A drawing of a yellow person with X's for eyes and a blue shirt that says total puke on a red book

Scam: The First Four Issues

by Erica Dawn Lyle Author

The classic zine Scam was equal parts an introductory guide on how to get things for free and punk memoir. Youths experienced trainhopping, house shows, and cross country tours that sought out swimming holes. Community was sought and celebrated through generator punk shows on Mission Street, hunting for cans of beer on Easter, and Food Not Bombs. Angst was manifested while stealing electricity from lampposts, squatting in Miami, selling plasma, tagging freight trains, wheatpasting, spraying salt water into vending machines, returning stolen merchandise, and dumpstering as seen through the lens of a young punk. Handwritten, exuberant, the voice of an era, Scam has gone on to inspire a generation of imitators, the highest form of flattery. This book contains the first four massive issues full of stories and urban survival how-to guides, including the infamous "Mutiny in Miami" issue.

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Comments & Reviews


Love love love this book.
When compiled all in one volume, these SCAM issues take on a crazy Kerouac On the Road quality. Once you're on the 50th crooked handwritten page in a row, into the middle of the epic tale of kids taking over a huge abandoned hotel in the middle of downtown Miami, you start to think: is this the greatest thing I've ever read? I think it fucking is!!


Totally, totally essential for anyone with anything approaching a punk rock bone in their body.


Scam is one of my favorite zines of all time. Punk in spirit, though few words are spent on the music itself. This zine is about life, and how a punk should live it. Inspirational, instructive, hilarious and very creative. Picks you up when you are feeling low, reminding you that you can make almost anything out of practically nothing.


Just about anyone who loves punk rock and reading zines would want to grab a copy of this book. The younger punk rockers would get a blast from this book since Scam really does a fantastic job of helping you visualize and feel what it was like to be a punk in the 90′s and could let them see what what punk culture was like “back in the day”. Hell this book could almost be a learning manual for the younger crowd


"The zine abounds with amusing personal stories, tour diaries and road stories, blistering album reviews, interviews, and bite-sized asides and observations. Lyle’s tone is consistently spunky and at times maniacally gleeful, especially when he’s giving tips on scamming companies and getting free shit.

This collection is a nostalgic slice of 90s punk zining. Those in that scene will particularly enjoy this, reminding many of us of those halcyon days of youthful punkiness and ripping off Kinko’s."


"A true rebel yell from the front lines of punk rock and political activism, SCAM is required reading for the movers, shakers and shit-disturbers of today—and yesterday."


"The stories are full of colorful characters and situations, scams, and insight into the inner-workings of highly motivated societal critics and guerrilla street protesters. Arguably, Scam might just be the best punk zine ever created, at least in its entirety. If you are into anarchy, squatting, free punk shows, scamming all corporate and corrupt entities, graffiti, drinking copious amounts of cheap beer, and leaving pianos on hiking trails, well then look no further, your manifesto has arrived."


"Overall, Scam is a zine that chronicles one young man's changes over a ten-year period. Much like the life the author leads, it can at times be fun, dull, depressing, or inspiring. The writing is pretty good for a zine. It doesn't focus all that much on the music, but the music runs in the background throughout -- it's a great choice for when all your friends leave the squat to move into their mom's house again or when you want to remind yourself of the 'good old days.'"


"If you are unfamiliar with Scam it is basically author Erick Lyle's walk through life as he well, scams everything for free. Subjects include everything from free electricity to squatting, to ripping off vending machines. Meanwhile he is also giving us a memoir of shows, working with food not bombs and others. It is an interesting insight to a side of life that many will never see."


"One of the best zines ever is compiled in a hefty book. Scam is a legendary zine that featured not only hilarious, irreverent advice and stories telling you how to do simple scams like get free copies and free pop and mooch off campus food in nearby schools but also more serious stuff -- how to survive in jail when scams go bad may be the most compelling section. This has some normal zine stuff, but they're all twisted up --review sections with absurdist non-reviews...mostly making fun of Billie Joe from Green Day for looking like he's on Beverly Hills 90210 and ridiculously conversational interviews. The second best thing about it is the look - as zine as zine can be with xerox collages, slopppy handwriting with fat markers, and no respect for visual conventions, but the best thing is the artist formally known as Iggy Scam's writing -- I always thought he was a better storyteller than Mr. Cometbus."


"Scam Zine: The First Four Issues is a beautiful, comprehensive collection of Miami-era Scam Zine, the seminal South Florida (and later San Francisco) punk rock fanzine. Erick Lyle (known in these pages as Iggy Scam) takes the reader on a journey from hustles (a la Steal This Book) and punk rock goonery, through poignant and literary depictions of living on the fringes, ultimately toward articulate and informed radical activism. Flyers, guest columns, interviews and the author’s signature handwritten musings all make this an essential collection for anyone interested in Miami, punk, DIY publishing and all possible combinations of those subjects."


I imagine that the way I feel when I read Scam must be how other people feel when they read Eat Pray Love.