Marble Bar’s “Tone Scale” Zine

By Tom Warner (Accelerated Decrepitude, 8/15/2012)


Tonescale Vol. 1, No. 2 (October 1982)

My lifelong-bachelor friend Bernie Ozol is getting married soon and, as part of his pre-nup, he’s been cleaning out the detritus from his house in Baltimore’s Barclay neighborhood. This modern day equivalent of Hercules cleaning up the Augean Stables (a perennial labor-of-sloth I know all too well!), resulted in Bernie offering me all of his old music mags and zines en masse. One hoarder offering another his bounty of treasures is like a drug dealer offering testers to his junkie clientel: ’twas an offer I simply couldn’t resist. So now I have mountain-high stacks of musty and dog-eared Trouser Press and Creem mags from the ’70s and ’80s.

I loved these publications back in the day, but buried beneath one box of mags was the true diamond in the rough: an assortment of old Tone Scale ‘zines – the official music newsletter of The Marble Bar back in the early ’80s. The publisher was LesLee Anderson who, along with her husband Roger Anderson, ran the Marble Bar rock club in the basement of The Congress Hotel from 1978 until 1985. (Roger Anderson tragically passed away from a heart attack in April 1984, and LesLee soldiered on for one more year before other parties – including former Marble Bar bartender Robin Stuprich, her husband Ed Linton, Joe Gary, and later Vermin Supreme – tried their hand at putting on shows there, before Supreme moved upstairs to carry on the tradition and add his Jockee Clubbe/Subgenius extravanganzas in the Galaxy Ballroom.)

I think the first Tonescale came out sometime in 1982, because the earliest issue in Bernie’s collection was Vol. 1, No. 2 dating from October 1982. I don’t know much about this zine because I fell out of the Marble Bar scene after 1982, but I’m sure it’s familiar to area musicians dating from that period.

Tone Scale was a “‘zine” in the true sense of the word. It was a Xeroxed-and-stapled publication featuring photostat copies of typewriter-created articles and local band gig flyers. Copies sold for 25 cents and the name of the zine seemed to change with each issue, the February 1983 ish even calling itself Valentone.


Valentone Vol. 2, No. 2 (February 1983)


Katatonix flyer in same ish touting “Valentine’s Day” single

Continue reading “Marble Bar’s ‘Tone Scale’ Zine” at Tom Warner’s Accelerated Decrepitude.

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