Best Reason Not to Miss BAM - 2000
When BAM abruptly shut its doors a little over a year ago, the Bay Area lost a major outlet for reporting on the local music scene. In its waning years, the magazine suffered from limp writing and lazy reporting, though it occasionally worked up the energy to do focused work on how record-industry consolidation affected the home front, and pointed out who the major players were in the local music biz. But since it was already a shadow of its former self, BAM's demise wasn't met with any real tears. Enter San Jose's Zero magazine, which, if it keeps improving at its current pace, could very well revive local music reporting. Founded a few years ago by one Larry Trujillo, the monthly free rag has a heavy emphasis on the hard rock, heavy metal, and punk that its teenage-plus demographic loves so much, but it's also made room for promising coverage of hip hop, dance music, and local pop (the latter covered in impresario Ian Brennan's Boy Next Door column). Also fun is the Retro-Active column, which revisits a classic older and slightly obscure album with wisdom and humor. Zero isn't there yet -- it needs a staffer who understands the serial comma, Trujillo's position as both editor in chief and ad salesperson is ethically troubling, and the publication needs to enact a ban on the adjective "high-octane" -- but every issue is better than the previous one, proof that not only does the Bay Area have a music scene worth covering, but that Zero has the enthusiasm to pull it off.