After “many personality crises and a worldwide pandemic,” Royal Cat Records is finally launching their long-awaited zine, Grunk.
The 21-page, self-published, small-batch magazine is "a loveletter to our dumb little city from a couple of record-collecting junk lovers,” featuring comics, playlists, album picks, an interview with a renowned cartoonist, and tidbits of trivia about the Guelph music scene.
Bryan Munn, who owns Royal Cat Records with his wife Kara, has been toying with zine making since he was a child, making little comic books with the help of his dad’s photocopier.
He was just as captivated by zine culture when he met Kara in the 90s.
Together, the two punk rockers started making small zines, manually binding them together and giving them out to anyone who would read them.
“We made a couple little comic zines, but nothing since really,” he said. “But since our store is all about physical media, we thought, let’s make something people can actually hold in their hands."
Munn likes zines because they're part of underground culture, which he said is another thing Grunk is representative of: small artists and people with a DIY attitude.
He's wanted to get back into zine-making since opening his store six years ago, to promote the record store while producing content their customers would like. But it’s since turned into a zany, comic-filled snapshot “of a pre-apocalyptic time.”
They finally began working on it just before the pandemic, when cartoonist Marc Bell was in town and agreed to do the cover art. After that, he said everything else seemed to fall in place.
When Munn learned that Kazoo! Fest Print Expo would have its last run this year, he figured now was the perfect time to send Grunk out into the world. It was released on the weekend.
They came up with the oddball name by combining words like Guelph, records, punk and junk.
“It’s just kind of a dumb name. But we like dumb names,” he said.
Inside you'll find a combination of local and international artists – most of whom still have connections to Guelph in some way. For instance, Chicago’s Anya Davidson writes about one of her favourite Guelph bands, Razor.
Grunk #1 is what they hope to be the first of many issues. Each issue is $4, just enough for them to break even. They will be selling limited copies at the record store with more to be printed.
But Munn wasn’t expecting people to be as excited as they are – he’s fairly certain the supply is significantly lower than demand. So if you can’t get your hands on a copy this weekend, don’t fret, they’ll be printing more next week.