Nov. 2015 updates!


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.


Peter Case, Rudyards, 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.


Agent Orange, Rudyards, Houston

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.

Protest and Survive 2

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!


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!

Really Red Discography Release! Gary Floyd in Texas! New articles!

talksickNLLWelcome to February everyone! This month promises some exciting events. Over the next few weeks, I will be celebrating the Really Red discography, released by Alternative Tentacles Records, with liner notes (an entire interview with singer U-Ron Bondage) penned by me, culled from my magazine and book Left of the Dial. A series of dates includes original members of the agit-punk unit. My own band Texas Biscuit Bombs, joined by Houston’s southern California style melodic punks Talk Sick Brats (with me on drums as well), will be playing sets of Really Red material to highlight and honor the legendary band that molded such tunes as “Prostitution,” featured on the compilation Let Them Eat Jellybeans! alongside Circle Jerks, Bad Brains, and Black Flag. You can see the Facebook event page for the entire weekend here.

The calendar is:

10847462_10205693395479421_1298210358222839418_oHouston/Feb. 6th / Vinal Edge Records, 7 PM, with original members guitarist Kelly Younger and drummer Bob Weber, an after party (see flyer I made on the left) is set to blitzkrieg Black Barbie that same night in Houston, including my other band No Love Less (with half of Mydolls).

San Antonio/ Feb. 7th/ Tex Pop Center, 2 PM, with original member Bob Weber

Austin/ Feb/ 7th/End of an Ear Records, 6 PM, with original members bass player John Paul Williams and Bob Weber

GetInlineNext, gay punk Hindu roots rocker Gary Floyd will be returning to Texas for some appearances as well to showcase his memoir Please Bee Nice released last fall, which I co-wrote. Gary will be reading from his book, discussing his own deep history, and chatting about music and queer issues as well (he will also appear for students at Lee College and Rice University). Please let everyone know! You can see the Facebook event page for Houston here.

The calendar is:

Houston/ Feb. 20th/Cactus Music/5 PM

Austin/Feb. 21st/End of an Ear/5 PM

johndoe1Lastly, you can see my review of John Doe’s stupendous gig in Houston a few weeks back, which I authored for the Houston Press, by clicking on this link. More soon!

Three New Articles Posted! Gigs Underway!

Feral Future at Mango's, Houston, TX, Jan 2014, by David Ensmimger

Feral Future at Mango’s, Houston, TX, Jan 2014, by David Ensmimger

Happy new year everyone! I hope 2015 offers you plenty in terms of personal desires and artistic endeavors. If you have not been visiting my WWII POW site dedicated to researching life in American-based camps holding Germans and Italians, along with some Japanese, please go here.

The site now features some new text plus continues to fill with incredible images provided by John from Texas, a collector who has amassed a significant array of artifacts that illuminate camp life and the human condition at those camps. Going forward, I will let you know of future endeavors.

In the meantime, I have authored three new articles probing local Houston punk history or regional touring bands, including the Austin feminist-punk band Feral Future, whose sonic slyness resembles War on Women plus an older set like the Avengers. You can read their review here. My own band No Love Less also played that night. I will announce our Feb. gigs soon in the next update.

If you have ever wondered about Houston punk circa the late 1980s and early 1990s, between the periods of Really Red and 30 Foot Fall, right in the middle of the noise-art era of Pain Teens and Rusted Shut, then you may enjoy this interview with genre-busters EARTH ARMY, who used to be a regular presence in Maximum RocknRoll. Read it here.

Screech of Death, Houston, Dec. 2014, by David Ensminger

Screech of Death, Houston, Dec. 2014, by David Ensminger

Lastly, right before Christmas, I polled local punk veterans and asked for their favorite punk singles of all time. I knew this would hardly please all readers, due to the quirks of personal taste. They produced a diverse set of choices, including stalwarts like Really Red, Mydolls, AK-47, and Legionaire’s Disease, but they often surprised me as well. So, to dig deep into Houston’s vinyl record heritage, see this piece.

I have also been DJing and snapping pics as much as possible, including the shot you see of Screech of Death, a super-punk band of sorts, featuring former and current members of 45 Grave, Lisafer, Snap-Her, the Next, Doomsday Massacre, and Party Owls. J.R. Delgado, on the left, designed both the Gary Floyd biography and my poetry book with Peter Case.

Again, I hope the new year replenishes your spirit. Let’s be productive, together. More soon, David

An Interview with Jello Biafra!

Below is a recent interview I conducted with Jello Biafra, including portions not published by Houston Press last November.  rawpowermaxrnrIn addition, my interview with Mauro, iconic singer of Italian crossover punk veterans Raw Power, was just published by Maximum RocknRoll in their Jan. 2015 issue. Click here to order it! The photos and flyers from the layout were culled from my own photography  (live shots I snapped last fall during their incredible tour) and flyer archives as well. Last, but not least, I hope the holidays find you in good spirits. I just finished editing a huge punk history book re-release/second edition for PM Press (top secret), and I am working with Gary Floyd on dates in Texas during Feb., so keep checking back to find out more details!

Jello Biafra: Punk Got Soul

All photos by David Ensminger, shot at the Continental, Houston, TX, Nov. 2014, except when noted.

jello1For over three decades, Jello Biafra has remained the brassy-mouthed conscience of punk rock willing to knock down the sacred cows of politics and rock’n’roll. First honing his diatribes in the Dead Kennedys, next dabbling in film and spoken word, and ultimately joining forces with D.O.A., NoMeansNo, the Melvins, and Al Jourgensen for projects aplenty, he has remained ever-potent and enrapturing, a changeling that never quite sheds his skin. As a news junkie, edgy showman, political reformist, and punk shaman, he has continued to curate fabled label Alternative Tentacles, survived a bitter feud with former bandmates, and kept retirement far away while firing up Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine (G.S.M.), his vociferous psych-punk band with ex-members of Victim’s Family and Rollins Band. Plus, he has gigged twice, both notorious, with the New Orleans Raunch and Soul All Stars, a “done on a dare” band with Bill Davis from Dash Rip Rock and Fred LeBlanc from Cowboy Mouth.

Ensminger: Is your spirit today just as intense as when you played the Rock Against Reagan Tour gigs?

Biafra: Oh, very much so. At some point, I hope I finally finish my song “They Saved Reagan’s Asshole.” I just visualize the Fantastic Voyage scenario, being part of the camera that went up his ass during his colonoscopy looking for all the polyps and there’s the Reagan cancer everywhere to be seen. I mean if you look at the way we have been treated in this country, now every single national leader that has been pressed in front of us, every single President dressed in front of us on the TV set, has been one more flavor of Reagan. And that very much includes Obama. I now realize, compared to a lot of people that listen to my stuff, I am so damn old I actually have visual, tangible memories of when there were actual differences between the Democratic and Republican parties. I have actual memories of when even the big three TV networks took real pride in their news departments and attempted to out-scoop and out-muckrake each other because they hadn’t all been swallowed by global corporations who then decreed that the news must make a profit.

jellopostcardThat’s one of the main Reagan entrails that has really poisoned our society, and look no further than Texas for the very idea that there should not be any idea of a community whatsoever. It should be about everybody for themselves: they don’t need to do anything about, well, I’m not going to call it climate change, let’s call it climate collapse, but the reply is, no, the markets might not like that. Instead of Islamic fundamentalism or even Christian fundamentalism, I think maybe market fundamentalism is fucking up this country and this world even more. We can’t put any of these bankers in jail. They’re too big to fail. The market might not like that. Fuck the market, put the fucking markets in jail. How many decades has it been now since I took up the cause in the California Green Party platform of enacting a maximum wage? These market fundamentalists are basically like crack addicts. Only instead of crack addicts they are money addicts. They are wealth addicts. I mean how much more money do you need if you’ve made your first million? You can live really well off that for the rest of your life. But no, these addicts are like, “Now that I’ve made this, I’ve gotta make more, more, more” and start shaking like they need their needle of whatever, more, more, more, and more. So, I think the maximum wage would send the clowns into rehab. Sorry, Ron Paul, I am very pro-tax. I just think the people with money should be paying it. Our payback, of course, would be a free education for all, free medical care for all, clean transportation, including airfare. You could have some high-speed rail built and hop on the train and go from Houston to Austin in an hour. Sure, Europeans pay way more in taxes, but you can see the benefits all over the place.

Continue reading

Nov. 2014 Updates!


Updated 13 Nov. 2014.

Hello everyone, a sudden blunt cold front has finally crept south into ozone city, so a change of season can be felt. A few leaves are actually turning amber even as flowers bloom bright in ecstasy. If you would like to read an excerpt from my new, in-depth interview with Jello Biafra, iconic singer of the Dead Kennedys and longtime political rabble rouser, please visit Houston Press here.

For a review and pics of his show at the Continental in Houston, now my most “liked” story ever on Facebook, please click here.

Next up, I hope some of you may be able to attend the book event for Subterranean Hum, my new collection of poetry co-written with Peter Case, thrice Grammy nominated singer-songwriter and godfather of punk and power pop, whose bands the Nerves and Plimsouls stretched throughout the first and second waves of contemporary underground music, starting with key shows with the Ramones in 1977.

Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine, the Continental, by David Ensminger

Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine, the Continental, by David Ensminger

We will be gathering at Cactus Record on Nov. 10th at 5:30, free beer will be served, and we shall read portions of the sinewy, street-wise work and discuss my other book, Mavericks, which came out a few months back and features a dynamic interview with Case as well.

You can read my newest interview with Case in Houston Press here.

Soon, my interview with Italian hardcore pioneers Raw Power will be published by Maximum Rock’n’Roll, so I will let you know when it hits the shelves!

In the meantime, for an overview of Subterranean Hum, read Case’s ultra-energized back cover blurb: “The days pile up like snow drifts in Atlanta, & here we are—recombining & reclaiming the world from psychic & somnambulistic free-fall, one post-human block at a time: commuting on Interstate 10—winding through Exxon-lands Satanic Mills—learning to speak & see in the dark—driving with the lights on at noon in a Gulf Coast storm—writing in difficult circumstances—moments snatched ballpoint on three by five cards—seen from trains—planes—van windows & waiting room benches—throughout America, Australia & the U.K.—shared with each other & you for inspiration & to keep the words flowing—situations with friends & lovers—troubles & actions on the streets—who keeps the roads open if we’re shut down? who keeps the language alive if we go silent? Subterranean Hum proclaims pockets of resistance—coming up from under—scattered lights seen from the sky in the small hours—& nevertheless, was composed for KICKS!”

Gary Floyd book released / San Francisco Lit Crawl Event!

litcrawlmoderncityPlease join site editor and author David Ensminger at Modern Times Books in San Francisco on Oct. 18th as he hosts a panel called Punk: The Permanent Revolution as part of the city-wide Lit Crawl fest. Joining him will be icons like Kathy Peck of the Contractions (just confirmed), Mia Simmans of Frightwig, Jack Grisham of TSOL/Joykiller, Peter Case of the Nerves/Plimsouls, and Gary Floyd of the Dicks/Sister Double Happiness. Others might convene as well! The event is FREE, books will be found galore, and it rolls at 8:30, but be there by 8 pm to mingle and meet.

Also, the Gary Floyd memoir Please Bee Nice has just been published by Left of the Dial, a small publishing house headed by Ensminger. Copies will be distributed to outlets like Alternative Tentacles over the next few weeks, but you may order a copy right now via Amazon here. If you would like more information or desire to order a copy directly from the publisher, please send an email to

Gary Floyd is an iconic underground rock’n’roll figure who has resided in San Francisco for three decades. He epitomizes the links between the outsider ethos of the Beats (both their queerness and spirituality) and the vexing and volatile punk era. If one band other than the Dead Kennedys and MDC defined the political turmoil of the 1980s, it was the Dicks, one of the anchors of the Rock Against Reagan tour. Plus, Floyd was one of the very few openly gay punk rockers in a scene saturated with righteous politics. In a very earthy and honest voice, the memoir covers much of his life, including his early East Texas dog days, his queer-punk radicalism and ornery hell-raising in Reagan’s trickle down economy America, his rootsy and blues-leaning Sister Double Happiness alternative rock, and his discovery of Eastern spirituality (he almost became a monk), plus the Gary Floyd Band and Black Kali Ma. The book, stylized with rare flyers and photos, is breezy, sharp-tongued, detailed and insightful, poetic but not overly ponderous, raw and refined in the right places, and candid about a scene still mired in controversy.