May Updates! Benefits! Books! Punk to the People!

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Hello crews, readers, punk peeps, academics, etc., the spring has been a time of intense work, action, and praxis, so I am proud to announce several new articles, undertakings, and goings-on that should intrigue at least some of you.

First, my tribute to Randy “Biscuit” Turner is now OUT! It features two essays by me, one about the history of Austin punk by Biscuit, absolute TONS of his paper art, letters, flyers, and lyrics, rare and previously unpublished photos by Ken Hoge, Ben DeSoto, Ken Hoge, and others, fanzine clippings, and memories by members of MDC, Dicks, Swine King, Articles of Faith, Hickoids, Doomsday Massacre, Swiz, Manumission, Four Letter Word, Really Red, and more!

The official release party will be held Wired-Up: Modern Conveniences located in the heart of Montrose, Biscuit’s favorite neighborhood in Houston, and will also feature members of Mydolls and Really Red, who will have CD, T-shirts, and vinyl to sign/sell . Portion of proceeds will benefit John Reen Davis of Anarchitex and Happy Fingers Institute (plus longtime Big Boys fan) recently classified as Autistic, Level 1, who is experiencing financial hardship as he navigates legal and government bureaucracies. Punk to the people! Postage paid anywhere in the U.S. for $13.00. Contact me via: leftofthedialmag@hotmail.com for info. Limited edition: 400 copies.

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Following up on my punk garage sale/market to benefit the chemo/radiation treatment of Christian Kidd, who has bren raging on the streets of this humid city since 1978 and wearing his mohawk loud and proud for thirty years, I will be hosting and performing in a mammoth tribute and fundraiser for his tongue cancer treatment featuring Hallowbody (former Academy Black, Zipperneck), No Love Less (half of Mydolls), U.Y.U.S., and the All-Star Punk Squad featuring Beau Beasley singing the Hates, Allison Gibson singing L7,  Melissa Waters singing Big Boys and Roky Erickson, Bill De Gidio Bill De Gideo (of the Pagans!) playing Dead Boys guitar, Lisa Fer singing DI and the Ramones, Christi Workman singing the Misfits, the Fall, and Dead Boys, J.R. Delgado singing Party Owls and more, Gina Miller of the Magnetic 4 and Kimonos singing The Sonics and Berlin! And other guests too! Auctions! Punk memorabilia! $10.00, Rudyards, May 21!

Much thanks to writer Jeff Ihaza and website theoutline.com for publishing my brief commentary on how the nature of streaming music (playlists, curated iRadio stations, etc) is contributing to the return of a jukebox-style short sharp potent song format! Technological determinism and cultural urgency have always fascinated me!

I don’t often get mentioned in the same article as Grammy winners, but here is my take on the DIY hip hop/punk connection! Thanks to Tom Barnes and MIC.com for reaching out to me to discuss the power of music to transform conversations, politics, star power, and communities…Read it here.

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For those of you keen on the history of Arizona/San Francisco punk, subversion gone amok, and Situationism in the modern era, plus the career of pioneering black punk D.H. Peligro of the Dead Kennedys (!!!!!) you MUST read my new interview with the Feederz, released on none other than May Day! They have a new single out! The piece was published on the website of Razorcake (who is also publishing a print version of my interview with Mia d’Bruzzi of Frightwig soon!) and can be read here.

Looking ahead, I will be also publishing interviews with Mike Watt and John Doe in Houston Press during the second half of May!

I hope anyone who has ever read a DIY zine, been part of the underground punk and indie network, or knows anyone with Autism, Level 1, will check out my interview with Joe Biel of Microcosm (who published Out of the Basement, my look at Rockford, IL’s underground DIY scene, a towering figure in the Net generation publishing industry whose memoir Good Trouble delves deep into the life and times of diffability too. Thank you Tim Hinely too at Dagger! Read it here.

Speaking of, thanks a million to Juxtapoz magazine website and writer Iqvinder Singh for running a succinct, cogent review of my book Out of the Basement and featuring a gallery of images: the lead photo is RIP brother “Buzzsaw,” our rust belt punk poet Chris Gaffney! We miss you, hell raiser! The images are high resolution, so they may take a minute to load! Check it out here

My new book on women in punk is currently at designer Sonny Kay’s (GSL Records!) place, getting its shape and style! My current title is: Distort Me Deadly: An Imperfect, Incomplete, and Short Guide to Women in Punk by a Cis-Gendered Male.

By the way, if you have a moment, you may enjoy this piece I penned about my band’s new single: Now is the Future! No Love Less, featuring members of Mydolls, the Drafted, and the Hates, are bored of boredom, apathy, snarkiness, despair, the vacuous merchants of hip, the sleaze called business, the borders and boundaries of one-dimensional people and policed genres, the public milliseconds of infamy, the tattered democracy you doubt but we embrace like a super-heated engine, the lame pretense of knowing it all, the fake “sky is falling” outcries compared to the real craziness and injustice in a world gone mad, the glaze of rock’n’roll dumbness, the whole mockery of why punk began and still boils, the sham behind fake news, fake science, fake citizenship … By the way, this is our new video. We have tunes burning in us, ready to explode like Roman candles.

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March Updates!

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Those of you near Houston, please join me for a history-minded and up-to-date discussion of punk and politics in this time of existential crisis and governmental morass! Joining him will be YOU and members of No Love Less, the Drafted, Mydolls, Anarchitex, and more; Houston Press journalists; photographers and artists; and KPFT personalities too! Marquee Moon, FREE, 7 PM, April 7. Afterwards, I (as DJ Sonic Reducer) will also be spinning my fave politico-punk records after the heated and frank talk!

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Drummer Robert “Skin Man” Murphy (Lightnin’ Hopkins, Clifton Chenier, and more), at home, 2011, shot by David Ensminger

Thank you Houston Press for running my tribute to Robert “Skin Man” Murphy, the drummer for Lightnin’ Hopkins and Clifton Chenier! The piece also features some enticing video clips and a down-to-earth unpublished interview I had with the fine-fingered funky percussionist: this includes material that did not end up in Mojo Hand, my co-written biography of Hopkins. Read it here.

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Thank you to Tim Hinely at the long-running Dagger for publishing my overview of punk, indie, and hardcore in the dry desert climes of New Mexico, where I attended both the College of Santa Fe and University of New Mexico. The piece is a short, wily homage to the quick-witted, persistent, feral, out of control rock’n’rollers I met then, and those that continue to shred! Also, mucho thanks to my former band mate Jobrian Stammer for helping me flesh out some details, memories, and characters! Check out the flyers of my old band Silver as well! Read it here.

Lastly, I appreciate M. Curtis for referencing my article “The Allure of the Instant: Postscripts from the Fading Age of Xerography” (from Art in Print) in the new scholarly work  “Certified Copies: 1980s New Zealand photocopy journals and the Xerographic Aesthetic,” which was printed in the Journal of New Zealand Literature 34.2 (2016).

Long live Xerox art / photocopy art / instant-art, and more!

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Don’t forget, my new book (Out of the Basement) about the underground music scene of Rockford, IL, the hometown of Cheap Trick, is out now! Find it at your local bookstore or shop at Microcosm!

 

 

 

 

Spring 2017, The Book Party Never Ends!

clevelandmacsSorry for being AWOL  during this period of national unrest, which quickly overshadowed the seasonal mirth and dampened many spirits! But, punk has provided a potent, timely soundtrack to the distress, protest, and antagonism …

In fact, I hope those of you in the Cleveland outer limits can zoom by Mac’s Books on Feb 24th to join me for a discussion about the volatile nature of punk and politics, which is bound to be as feisty and illuminating as my stopover at Quimby’s in Chicago last fall.  I am psyched to announce some special guests too: the Lenny Bruce of hardcore — wordslinger Tony Erba of 9 Shocks Terror,  Face Value, Cheap Tragedies, and FYPM! Plus, I am crossing my fingers, Lamont Thomas, the dexterous drummer behind This Moment in Black History and Bassholes, and the mastermind behind Obnox, is trying to zoom in from Akron. If we are mind-blowing lucky, writer/rocker Dave Swanson of a million cool bands, including Rainy Day Saints, the Cynics, and Guided by Voices, might might might be able to sneak in during the last minutes. The event is FREE, all ages, and open to the public.

The next day I appear on an academic panel at the International Association for the Study of Popular Music, US Branch: “Gimme Shelter: Popular Music and Protection” convening at Case Western University: I am in the “Punk at 40: The Spirit of ’77” coterie with scholars from UCLA and the University of Virginia, which promises to be stimulating!

In the future, I will let you know about a similar conference in Grand Rapids, this time relating to Midwest punk history, that will take place in June, so check back!

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Milemarker, Houston, Feb 2017, by me

In the meantime, you may enjoy my new interview with synth-punk insurrectionists and literary rockers Milemarker, which has been syndicated across the web; in it, I provide a brief overview of the band’s impressive history and interview Al Burian, the editor/writer of Burn Collector. These links below will provide you access.

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I want to thank writer Tim Hinely at Dagger, as well as Fred Blurt, for running a swell review of Out of the Basement, my book exploring the underground and indie punk community in Rockford. I appreciate their efforts.

Plus, I am also honored that Kate Scott Daly at Third Coast Review, out of Chicago, also seems to share my fondness for labor history and economics, punk resilience, and the ethos of scene building, which she explores in her review here.

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As a former radio DJ host, and longtime radio listener, I feel indebted to David Martin Davies and Jan Ross Piedad at KSTX: San Antonio / Texas Public radio that produced a stellar one hour interview with me about the politics of punk. Besides featuring me focusing on the legacies of idols like Billy Bragg and the Ramones, it features a bevy of music, all streaming for free. Davies himself was a teenage rule-breaking punk, so he brings much verve, know-how, and sincerity to the conversation here.

Large-Hearted Boy, a terrific web page designed for both music and literary-minded folks, let me pen a list of ten songs that clutched my consciousness as I wrote Out of Basement, then the editor placed those songs into a set list (Soulside, Naked Raygun, The Stooges, etc.) that you can stream off the site as well! It’s a highly personal, poetic examination of my musical fixations!

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Speaking of, Indie Guides, an intriguing web company based in Canada, discussed Out of the Basement with me as well, even translated one version into French, called “The Untold Story of Punk Rock Explosion in Rockford, Illinois in the 1980s,” a 9-minute read featuring photos and streaming video here that provides some context and background to the scene that immersed me.

Also, I just stumbled upon the chapter “Musical Pauses, Gendered Nostalgia, and Loss in Jennifer Egan’s ‘A Visit From the Goon Squad’” (from the book Write in Tune) which features two quotes from my book Visual Vitriol contemplating gender roles and linked tropes found within punk history, narratives, and culture. I appreciate author Danica van de Velde’s nimble use of my POV.

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Me, pre-Hates gig, Aug. 2017

More thanks to Johnathan Kyle Williams at the University of Northern Iowa for making use of my Left of the Dial interviews, including Dave Dictor and Thomas Barnett, in his recent savvy thesis “‘Rock Against Reagan’: The Punk Movement, cultural hegemony, and Reaganism in the Eighties.” I know both of those punk icons would be thrilled to know that our conversations still resonate years later.

Lastly, I also am delighted that my work on Xerox and photocopy art has been discovered by a generation of writers, like Kate Eichhorn, who features a paragraph from Visual Vitriol in her seminal look at the format and technology in Adjusted Margin: Xerography, Art, and Activism in the Late Twentieth Century. Equally so, Daniel S. Margolies understood my basic folkoric interpretation of Xerox punk art as part of a transitional moment in American participatory culture: his fine chapter “Ethnographic and Folkloristic Study of Popular Culture,” with some small portions of Visual Vitriol, can be found in the tome A Companion to Popular Culture edited by Gary Burns.

Keep up the faith! Punk to the future! David!

Book Release Parties Underway!

dksisland066.jpgFirst and foremost, I hope to see some of you in the Midwest where I will be celebrating the pre-release of my book Out of the Basement (you can order a copy now via Microcosm!), which chronicles the rise of the indie/punk/alternative music scene of my hometown Rockford, IL! In Chicago, I will be gathering forces together and appearing with Dan Makagon, who teaches at Depaul University and helps edit the journal Liminalities (which published my essay, now book chapter from the Politics of Punk, titled “Slamdancing in the No Time Zone”). He published a cutting edge book that examines DIY spaces in-depth for Microcosm too. And, to add a dollop of pure energy to the mix, the legend of Pilsen, Martin Sorrondeguy, who published his infamous collection of photography Get Shot not long ago and sang for two of the most searing, pertinent bands on the planet, Limp Wrist and Los Crudos (who I saw at the Fireside Bowl in Chicago opening for the Unwound in the 1990s), will be projecting photos and discussing punk history, participation, and documentation! The event is called Punk Then, Punk Now, Punk Forever: Documenting DIY Culture, is FREE, and happens at 7 PM Nov. 18 at Quimby’s.

On the next dizzying night, Daniel and I will zoom across the flat toll roads that rim northern Illinois to Rockford itself and repeat our performance at Kate’s Pie Shop Cafe & Records, at 7 PM and free as well, where we will be joined by local younger maverick Keelan McMorrow, “who cut his adolescent teeth on the punk rock, art and zine cultures of his hometown’s local scene, forming bands (The Stellas, Egan’s Rats), booking shows, and drawing, pasting, printing, and copying an endless barrage of posters and flyers … He still does punk rock for free, writing columns for Chicago’s punk quarterly No Friends, and until late performing, touring, and recording for Population, an austere post-punk quintet.”

Please come by if you are in the stateline vortex!

Lo and behold, the last few months have been truly dizzying, upending, and titanic on both the personal and national/global levels. First, my book the Politics of Punk hit the market, and so far the response has been steady and positive, so I hope that trajectory stays intact! I was fortunate to be interviewed by Rebekah Buchanan, an Assistant Professor of English at Western Illinois University, for her podcast on the New Books Network. For almost an hour, we discussed a variety of keenly felt and relevant, timely topics, ranging from women in punk and the dynamics of zine culture to issues regarding pornography and sex workers in the digital era. I deeply appreciate her input, which was based on her own long involvement with both punk and the study of underground publishing, as well as her sheer enthusiasm and  pointed intellect. To listen to a streaming version of it, please click here.

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Me at the Politics of Punk release party at Cactus Music, by Heather Johnson

Secondly, the Houston Press ran an entire sub-chapter of the book on-line as well, as a preview to the book party we held at Cactus Music in  Oct., when both my bands the Hates and No Love Less played. The crowd included an array of regional rockers that ignited my heart — members of Culturcide, Mydolls, Stinkerbell, Party Owls, Doomsday Massacre, and more crowded between the CD racks as the bands blared and beer frothed in cups. The article also contains a handful of my photos, including action pics of TSOL and DOA, plus embedded video links too, so you can get the full experience here.

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Next, thank you to Dolf and the crew at Trust for publishing my photograph of the Florida-based punk band Scream Out Loud in their new Oct/Nov. issue. Looking ahead, Razorcake will be publishing my interview with the artful, keenly intelligent, and longtime icon of Canadian music Jean Smith of Mecca Normal, who is both a poet-singer of unbridled intellect but also a painter/visual artist of heralded repute (she made three covers for the band’s albums). Look for that in their print edition before the end of the month.

Speaking of women in punk, that is my new book project, and the manuscript is now 60% complete and covers a huge spectrum. The (un)simple goal is to shine a light on the deep, wide, and indelible contributions of women in the genre and movement. For the first time ever, I am releasing all the rough drafts via my Facebook page, so people can make comments, suggestions, notations, etc! For my first book Visual Vitriol, I offered a few sections on-line, which did attract some interesting commentary. Over the past few weeks, I have discussed Crass, 8 Bark, the Warmers, Fire Party, Melt Banana, and more, so join the effort! The next installments are 45 Grave, Submission Hold, and the Loudmouths! In many cases, I am reaching out to the artists themselves to contribute their own reflections, anecdotes, memories, texts, etc., so the book will be more akin to a conversation reverberating with outsider/insider traits — the POV of critics and writers vs. the close-to-the-ground, first person, “I was there” reality.

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Another book release dear to me, that I edited and has just arrived, is I Said That, which is a compendium of Gary Floyd material I published as the fourth book for my imprint Left of the Dial. He just returned to Texas to play the “last two shows, ever” for the Dicks, who re-united for the brief weekend of intense musical chaos! I worked the merch table (full of incredible limited edition T-shirts, CDs, 45 singles, and screened posters), and snapped the photo below!

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As I penned the next day on Facebook: “Two Nights Only! Night of the Living Dicks! Mayhem in the murk of Austin’s monstrous underbelly! Lewd and seditious taunts that chewed up at least five bourgeois pigs! Horrible laughter emanating from haunted souls haranguing the suburban bores! Cross-dresser cackles and hackles and hoarse roars of the freedom now motherf*ucker squad! Prurient and salacious vintage punk shop talk to get your backbone buzzing! Oh, boy, Gary Floyd, underground folk hero with fangs bared and Divine presence! For those who missed the bell — where were you when the revolution returned in full force?” Luckily for you, the book is still available! It contains the lyrics of the Dicks (both Austin and San Francisco), an intro, an afterword, 3 interviews (including a reprint of Gary’s interview in Suburban Voice), and a plethora of rare photos, flyers, and visual ephemera. To order, just send me an email at: leftofthedialmag@hotmail.com. The cost, with shipping included, is only 12.00!

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Gary Floyd and me, Vinal Edge, by Greg Rabel

I also appeared for a book party with the stupendous, hilarious, quick-witted, unvarnished, unscripted, keep-it-candid Gary Floyd at Vinal Edge in Houston, where he displayed and sold his raw, wonky, earthy and ribald, folk (as in art of the people),  spirit-child, outsider art. It was like a pop-up museum! Some people walked away with true treasures. My next project will be a similar collection of Sister Double Happiness and the first volume of the complete works of Randy “Biscuit” Turner” of the Big Boys, starting with his works on paper (and another trove of rare photos).

More to come, keep up the faith in punk! The world is ours to remake!

Sept. Updates: The Politics of Punk is OUT!

GetAttachmentThumbnail.jpgThis is a not a hard sell, this is just a celebration! The Politics of Punk: Protest and Revolt From the Streets, my third full-length investigation and celebration of punk (following up Visual Vitriol and Left of the Dial), is now available, but also feel free to read it (and any of my other books!) for no cost on Google Books. But if you would like the library-style hardback in your hands, especially as the cold comes quick in the next few months and you have time to read over 200 pages featuring an array of punk interviews with people ranging from the Minutemen, Faith, Really Red, Minor Threat, Scream, and Frightwig to writers for Maximum RocknRoll and Razorcake, to more contemporary punks like Anti-Flag, Red Hare, and the Refused, then here it is. It features the photography of Ben Tecumseh DeSoto , Andy Abbott (a previously unpublished photo of the Clash!), and me, rare flyers, plus a glimpse at topics that have been far under-appreciated, like the links between deaf-punk cultures, the rituals of slamdancing in the no-time zone of sweaty clubs, the overlap between punks and unionism, MDC, Jennifer Blowdryer, and the Plasmatics, and tracing the money of punk volunteerism and outreach. If you are a writer and producer, let me know via a message (leftofthedialmag@hotmail.com), and I will relay your information to the book company! For more information, read the attached flyer, and use the code to purchase the book for $28.00! Visit the site here. If you hate books. Ignore this! If you are broke, go to: https://books.google.com/

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Also, many thanks to Todd and the crew at Razorcake for publishing my depthy, insightful, and totally current interview with Vic Bondi of Articles of Faith and many others. This is a tremendous follow-up to my piece with him contained in my book Left of the Dial, and given the current climate of volatile politics, rampant culture wars, and technological upheaval, it truly a ‘must read.’  You can dig deep here.

In the upcoming months, look for my interview with Jean Smith, painter and singer for Mecca Normal, in a print edition of Razorcake!

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Also, many thanks to Dolf and others at Trust for publishing my photo of MDC in hot-blooded, vitriolic action in Houston, in their newest issue, Aug/Sept 2016, which is at the newsstands now!

I also appreciate having my work referenced in the new African American Folklore: An Encyclopedia for Students (sometimes people forget I am a folkorist!), by Anand Prahlad, which recommends my book Visual Vitriol as a suggested further reading regarding the topic of aerosol/graffiti/street art, which I dedicated a whole chapter to in my book.

Lastly, I recently started posting 120 Days of Women in Punk on my Facebook page, which I have also begun to spin into a book manuscript. I hope to complete an organized draft by mid-winter, if matters converge smoothly. It will not simply be a compendium and reference book, aimed at the everyday market of fans and readers, but it will also feature key anecdotes/insights/memories/overviews by many of the women, in their own words. Friend me on Facebook, and you can see all the rough drafts in process, from today’s entry on Dianne Chai of the Alley Cats, to forty others, so far.

As an equal kind of celebration, I just co-curated (with artist Heather Johnson), an exhibit at the University of Houston Clear Lake that also explores similar territory. It is called Women in Punk: a Legacy of Empowerment, and contains hundreds of pieces of material culture.

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Here is a message I sent to faculty: “When we installed, several students and professors engaged us at length, discussing the materials and their own histories, narratives, and insight, thus carving out a brilliant student-faculty-visitor nexus/exchange/co-intentional space, which we often try to foster in classrooms. In this sense, the site became an unofficial learning space, filled with the folk history of women in punk, each marking a kind of empowerment. Plus, the display may be modest, but it is diverse and inclusive, including African American, Hispanic, Muslim, LGBTQ, Asian, and Native American participants over the decades. In doing so, we hoped to create discussions about the roles of women not simply within music communities, but within their own cultures too — each shaped by gender roles, codes, and expectations. The history of women in music is still too secret, and often based on national events, like Riot Grrrls, whereas we also focused on the local (even UH graduates!), who prove that punk is trans-local, grassroots, and Do-It-Yourself. Also, we mix eras/ages/genres, so that students see punk as a continuum, plus not simply an activity of youth — some of the photos I shot and provided include mothers, and a few depict women over 50. Punk is not the ‘past tense’ — it is ever-present, charged anew by each successive generation, but firmly yet pliably anchored by women who have spent decades re-defining themselves.”

Be well, David E!

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Mid-Summer Updates!

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Me, trying look like an old-fashioned writer

Hello everyone! The summer in Texas is so hot (even more so than New Mexico, where I lived in Santa Fe and Albuquerque, ah, the dry pulsating heat, where even a shadow made things feel more livable underneath) that I look like a bedraggled punk sweating in a slam pit just by walking to the nearby post office! Dave Dictor’s book — Memoir From A Damaged Civilization — has done so well these last three months, selling close to 2,000 copies, and now MDC is taking Europe by storm, so be sure to check them out. You can find it at huge outlets like Amazon, order through Dave on Facebook, scour your local record shop, or find it even through me (leftofthedialmag@hotmail.com).  Dave and I are currently discussing some possible appearances in Texas in Sept., in time for the release of my new book The Politics of Punk, which I just finished copy-editing for the last time, and goes to the printer next week. The official release date is set for Sept. 6th, but as you likely understand, the course of actions can be tricky and full of snafus. Gary Floyd is zooming to Texas, as well, by the end of the month, and we will be organizing, editing, and adding annotations, as well as likely an interview, to a huge collection of his complete lyrics. Also, Peter Case of the Plimsouls/Nerves/Breakaways and I have also begun processing a new book — likely a non-traditional memoir of his bands and solo career — that will contains some original art, rare flyers, and tons of never-before-published insights and anecdotes. That will be published DIY style, print only, likely by Nov., if things operate smoothly.

Next, I received a reader’s proof copy of my book Out of the Basement, and I didn’t see too many glitches, so I hope to have hard copies on-hand by Nov., right in time for the X-mas season — if you are Midwest kid like me, this should speak to your heart and conscience. It is also slim, breezy, and poetic at times, and cost under $10.00 for purchase, barely more than a fanzine, plus equally teeming with numerous rare photos, anecdotes, and flyers. You can pre-order from Microcosm, and for the full description, read below!

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Out of the Basement is a bracing, candid, democratic, and cutting edge portrayal of a rust belt city full of rebel kids making DIY music despite the odds. It combines oral history, brutally honest memoir, music history, and a sense of blunt poetics to capture the ethos of life in the 1970s-2000s, long before the Internet made punk accessible to small towners. From dusty used record stores and frenetic skating rinks to dank basements and sweat-piled gigs to the radical forebears like the local IWW chapter, the book follows the stories of rebels struggling to find spaces and a sense of community and their place in underground history.”

Lastly, if you are a huge Ramones fan, and you know I can utter almost all of their tunes on a second’s notice, then see this large round table I assembled (including members of Garden Variety/Red Hare, Articles of Faith, and 45 Grave, as well as punk writers like Craig O’Hara and Daniel Makagon and the owner of Frontier Records, Lisa Fancher!)  in the Houston Press to celebrate the 40th! anniversary of their first album!

Thank you to Johnathan Kyle Williams for referencing portions of my books Left of the Dial (including my interviews with Thomas Barnett and Dave Dictor) and my chapter on black punk history from Visual Vitriol in his newly published thesis at the University of Northern Iowa, called “Rock Against Reagan”: The Punk Movement, Cultural Hegemony, and Reagan in the 1980s,” which you can access here.

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And many thanks to both Tim Hinely, my longtime pal from Oregon and lifelong punk devotee whose zine Dagger is still alive and kickin’, and to Scott Ryser, the sharp and methodical leader of synth-punk pioneers UNITS for making this long, detailed, and truly insightful overview of the 1970s-1980s mutant music explosion in San Francisco available! It is chock-full of amazing anecdotes and stupendous photos, so if you ever loved 1979, with all of its pungent possibilities and mixed-up genres and artcore ideals, then be sure to read my immersive interview!

May Updates!

davedictorvinalHello everyone during this tumultuous spring that has been hectic, productive, and somnolent too — from a death in the family to a benefit for Oxfam’s humanitarian efforts in Syria, which my bands the Hates and No Love Less played.  For those keen to know more about my upcoming books, I just received the copy-edit files for the Politics of Punk, which numbers a bit over 200 pages right now, and if the process remains smooth, that book should be released in August, right in time for the Fall. In the meantime, my other book, Out of the Basement, which chronicles my own hometown scene in a slender, but graphics-loaded volume that skirts between memoir and oral history, will not officially be “released” until 2017, but I have pushed Microcosm to make copies available for purchase as early as November, in time for your holiday reading pleasure. Right now, I have three book events planned in the Fall — Oct. in New York City and Nov. in Chicago — plus a local Houston release party in Sept. As the details emerge and solidify, I will provide information.

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MDC, Eastdown Warehouse, Houston, 2016, by me

As you might know, Dave Dictor of MDC just published his own work, Memoir of a Damaged Civilization, which sold well during the band’s latest jaunt across the states. I helped edit his work here and there over the course of a few years, and anyone that enjoys the triangulation of politics, humor, and history needs to read this breezy text. Dave is a character like no other — plus he helped me raise $200.00 to benefit the treatment of John Stabb of Government Issue, who unfortunately died a few weeks back. Those bills will affect his spouse for the foreseeable future,  so if you have some money to spare, and love their songs as much as me, please find the time and heart to help here, a special Go Fund Me page dedicated to the issue.

Also, click here, to read my interview with Dave Dictor, which the Houston Press published in April.

On a much lighter note, below I will list a handful of new articles that have emerged.

Speaking of Washington D.C., Razorcake just published my interview with members of Red Hare and Swiz. Here is my intro, and click here to read the full piece.

Jason Farrell, lauded guitarist/singer of Bluetip and Retisonic, is a mythic figure who imprinted his legacy on Dischord Records by designing plentiful albums, including the postmodern packaging of Fugazi. As a teen bravado guitarist, he made sizzling records with Swiz, whose fiery prowess injected some bile back into the music of Washington D.C. Shaped by tough-as-nails vocalist Shawn Brown’s vehemence and intelligent wordplay, the tunes of Swiz were brash and emotive. After decades apart (since Swiz’s initial run in the late-‘80s and the short-lived Sweetbelly Freakdown in the mid-‘90s), nimble guitarist Jason Farrell and barbed vocalist Shawn Brown have returned full-force in Red Hare, whose ferocity is nuanced and shaped by elastic, rhythmic complexity.

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Swiz, Rockford, IL, 1988/89, by me

The music is an amalgam: shards of Farrell’s sonic past weave into a tough fabric, plus he still dispatches songs with panache, merging hardcore’s neurons with nimble pop hooks, elastic rock’n’roll, and winking nods to metal. Joined by the dizzying wrist gymnastics of drummer Joe Gorelick (Garden Variety, Bluetip, Retisonic) and Swiz bassist Dave Eight, they simply shred. Dischord has not offered something as acerbic as Red Hare’s “Fuck Your Career!” and bitterly anthemic as their “Be Half” and “Dialed In” in years, which renew and invigorate even jaded hardcore audiences.  

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To reflect even further on the past, including some of my idols from the 1960s and 1970s, please check out my tribute to David Bowie, Prince, and Lou Reed (with a little nod to Lemmy from Motorhead too), published recently in the Houston Press, click here. The collage above, with an indelible image of David Bowie from Heroes, is the original paste-up for a flyer that I made for a Visual Vitriol poster exhibit at Umpqua Community College in 2008.

Last Nov. (though I did not realize until last week), The Long Islander ran a piece about the current local DIY and punk scene, and they were kind enough to quote me at length, just  to supply a sense of context and history. You can read their article here.

To read a short profile of my visit and free workshop at the University of Houston last month, where I discussed punk, DIY /self-made media, digital literacy, graphic arts, and feminist pedagogy with graduate students in the communications program, see this bulletin here.

Lastly, the work of conceptual artist Alison O’Daniel has been receiving much press recently, especially her work that acts as a tribute to the Deaf Club, an iconic San Francisco venue that hosted a range of penetrating punk bands in the late 1970s due to the efforts of people like Robert Hanrahan, whose perspective is captured in one of the chapters forthcoming in the Politics of Punk. Though the blog Bedford and Bowery did not mention me as author/compiler, I do appreciate them using portions of the Deaf Club oral history published in my book Left of the Dial, which you can find here.

In fact, I am interviewing a member of the Units this week, which will be submitted to Razorcake. Their tunes like “Cannibal” represent some of the smart, manic, foreboding, wrenching, and percolating synth punk that emerged in that era and foreshadowed portions of the rave, techno, and industrial scene.

Continue to work hard and be well…I will see you in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

March Updates!

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Me, New Orleans, March 2016

Hello to the international punk-in-flux types like me who believe the genre is still running with strong strides, always casting itself as the people’s music! I just received word that the release dates for The Politics of Punk will be in August (don’t forget to ask me for a coupon), followed shorty thereafter by the book examining my hometown scene, Out of the Basement: Microcosm was psyched about the updated draft version, which is much expanded and riddled with copious details and anecdotes! I am planning some events for both books, so I will update you as concrete plans emerge.

UHzinefinalIn the meantime, if you live in the Houston vicinity, I would love to see you at my Zine Workshop I have been asked to organize at University of Houston-Clear Lake, in which I will discuss history, theory, and hands-on practice! Speaking of fanzines, Razorcake just printed my interview with Daniel Maskagon, who authored a excellent book about DIY punk spaces and house parties for Microcosm Press, in the newest issue, which just hit the stands. It features a really comprehensive overview of his own philosophies, plus a ton of frenzied photos right from the heart of endless underground America.

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Towards the end of April, I will be appearing with Dave Dictor of MDC at Vinal Edge in Houston, TX, where we will be celebrating the release of Going Underground, which I edited, and Dictor’s new text Memoirs of a Damaged Civilization, plus we will be raising funds to help John Stabb from Government Issue, who is being treated for cancer.

On the academic front, I have been fortunate to receive some attention twice these last few months. The book Ethnographic and Folkloristic Study of Popular Culture by DS Margolies spent a paragraph examining my study of punk flyers and subcultures Visual Vitriol in a very positive light; and in the East, the book Making Cultural Cities in Asia: Mobility, Assemblage… features an examination of my street art theory (also embedded in Visual Vitriol) in the chapter “Accessing Spaces, Negotiating Boundaries” by Joanne B.Y. Lim.

I appreciate their coverage and acknowledgement.

In the meantime, Happy Punk Rock Easter, David!

 

Feb. 2016 Updates!

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Good morning, 23 Feb. 2016

Welcome to the uncertain spring of ornery primaries, dire global warming, endless war, and migrant hardship stories! Yesterday the mailman dropped off my copies of Going Underground, the new 2nd edition edited by me, penned by Florida punk guru George Hurchalla. So, if you liked his slice of hardcore history the first time, check out the cool updates to the format, text, and visuals. If you are a newbie, what the hell are you waiting for? PM Press has the goods!

Next take a moment to read my in-depth interview with iconic Houston photographer Ben DeSoto, whose photos (including Minutemen, Circle Jerks, Really Red, and more) grace several of my books. For decades now, he has documented the underground music scene, distressed neighborhoods, south coast hip-hop pioneers, homeless populations, and personalities of all stripes. Houston Press allowed me to highlight several of his key photographs of crowds, which proves even the anarchy of a sweaty slamdance floor can be artful! Read it here.

Also, follow me on Facebook to celebrate 120 posts about Print Culture: I will be archiving most of my articles that ever appeared as hard copies,  including some very rare political-minded material from my past.

Next, my publisher Rowman and Littlefield has just announced August as the release date for my new book covering punk and politics.  We are in the middle of copy edits, so as soon as I know more, I will update you.

I am also completing the newest round of text additions for my book Out of the Basement, which examines the underground music culture of my hometown, Rockford, IL, for Microcosm. In the last two months, we have doubled the size of the text! This weekend they will receive that overhauled version, and we’ll go forward!

I am planning two exhibitions this year (so far), including a special Women in Punk pop-up archive at the University of Houston, Clear Lake, in September, to celebrate the appearance of Kathleen Hanna, who will be speaking on campus that same month. I am also scheduled to host a fanzine workshop on campus in April as well; when those details emerge, I will provide more info. Plus, I am still consulting with the Print Museum in Houston about an exhibit I plan to curate called Another State of Mind, which will focus on print culture from the 1960s-1970s, with a special emphasis on a local blacklight poster production company. The timeline for the show has not been announced yet.

 

 

 

 

 

Dec. 2015 updates!

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Me, Dec. 2015

Happy holidays everyone! I sincerely hope the new year brings you comfort and calm, or intense energy, if that’s what you seek instead! I just finished some new copy edits on my book The Politics of Punk, which is due out soon. If you would like a discount coupon upon its release, let me know. Also, if you are a fan of the Big Boys, be sure to follow me on Facebook, where I have been celebrating “120 Days of Randy ‘Biscuit’ Turner,” which I previously neglected to mention. For months now, I have been curating tons of incredibly surreal, obscure, and wonky gig posters, hand-made art, and rare photos to honor Biscuit. Ten years have passed since he left us for a punk-soul drenched, candycolored  heaven. In fact, Artcore, the longtime fanzine from Wales, just featured a four-page spread of Biscuit’s work alongside an essay of mine (previously printed in Visual Vitriol but newly re-edited and expanded).

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Artcore, 30th Anniversary Issue, Part 1

Editor Welly, who also sings for Four Letter Word (BYO Records) brought us over the pond for a UK tour in 2004, so he has been an ally, comrade, and friend for years. You can purchase a copy here and enjoy the free 45 record with Oi Polloi too!

This week I published a fascinating interview in the Houston Press with Michael Stewart Foley, whose svelte new book for the 33 1/3 series explores Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables! We explore San Francisco’s tumultuous history and politics, the rarely explored deep bio of the band, andcontemporary issues that make the Dead Kennedys still seem “fresh” (wink), so make sure to read it here.

Update 1 Jan. 2016! My interview with Foley has been picked up by the OC Weekly, where you can also read it, so click here.

Yesterday, I finished a new photo book entitled An Other America, which has been sent to the printer. Since it is a very, very limited archival run and features 21 pages of photos taken during 2015 in Texas, Oklahoma, Vermont, and Illinois (landscapes, band pics, and portraits like the one that leads this entry), let me know if you would like a copy — signed, $40.00 ppd. in the states. leftofthedialmag@hotmail.com

Also, many thanks to Jimmy Alvarado at Razorcake for publishing a keen, positive, and thoughtful review of my book Mavericks of Sound. I am super-stoked the book still has traction months after its release. I have attached it here, but of course you should visit Razorcake and contribute to their indie media struggle as well by visiting here.

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