R*E*P*E*A*T in Adhoc Magazine

Co-founder Richard Rose discusses the Manic Street Preachers fanzine that became so much more

Every vibrant music scene pulses with a myriad of opposing and contrasting energies, but at the heart of each lies one constant beat. No matter how many fragile egos rise and fall, how many bands conquer or crumble and how many fans adore or despise them, each needs a solid foundation from which to launch. Since its first tentative steps in 1994 Cambridge has had REPEAT, and at its helm teacher, DJ, Australian Foxy Ramone front man and Swansea fan Richard Rose (AKA Rosey).

'I had these children in my class who were really into music.' he explains, 'There was a big argument between Manics and Michael Jackson fans and afterwards some of the kids did pictures that we sent to a Manics fanzine, which then printed them. Afterwards one of them decided he wanted to do a zine and so we did - he was quite involved for a bit, but at the age of 10 he grew up but I didn't, so I carried on. We only printed 60 copies of that first issue and didn't expect to sell any. Now we sell over 500.'

The later involvement of Jason Baldock heralded a shift toward the local scene. Having bought a copy of REPEAT, he sent Richard a tape of his then band Freeboy. 'I didn't like it much but luckily my brother did and that's where the idea for the first single and the gigs came from.' After two split singles boasting names such as Freeboy and The Saffs, REPEAT Records founded in 1998. The same year saw their first compilation CD, 'The Dustbin of Histon', and two triumphant launch gigs at the Boat Race. 'The Saffs' one was great because it was absolutely packed,' Richard remembers 'and the first time we'd seen them there'd been about 5 people watching them. From that to selling out the Boat Race and having girls stalking them!'

Now, the content of REPEAT is as diverse as the contributions he receives, with each issue coming together seemingly of its own accord, blending reviews, poetry, opinion and politics. 'Its hard to write about The Manics when they're not doing anything, so if people send in stuff that's good I'll put it in - it doesn't matter', he explains. 'Not many people take in the politics, and not many take in the football either, but that's for me because it's my thing.' However, whilst The Manics may have lost their cult status, '…they still have a massive teenage following who listen to them and take them seriously - no one has stepped into their shoes.' While the lyrics and messages continue, REPEAT will keep its loyalty to the Manics. 'People's letters help make all the effort seem worthwhile - it's a big part of some people's lives and they really help you realise how big'.

The current REPEAT team of Rosey, Jazz and webmeister Simon Baker has much to be proud of. 'REPEAT presents' is a regular event at The Portland Arms, REPEAT Records brought us the '4 Star Mary' (from TV's Buffy) UK album release and REPEAT's Web site has passed 5000 hits - and this with a new compilation CD and REPEAT #16 in the pipeline!

So what could the future hold? While they continue putting the riot back in rock 'n' roll, anything's possible.

By Chris Marling