Saturday, July 16, 2005

Give it up one time for Jim Testa

Jim Testa has been at it (fanzine publishing) longer than anyone else I know of. He celebrates his like 60th anniversary with a benefit at, where else, Maxwells next weekend. The Wrens headline. If you're in the area, its sure to be a good show and a good cause. Plus if you have any insurance questions, I'm sure he'll be happy to answer 'em.

To keep the presses running, Testa has to pull a card from public broadcasting's pocket. Next Thursday, July 21, he will throw a benefit concert for Jersey Beat at Maxwell's. The concert, which is headlined by The Milwaukees and The Wrens, the indie stalwarts from Teaneck, should raise enough cash for yet another year of Jersey Beat, he says. "As long as I break even, I keep happy."

While rock journalism is not Testa's day job, it seems his identity. He spends his free time rooting out, and rooting for, promising young rock bands. Appropriately, his round features and appetite for trivia recall Sherlock Holmes' amiable sidekick, Dr. Watson. Kitsch furniture fills his two-story Weehawken home, which is decorated with Ramones posters; a framed photo of Mad Magazine's gap-toothed geek, Alfred E. Neuman; and a lamp fashioned out of female mannequin leg dressed in a fishnet stocking and a high-heel shoe.

Like Testa himself, there is nothing flashy about Jersey Beat. But both are wellsprings of information. Each black-and-white issue features hundreds of pages of generally well-written commentaries, interviews and album reviews. As the editor and chief writer, Testa balances the magazine's coverage to speak to different generations of indie rock fans. For instance, the current issue features Q&A-style interviews with young bands like The Milwaukees and Senses Fail of Ridgewood and punk pioneers like Mike Watt and Lydia Lunch.

Visit the Jersey Beat home page for updates on the show


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