Mole Magazine

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Running to thirteen issues from 1989 to 2001, MOLE magazine focused on various manifestations of underground creativity, including outsider art, crackpot thought, other music, and the counterculture. It was edited, published, and largely written by Jeff Bagato.

Dedicated to the Underground
MOLE specialized in long, informative interviews with underground musicians and outsider artists. Exclusive, definitive interviews have included avant garde composer and harpist Anne LeBaron, Kahil El’Zabar, Peter Brotzman, Joe Morris, William Hooker, Susie Ibarra, Costes, Mission of Burma/Noman’s Roger Miller, Mecca Normal, Unrest, Peter Blegvad, Harry Pussy, Charalambides, Flying Luttenbachers, Jeffrey Lee Pierce, indie-pop chanteuse Linda Smith, and syndicated cartoonist Bud Grace (Ernie, Piranha Club).

Brushes with Celebrity
We may as well boast right now to be the zine that broke the Fugazi/Mark Trail connection (see issue #4). Issue #12 featured Vanilla Ice talking with great knowledge and respect about the outsider art environment Coral Castle, of Homestead, Florida. Issue #2 included an  interview with Mike Watt conducted by Q-Burns Abstract Message (back when we knew him as Mike Donaldson). Issue #4 included an interview with Smog conducted by his then girlfriend Lisa “Suckdog” Carver, just as she was starting her writing career with Rollerderby zine. And you thought MOLE was for losers!

Outsider Artists Talk
MOLE was the only magazine to print direct interview transcripts with outsider artists. Interviews included the Baltimore Glassman, Vollis Simpson, and Clyde Jones. Outsider art related pictorials are also frequent, such as those on the Garden of Eden in Lucas, Kansas; Johnston’s Garage in Merrifield, Virginia; and the roadside attraction Dinosaur Land, in White Post, Virginia.

Crackpots Rule
You could also expect definitive coverage of unknown “crackpots,” like DC’s unique Faith Dane, who starred in the movie Gypsy as the stripper Mazzeppa and went on to run for DC mayor for 20 years and counting, while keeping up her local cabaret performances.

Comix N Stuff
MOLE included comix from some of the best–if unknown–artists in the underground, including Carrie McNinch (Assassin & the Whiner), Mary Knott & Beppi (Pretty Beaver), Peter Blegvad (Leviathan), Larry Rodman, Tom Crites (Malefact), Tony Weier (Spungifeel Comix), and others over the years.

Of course, there was also a generous selection of music, zine and book reviews.

Here’s a rundown on each issue.


Mole 1–Premier issue from 1989!

Premier issue from 1989 features long, definitive interview with Roger Miller, of Mission of Burma, Noman, and solo. Includes a literary history of the cut-up technique popularized by William S. Burroughs, pranks, subliminals in comics. Music reviews, “Furious George” suicide parody comix.

32 pages, standard size, 20# paper, offset printing, desktop published.


Mole 2

Spring 1990. Interview with Mike Watt conducted by Q-Burns Abstract Message (then known as Michael Donaldson). Interview with Laughing Hyenas. Report from Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Fairfax, VA, rape trial. Voodoo in Haitian art and Florida culture. DC radio sucks, AM talk radio, Dada-style fiction, spy devices, and, if anyone cares, music reviews.

32 pages, standard size, 20# paper, offset printing, desktop published.


Mole 3–Extreme Women issue

From Winter 1990, Mole debuts the concept of “Extreme Women” later explored by RE/Search in “Angry Women.” Insane, rambling interview as performance by Suckdog, and an exclusive, extensive review of her Roller Derby show, with photos. Plus interview with Connecticut renaissance woman Eclectic Bitch, and a profile of an over-60 women’s dance troupe, the 60 Karats. No one understands the genius of MOLE magazine! Plus art-school-dropout style overview of “Extreme Women” in art and music. Plus reviews, weird fiction & poetry & graphics.

44 pages, standard size, 20# paper, offset printing, desktop published.


Mole 4

1991. This popular issue features a unique interview with Ian MacKaye (Fugazi) talking exclusively about the Mark Trail comic strip. Definitive Unrest interview, plus talks with Beat Happeningl and Sonic Boom. Also Colonel Saunders obsession, Disney subliminal in Little Mermaid, the ubiquity of moles, evidence of Interzone, Muzak, hilarious separated at birth feature that connects Michael Gira & PeeWee Herman, Jean Genet and John Glenn. If that wasn’t enough, there’s a letter from GG Allin about Lisa Suckdog!

Comix by Dave Mitchell, weird story by Gregg Gibson, poems, music reviews.

52 pages, standard size, 20# paper, offset printing, desktop published.


Mole 5

Interviews with Einsturzende Neubauten, Silverfish, Sebadoh, and Mecca Normal–hell, this was 1992; we were on the cutting edge! Plus short, absurd interview with L7 on the streets of DC during an NOW pro-choice march. Plus Smog interview conducted by Lisa “Suckdog” Carver of Rollerderby zine.

Also–industrial folk artist George Willard‘s tour diary, articles on voting, detournement, the de-evolution of everyday life, the Superbowl conspiracy, TV LSD, “unreadable” fiction from Jeff Bagato and Gregg Gibson, poems. Zine & music reviews.

56 pages, standard size, 20# paper, offset printing, desktop published.


Mole 6–Washington Rock City issue

1993. Interviews with DC area underground legends Rake, indie pop chanteuse Linda Smith, and syndicated cartoonist Bud Grace (Ernie, Piranha Club). Also an essay on the DC scene valuable only for exclusive photos of performance poet Dee Snyder (topless), and Bikini Kill’s Kathleen Hanna. Timeline history of Alzo Boszormenyi & the Acid Achievers. Rake’s Vinnie Van Go Go and Velvet Monkey’s/Gumball’s Malcolm Riviera talk about thrift stores; essays on smoking dope in the Clinton administration, anarchism, subliminals.

Comix by Dave Mitchell, Johny Edelstein. The eleventh pin makes an appearance; Gregg Gibson contributes a weird story; lots of exclusive live photos of people like Pain Teens, Suckdog, Johnny Cohen, and Eggs. Plus reviews of music, books, zines. Probably our worst selling issue ever.

56 pages, standard size, 20# paper, offset printing, desktop published.


Mole 7

1994. Interviews with a jaded, bored Cop Shoot Cop (all of them), Scrawl, Cake Kitchen. The Gun Club’s Jeffrey Lee Pierce talks about the influence of William S. Burroughs on his work. Plus a humorous interview with Keith, a professional grip working in TV and movies.

Comix by Dave Mitchell, Jeff Bagato, Bebe Williams, Johnny Edelstein, and Carrie. Plus reviews of LPs, 7″, books & zines.

56 pages, standard size, 20# paper, offset printing, desktop published.


Mole 8

1995. Interviews with Crash Worship, and Zuzu’s Petals. This issue rules because of the long pictorial feature on outsider art environment The Garden of Eden, in Lucas, KS. Plus, Mole’s discovery of a nearby outsider environment made by an anonymous woman.

Essays on DC statehood, how to tip better than Mick Jagger, Andy Capp as Homo Ludens, and Lisa Suckdog’s roots in the medieval mudshow tradition. Profile on British cassette label Traumatone. Reviews and a weird Gregg Gibson story. One day his name will be legend. Reviews, etc.

Comix from Dave Mitchell, Jeff Bagato, Carrie McNinch.

52 pages, standard size, 20# paper, offset printing, desktop published.


Mole 9

1996. One of those issues I have to explain for half an hour before people comprehend it’s genius. Long, definitive interview with avant garde composer/harpist Anne LeBaron. Shorter, sillier interviews with Charalambides and Harry Pussy. Exclusive, unique, interview pictorial with outsider artist Vollis Simpson; no other interview transcript with him has ever been published. Definitive article and pictorial on outsider environment Johnston’s Garage, in Merrifield, VA. Essay on the Debauchery of Dagwood Bumstead. Music reviews and a weird Gregg Gibson story.

Comix by Amy Davis, David Craig, Bebe Williams, Dave Mitchell, Jeff Bagato, Carrie.

52 pages, standard size, 20# paper, offset printing, desktop published.


Mole 10

1997. Interviews with Don Miller of Borbetomagus and Matt Valentine of Tower Recordings. The interview with The Baltimore Glassman–in which he speaks for himself without mediation–is unique; there is no other direct transcript of an interview with him available anywhere. Also includes Faith Dane, who starred as the stripper Mazzeppa in Gypsy with Natalie Wood and went on to run for DC Mayor for over 20 years while performing her unique campaign cabaret locally.

Also interview with Bob McGuire, assistant to kinetic sculptor George Rhoads; together they make musical machines that look like rollercoasters.

Articles on collecting Dr. Pepper clone cans, fetishizing culture, and evidence for alien intervention in 9000 year old plaster sculptures.

Comix by Larry Rodman, Amy Davis, T. Crites, Dave Mitchell, Jeff Bagato, and Carrie. Strange fiction by Gregg Gibson. Plus music, cassette, zine, and book reviews.

56 pages, standard size, 20# paper, offset printing, desktop published.


Mole 11

1998. Interviews with The Make Up‘s Ian Svenonius, free jazz bassist William Parker, free jazz drummer Susie Ibarra, French performance artist Costes, and The Flying Luttenbachers. The Costes section includes a text never before available in English and explicit nude performance photos.

Pictorial feature on Fred Smith’s Wisconsin Concrete Park, an outsider art environment.

Essays on the music of MRI machines, Prez Clinton’s bowel movements, and the strange collections of David Craig. Also pieces on filmmaker Rock Savage and Dagwood Bumstead’s debauchery.

Comix by Larry Rodman, Tom Crites, Carrie, Mary Knott & Beppi, John Crawford, Tony Weier, and Amy Davis.

64 pages, standard size, 20# paper, offset printing, desktop published.


Mole 12

1999. Interviews with David S. Ware (by Thomas Stanley); art rocker/Leviathan cartoonist Peter Blegvad (by Doug Wolf), and Rasputina. Outsider art fans should note the unique interview with Clyde Jones–no other interview transcript with Jones has ever been published. Also features an interview with rap music star Vanilla Ice (Rob VanWinkle) talking about a publicity photo shoot at the Coral Castle outsider environment in Homestead, Florida. Vanilla Ice speaks with authority and genuine admiration for this site; another unique interview for MOLE. Hell, I may as well blow my own horn.

Includes article on rubber band balls that was later reprinted in Utne Reader; the Mole version is accompanied by a short interview with rubber band baller David Craig, the guy who got me started.

Comix by Crites, Rodman, Weier, Amy Davis, Carrie, Mary Knott and Beppi, and Peter Blegvad’s Leviathan. Plus zine, book, music reviews and a column on weird and free stuff by mail.

48 pages, standard size, newsprint, offset printing, desktop published.


Mole 13–the Free Jazz issue

2000. Interviews with Peter Brotzmann, Kahil El’Zabar (Ethnic Heritage Ensemble), Willliam Hooker, Joe Morris. Includes exclusive live photos.

Pictorial feature on Dinosaur Land, a roadside attraction in White Post, VA, and a travel essay on Mummies of the Insane, a roadside attraction from Phillipi, WV.

Comix and drawings by Mary Knott & Beppi, Tom Crites, Roger Hayes, Henry Bagato, Carrie McNinch, Larry Rodman, and Peter Blegvad’s Leviathan.

Plus reviews of avant garde, experimental & underground music, zines, & books. Also column on free stuff by mail.

48 pages, standard size, newsprint, offset printing, desktop published.