A stapled 8 1/2 x 11 inch magazine, Big John’s Cowabunga! was founded in Midland, Michigan by John M. Koenig. By issue #11, July 1977, the magazine featured professionally typeset and photostat covers while the interior was created on typewriters. Also, by 1977, Cowabunga! was writing about punk and new wave bands internationally, including a spotlight on London, as well as locally featuring a cover story on Sonic’s Rendezvous Band.
Koenig started the magazine originally as a 16-year-old working with a mimeograph machine in his parents basement as a way to connect to the music he loved as well as find a way of communicating with other record collectors. Working on the magazine taught him skills that would translate to editing and publishing duties at various magazines including Goldmine.
One thought on “Big John’s Cowabunga!”
Wow, I just looked at your site for the first time tonight. I’m impressed. Your coverage corresponds to my years living in Detroit working with Goldmine magazine, the leading record collecting periodical in the world at the time. I was there 1978-1983, until the mag was sold and I moved with it to Wisconsin. I knew many of these bands and musicians, and hung at the venues you discuss, along with others, such as in Cass Corridor or Lili’s in Hamtramck (home of the Mutants). Cowabunga was a labor of love, fueled by my intense interest in journalism and writing, and my passionate love of record collecting. Live music was the glue. I began driving to Ann Arbor and Detroit in 1971 when I was sixteen, going to shows, sneaking into bars to see bands. Made a pilgrimage to Ann Arbor to seek out the fabled MC-5 house when I was in high school, and also journeyed to Walled Lake (I think), where Creem had their offices, just so I could meet Dave Marsh. Regretfully I never met Lester Bangs. Cub Koda became a close friend when they were booked to play my high school in Midland in ’72 or ’73, he wrote dozens of columns and articles for me in Goldmine and Discoveries magazines until his death, and I saw Cub and Brownsville Station perform all over the country over the years. The stories Cub told… Bruce Nichols, if you read this, fine me! I’ve searched for you for years. Oh, and my middle initial is M.
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