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Birminghamland will primarily exist as an archive for Steve Birmingham’s arts and entertainment journalism and other creative endeavors otherwise never before or no longer available online.

About the Squealer

The Squealer /ˈskwēlər/ n.  1. A free, well-circulated Minneapolis—Saint Paul-based music and nonfiction fanzine— pointedly not sensational in a lurid or vulgar way despite the tabloid-y tile. It ran from October 1994 to August/September 1997. The Squealer also hosted concerts, an art exhibition or two, and released a CD compilation of Twin Cities artists called The Squealer Presents… Shuffle This.

The Squealer was created and published by Paul Bernstein and Leo Keulbs. I came aboard for Issue #3 as the founding music editor (which was also the first issue on newsprint). I went overseas for a spell about midway through our run so Laura Brandenburg assumed my title and duties, and then I continued to contribute upon my return.

Paul and I especially had that Our Gang/Little Rascals DIY attitude of “Let’s put on a show!” as askew as that sounds about a zine. It was about not needing permission and making your own fun and sharing your fun for the sake of fun and music is FUN. Our office in Saint Paul at 2500 University Avenue sure felt like a rock-n-roll rascals’ clubhouse albeit one with an open-door policy. A real kick for me was interviewing musicians and getting to hear stories and insight firsthand. I didn’t want to use publicity stills whenever possible so I’d shoot some no-frills photographs to accompany my articles. The selection of Squealer covers included in the gallery represents the team effort and artistry in every issue by an array of editors, designers, writers, columnists, photographers, illustrators, and visual artists.

Nostalgia is Kryptonite to current youth culture and subcultures, new music, and being part of the solution— so all apologies if there is no escaping a stench of digital garbage from an aging Gen X rando huffing fumes from the wayback machine. I certainly owe a mea culpa for an overrepresentation of white men in rock. However, these photographs from my Squealer Years have never before been online and some have never before been seen. I’m sharing this modest gallery with the aim of contributing to the visual record of a specific time and place, to attest to those unfamiliar that these bands and musicians are so worth checking out, and to pay tribute to these ridiculously, almost absurdly talented artists— some of whom have tragically passed away but whose indelible capacities are with us always heart and soul.