DISUNDERSTOOD is a zine that my friend Sara Double Ears started in 2002. Initially, she was going to call it "Misunderstood", but I happened to be in the room and said something like "What? Seriously?? It should be called DIS-understood!!" The basic premise of the zine is that she attends punk shows with her notebook in hand and writes down what she thinks the bands are singing about. Since she is a part of the DIY punk community, she can usually be found in houses, storefronts, generator shows and warehouses where the PA is always less that adequate. When you throw in the fact that most of the singers are screaming unintelligibly, it is near impossible to discern what anyone is saying. This is why she wrote down that TRAGEDY was singing about gardening and SEXY sang about eating aspertame together.
I love the first issue of DISUNDERSTOOD. I might be the biggest fan, which is why I begged Sara to work on issue two for the next ten years. When I saw that it may never happen. I asked if I could just do it myself. Sara happily handed over her unused files of misheard lyrics from the intervening ten years and I got to work, carrying my own notebook to shows all over the US and throughout Europe. Issue two went to print in 2012 with everything from OUTLOOK singing about being a dog to HYSTERICS singing about sledding to TRAGEDY eating shit and bacon.
I've been self-publishing zines since the mid-1990's and I've never even vaguely entertained the idea of trying to read anything in front of people, mostly because it feels awkward, I don't like the sound of my own voice and being in front of people without the comforting blanket of a loud punk band turns my anxiety level up to 1000. In the fall of 2013, I found myself in Providence, RI for a month. My friend, Mike was setting up a show at (now defunct) Building 16 in Olneyville. For some weird reason, I asked if I could kick off the show with a zine reading from the second issue of DISUNDERSTOOD....the feeling came out of nowhere. He said yeah and I practiced once in my room.
The reading felt okay. I was a lot less anxious than I thought I'd be, but I still sweated profusely and later threw up behind the building. The audience was really nice. It was cool to hear what people thought was funny and what fell flat. Who knew that one of the bigger laughs would come from the statement, "My band played a show with TRAGEDY in Scotland."? I had no idea that my new friend, Erik was recording the set, but he sent it over to me a couple of days ago. Here ya go...
Both issues of the zine are long out of print. Sara and I are currently collaborating on the third issue. When it is printed, you'll be able to buy it here.
Many thanks to Erik-Dardan Ymeraga for recording the show and sending over the files.