This all started as a zine back in 1990, also called Twistworthy. My older brother had a couple interviews that he conducted for his college radio station which were going unpublished, so I decided to use them. These two interviews, with Mudhoney and Firehose, were to become the majority of issue #1. Eight issues of the zine were created from 1990 - 1993, and included interviews with many of my favorite bands at the time, record reviews, photos I took at shows, and usually a friend "guest contributor" submitting something, but everything else was done completely by me. Aside from those two first interviews, I did all of the other interviews myself (or with some of my friends if any wanted to join in to help interview), mostly all after shows played at various Houston venues, including The Axiom, Pik-N-Pak, and Emo's.
Issue#1: Mudhoney, Firehose, The Agitators. (1990)
Issue #2: Samiam, Holy Rollers, Shelter. (1991)
Issue #3: Intent, Starvation Army, Implement. (1991)
Issue #4: NoMeansNo, Cofiin Break, Ultraman. (1991)
Issue #5: Jawbox, The Accused, Trusty. (1992)
Issue #6: Down By Law, Big Drill Car, Refuse To Fall. (1992)
Issue #7: Econochrist. (1992)
Issue #8: Antioch Arrow, Girls Against Boys. (1993. This issue was never finished; never released.)
Thinking back about the last issue, I have no idea why I never finished it. I remember both the Antioch Arrow and Girls Against Boys interviews being really awkward. The Girls Against Boys interview was especially memorable because I confronted them, or Scott McCloud specifically, for talking shit about Soulside the night before during an interview on KTRU 91.7, dismissing the entire bands output as "dumb kids stuff" or something like that. Being an asshole kid who loved Soulside myself, I told them that I thought it sucked that they said that about Soulside. This made for an awkward interview. This is especially funny to me now, as Soulside have re-united in 2015 and are playing shows again.
Twistworthy, as a record label, started as I wanted a "label" to release my own band's demo tape, so in the true nature of DIY ethics, I did it myself…. and Twistworthy Records was born. The cassette for my band, Juan, was the first Twistworthy Records release. My brother recorded us for free in our practice space at Francisco Studios in Houston. I dubbed all the tapes at home on my double cassette deck, laid out all the artwork and copied/scored all the tapes at Kinkos. Shawn David McMillen (vocalist/guitarist of Juan, who has since released a number of records, solo and otherwise) and his girlfriend at the time hand colored a bunch of the cassette covers - no two were the same. It was truly a DIY effort. I was working at Vinal Edge Records in Houston at the time, and used Vinal Edge as a way to help push copies of the zine and the early Twistworthy releases on to my friends and casual acquaintances.
As the record label progressed and the zines became ancient history, I discovered that I really missed writing. In 1994, as I was visiting my friend Jeremy in Austin, I was grousing about not knowing about all the good shows happening in Austin and it's surrounding areas. There was a great scene happening in the Copperas Cove/Killeen/Temple area, and during this trip, me, Jeremy and our friend Chris drove to Temple to see a show. I had just recently came back from a separate trip to the Bay Area, where I had referenced "The List" extensively, saw a show at Gilman St, bought records at the volunteer run Epicenter in San Francisco, and loved the idea of what "The List" could do for a scene. I thought it was a great resource, so on that drive back from Temple - inspired, yet frustrated that I wasn't hearing about ALL of the shows happening in Austin that I would like to drive up for, I suggested that we do the same thing, but make it our own. It was purely a selfish idea: I wanted to know about all these great shows and bands, like the show we just saw in Temple, even though I lived in Houston. Communicating by "email" was a relatively new technology in 1994, but it was one that I was fully on-board with, so we devised a plan where we could get contacts all over the state to contribute to this weekly list of all the punk, hardcore and good indie rock shows in Texas. All of the ideas to do a weekly show listing were born in Chris' Nissan Pathfinder, during a horrible thunderstorm, on our way back to Austin after seeing this inspiring, completely DIY show at a VFH Hall in Temple. I remember this like it was yesterday.
The aptly named Texas Show List was the result - a weekly DIY publication and email subscription list (and eventually, website) which listed every punk/hardcore/indie/etc show in all of the major cities in Texas (with the help of some really great people in each of those cities contributing info from their local scenes). At first, as I was still living in Houston, I would compile all the data, layout the information, and email it to all of our contacts. Each contact in the cities represented on the list would then (if they choose) print out copies at Kinkos and distribute amongst their scenes, at shows, at record stores, personalizing the header/introduction info with respect to their own scene. Before long, I would end up moving to Austin myself and completely took over all responsibility of maintaining the showlist from it's co-founder, Jeremy. I would xerox copies of this updated weekly and distribute them to all of the local record stores in town, and encourage all of the contributors to do the same. I would sell "ads" on the back page for $1/week. There were benefit shows to help fund the list. Other individuals donated money to help keep the Texas Show List going. It was truly a voice for anyone in the scene to get out their ideas, sell their goods, promote their bands/zines/radio shows/political activities/etc. It belonged to the scene - anyone could contribute.
The Texas Show List was eventually partially funded by Sound Exchange Records, where I worked, as I would do all updates to the email/online version while at work, on the clock. The print version of the Showlist eventually became so popular, it was recognized by my boss at Sound Exchange as something that was bringing people into the record store every Friday when a new issue was printed, justifying the cost. While this was a lot of fun to coordinate, create and distribute, it never satisfied my desire to continue to write for a zine (or do my own). In 1998 I started writing for the inspirational yet often disliked globally distributed magazine, Punk Planet. I wrote for Punk Planet for about 2 years, and witnessed the the beginning of changes to the zine which, in my opinion, would ultimately help contribute to it's demise. I'm not exactly sure when I stopped updating and printing the Texas Show List, but after 5-6 years or so of updating it weekly, I needless to say was burned out. The updates started happening less often, until they eventually stopped happening at all. My buddy Dan would give the Texas Show List some new life a few years later with Showlist Austin, and has diligently updated it weekly for years now, doing a much better job that I ever did.
Around the time of Paul Newman "Twistworthy Number Seven" being released in 1999, the way people purchased music was changing. Working at Sound Exchange, I saw this change first hand with a massive decline in sales because of the ability to practically download anything you wanted from the internet for free. In turn, the cost to make records rose beyond the means of my meager hourly wage at the record store, and Twistworthy Records went on hiatus. I just couldn't afford to do what I wanted to do anymore.
Twistworthy remained dormant until 2008 with the release of the s/t 7" by Camp X-Ray. I have continued to release one or two records a year since then, including a full length LP/CD by the Flesh Lights (my first attempt at a full length). At the moment that I am writing this, I've now released over 20 records on Twistworthy with a history (if you include the zine) that extends over 25 years. I also have been writing again, now for the Los Angeles based Razorcake, America's first and only non-profit punk music magazine.
When it comes down to it, I'm really just a regular "I used to be punk, now I'm old" kinda guy with dumb ideas. Punk rock changed my life when I was young - so everything I've done (and continue to do) since then is my way to pay it back, to say thanks, to try to make a difference.
Feel free to email, write, send me stuff, friend me on Facebook, or whatever.
Mark / Twistworthy
PO Box 4491
Austin, TX 78765-4491