I’m Back! Fall Updates! MDC book!

clone tag: -7392737579732433270

Hello Everyone! Tis the season of roiling political debates and momentous votes!

My apologies for the long delay in updates – I took a hiatus over the summer to gig with three bands and complete a series of books and manuscripts, including my long-awaited overview of Axis POWs in America, which I am sending for outside peer review to a state university publisher on Monday. Yet, most of you will likely be more excited by my newest opus, a short history of longtime political punk agitators MDC, which is now out!! It debuts tomorrow night, Sept 21 at 14 Pews in Houston at 6pm, where iconic singer Dave Dictor and drummer Al Schvitz will be joining me for My Videos Rule, a live discussion program!

David_MDC_2

With 114 pages of interviews, flyers, and photographs, some from the vault of Dictor, it also features a band chronology penned by Welly of Artcore, who designed the intense cover, a short essay by Sophie Rousmaniere, singer of the Elected Officials, and worldwide tour diaries by Dictor too! Savvy and keen-eyed J.R. Delgado (Doomsday Massacre, Party Owls, Screech of Death) designed the book interior! Limited signed copies will be available throughout the weekend, plus regular versions will be available through Microcosm, Quimbys, and Amazon!

Layout 1

Also, I have published RocknRoll Decontrol Vol 1 (and Vol. 2 is in the design phase), which is a compendium of punk flyers/gig posters and photographs that I have hand-made and snapped over the last thirty years. It too is over one hundred pages long and features a wide array of performers, from UK Subs, the Freeze, and the Vibrators to Milemarker and Jonathan Richman.

Here is a portion of the introduction to get you amped-up:

“I will always be a beginner, an amateur, a folk photographer — 95% unlearned, untrained, and DIY. But I know that I am a chronicler too, from the bottom up. These pages document my league of punk peers – some of them no more than obscure howlers dredging up the dirtiest chords, others impassioned ideologues merging politics and art panic, some trying to reinvent forms and genres, others simply trying to tear up everything and leave no sacred bones behind. These are the midnight kids and gasoline-tinged hipsters, the veteran believers and rock’n’roll tyrants, the mixed-up/messed-up drugged out delinquents and the alcohol-infused bitter agitators, the straight-laced and weirdoes too. In a way, these volumes are a way to recount thirty years of being more than a witness. In some way, they become rough’n’tumble homages and tributes. Or simply a call to arms. Grab a camera. The night is about to end. Get up and go. Do not let the opportunities fizzle in the backwaters of your soon-to-be-doomed memory. Stand still only long enough to get the action frozen in a flash. Then, crash, wake up, and do it again. ”

BETO-DIY-YARD-SALE web REVISED

I believe in blue, I believe in you!! Join people like Bill Maher, Willie Nelson, Stephen Colbert, and me in our support for BETO!! On Sept. 30th, the same day as his Houston debate, I am sponsoring a punk DIY yard sale for the El Paso skateboarding boy! Thank you to John Anderson from Doomsday Massacre for providing the yard, Josh Barry of Jealous Creatures for jazzing up the poster, Dianna Ray from Mydolls and Bob Weber from Really Red for helping coordinate it all, and YOU for your efforts to make Texas blue! Stand up and be counted!

41170160_1941245659292671_778417630754111488_n

Many thanks to Dolf Hermannstädter and Andre at Trust, the veteran old school punk zine from Germany, for publishing my pic of Fishbone in delirious action in downtown Houston last spring in Issue no. 191, Aug/Sept 2018! Long live black soul/punk/ska musical hybrids!

Lastly, my research has recently been noted, quoted, and incorporated into several academic works – books, articles, master’s thesis output, etc. – but I am especially thankful when writers really understand and appreciate the scope I undertake: my language play/maneuvers/metaphors, shifting rhetorical arguments, and theory merging. For instance, Christos Tzoustas at Utrecht University has penned an excellent work, “We Can’t Help It If We’re From Florida: A Discursive Analysis of the 1980s Gainesville Punk Subulsutre,” which is smart and complex, focused and fluid, and readable and engaging. Plus, it examines and grabs a handful of my arguments from Visual Vitriol, especially in terms of skateboarders re-imagining space and horror tropes being revealed on punk flyers. I am honored, Tzoustas.

Be well, speak soon, David E!

Advertisements

March Events! LA Invasion! Artcore! Trust!

1webPUNK-ROUNDTABLE-2 (1)

On Saturday, March 31, be sure to check out Ed Colver, one of the titans of photo-punks, who will also be joining Brian Bannon from JFA, Mike Watt of Minutemen (who will be gigging at 6 PM after the discussion), Ronnie Barnett of the Muffs, Chip Kinman of the Dils, Ben Merlis of Fields of Fire, Mish Bondage of Sado-Nation, Jimmy Alvarado of La Tuya and the zine Razorcake, and Christian Kidd of the Hates for a discussion of poetics, politics, the legacy of D. Boon, and punk conscience at Pop Obscure Records in Los Angeles!  5 PM, FREE, All Ages, be there! 735 S Los Angeles St, Los Angeles, CA, (213) 628-3898! I am psyched to host the one-of-a-kind event!

29351904_1706920022725237_2019494190306147617_o

Thank you to Andre and Dolf Hermannstädter at Trust, the legendary, cool, long-running German zine, for running a full page version of my photograph of Texacala Jones (Tex and the Horseheads!) live in Austin at Carousel Lounge last fall for our Women in Punk event! Issue No. 188, Feb/March 2018.

1HATES-LA-FINAL web

Also, the after-party for the Pop Obscure Records whirlwind event will take place at Cafe NELA in Cypress Park, where I will be playing drums for the Hates, who have been shredding punk and hardcore with a vengeance since the late-1980s in Houston, TX. Plus, I will behind the kit for Mish Bondage and the Blokes, who will be unleashing the classic punk assault of Portland icons Sado-Nation — including tunes like “Fear of Failure,” which were once found on Mystic Records compilations.

offendersartcore

Next, thank you to Welly at Artcore for running my four-page interview with Pat Doyle of Offenders in Issue #37: the super-detailed, lengthy conversation is a tribute piece to singer JJ Jacobson, who died tragically just a few months ago, and the layout is rife with rare photographs by the likes of Geoff Cordner and also highlights eye-gobbling posters/flyers — the museum of the punk streets.

Lastly, on the morning of Sat. March 31 at UCLA in Los Angeles, I will be speaking at the 2018 annual American Comparative Literature Conference at 10:30 in the seminar “’Stay woke’: The Politics of Protest Songs.”  In the 20-minute presentation, I will unveil “Germs-filled Adolescence: Hardcore Punk’s Politicization of the American Neighborhood.” It is a folklore-based view of how punk transformed American communities through informal DIY, peer-to-peer networks, which democratized music communities.

Jan updates! Events in LA! Mike Watt In-store! UCLA Conference! Photos/writing in Trust, MRR, Artcore, and more!

mikewattLOTD

Mike Watt, Houston, 2014, with Left of the Dial, featuring our interview

Hey rockers, readers, and realists, after a semi-slow ‘dead of winter’ period in which semi-tropical Houston was inundated by both a rare snow and a ruinous freezing rain within weeks, things have thawed and are heating up fast! First, I will be zooming to Los Angeles for a dizzying, intense, and completely compelling weekend from March 30-April 1.

On the morning of Sat. March 31, I will be speaking at the 2018 annual American Comparative Literature Conference at 10:30 in the seminar “”Stay woke”: The Politics of Protest Song,” in which I will present “Germs-filled Adolescence: Hardcore Punk’s Politicization of the American Neighborhood.” It is a folklore-based recounting of how punk transformed American communities.

20171102_171345

Mish Bondage, Houston, Fall 2017, by me

For the early evening hours, I have organized a stellar, cross-country focused, trans-generation punk roundtable discussion at Pop Obscure Records, 735 S Los Angeles St, downtown (213-628-3898), which will be free, all ages, and begin at 5 PM. The theme will be “Talkin’ Punk Politics and Poetry: D Boon and Beyond” and will include a ‘who’s who’ of punk icons from across the country and eras, including Mike Watt (Minutemen, fIREHOSE, Dos, and more), Ronnie Barnett (The Muffs), Brian Brannon (JFA), Chip Kinman (the Dils, Rank and File, Blackbird, and more), Mish Miller/Bondage (Portland legends Sado-Nation), seminal photographer Ed Colver (Dead Kennedys, Black Flag, Circle Jerks), writer/rocker/historian Jimmy Alvarado, Ben Merlis (early-2000s hardcore traditionalists Fields of Fire), Christian Kidd/Arnheiter (the Hates, the oldest ongoing punk band in Texas), and local punk historian and bass player David Jones. Others might join us as well.

hatesinger

The Hates, Rudyards, Houston, 2010, by me

After the vivid, lively, detail-thronged discussion, Watt + the Missingmen will be playing an in-store set at 6 PM of spirited tunes to celebrate the birthday of D. Boon, which falls on April 1!

dboonbiscuit

D. Boon, photographs from the collection of Biscuit of the Big Boys

Later that night, the after-party will commence at Café NELA (1906 Cypress Ave, Cypress Park) with sets by Mish Bondage (doing a number of Sado-Nation tunes) and the Hates, both with me on drums, plus secret guests to-be-announced! A poster is being designed, and I will update this as further details emerge.

In the meantime, thank you to Dolf Hermannstädter and Andre for including my pic of legendary MDC (with Dave Dictor in full politico frenzy during an October gig at Rudyards in Houston) as well as their openers Elected Officials, in Germany’s TRUST # 187 (December/January), which is out now!

MDCtrust

My in-depth 7-page interview with Dave Dictor of MDC, featuring a ton of my photos from three separate gigs, is also in the new issue of Razorcake as well!

20180130MDC

An extra thank you to Maximum Rocknoll for publishing my tribute to JJ Jacobson of Offenders (including comments by members of Hickoids, MDC, and Black Salve), the much-beloved, sheer-energy, hybrid 1980s hardcore band from Austin, who died suddenly a few weeks back. You can read it here. It will also be featured in the next print version of the fanzine, while my interview with their nimble, stalwart drummer Pat Offender will be published both in German (in a future issue of Trust) and in English in an upcoming issue of Artcore (Wales). I am also in the process of interviewing members of the Huns, Elected Officials, and soon, the Next.

Lastly, PM Press is now looking at the manuscript of my book examining World War II POW camps in mid-America that held Germans, Italians, and Japanese, which I am calling the Hidden Home Front, thanks to the brainstorming of my wife.

The future awaits, impatiently. Let the word in. Look for updates soon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oct. Updates, New Article, New Book!

Dave2_VinalEdge_2017

Dave Dictor, MDC, Houston, Oct. 2017, by me

After a tumultuous hurricane swept through Houston and almost endangered the Visual Vitriol collection, I can breathe a bit easier again since the water only came within a few feet of my door, and a month has passed, so I can re-focus on all my efforts.

First, I was able to an entire evening with MDC a few days ago. One, I was able to mingle and document Al Schvitz, who is one of the last old school drummers on earth: his style is a flashback to a time before the heyday of homogeneity (tons of metal-doused bass drum, perfectly cued tom tom patterns). He exists in the blurry continuum between Buddy Rich, Gene Krupa, Mitch Mitchell, and himself … with family roots way back in NYC downtown music.  For years, I have studied his licks, and thankfully, he now has a book almost out, on the the same imprint as Dave Dictor, to shed light on his career and MDC itself. Long live the Schvitz man.

The entire MDC set was explosive — the rickety bar was a surging earthquake of emotion driven by propulsive new/old tunes: Al was the beatmaker king of the limber punk-jazz forays, Dave was the tribal leader/dance hero/soapbox firestorm/circus maestro emitting tough street poems of the heart and mind, all played out in fiery tunes that shifted effortlessly from 82 to 2017, from Reagan’s covert death squads to Trump’s coded language insurrection! They even played “Borrowed Time” from the early 1990s, and I charged the mic for “Radioactive Chocolate,” “Kill the Light” and more … Why is America so straight and me so bent?

Make sure to read my brand new interview with the kitten-hearted firebrand hardcore hero Dave Dictor here in the Houston Press. I appeared alongside him at Vinal Edge for a book event (he read the first portion of his memoir) and MDC acoustic set (featuring the classics, plus an Agression tune!) on Oct. 6, which was free and all ages. The funds we raised from book sales and beer donations, $250.00, went to a local, LEED-certified, no-kill animal shelter.

MDCvinal2

Opening for MDC, the world’s premier politico hardcore band packing chops aplenty, is a difficult undertaking, but the Elected Officials, whose intense global punk perspective infuses every second of their ferocious musicality, which resembles portions of everything from Septic Death and Poison Idea to the Subhumans, False Prophets, and classic ’82 punk, left the crowd a broiling mess-heap of sweat, pile ups, and gesticulations, but singer Sophie Rousmaniere has the most elastic facial contortions I’ve seen in years — comedy and horror and anger and spite — completely mesmerizing!

ElectedOfficalslower

The Elected Officials, Rudyards, Houston, TX, Oct. 2017, by me

Thanks to the crew at Razorcake for reviewing the new album by my artcore band No Love Less in Issue #100, with punk hero Mike Watt! We are heading to Austin soon to play the Punk Women 2 fest with Screech of Death, Texacala Jones, and more, so this is a cool reminder of our Texas weird-punk strengths.

Next up, I was lucky to both see and interview (Bill Stevenson, at least) the Descendents, where I stretched over some dude’s head to capture their dizzying, effortlessly meld of mushy heartache, teen goofiness, spasms of caffeinated joy, occasional politics, keen adult observation, surf-core prowess, punk blasts, and much more, like 1982 and 2017 collapse – time itself was a mirage; there had been no years between (EB White would say), well except for the gray hairs on me and them! Their last album Hypercaffium Spazzinate was sublime — chock-full of grinding hooks and surging tempo changes, smart and lively lyrics, dizzying drums, touches of nostalgia and protest, and heartache too.

desendents

The Descendents, House of Blues Houston, Sept. 2017, by me

So, be sure to check out my brand new interview with Herculean, dexterous, brainiac drummer Bill Stevenson, whose chops are singular and unmatched, as is his production work as well (200 plus credits!). We talk about Grant Hart, hurricane relief, their new album, and much more! It is here.

PWomen2_cover+names-1

Next month, watch out for the release of my book Punk Women 2, which will be 13.00 ppd. anywhere in the states. We are also celebrating it with two parties — one in Houston and another in Austin. So, check back for more details at the beginning of November!

Last, but not least, I would like to thank Alyssa Mercante, the author of “Goths, Punks, Queers, and Gamers,” a paper that delves deep into the subculture and referenced several of my passages from Visual Vitriol. Though I was able to read it a few weeks back, the link no longer works, but be sure, all you scholars, especially those concerned with contemporary queer culture in the digital age, to check it out.

 

 

 

 

 

Aug. 2017 updates, new Punk Women book, new interview!

gary_floyd_photo_by_david_ensminger_2

In an odd change, Texas has not quite been a typical, searing, yellow blast-furnace of heat this August, due to some storm fronts that have cooled things into a muggy gray morass. This has left me time to complete some projects, like a brand spanking new interview with blues-punk countercultural gay hero Gary Floyd of the Dicks and Sister Double Happiness, which was done live in front of cameras in June, but I transcribed it for Razorcake, who generously published it on-line this week here. It will be also featured in a Chicago-area fanzine soon, so I will let you know when that is available.

PWCOVER

On Friday, here in Houston, we will be celebrating the release of my new book Punk Women, a 100-page compendium featuring an incredible array of powerful, potent, and and particularly inventive women, from off-the-radar local acts to legacy bands of all stripes, from first wave punk to melodicore and garage rock. It includes my profiles of many, but it also features several women discussing their own lives, histories, and band anecdotes, including members of 45 Grave, the Muffs, the DT’s, Mydolls, the Epoxies, Jawbox, Ultra 5, and more.

PWBACK

It utterly teems with flyers and photos, and it can be yours, for 13.00 postage paid in the U.S. Just email leftofthedialmag@hotmail.com for details. Only 400 copies were made, so this is scarce, cool, and a game changer, I hope.

dksisland656

Next up, look for my interview with underdog Canadian punks ZEX, a female-fronted unit that combines the savvy hooks of Chelsea and Gen X with the politics of bands on labels like Profane Existence. It will be in an upcoming print edition of Razorcake. Plus, I am finishing a manuscript for a university press, my secret right now, plus wrapping up a chapter for an academic anthology on comedy and music, in which I tackle notorious underground hardcore punk satire and saga Repo Man. Will share more once things get cookin’!

 

 

June Updates!

IMG_2085

Mike Watt, Houston, May 2017, by me

All you music lovers, punk-funk-avant legions, and followers of the bass, make sure to read my lively, keen, and curious interview in Houston Press with the Yoda-meets-Jack Kerouac of modern music, the indelible truth-spielin’ Mike Watt, who opened for the Meat Puppets locally at White Oak Music Hall in Houston! It can be found here!

IMG_2071

How might I celebrate the birthday of Mia Simmans (d’Bruzzi), of Frightwig, Mutants, and Mudwimin (among others!), whose ceaseless intelligence, commitment to music journeying, mentorship to kids, and pure DIY rock’n’punk attitude are second to none! How about a … 6 page spread in Razorcake! I have 8 extra copies, so if people would contribute $10.00 to my fund to help John Reen Davis (Anarchitex and Happy Fingers Institute), a local Autistic punk veteran in financial duress, I will send you a copy. If you contribute $20.00, you can choose a book about Gary Floyd’s Dicks years too, or a new book covering the art and life of Biscuit of the Big Boys. For $25.00, you get all three items, plus a button and stickers! Punk to the people! Email me at : leftofthedialmag@hotmail.com for payment options. I thank Mia for making my mind expand over the years! She is seminal — a true taste of guts and vision, talent and craft.

Speaking of interviews, don’t forget to read my newest interview with John Doe of X (now celebrating 40 years of lit-punk mastery and ruckus!), which can also be found in the Houston Press here! This is my intro, just to tease you:

The Feral Poetics of X at 40

When punk burst through the nylon sheen of West Coast pop culture in the moribund mid-1970s, it flowed in multiple directions, from the turbocharged, thorny, brash masculinity of Black Flag and the contagious, chaotic philosophical musings of the Germs to the keen, incisive social political observations of the Avengers and Dils. X went even further, grafting a whole history of modern music into its resilient fabric and injecting a poetic despair and disruptive literary abandon into lowbrow rock’n’roll.

Doing so meant they created something as stylized and enduring as Patti Smith but even more syncretic: they revisited the tin-can A.M. dreaminess of 1950’s radio, borrowed a bit of dusty twang and chrome-lined rockabilly, vented anger like Vietnam era counterculture, embraced the moody, eruptive Doors, and shook with buzzsaw but hummable punk. In essence, they created a series of albums that feel like Heart of Darkness set in a lurid, crumbling Los Angeles strewn with fragments of Charles Bukowski, Dashiell Hammett, Arthur Rimbaud, folk broadsides, teenage kicks, B-movies as well as salt of the earth, and sleazy tabloids.

CHRISTIAN-BENEFIT-SHOW2

The Rock For Light/Destroy Cancer Benefit for Christian Kidd of the Hates that I organized was a smashing success that raised thousands of dollars for his chemo/radiation/recovery! It featured Hallowbody (former Academy Black, Zipperneck), Mel Hell and the Texas Mod Crushers, 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 Bransfield Waters singing Big Boys and Roky Erickson, Bill De Gidio (the Pagans, Guillotines) playing Dead Boys guitar, Lisa Fer (45 Grave, Lisafer, Snap-Her, Nina Hagen, DI)  singing DI, Undertones, and the Ramones, Christi Workman (Stinkerbell) singing the Misfits and Dead Boys, J.R. Delgado singing Party Owls and more, as well as Gina Miller of the Magnetic 4 and Kimonos singing The Sonics and Berlin! An abundance of auctions and punk memorabilia helped make the night a blend of punk rock flea market and dirty barroom Sotheby’s!

BENEFIT-FOR-HATCH web

Thank you to Henry Sloan for making this humorous, spot on, and wonky promo for Gary Floyd’s upcoming appearances in Houston, including Walters on June 25th, where Gary will be joined by my band the Biscuit Bombs as we cover tunes from Sister Double Happiness and the Dicks (all to raise funds for HATCH, which provides much-needed services to local LGBTQ youth in Houston) and at Cactus Music on June 23rd, where Gary will celebrating and highlighting his new book I Said That, a compendium of Dicks lyrics, flyers, and photos, that I edited and published (contact me for further info). Henry used several of my photos, and Gary is a genuine down home Buddha/folk hero and faux hayseed queer philosopher of punk, bar none! Watch it below!

 

 

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

IMG_1922

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.

CHRISTIAN-BENEFIT-SHOW2

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.

feederz_photo_by_megan_pants

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.

.

 

 

March Updates!

dksisland549

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!

robertmurphy2

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.

silvergoldenwest

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!

outofthebasement_copy0_lg

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!

img_5121

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.

Dagger

Blurt

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.

outofthebasement_copy0_lg

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!

politicsofpunk2

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.

img_1885

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.

14695487_10211087934576980_5712662519994189126_n

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.

dksisland081

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.

cover_gary.jpg

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!

IMG_4848.JPG

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!

14991393_1176922455724999_7302751730843740523_o

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!