In Conversation with V. Vale
I first became aware of V. Vale in the late ‘90s. I had met one of his employees at APE back when it was based in San Jose and I tabled for my zine, Zum. Friends of mine had interned for them as well, but I got to know Vale when I worked at the storied record label Alternative Tentacles. Vale and Jello Biafra have a longstanding friendship that goes back decades. Vale launched one of the first punk zines, Search and Destroy, back in 1977. He continues to maintain an active publishing concern with RE/Search, which worked with Burroughs and J.G. Ballard.
When I got the idea of doing a talk show, I tried to think of an appropriate guest. I’d done one live variety show before and thought a 4/20 show would be funny, especially since I didn’t partake. I had just quit my Alternative Tentacles job, but would still see Vale at shows and record swaps. I knew you could set Vale out on any topic and he’d have something to say about it. His interests and his connections were rife with stories.
We’re also similar in that we’re promoters — we make zines and curate, rather than being single-minded and completely focused on our own art.
Since this 2011 interview, we hosted a Q&A at Econo Jam Records that wasn’t recorded, but felt like an extension of this talk. Guess you had to be there.