Mid-Summer Updates!


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!


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.


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!

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