Spiral Scratch Magazine

Spiral Scratch Magazine march 1989

In the late 1980s the magazine of choice for collectors of punk, indie, alternative and industrial music wasn’t Record Collector, it was Spiral Scratch magazine.

Run by Lee Woods who was the man behind Raw Records it started as a newspaper distributed at record fairs but after three issues became a magazine and was available in high street outlets.

I can’t recall why it closed but I remember that he expanded and had a more mainstream magazine called Music Collector so maybe it was too much too soon.

Spiral Scratch remains an excellent reference source for collectors but curiously has little commercial value. Click here for a list of issues.

17 thoughts on “Spiral Scratch Magazine

  1. Darren Smith says:

    I won one of the two BLONDIE autographed editions that came out and became a telephone regular with Lee getting a ton of questions answered about Blondie, that article was the most exhaustive, nobdy has touched it to date, although a slew more releases have since surfaced…

  2. Steve Smith says:

    In August 1991 there was a ‘difference of opinion’ between the main editorial team (Myself, Alex Ogg, and Shaun Barrett) and teh publisher (Lee Woods) which resulted in us going our separate ways. Mr Woods managed to get a few more issues of both Music Collector and Spiral Scratch out but they folded soon after.

    Spiral Scratch, in particular, was a fanzine with bells on, in that most of our articles were provided by people with a real passion for the bands they were writing about.

    They were great days for me whilst they lasted

  3. jay says:

    i have spial scratch issue june 1991 no.11, GO BETWEENS, STIV BATORS, DICKIES, RICH KIDS ETC if you are interested in buying it for 5 pound email me…

  4. Adam Sykes says:

    I wondered if anyone knew which issue of spiral Scratch had the 2 page spread on British Industrial Music in it. I used have most copies of this superb tome, but in several house moves have lost them. I’ve subsequently bought 3 back – fomr this excellent website – but really woud like the issue mentioned earlier.

    I look forward to your replies.
    Best wishes

  5. Lee Wood says:


    I am glad some people liked what we did. I like to think we did a good job. I remember Darren who phoned me often and chatted about Blondie. Steve Smith was a nice guy but the other two were not people you could trust. I sold Music Collector magazine to the publishers of Record Collector who “buried the title” so they could increase the advertising rates of RC without any competitors. they paid me a nice five figure amount!
    I never ran the magazine for the money but because I loved the music. And still do.
    Nowadays I am pretty much retired and live a good life. I can afford most things but I cannot buy the time of those days. I just have the memories of all the great bands and people.
    Enjoy life and have fun
    Lee Wood

  6. Benjamin says:

    Hello Mr. Woods and everyone else. I just picked up the Oct. 1988 Issue One of Spiral Scrath (in news print), w\ the Sisters of Mercy 7″ single enclosed. This awesome find was made in a small town in Virginia. Thank you for creatimg this post so I could share my awesome find!!!

  7. Bart says:

    I had most of the issues but seem to have lost the newspaper ones over the years. Still have the free 7″ records though. It was a great magazine with loads of great information about the bands I came to love. It was Spiral Scratch that started my love affair with US hardcore punk. Would love to locate the issue that had the US hardcore article.

  8. Darren Smith says:

    Mr Wood!!!! I spent a while trying to find where you’d gone! I always enjoyed talking “Blondie!” with you who’d have thought that they WOULD reform and go on to such success again!! I did finally get my PRIVTAE STOCK Promo poster framed and still have the autographed SS Magazine – a treasured possession.. Thank you for the written word… If you ever wanna catch up E mail me!! DARREN

  9. Vanda Krutnik says:

    Weirdly, I came across this site by accident. I worked at Spiral Scratch in my youth, typing the listings(!!) amongst other things. Wow – how things have changed. Dominic Mohan was a fresh faced student at the time and, I believe, went on to work as Music Editor at The Sun. Also remember heavy metal Alan, the lovely Helen, Mark and the very cool white-haired man on the computers (how ancient those machine would seem now!) I desktop published Hot Buttered Soul in no. 15 by Chris Savory – wow that guy knew his stuff! Glad you did well Lee – enjoy your retirement! Hi to any if my ex-colleagues else who might stumble upon this. Vanda

  10. Ian Crisp says:

    This is a message to Lee Woods .I sold you Artwoods Jazz in Jeans EP at a Cambridge record fair possibility late 1980s .If you still.have it .Could I get a photo please

  11. Lee Wood says:

    Doing some research I ‘re-discovered’ this website and the posts.
    I’ll try to cover everyone.
    Hello, amazing Vanda. Yes, they were good times (for the main part) and if only we had the technology of today back then. I was sad to read recently that that lovely, lovely man Chris Savory had passed away. As you say his knowledge was stunning. I sold Hot Buttered Soul when I had the record shop in King Street (1973 to 1979). And I met him at various record fairs. I have an incredible story about Chris but I’ll leave that for another time and place. I hope you are keeping well. My best regards to you Vanda.
    Darren, my Blondie friend. Why would you address me as Mr Wood? We knew each other well. I hope you managed to replace all the items stolen from your loft?
    And I haven’t ‘gone’ anywhere. I’m still alive and well and enjoying each day.
    I’ve recently taken up writing novels and short stories and I’m writing a book about my record label Raw Records to be published next year (2018). It will be a totally honest account that will shock people.
    If anyone wants to contact me directly, my email is [email protected]
    Steve. You were a nice guy. It’s a shame you don’t know the whole truth about what happened with Alex.
    And Steve – it’s a shame information I told you in complete confidence you and Alex later decided to reveal in print.
    But you both did me a favour in that RC paid me a very nice sum. Just a shame they didn’t continue to publish it.
    It’s all water under the bridge now.
    I’ll close at this point rather than bore you all silly.
    Take care and God bless.

  12. Fiona says:

    Just stumbled across this website! I worked for you, Lee, in the early 90’s…I wrote the only issue of Madonna Monthly, which I still have many copies of! I actually went on to work as a freelance writer in Toronto, Canada, I have many happy memories of those days in Cambridge!

  13. Jon Camp says:

    Hello Lee
    Hope you are well. I did the 4ad article.. remember that one. Ivo supplied the pixies track on 3″ cd

  14. Mike Richmond says:

    Just found this website.
    I wrote quite a lot of articles and thought the magazine was brilliant.
    Morrissey, The Freshies, Frank Sidebottom, Captain Sensible and more.
    Actually, Captain himself read my article and added his comments to the finished article!

  15. I was employed as the “Record Information Officer” for both Spiral Scratch and Music Collector magazines in the early 90s where I oversaw all the discographies and information for collectors. I have continued to work on discographies since and now run the World Wide Release DataBase (WWRDB) network of web sites including my pet project specifically for electronic/industrial music CyberNoise. At the time that I was abruptly made redundant when the magazine closed, I heard quite different stories about the reasons for closure from Alex Ogg and Steve Smith. If Lee Wood’s statement is true about selling out to Record Collector and him pocketing a load of money, then that is not what I heard at the time. It would also make a mockery of why I never got my last month’s pay!

  16. Lee Wood says:

    Fiona, If you’re reading this, I remember you well. And I remember the ‘problems’ we had with Madonna Monthly were 100% MY fault. I’m older and, hopefully, a little wiser. It’s nice to see you are doing well.

    Graham. What you heard at the time, especially from Alex, should be taken with a pinch of salt. I’m not blameless, but I have a four-page letter from someone who spoke with him, revealing the truth. Alex deleted all of the files from the computer system when he left.
    I may print the story if I finish the book about Raw Records, which will include the magazines, hopefully in 2024. But I have other projects that take up my time, plus, of course, family.

    Vanda. I tried to contact you, but you have moved on.

    Nowadays, I am happily retired, write books and enjoy life and music. Thank you to everyone who ever supported the magazines. You can still contact me via [email protected] should you wish to.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *