You Idiot: The First Book: By Nate Gangelhoff, 316 pgs. By Vincent

Nov 19, 2008

You may know Mr. Gangelhoff from one of any of the bands he has been in out of Minneapolis. He’s kind of to Minneapolis what Paul Curran is to the Bay in the way that he keeps popping up in awesome bands playing bass. In addition to his many musical outlets, he also has had a few zines, two of which, You Idiot and Whiskey Plus, are completely compiled in this book. Well, they are almost completely compiled—a few cuts were made from YI, but nothing substantial, and abstracts of the cuts are given. YI ran for four issues; WP ran for one. In this comp, you get the equivalent of bonus tracks: the unreleased fifth ish of YI and the unreleased second ish of WP. That about wraps up the basics. Anyhow, both zines have an analytically comedic approach.

YI tackles what could be considered easy targets, e.g., anti-drug campaigns from the ‘80s, religion, get rich quick techniques, lose weight quick techniques, He-Man fandom, and rapping wrestlers. While his subjects might be considered easy, it must have been a real chore to find some of the nonsense he covers. Nonetheless, his argumentation is excellent however easy these subjects may or may not be. It definitely adds to the comedic value. In later issues of YI where he decides to be less exhaustive in his analyses than he was in previous issues, the humor is still there and the material is not to be skipped, yet it lacks a bit of the punch that the in-depth analyses provided.

WP was his music zine. Here he might be said to be shooting more fish in a different barrel. The two issues include pieces such as reviews of karaoke performances at a bar, Billboard Top 40, pro-Bush songs, bands at his practice space, and other various music related subjects. All of this is not done with a holier-than-thou attitude (though it could be said that the fish drowned before he got to the barrel); he shows a self-depreciating side and a willingness to turn the lens inwards by documenting his failure as a musician when it comes to buying equipment—and he admits to going to see Korn perform (I think he was stoned and reviewed it).

If you are looking for some light reading that will bust your gut, this book is for sure going to do it for you. (I wouldn’t read it again while eating or drinking lest I choke to death.) And, without a single page left blank like so many other books, you will be hard up to find a more eco-friendly book. –Vincent (Arsenic, PO Box 8995, MPLS, MN55408)


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