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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Nov. 2015 updates!

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Agent Orange, Fitzgeralds, Houston

Hello everyone. A chill has descended on Houston, which means I can play drums in my heavy boots again and walk the avenues looking like a specter of punk past! Just a few notes to accompany the holidays. First I would like to thank Andres and Dolf at Trust, Germany’s lauded old school punk zine, for publishing my photo of Agent Orange in their Oct./Dec. issue!

 

Next, I published a mega-detailed, two-part interview with ladypunk icons Mydolls recently in the Houston Press, which you can read here.

Houston Press also just published my succinct, but savvy, interview with proto-punk, roots rocker, and singer-songwriter Peter Case of the Nerves and Plimsouls as well. You can read that here.

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Peter Case, Mucky Duck, Houston, 2015

One of my photos snapped outside Tulsa, OK, graces the back cover of his new album HWY 62, and photos from that same road trip will also be included in an upcoming video culled from the album’s tunes. Here is a pic I clicked of Case just last week.

Both articles feature photos by me too.

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Bobby Sullivan, Tulsa, 2015

I have also become a contributor to Razorcake, the well-respected not-for-profit DIY fanzine based out of Los Angeles, who will be publishing my interview with punk academic Daniel Makagon, author of a new book on house parties and DIY spaces, in the Spring. In the meantime, their website just published my interview with Bobby Sullivan, iconic singer of Soul Side, who just re-united for a smattering of intense shows across the country. To read the depthy, intriguing, and political-minded piece, please click here.

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I just finished the third draft of my text about the Rockford, IL, underground music scene for Microcosm Press, so look for that sometime next Fall, and I also am awaiting the copy edits for my punk and politics  book due out in early 2016 from Rowman and Littlefield. Here is a sneak peek of what I hope will be the cover!

Lastly, Dave Dictor, whose photo you can see on that front cover, and I have re-started our work on his memoir, which is almost done! And, hear the drum roll … Gary Floyd is visiting in Jan. 2016 to begin our next project: a collection of his lyrics!

So, stay safe, stay strong. Keep up the punk faith. Until next time, DE.

 

 

Fall 2015 Updates! Tulsa, Denver, new books!

My emo punk stage, winter 1989/1990, Rockford

My emo punk stage, winter 1989/1990, Rockford

Hello everyone! Sept. has arrived, barely different than August here in Texas, where heat waves still clobber us most of the time. The next few months will be an enormously eventful time, so I will try and sketch all the details as vividly as possible! I submitted the first draft of the Rockford, IL punk/underground music text to Microcosm Press, which went well. I am hammering a new version out, working on tightening the narrative, adding a few more sharp anecdotes, tweaking the unity and flow of the text, etc. The title has been adjusted — the new version is Out of the Basement (which could not be more true, since that’s where I lived!): Punk in Rockford, Illinois, 1973-2005. As I informed the press, the book is a candid, democratic, and cutting edge portrayal of a rust belt city full of rebel kids making DIY music despite the odds. It is part memoir, part oral history, part music survey, and a poetic narrative of life in the 1970s-2000s, long before the Internet made punk accessible. It follows the trail of FM rockers with street cred, Cheap Trick, as well as numerous underground bands struggling to find spaces and a sense of community that honors their radical forebearers, like the local IWW branch. As soon as the production kicks into gear, I will announce the release date and book event details!

PrePosterDCPUNKNext, I am zooming to Tulsa next weekend for an incredible celebration of punk conscience/politics at the Woody Guthrie Center, a perfect place to honor and highlight Washington DC punk, including the ethos and events of Revolution Summer and Dischord Records. Though they contacted me too late to insert me on the poster, I am thrilled to be taking part in a panel discussion on preservation and 21st century community archiving, hosting a panel with members of Scream (!) as well as Mark Anderson from Positive Force, and speaking one-on-one with Amy Pickering, from Dischord and the iconic band Fire Party! In addition, Bobby Sullivan from Soulside will be there playing a solo set too. I am very grateful for this opportunity, especially since my new book exploring the politics of punk is due out in January! We are currently editing that title as well, and I just submitted photos for the cover (MDC and DOA!), so I will share more information as it floats down to me. In the meantime, I hope you may visit Tulsa: you can see the overview of the weekend here.

Thirdly, I will also be appearing in Denver on Oct. 10 for the book release party at Mutiny Information Cafe for Denvoid, the compelling new work by scene maker, artist, musician, and folk historian Bob Medina that examines the ins and outs of one of America’s more isolated but frenetic and maverick scenes. For more information see here.

second avery pearl benefit templateA few weeks ago I masterminded a benefit for Avery Pearl, the diabetic child (and punk drummer to be) of Mel Hell, a longtime Houston figure I wrote about in the Houston Press this past summer. Due to the efforts of 14 bands, we were able to raise over $3,000 for her! Obviously, her needs will be ongoing and expensive, so if you have a chance and feel like hearing her story, or might be able to provide a small donation to the cause, please visit Go Fund Me here.

I am excited to announce the release of Underground: The Subterranean Culture of DIY Punk Shows by Daniel Makagon, who helped guide my work about punk time/space/movement into the journal Liminalities a few years ago. In this new text offered by Microcosm Press, in which he quotes me a bit (a funny anecdote about being bummed out by the reality of staid, commercial “bars” versus makeshift DIY venues), he explores the democratic, participatory, and resilient side of punk culture. Be sure to visit his page here and look for my upcoming interview with him, now in process, hopefully on the Razorcake (my finger are crossed) website in the next few months. Also, I just turned in an interview with musical muckrakers The Drafted, an explosive and politically barbed punk unit from Baytown, TX, for the Houston Press, to be released next week. Once that occurs, I’ll add the link.

I am fortunate my research has made some more inroads into a current generation of young scholars interrogating/examining punk’s sense of diversity. First. E Cordova’s thesis “Rasquache or Die!: Chican@/Latin@ Punks Presente!” for the Chicano/Chicano Studies program at California State University Northridge (which used to hold amazing punk gigs!) references or quotes my work several times from a handful of different works, including my book Visual Vitriol and my essay “Slamdance in the No-Time Zone.” I am humbled by her efforts, and you may read her entire piece here. I am always more than willing to engage scholars across all fields. I also extend my thanks to Ricci Chavez Garcia, who also tapped Visual Vitriol info for his Ph. D dissertation “Border Hoppin’ Hardcore: The Forming of Latina/o Punks’ Transborder Civic Imagination on the Bajalta California Borderlands and the Refashioning of Punk’s Revolutionary Subjectivity, 1974-1999.” You can peruse that full text here.

mdctrust2015Other related news: Gary Floyd and I will be working on a new book, a collection of his lyrics, starting in a few months, which will be a perfect follow-up to his memoir Please Bee Nice. He will be visiting my school soon and is often traveling with the new Dicks documentary film, Dicks from Texas, so be sure to stay abreast of those events here.

Lastly, ‘thank you’ to Dolf and the crew at Trust, like Andre, for printing my photo of Dave Dictor and MDC in the Aug/Sept. 2015 issue of the long-running magazine! Keep up the faith!

Summer Updates!

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July 23 update! So, I know my last book Mavericks, with a big bucket list of roots rockers, country twangers, and indie icons, was steeply priced because it was aimed in the market at libraries and such, but if you held back because of the price tag, it is 35% off right now, which means you can get it for 30.00! It has a library style sturdy cover, so it should look nice forever. Don’t forget to use the promo code 15SUMSALE! Find it here.

Hello faithful readers of the blog! I waited until midway through the 910Hu8ShhALsummer to update you regarding all my writerly happenings, but I hope the heat has not driven you too deep into the dungeons of air-conditioning like here in Texas, where it feels like an autoclave in the afternoon streets. First, I finished the final draft of my 300 page book the Politics of Punk, which should be published by Rowman and Littlefield in Jan! As many of you know from Mavericks, their list prices are steep because they mainly focus on selling to libraries and research centers, but I can provide a 25% coupon that will reduce the burden and hopefully entice you.

In the meantime, I have been avidly editing a book on Denver punk history, Denvoid, written by long-time scene participant Bob Rob (Bob Medina), which will be released in mid-Oct. with homegrown, colorful, and keen illustrations by GSL Records founder Sonny Kay. To preview the work, read the description, and pre-order, visit here. I vouch for it, wholeheartedly. The interviews, especially regrading the Frantix, industrial music, and Bum Kon, are thorough, richly-detailed, and evocative.

Mel Hell, Zipperneck, Houston, 2015, by Ensminger

Mel Hell, Zipperneck, Houston, 2015, by Ensminger

Next, in August I will be turning in my rough draft of Rust City Rebels, the tentative title of my book exploring the underground music scene and history of Rockford, IL for Microcosm Press, which should be released likely later next year as well. I have spent months scouring my own files, vaults, and archives and networking with new and old counterparts, friends, and allies, to make the book spirited and sincere, woven with nuanced anecdotes, and wide in scope.

Another important announcement: I have begun the process of donating my archives to the Southern Folklife Center at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. They contacted me after reading Mavericks; after much thought, I consider them an ideal home for my letters, fanzines, flyers, posters, audio/video, ephemera, etc. The donations will be ongoing, and they have promised me the best 21st century equipment will be dispatched to preserve and share the material in an accessible format. Those files, amounting to nine boxes shipped so far, will be searchable in the near future. In fact, I was packing more this morning.

cover_5.2_web-350x452Next, I have a new article in Art in Print discussing the critical contexts and links between Day-Glo, blacklight, and Black Power posters ranging mostly from the 1960s-1970s, with a nod to mid-century movie posters, avant-gardism,  and Blaxploitation film promotional material. Titled “Black Light Panthers: The Politics of Fluorescence,” you can preview the issue and order here.

For the last few months, I have diligently penned articles for the weekly paper here, the Houston Press, and I think most of you would enjoy the material I covered.

One of the first people I saw at Houston punk gigs was DJ Rad Rich, a legendary black punk veteran who became a major supporter of my band the Texas Biscuit Bombs. He is screening some keen documentaries about the black punk and rock’n’roll experience this weekend, so check out our conversation here, replete with an examination of history, identity issues, and true fan-core love of music!

For ten years, I have chronicled the life and times of Zipperneck in Houston, shooting more photos of ladypunk warrior Mel Hell than anyone else. They are spending the summer gigging for their anniversary and celebrating well, life, as Mel tries to cope with her possibly lifelong injury due to a dental mishap! So, literally, everyone should read this piece and thank Buddha for the healing potential of self-resilience, the saving grace of health insurance, and music acting as a way to mitigate mayhem! Mel is a hero of mine. See the piece here.

I am also especially thrilled to bring you a special drummer piece: I just published this interview with sonically savvy, agile and artful, and sublimely skilled (I ain’t lying!) percussionist Kevin Carnes, drummer of early 1980’s Texas punks the Usuals! Most of you likely know his tenure in the infamous Beatnigs and Consolidated, as well as him being a leading light in the acid jazz scene of San Francisco! See the piece here.

Although not an interview, you still may enjoy my preview of first-generation idols Slaughter and the Dogs gig (who I interviewed in Left of the Dial over a dozen years ago!) in Houston as well, which can be found here.

Lastly, I had the pleasure of interviewing the super-smart, diligent-as-hell, one-man power unit Roburt Reynolds (Room 101) from New Orleans, who condenses world politics, social justice, and hardcore riffage into bursts of solo songs. Read our conversation here.

And I want to leave you with some live video of me playing drums for the Hates, the longest running punk band in Texas, from a recent benefit gig in which a hula hooper jumped up on stage during one of our raucous psychobilly tunes. We usually gig out every month or two, so if you are in the South, swing by Houston to get a full dose of our power trio convulsive punk!

April Updates!

X in Houston, March 2015, by David Ensminger

X in Houston, March 2015, by David Ensminger

It’s a manic Monday in April, so I hope this finds you armed with big plans for a productive spring as the sun finally yields its full force again! The last two weeks have been very busy, ever since I returned from the excellent punk/DIY conference in Philadelphia, where I was able to discuss the uneasy alliance between punk and academia. Just a few days ago, I spoke to a reporter from the Atlantic who is penning a piece about the closure of DIY spaces and how these communities are often forced to migrate on-line. It became a very frenetic 20-minute discussion about trans-locality, the authenticity of on-line experiences, and a return to “pop-up” punk shows at rented spaces versus long-time leases of property in gentrified cities.

In the meantime, I have also been very busy writing articles for the local weekly paper, Houston Press, which I will list for convenience below.

Bad Religion, March 2015, shot on cell phone by David Ensminger

Bad Religion, March 2015, shot on cell phone by David Ensminger

My most popular was my round table discussion with three members of ‘year zero’ vintage punks X, including DJ Bonebrake, John Doe, and Exene Cervenka, in which we discuss their first single, ongoing politics, the Deaf Club, and much more! Be sure to read that here.

Plus, speaking of icons, my photo of Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine at the Continental Club in Houston appeared in the Feb./March issue of Trust in Germany.

Reviews are as follows:

To read about the Bad Religion show that took place at House of Blues in Houston, click here.

To read about the X gig that just took place at Warehouse Live! in Houston, click here.

I also just turned in an essay about fluorescent posters to a noted art magazine, after a sizable re-edit to focus on the history of the technology and inventors, as well as its links to the psychedelic and black consciousness movements of the 1960s-70s, so I will let you know what happens!

Keep up the good fight, D!

March Updates!

10649648_815588148525100_6796715646734722610_nHello Everyone! I hope March has not blown into your life with gale force winds! If you happen to be near Philadelphia, please stop by the Rotunda on Sunday for an incredible event. Thanks to Kelsey Cloonan, I have been invited to speak at an intriguing, punk-as-multicultural global milieu at the Univ. of Pennsylvania, joined by other academics and icons like Martin Sorrenguy of Limp Wrist/Los Crudos, punk academics, zinesters, activists, rockers, students, misfits and outsiders, queer rebels, film and media street guerrillas, and more! This should be an engaging, insightful, and frenetic affair that examines worldwide punk spheres, communities, and issues!

Last weekend I made a hustle and bustle trip through the Midwest visiting family and researching WWII POW camps in the small towns dotting IL. Soon, I will be updating my blog on the subject with intriguing new materials gathered during that time. 11018866_807323629351552_6362010489574644115_nI was able to stop by Kate’s Pie Shop and Records too for browsing, discussions, and meeting old friends I had not seen in twenty years. The shop mixed sweets and vinyl with aplomb as I DJ’d tunes by the Dicks, Really Red, and some locals! Speaking of the Dicks, I just discussed a new project with Gary Floyd today, which sounds very, very promising. I can’t reveal any details yet.

While zooming down the flatlands of the corn field state, I also published an interview back in Texas in the Houston Press with noted hardcore punk veteran Bob Suren, best known as the fellow behind Sound Idea distro and the Florida based underground heroes Failure Face and more. Be sure to check out his new book about the frenzy and obsession of record collecting, which is discussed in my long interview with him here.

Lastly, my new book project, Protest and Survive: the Politics of Punk, has been ACCEPTED by the publisher that handled my book Mavericks, Rowman and Littlefield. The next and final draft is due July 1st, and at 300 pages, it is bound to catch people’s attention. As I tweak and work on the manuscript’s structure, I will reveal more!