeting of the Midwest
Chapter of the Society for Ethnomusicology. 13 April 2013,
4 STRAW 1991, p. 373.
5 STEFANOU, Danae. “Sharing what we lack”: Contextualizing live experimental music in post-2009 Athens.
In TRAGAKI, Dafni (ed.) Made in Greece: Studies in Greek Popular Music. London; New York : Routledge,
2018, pp. 132-133; GRAHAM, Stephen. Notes of the Underground: A Cultural, Political and Aesthetic Map-
ping of Underground Music. (PhD Dissertation). Goldsmiths College : University of London, 2012, p. 44.
6 BENNETT – PETERSON 2004, Introduction.
7 I would like to mention here that this is ongoing research; thus, there will probably be some gaps, omis-
sion or maybe mistakes in my narration. I feel extremely thankful for all the people who trusted me
through their live interviews up until now. For this essay I want to specially thank Babis Argyriou.
8 “Whilst also having political implications, providing an alternative to dominant cultural channels of capi-
talism as it does.GRAHAM 2012, p. 67.
9 MORAN, Ian P. Punk. The Do-It-Yourself Subculture. In Social Sciences Journal, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 1,
Alexandra Karamoutsiou: Not Just a Zine: the “Rollin Under” Zine and Thessaloniki’s DIY Music-making...
concept could be used to comprehend a broader context of autonomous artistic
practices, as is the case of Thessaloniki’s music scene. Spencer delimits DIY the-
oretically and historically to a more general basis, as an ethos that expresses “the
urge to create a new cultural form and transmit it to others on your own terms”.10
So, DIY efforts can be seen as an attempt to recover a more active attitude to-
wards artistic creation in general. DIY’s starting point is self-organized, “bot-
tom-up” creation. This practically means that music is created, for instance, in
self-organized studios and distributed through independent labels, promoted by
fanzines and pirate stations and performed in self-organized live gigs, festivals,
parties and squats. This is exactly what was happening in Thessaloniki during
the mid-1980s and 1990s.11
The Zine: a “labour of love”12
The fanzine seems to be the ideal embodiment of the DIY ethos13 because it is, using
Spencer’s words, “a cultural form that it is transmitted to others on its own terms”
under no control and censorship.14 It is a small-scale, underground, self-funded15
and self-organized publication created by music lovers16 who are not professional
17 The zine’s editors and writers are not to be considered as pa-
thetic fans18 but as actively involved members of the scene19 searching freely for
their own voice. “When you are a part of a minority and out of the system, you cre-
ate your own world and communicate with your own language […] you have to be
free and do something on your own without a master.”20 In our case, we are talking
about a music zine which usually referred to bands and their music, Greek or not,
that were not promoted by the mainstream media.21 However, Rollin Under
10 SPENCER, Amy. . London; New York : Marion Boyars, 2005, Introduction.
11 As Duncombe puts it: “(T)he Scene: the loose confederation of self-consciously ‘alternative’ publications,
bands, shows, radio stations, cafes and bookstores and people that make up modern bohemia. DUNCOMBE,
Stephen. Notes form the Underground: Zines and the Politics of Alternative Culture. Portland : Microcosm
Publishing, 2008, p. 58.
12 Larry Bob’s quote, see DUNN, Kevin. Global Punk: Resistance and Rebellion in Everyday Life. New York;
London : Bloomsbury, 2016, p. 161.
13 SOUZAS, Nikos. What fanzines are? From the uninterrupted personal expression to the composition
of new forms of socialization. In ARAPINIS, Pantelis (ed.) Anti-culture: The Emergence of a New Social
Subject after 1980
14 DUNN 2016, p. 162.
15 Usually a fanzine is funded by its own editors and writers, by its fee, if there is one, and by self-organized
parties and gigs. SOUZAS 2012, pp. 59-71.
16 LAING, Dave. One Chord Wonders: Power and Meaning in Punk Rock. Oakland : PM Press, 2015, p. 23.
17 DUNN 2016, p. 160; It is important to mention that Pakis Tzilis in Rollin Under’s issue 13 describes a fan-
zine’s labour in the exact same way: “Quite a lot of people (and if only boosted) have decided to oppose
of their need. Loving what they’re doing, lack of speculative goals and mostly the willingness for creation
own or with my gang) are the main fanzines’ characteristics… TZILIS, Pakis. Fanzines. In Rollin Under,
1988, No. 13, pp. 10-12.
18 SOUZAS 2012, pp. 59-71.
19 DUNN 2016, p. 169.
20 Babis Argyriou, live interview.
21 SPENCER 2005, p. 88; On Rollin Under’s 15 issue cover we can see a photo of the band Jesus Couldn’t
Drum. This is an indicative example of this attitude. Because as Argyriou explains: “(N)o big music maga-
zine could publish something like that in Greece at that time. This kind of band wasn’t known by many
Forum Historiae, 2020, Vol. 14, No. 2
intention was to promote the local scene, so in a way we are talking about a music
scene zine.22
In this essay I will focus on Thessaloniki’s emblematic fanzine Rollin Under, which
was active from 1985 to 1992. I will show the relationship between Rollin Under,
the Thessaloniki music scene, the DIY ethos and Greece’s historical and political
context of that time. This will be mostly achieved through the following questions:
Why and under what conditions was Rollin Under born? Who were the creators?
What was the content and means of expression? What are the hidden stories that
  
to the description of fanzines as alternative cultural spaces through which we
music historians can “hear” the voices and the untold stories of the participants
of the music we are researching.
The 1980s in Greece: Music, DIY and its artifacts as a “way out”
for youngsters
In 1981, Greek elections were won by the socialist Panhellenic Socialist Move-
ment, or PASOK, and along with it the supposed and desired “change”23 had ar-
rived 
that a leftist government was coming into power without any interference from
the military.24 In fact, Greek democracy was still pretty young at that time, because
1974) as recently as 14 years before. From 1974 until 1981, Greece experienced
the transition to parliamentary democracy (Metapolitefsi), with the right-wing
government of the New Democracy party trying to restore the democratic state’s
institutions, but in general, being conservative. New Democracy couldn’t or didn’t
want to follow the radicalization of Greek society, particularly of young people.25
An example of this radicalization was the squatting movement that was born
during students’ reaction to a new educational law of the conservative New
of doubting, a new political “space”26 emerged and was formed. It was colour-
 
be on the cover of any magazine.
the link
22 Scene zines: “These contain views and news of the local music and underground cultural scene in the writ-
er’s area.DUNCOMBE 2008, p. 18.
23 “Change”, apart from PASOK’s electoral slogan, was the word that could characterize the climate of the
1980s generally in Greece. SOTIROPOULOS, Dimitris. Change. In VAMVAKAS, Vasilis – PANAGIOTOPOU-
LOS, Panagis (eds.) Greece in the 80s: A Social, Political and Cultural Vocabulary. Athens : Epikentro, pp.
24 “The electoral success of PASOK in 1981 and the smooth transition of the reins of power to a party with such
a radical agenda as PASOK had, did, in fact, consolidate democracy in the land where it had been abolished
only 14 years earlier. KOLIOPOULOS, John S. – VEREMIS, Thanos M. Modern Greece: A History since 1821.
Oxford : Blackwell publishing, 2010, p. 161. The same opinion is supported by other historians, too, such
as: VOULGARIS, Giannis. Metapolitefsi in Greece: 1974 2009. Athens : Polis, 2013, p. 95; NIKOLAKOPOU-
LOS, Ilias. Elections in 1981. In VAMVAKAS, Vasilis – PANAGIOTOPOULOS, Panagis (eds.) Greece in the
80s: A Social, Political and Cultural Vocabulary. Athens : Epikentro 2010, p. 150.
25 SKLAVENITIS, Dimitris. “Katse kala Gerasime”: Student’s movement and squatting, 1974 – 2000. Athens :
Asini, 2016, p. 104.
26 SKLAVENITIS 2016, p. 89.
Alexandra Karamoutsiou: Not Just a Zine: the “Rollin Under” Zine and Thessaloniki’s DIY Music-making...
ful, dynamic, radical, self-organized and autonomous, like a Greek analogy to
the movements springing out of May 1968.27 
       -
mination and sexual orientation, feminism and patriarchy.28 We could say that
the  
and relationships of everyday life”.29
               -
sic scenes, zines and pirate radio stations, can be examined in this context. Un-
der this light, it cannot be a mere coincidence that at least 40 new bands were
born in Thessaloniki in 1980.30 Those bands were searching their own sound and
voice away from the political art of the popular Greek music that had dominated
the left wing during the Metapolitefsi (democratic transition) and was promoted
by the state of “change”.31 In general “Young people of the 80s were suffocated by
the dominant political discourse, party guidance and conservatism of Greek socie-
t y ”. 32 Punk and new wave, along with the DIY ethos, were the way that the new
generation liberated itself.
As Giannis Aggelakas33 wrote: “rock was a way out for us […] on the other side
was the political songs of the Metapolitefsi, which were getting on our nerves […]
in that period we had already lived punk and all this stuff, and we started to be
more political beings, but we were not involved in parties […] it was something
that was coming out of our music too”.34 So an increasing amount of DIY music
            
DIY music studios on the east side of the city in the Depot and Kalamaria areas
27 SOUZAS, Nikos. “Stop Talking about Death, Baby”: Politics and Culture in the Antagonistic Movement
of Greece (1974 1998). Thessaloniki : Nautilos, 2015, p. 72.
28  
education in Greece (1974 – 1982). In Espacio, Tiempo y Educación, 2015, No. 2, pp. 33-48, http://dx.doi.
29 SOUZAS 2015, p. 72.
30 DIMATATIS, Ntinos. Get that Beat, Greek Rock of 80s & 90s, Vol. II. Thessaloniki : Katsanos, 2001, p. 12. Up
until now, through my research, I have discovered 47 bands that started their activities between 1980
and 1985.
31 This refers mostly to a Greek music idiom based on the artistic elaboration of popular or traditional
Greek instruments, like the bouzouki or the Cretan lyra, mainly by Mikis Theodorakis and Giannis Mar-
    -
press themselves musically through rock idioms. Notably, PASOK, the new government voted in power
the 1980s.
             
Nikos. Culture during the Years of the Metapolitefsi,
32 KUMIONIS, Stelios. Rock Scene. In VAMVAKAS, Vasilis – PANAGIOTOPOULOS, Panagis (eds.) Greece in the
80s: A Social, Political and Cultural Vocabulary. Athens : Epikentro, pp. 520-521.
34 Giannis Aggelakas interview to “Start the scene”, available at:
Forum Historiae, 2020, Vol. 14, No. 2
and bands like Mpeste skuloi aleste35 (punk) and Moot Point36; on the west side
of the city, in the Neapoli area, were bands like Berkebe (punk), Grover37, Indig-
nant Citizens38, Gulag39, Out of Control40, Holes41 and others.42 Therefore, we
could say that the radicalization of youth was empowered and expressed through
the DIY ethos and its artifacts, and vice versa.43
Rollin Under
Within these rich DIY music activities in Thessaloniki Rollin Under was born as an
effort to promote and distribute Thessaloniki’s music groups. “To get a record out
was an impossible dream […] because of the political songs during the Metapolitefsi
and […] I didn’t want their (the music groups) work to get lost […] there was noth-
obviously.44 Thus, Babis Argyriou was experiencing the vivid music life of Thessa-
loniki and felt that he should do something to capture it, promote it and distribute
it. He was running a pirate radio station at that time, Radio Free, with the techni-
cal support of Makis Terzopoulos. Argyriou was also collecting LPs and cassettes
and realized that he loved sharing the music he liked with other people.45
Some years before, he had played keyboards and guitar and sang in the music
group Life in Cage46, but he soon left that dream and focused on searching for47
and listening to music, attending live gigs in the city and sharing his experienc-
es. He recorded live gigs with a Sony Professional Walkman and began playing
them at his radio station in 1980. After a trip to the USA in 1984, he came back to
35 Tourkovasilis in his book Rock Diaries 
Their drummer is a well-known DJ in Thessaloniki and maybe the only stable member of the band. As
characteristically mentions in an interview: “Yes I started as a musician in a punk band that we formed
      
a problem. We did our gigs without rehearsals and we never played with the same consistency”. http://
36 Rock’N’Roll/Punk band formed in 1984 in Thessaloniki, Greece,
37 Post punk band formed during 1981,
38 Romanized to Aganaktismenoi Polites. Hardcore band formed in 1986 in Thessaloniki. https://www.
39 Gulag, the name taken from the Soviet forced labour camps, is a Greek band from Thessaloniki formed
in December 1985. Their music is a mixture of punk, hardcore with some metal and melodic elements,
40 Romanized to Ektos Elenghou. A Punk/Rock’N’Roll band from Thessaloniki. They started playing in
41 Romanized to Tripes. A post punk group from Thessaloniki Greece. They started playing in 1983 https://
42 KARAMOUTSIOU, Alexandra. “At the mercy of modernization…”: Histories of DIY music-making in Thes-
saloniki and the case of “NAFTIA. The upcoming paper was presented at an International PhD graduate
Student Conference in Thessaloniki in February 2018.
43 As Chu Julie put it: “For zine publishers the media environment provides some of the few remaining re-
sources and opportunities for youths to carve out a space for themselves.CHU, Julie. Navigating the media
environment: How youth claim a place through zines. In Social Justice, 1997, Vol. 24, No. 3, pp. 71-85,
44 Babis Argyriou, live interview.
45 Babis Argyriou, live interview.
46 You can listen to the cassette by following the link
47 There were some vinyl stores at that time in Thessaloniki, such as Stereo-disc and Blow Up, and some
bookstores that imported fanzines from abroad, mostly from the USA. These were Babis’s main source
of information and not so much the mainstream Greek media of that time, such as Pop and Rock or the
more alternative Sound (Romanized to Echos).
Alexandra Karamoutsiou: Not Just a Zine: the “Rollin Under” Zine and Thessaloniki’s DIY Music-making...
Thessaloniki with a four-track cassette
recorder in his luggage and started re-
cording his favourite local bands. In 1985
he asked his favourite local bands to par-
ticipate in a cassette collection, and this
Rollin Under was
born: “I proposed to the groups whose gigs
I like to listen, to participate in a cassette
collection that I was preparing. They ac-
cepted with pleasure, but I soon found out
that the collection wasn’t enough for me.
I wanted to include a booklet with some
information that eventually had 24 pages
and was called Rollin Under.48 So, Rollin
to accompany cassette collections of mu-
sic from local bands. However, this hap-
Babis Argyriou continued his recordings
and distribution, running Lazy Dog Re-
cords at the same time.49 During that pe-
riod, he met Giannis Plohoras and asked
him to become Rollin Under’s co-editor.
       
open call for anyone to send his/her ar-
ticle and to take part as a writer. Argyr-
iou and Plohoras were the main editors
and worked together until issue 20 in
the early 1990s, then Plohoras published
two issues on his own, and that was Roll-
in Under’s last breath.50
However, Rollin Under was only one of the
dozens of fanzines that were born in
Greece at that time. From the mid-1980s
and 1990s countless of fanzines were cre-
ated and most of them were music zines51
that documented and supported local
scenes. After 1985 zines were spread al-
most all over Greece, contributing not
50 Babis Argyriou, live interview.
51 KOLOVOS, Giannis. “Social Waste”: The History of the Punk Scene in Athens (1979 – 2015). Athens : Aprov-
leptes, 2015, intro.
Figure 1. Cassette release of Rollin Under’s issue
1, 1985 (source: https://lazydogrecords.bandcamp.
Figure 2. Cassette release of Rollin Under’s issue
2, 1986 (source: https://lazydogrecords.bandcamp.
Figure 3. Cassette release of Rollin Under’s issue
3, 1986 (source: https://lazydogrecords.bandcamp.
Forum Historiae, 2020, Vol. 14, No. 2
only to the empowerment of their local scenes but to the connection of the local
scenes with each other and with similar movements abroad.52-
zine called Papari (which is Greek slang for testicle) claimed that in 1985 there
were 27 active fanzines in Greece. It is interesting to see the way their writers
described their activities and efforts: “Notebook recording”; “alternative inde-
; “It is just a hobby and a way to help the scene”;A ma gazine
for the never found passages”; “personal and fanatically amateur”; “determined
to work for fun”; “amateur document that talks about music across mass media”;
“a casual, amateur, dirty but so real press”.53
Thus, we are talking about publications springing from their writers shared love
for music. These were not widely accessible and were not promoted by the main-
stream music media. Writers were guided by their urge to share the music, local
or not, that they were searching for, discovering and listening to, in their own
way, through their own means. “We were writing for everything that moved us
and stimulated us; we were interviewing local and foreign groups through mail or
live, before or after their gigs. Writers decided on and proposed a subject that they
wanted to talk about, and sometimes they brought it directly, with no warning.54
Rollin Under was admittedly, along with Open City (Romanized Anichti Poli),
very effective to its readers on matters of musical and political preferences.55
At the same time, through Rollin Under, a reader could be informed in detail about
the music life of Thessaloniki and sometimes Athens and be “transported” to al-
most every gig that was taking place at that time by Greek or other bands. More-
over, Rollin Under was also a source of information about what was happening
in Europe at that time, through the experiences of writers who were attending
gigs there, or the diaries of musicians who were touring. Through their stories,
readers were informed about and connected with Europe’s squats, their activities
and their networks.56
Rollin Under was mostly distributed in Thessaloniki’s vinyl stores, such as Blow
up, Stereodisc and Billboard, as well as in some bookstores, too. Moreover, Argyr-
iou or Plohoras also travelled by train and distributed the zine in person to Ath-
ens’s vinyl stores (Music Machine, Happening, Art-nouveau, Jazz Rock, etc.) and
bookstores (Vavel, Para Pente), too. They carried the issues around (two or three
hundred of them) mostly on foot and collected fees from previous sales door-
to-door at each record shop. After that, they were free to hang around the vinyl
stores to search for and buy LPs. Lots of issues were also distributed by hand
and by mail through readers who became friends of the zine and helped with
52 SOUZAS 2012, pp. 59-71.
53 A Glance to Greek Fanzines’ Underworld. In Papari, 1989, No. 6, pp. 3-10.
55 SOUZAS 2012, pp. 59-71.
56 This is exactly what Duncombe describes: “The idea of a zine holding a scene together is not new… some
the almost ubiquitous presence in punk zines of the band tour diary. In these diaries the zine writer takes
the reader on a day by day tour with the band: riding in vans, playing at clubs, eating bad food, crashing on
couches.DUNCOMBE 2008, p. 61.
Alexandra Karamoutsiou: Not Just a Zine: the “Rollin Under” Zine and Thessaloniki’s DIY Music-making...
the distribution in smaller cities in the country. The maximum number of copies
printed was 1500 and the minimum 300; they probably published 25 issues, one
every two-three months from 1985 – 1991 or 1992.57
The zine was never handwritten. Writers sent their articles to Argyriou and he
typed them out on his sister’s typewriter. Assembling the issue was a very joyful
process, before we got involved with printers and book binders, when photocopies
were getting in line, folded and stapled by the drafting group, in between the jokes
and the badinage.58
During the zine’s publication, the group grew. Most of the members were friends
before the zine started, and some were added along the way, among them Kostas
Apostolidis, Lambros Skouz, Babis Halatsis, Pakis Tzilis, Dhmitris Veldemiris, Pa-
nos Konidaris, Vassilis Giatsis and others. Argyriou added photos and designed
the titles with Letraset letters or letters cut out of other magazines59, and Plo-
horas sometimes drew the covers. It is interesting that there was no stable logo
for the name of the zine. Almost every issue was bigger than the previous one
(24 - 68 pages) and some of the last issues were in four-colour print, too. As
the issues became richer and bigger, they were typewritten by a printing centre
and sometimes designed by a graphic artist.60
As the years went by, the zine evolved and got bigger, richer and more elaborat-
ed. Thus, one might wonder: was it still a zine or was it becoming more akin to
a music magazine? This is a question that arose during the early 1990s, as the DIY
scene was becoming an alternative scene, occasionally promoted and subsumed
57 Babis Argyriou, live interview; Babis Argyriou, personal site:
der-fanzine and
58 Babis Argyriou, live interview.
59 “Everything was photocopied and then paginated and bound with scissors and glue. Babis Argyriou, live
60 Babis Argyriou, personal site:
Figure 4. Issue 1, 1985 (source:
Figure 5. Issue 4, 1987 (source
Figure 6. Issue 9, 1987 (source:
Forum Historiae, 2020, Vol. 14, No. 2
by more mainstream media and labels. Some mainstream music magazines were
now referring to zines, and some zines were advertising small record labels in
their pages. This evolution led to a public dialogue and problematization about
the zines’ identity and ontology. In Rollin Under’s issue 23, Kostas Apostolidis
wrote an article about this matter as an answer to the cruel critique about the
fact that small labels were advertised through the zines. In his text, Apostolidis
noted that the freedom of speech was a basic characteristic of a zine and could
not be suppressed in any way.61 Rollin Under ceased its circulation exactly during
the time that this problematization was at its peak. Babis Argyriou stopped being
involved with the zine two issues before the zine’s last breath, as he felt really ex-
hausted62, and instead focused on his Lazy Dog Records label and the publication
and distribution of LPs.63
The late 1980s in Thessaloniki...
Rollin Under, we are informed about the music life
of Thessaloniki through responses to almost every live gig that happened in 1985
– 1986. From the descriptions we can learn about the places (Up Tempo, Moon, Ro-
manized to Selini, and Suspense)64 where live gigs were taking place and realize that
the main problem of the scene at that time was that there was no proper venue with
adequate sound equipment for the bands to play. During the summer of 1986 two
open air festivals took place in Thessaloniki: one in the Wood Theatre (Romanized
to Theatro Dasous) and the other at the Nuns (Romanized to Kalogries), as people
61 SOUZAS 2015, p. 285.
62 Publishing a fanzine is very hard work; this is something that I understood through interviewing Babis
Argyriou, but that is also documented by other zinesters too. “Erik Nakamura, publisher of the popular
for his 4th issue […] ‘burn out’ is quite common in zine publishing.CHU 1997, pp. 80-81.
63 Some years later he opened his own vinyl store with the name Rollin Under; it closed in 2009. At the
same time, he started running a music online site in the year 2000 that is still active today
(, and he wrote three music novels and one collection of short stories.
64 Gigs very often took place in cinemas, too.
Figure 7. Issue 16, 1988 (source:
Figure 8. Issue 18, 1989 (source:
Figure 9. Issue 19, 1989, (source:
Alexandra Karamoutsiou: Not Just a Zine: the “Rollin Under” Zine and Thessaloniki’s DIY Music-making...
doned orphanage on the west side of the city (Stavroupoli) or to the now days
famous open theatre of Thessaloniki "Moni Lazariston". Those two events were
four. And this is indicative of their impact on the members of the scene and fans,
as dozens of groups from Thessaloniki and all over Greece took part. Of course,
through the zine’s pages we are also informed about that year’s releases and re-
alize that the musical creativity of the groups was empowered from year to year.
After issue four, one notices that the zine was also enriched with articles about
li terature and the cinema.65 There were also some comic strips included. In is-
sue 4 we can read an interview with a local band called Noise Promotion Com-
pany.66 Through this interview we are informed that this band participated in
the 2nd Bie nnale of Young Artists from Mediterranean Europe that took place
in Thessaloniki in 198667, along with No Man’s Land68 a band from Athens. Two
years later, in 1988, Noise Promotion Company participated in Bologna’s Bien-
nale of Young Artists of Mediterranean Europe.69 These events, along with the fact
that foreign fanzines started to mention Greek bands70 and Rollin Under was men-
tioned in the American zine (MRR) and described as a very
rich-in-content music zine71, that lead us to the assumption that during the 80s
the local scene of Thessaloniki tried to communicate and promote its artifacts to
a broader international audience.72 Moreover, Gulag, a very active punk band of
that time, shared through a travel diary that was included in Rollin Under their
experiences from their tour in Europe (25 October to 20 November) in 1988.73
Gulag, along with Naftia, were bands from Thessaloniki that utilized the networks
between the DIY scenes of Europe (Germany, Italy, Netherlands, etc.) of the 1980s
and early 1990s.74 Naftia actually made six European tours from 1987 – 1994.75
In 1988 the most talked-about event, even in Thessaloniki, was the Rock Festi-
val in Athens, which was organized under the auspices of the General Secretariat
for the New Generation and Municipality of Athens, with bands and artists from
Greece, Britain, California and Australia.76
65 There is a thorough description about the issue’s content and its differences from the previous ones at:
ARGYRIOU, Babis – PLOHORAS, Giannis. Index. In Rollin Under, 1987, No. 4, p. 2.
66 Post-Punk band formed in 1984 in Thessaloniki, Greece,
67 
69 -
70 Unknown writer. Foreigners write for not so foreign records. In Rollin Under, 1987, No. 9, p. 44.
71 TRIGAS, Nikos. Letters. In Rollin Under, 1989, No. 17, p. 64.
72 
73 APOSTOLIDIS, Kostas. Gulag: The Diary of their last tour in Europe. In Rollin Under, 1988, No. 17, pp. 10-
74 KOLOVOS 2015, p. 223.
75 KARAMOUTSIOU 2019, Upcoming.
76          
rock-festival-88.html; You can see the festival ticket by following this link: 
Forum Historiae, 2020, Vol. 14, No. 2
between the attendants and the police. The event was covered by articles and an
interview with the bassist of PiL (Public Image Ltd), whose refusal to play was
77 The years
1988 – 1989 seem to be very vivid and productive years for Thessaloniki’s musical
life, but probably the most famous event was the concert of Siouxsie and the Ban-
shees during the International Exhibition of Thessaloniki. It is interesting to see
ters.78 It was described as a nostalgic and “out of time” event that was organized in
a commercial and fully controlled environment.79 All the aforementioned stories
were written in a personal, funny and imaginative way. The nonprofessional writ-
ers expressed themselves freely in experiential and sentimental tone80, and this is
one of the reasons that makes this zine so pleasing to read.
Rollin Under and the neighbors
From the research so far it cannot be assumed that there was any systematic
communication between Rollin Under and similar DIY artifacts from the scenes
of the neighboring Eastern Bloc countries. As Argyriou says: “There was no co-
operation. If an author discovered anything, it was by chance. Our reporters were
usually Greeks that lived or studied in a Western country, and they sent us reports,
usually from concerts”.81        -
garding performances or albums, mostly about Yugoslavia and some for Hun-
gary and Bulgaria.82       
about the performance conditions there and lead us to interesting conclusions
for both countries.
More analytically , there is a huge possibility that the punk groups Disorder83
(Bristol) and Homo Detritus84
before appearing in Thessaloniki.85 This hypothesis is based on their conversation
about their experiences from Yugoslavia included in Rollin Under’s volume 13
77 JOURNALISTES Illegitimates s. Epics and Days of six poor beings and a dog. In Rollin Under, 1988, No.
16, pp. 18-20; KOTZIABASI, Fiona – ARGYRIOU, Babis. An interview with Alex Dias PiL’s bassist. In Rollin
Under, 1988, No. 16, pp. 26-27; There is a fun fact about this issue. There are actually two different issues
with this number, one is called Issue number 13 and the other the 13th Issue.
78 Let’s not forget that Gulag’s four-page diary was in the same issue. For a zine like Rollin Under, a local
Siouxsie and the Banshees.
79 KAZIS, Dimitris. Siouxsie and the Banshees, 10 December 1988, EXPO. In Rollin Under, 1988. No. 17,
p. 5; The following description is indicative of the critical state of mind of the zines’ readers, who were
sending their opinions of the concert: “(T)here are two kinds of concerts: The ones when the hands of the
people in the front line touch the stage that artist is on and the others when there is a protective barrage
between the stage and the audience and bodyguards in between.
80 SOUZAS 2012, pp. 59-71.
81 Babis Argyriou, live interview.
82 The only Bulgarian reference that I have found was a critique of the album: 
- a cathedral concert by Pakis Tzilis in volume 19, p. 36 in the Various section.
85          
com/watch?v=vdXt4aWEWZE&ab_channel=duleklc, Homo Detritus:
watch?v=cTxy5ROiIbs&t=569s&ab_channel=disordertaf; The last video gives us more information
January 1988.
Alexandra Karamoutsiou: Not Just a Zine: the “Rollin Under” Zine and Thessaloniki’s DIY Music-making...
(2), which was published in March 1988. “Taf (Disorder): It’s quite easy to play
in Yugoslavia. There are lots of places that are the state’s property. When there is
a concert there, everybody says there is a pop concert going on, even if Metallica
are playing. And everybody is attending. I really like that. Things are quite different
there. Some people manage their own places for concerts but in order to organize
them they have to ask for the police’s permission and they usually get it. The police
want to know what is happening and if you try to do it without police’s permission
then they will come and stop you. Because, you know, they have the ultimate power
[…] so they organize them (concerts) through the system.86
Through Taf’s telling we learn about the conditions related to the concert venues
and the organization of the performances. Through his narration we can ascer-
tain that socialist regimes during the period of late socialism were on the one
hand more tolerant with their citizen’s tastes but on the other wanted to control
them87, probably through the police’s displays of power.
Moreover, in volume 3 there is an interview with the Watermelon Men, a group
      
“Hungarian Heart” and then he is interested in Hungary’s political situation at
that time: “How are people there? I’ve heard that they are a bit of gloomy. Eric
(drummer) tells me that right now things are changing and there is a turn to
the Western way of life.88 It seems that there was a general view among the Greek
        
Argyriou and Plohoras in the 4th volume compared Greece’s and Yugoslavia’s situ-
ation in order to be optimistic and humorous about the bad economic conditions
in Greece, because obviously they believed that the situation in Yugoslavia was
certain that all the people that are occupied with music will pay much more for cas-
settes, LPs and instruments, but there is always worse! In Yugoslavia importing LPs
Iron Maiden’s new LP […] (Don’t you feel better already?).89 This feeling that this
90 is common in Rollin Under’s
reporters. However, in our case this didn’t work as a driving force to search more
about the East Bloc scenes, as was the case for French fanzines, for example.91
Probably the reason was that Greece in the 1980s was still a young democracy,
trying to make up for lost time, and not a typical Western country.92 Thus, Greek
86 Disorder’s interview In Rollin Under’s, Vol. 13 (2), p. 63; It would be interesting to further research
the tours of several bands in Central and East Europe and try to discover if any interconnections and
87 ŠIMA, Karel - Michela Miroslav. Why fanzines? Perspectives, topics, and limits in research on Central East-
ern Europe. In Forum Historiae, 2020, Vol. 14, No. 1, DOI: https://doi. org/10.31577/forhist.2020.14.1.1
88 KONIDARIS, Panos, GIATSIS Vasilis, In Rollin Under, Vol. 3, p. 13-14.
89 ARGYRIOU Babis, PLOHORAS Giannis, In Rollin Under, Vol. 4: p. 2.
90 ETIENNE, Samuel. Echoes of Central and Eastern Europe Underground Scenes in French Fanzines
Before and After the Fall of the Berlin Wall. In Forum Historiae, 2020, Vol. 14, No. 1, pp. 53-67. DOI:
91 ETIENNE 2020, p. 64.
92 See in this article’s subchapter: The 1980s in Greece: Music, DIY and its artifacts as a “way out” for young-
Forum Historiae, 2020, Vol. 14, No. 2
zinesters were maybe more occupied following and reporting mostly the West’s
developments, apart from their own scene’s development.
Not just a zine…
Rollin Under was one of the longest lived, most informative93, self-organized,
participatory and DIY-oriented fanzines of the 1980s and early 1990s. Through
Rollin Under’s pages a reader or researcher can discover lots of bands that were
famous in their time but which are now facing near obscurity, can be informed
about Greek bands’ annual releases and learn about dozens of venues and live
gigs. Therefore, I consider Rollin Under and zines in general not only as con-
taining very important data and being a research tool for tracing the “messy”
tracks that the DIY scenes left behind94, but as historical records that offer us
“rich amounts of materials for research into subculture communication and com-
munity networks and marginalized subjects who are otherwise not present within
archival holdings”.95 They narrate the raw hidden stories that most of the time
are glossed over, ignored and assigned to oblivion.96 Zines are often the “only rep-
resentation of ephemeral and otherwise undocumented spaces”, the only “archival
traces of marginalized communities”.97
Moreover, when someone is researching the music activities of a small DIY mu-
sic community there is very often no previous research background (bibliogra-
phy). In that case the main research tool is live interviews from the people who
were active participants on the scene. However, through a zine’s interviews, such
as those in Rollin Under, for example, the researcher has the chance to re-meet
the same narrators in their mid-20s and analyse their discourses and stories from
an entirely different point of view. So, from that perspective I recognize Rollin
Under as a crucial preliminary data source that not only empowers our aspira-
tions for bottom-up music historiography but also teaches us that “anyone can
DIY their own history”98 as music zinesters do in our case, through recording and
sharing the music and musicians they love. Zines are living proof that “possessing
the means of recording allows you to impose your own noise”99 and why not “herald
93 It is indicative that in his book Stop Talking about Death, Baby: Politics and Culture in the Antagonistic
Movement of Greece (1974 – 1998) Souzas refers to Rollin Under at least 15 times.
94 As Robinson puts it: “The zine, as it passes from hand to hand, acts as a marker buoy for loose connections,
shared spaces and moments of transient recognition that build a subculture or scene. The zine is currency
in subcultural capital. ROBINSON, Lucy. Zines and History: Zines as History. In THE SUBCULTURES NET-
WORK (eds.) Ripped Torn and Cut: Pop Politics and Punk Fanzines from 1976. Manchester : Manchester
University Press, 2018, pp. 84-101.
95 FIFE, Kirsty. The Personal is Historical: The Ethics of Archiving Zine Subcultures. Dissertation submitted in
96 Anne Elizabeth Moore quoted in DUNN 2012, p. 162; As Robinson puts it “It is hardly news that groups of
 ROBINSON 2018, p. 88.
97 FIFE, Kristy. Not for you? Ethical implications of archiving zines. In Punk & Post Punk, 2019, Vol. 8, pp.
98 ROBINSON 2018, pp. 84-101.
99 ATTALI, Jacques. Noise: The Political Economy of Music. Minneapolis; London : University of Minnesota
Press, 1985, p. 145.
Alexandra Karamoutsiou: Not Just a Zine: the “Rollin Under” Zine and Thessaloniki’s DIY Music-making...
a society in which individuals and small groups dare to reclaim the right to develop
their own procedures and their own networks”.100
In conclusion,  and clarify the vague traces that DIY scenes
left behind, reveal histories that would possibly otherwise remain hidden and
untold and, most importantly, give us the opportunity to listen to the protago-
nists’ voices and their historical narrations as they were written at that time. All
the aforementioned zines’ advantages enhance our effort for a bottom-up music
historiography and teach us that we can all DIY our own history. Hence, Rollin
uable preliminary data tools that should at least “take their place among other
sources such as letters, diaries, and oral history interviews”101, but, I would dare to
say, as alternative cultural spaces that thrive in the system’s ruptures and operate
as silent revolutions.102
The author wishes to express her deep gratitude to Babis Argyriou for his valu-
able help.
100 McCLARY, Susan. Afterword: The Politics of Silence and Sound. In ATTALI, Jacques. Noise: The Political
Economy of Music. Minneapolis; London : University of Minnesota Press, 1985, p. 185.
101 Journal of Contemporary History,
2006, No. 10, pp. 1-13.
102 Here I paraphrase Hakim Bey’s terminology about TAZ (temporal alternative zone). BEY, Hakim. The
Temporary Autonomous Zone. Ontological Anarchy, Poetic Terrorism. Brooklyn; NY : Autonomedia/Anti-
copyright, 1985/1991, p. 77.
Karamoutsiou, Alexandra. Not Just a Zine: the “Rollin Under” Zine and Thessaloniki’s DIY Music-
-making (1985 – 1990). Thessaloniki’s DIY Music Scene. InForum Historiae, 2020, Vol. 14, No. 2,
s.58-72. ISSN 1337-6861. DOI:
Alexandra Karamoutsiou
School of Music Studies
Faculty of Fine Arts
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
University Campus in Thermi, 57001 Thessaloniki
Full-text available
This qualitative study examines the production of cultural memory within current or recently active UK-based DIY music spaces. Utilising a critical archival theoretical framework, the thesis builds upon previous work which deconstructs subcultural historiography and archiving, identifying the reproduction of whiteness, masculinity, and affluence in heritage projects. By focusing on current or recently active communities, the study engages with archives and histories before they are deposited and/or formed, acknowledging the role of labour in and the construction of narratives through archival work. My analysis therefore moves discussions about subcultural archives beyond examination of sources and into a discipline which explores archiving as practice and labour, archives as organisations, as well as the archive as concept. The resulting analysis complicates the positioning of punk and DIY music communities as ahistorical. I surface underpinning information infrastructures and informal archival actions which enable community building and connection across generations through preservation and circulation of memory. Exploration of the intersection of socioeconomic circumstances and archival traces identifies how ongoing experiences of austerity, precarity and lack of resource negatively affect the capacity to create and maintain archival projects or sources. The contemporary temporal focus of the study enables an extended consideration of the born digital traces and web heritage of DIY music communities, which is particularly timely given the loss of data stored on widely-used digital platforms such as Myspace Music and the deletion of information produced by queer communities caused by corporate moderation processes and algorithms.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
From 1974 until 1981, Greece was experiencing the transition to parliamentary democracy (Metapolitefsi) 3 with a right-wing government trying to restore the democratic state's institutions but being uncapable to follow the radicalization of young people (Sklavenitis, 2016, p. 104). At the same time the first steps of a DIY culture and its artifacts (bands, studios, zines, pirate radio stations etc.) took place in Thessaloniki Greece (Karamoutsiou, forthcoming). According to Vernardakis (2014) during the 80s Greece was facing the effort of the neoliberal political and ideological domination and institutionalization. To what extend could we say that the radicalization of the youth was empowered and expressed through DIY ethos and its artifacts and vice versa? Could we assume that DIY music practices were being, an alternative to 'The Capitalist state of Metapolitefsi' (Vernadakis, 2014)? The afore questions will be answered through stories of the DIY music scene of Thessaloniki from the 80s.
Full-text available
This paper scrutinises how alternative cultural scenes from Central and Eastern European countries have been represented in fanzines published in France since 1977. The study focusses principally on the geographical and temporal rather than the qualitative or cultural aspects of the question. Four countries clearly stand out, representing 57 % of the analysed corpus: Poland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Hungary. These special interests may be explained by macrosocial factors (for example, the search for alternative information to counterbalance those diffused by French mainstream media) or microsocial factors (i.e. personal interest/linkage of a zinester (zine publisher) to a country of Central and Eastern Europe). Fanzine analyses underline the importance of individuals in the cross-border diffusion of alternative scenes’ echoes, rather than established professional networks. Keywords: fanzine, French media, underground scenes, alternative media, Central Europe, Eastern Europe
Full-text available
The archival value of zines (self-published pamphlets often produced by radical and marginalized communities) as historical records has been well documented in academic research. Red Chidgey refers to zines as ‘sources of advocacy and empowerment for those who make them, an attempt to bear witness to their own lives’. As evidence of networks, cultures, linguistics and experiences of marginalized individuals and communities, zines often exist as the only representation of ephemeral and otherwise undocumented spaces, which makes them incredibly valuable as the primary source material. Following the establishment of large zine collections at heritage spaces including the Women’s Library, British Library, Wellcome Library and Tate, zines are now regularly collected and used in programming at heritage organizations. But what does it mean to archive and make use of zines – particularly those created by marginalized makers and communities – in an institutional heritage context? This article considers the ethical implications of archiving zine practice and cultures – anti-institutional in its nature – in institutional spaces. Through a case study analysis of the community-led archive project Queer Zine Archive Project, I argue that, if zines are archived, it is imperative that archive workers are critically thinking about and incorporating the originating politics of zine culture into protocols for cataloguing, access, interpretation and use of these materials.
There is a thorough description about the issue's content and its differences from the previous ones at: ARGYRIOU, Babis -PLOHORAS
There is a thorough description about the issue's content and its differences from the previous ones at: ARGYRIOU, Babis -PLOHORAS, Giannis. Index. In Rollin Under, 1987, No. 4, p. 2.
The Diary of their last tour in Europe
  • Kostas Apostolidis
  • Gulag
APOSTOLIDIS, Kostas. Gulag: The Diary of their last tour in Europe. In Rollin Under, 1988, No. 17, pp. 10-14.
The Personal is Historical: The Ethics of Archiving Zine Subcultures. Dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the MA in Archives and Records Management
  • Kirsty Fife
FIFE, Kirsty. The Personal is Historical: The Ethics of Archiving Zine Subcultures. Dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the MA in Archives and Records Management, UCL, 2013, p. 13.