As a primer to reading Probe I’d suggest you have an alcohol IV hooked up to an open vein, fast for a week and a half, then drop several hits of acid. While you’re tripping, keep the stereo on eleven, tuned to a station that plays only recordings of cement mixers and heavy machinery at work, and then make sure you have a trusted friend come along every half hour or so to beat you in the head with a baseball bat. What I’m saying is: You can’t go into Probe unprepared. This magazine is a hundred-and-fifty pages of punk rock band reviews, album promotions, concert diaries, interviews with porn stars, nude photos of neighbors who happen to drop by, and the insanely lucid ramblings of it’s editor, Aaron Muentz.
On average, Muentz puts out one Probe issue a year. Sometimes more, sometimes less. It all depends on his schedule and motivation â€“ which, thankfully, were in full swing for No. 6. This issue contains some of the best interviews I’ve ever read. Besides one-on-one talks with the band members of Hickey, Schlong, and Muscle Bitches, the issue has an interview with Nina Hartley, one of the more well-known porn stars working today. There’s one interview in particular, though, that really catches the soul of Probe and its mission. While talking with Scott of Alcoholocaust Presents, an indie punk show promoter in the bay area, Muentz (obviously drunk before the tape started rolling) passes out in the middle of the interview. Where others might fumble, though, Muentz recovers nicely by saying “Holy shit! It’s morning already! I can’t believe I fucking slept that long!”
The thing that distinguishes Probe from the other guys trying to make a buck off the punk music scene is two-fold. First, Muentz obviously isn’t in it for the money. The zine has an acute uncommercial feel to it. The layout is great, yes, but it’s not always coherent. Instead, the whole thing seems to flow like the thoughts of a man who works too hard, and plays even harder. At times frenetic, and at others downright soulful, this, if nothing else, is the soul of its creator put on paper. The second thing that separates Probe from the rest of the wanna-bees is the abundance of nude women inside its covers. Besides the quantity of rather tame, Playboy-esque photos thrown in for good, gratuitous measure, there’s a section called Girl Reviews: A Detailed History of Intimacy, Love, & Sexual Intercourse, wherein you’ll find not only photos of the editor’s past flames, but detailed accounts of their relationship, their arguments, their break-ups. In short, it’s a very personal diary with pictures. Sadly, though, the editor claims this is to be the last of the Girl Reviews. I don’t know if he’s run out of material, or is facing litigation. Either way it’s a loss.
If you’re interested in grabbing a copy for yourself, mail $5.00 to:
P.O. Box 5068
Pleasanton, CA 94566
Say some nice words, tell Aaron how much you love him, and he may send you some added treats, like band stickers, or photos to hang on your wall. You can also purchase the magazine online through AK Press, an alternative press distributor.