The 1990’s were the heyday for the “Zine Scene” across the United States. Every city with a thriving local rock n’ roll scene had their own “zines” that brought their creative communities together. Perhaps the most significant of these zine scene’s was Boston with the Noise, Lollipop, Soundcheck and the Pit Report. But one zine stood out amongst all others – Instant Magazine.
Born in the offices of WJMF at Bryant University in 1994 and first christened “New England Rocks”, Instant grew into a staple and mainstay of the Boston Music scene from 1995-2001. Distributed to record shops, music clubs and scene hangouts throughout New England and its neighboring states, Instant adeptly captured a period of time when the Boston Music scene was gaining vast national attention.
Founded and published by Chris Hinckley, Instant Magazine became a sought after piece of any up and coming bands media kit. To get reviewed or have a feature run about your band in Instant was viewed as a necessary stepping-stone in a band’s growth. Getting featured in Instant meant you were being reviewed alongside national acts like the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Cheap Trick, Social Distortion and the Deftones. Instant established an eclectic mix of stories every issue. These included stories on well-known national acts, hip up and coming acts and local bands trying to get that much needed recognition.
At its peak, Instant was everywhere around the Boston and New England music scene. Instant won 3 straight Maxie Awards for “Best Zine in New England”, was featured on MTV’s “Indie Outing” and established itself as the next big thing in music publications before Hinckley decided to call it quits.
Always stating that he would end Instant when “it was no longer any fun,” Hinckley walked away from Instant after issue #31 in April of 2001. This cover depicted the “Instant Guy” walking down Storrow Drive past the “Reverse Curve” sign (which was the name of the record label Hinckley also founded).
According to Hinckley, he looks back on his days publishing Instant fondly and wonders what might have been if he just kept it going. Regardless, the late 1990’s saw the Boston music scene at its creative peak and Instant was there to tell us all about it.
It was after all, “Your Guide To Good Rock”.
Published on March 18, 2021