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Featured Book Reviews from Razorcake Issue 93
Going Underground, Hepatitis Bathtub, Metaphysical Ukulele
By Staff

Hurchalla culls the bulk of his tale from both contemporary interviews and the assorted fanzines long before the worldwide web became the all-encompassing resource/boondoggle it is now… It remains the go-to tome and an essential read for punks and historians alike. –Jimmy Alvarado, Going Underground: American Punk 1979-1989

Going Underground: American Punk 1979-1989
By George Hurchalla, 416 pgs.
By Jimmy Alvarado

Despite the glut of punk history books in recent years, still precious few attempt an overview of the “hardcore” years referenced in the book’s title... It remains the go-to tome and an essential read for punks and historians alike.

Humorless Ladies of Border Control, The : Touring the Punk Underground from Belg
By Franz Nicolay, 359 pgs.
By Jim Joyce

A researched, charming, and sharp account of touring eastern Europe during the days of Ukraine’s revolution, Pussy Riot’s arrest, and a hundred other memorable moments from a wandering musician’s perspective.

Let’s Go to Hell: Scattered Memories of the Butthole Surfers
By James Burns, 504 pgs.
By Adrian Salas

The Butthole Surfers’ story is cobbled together from interviews author James Burns has compiled over the years, archival materials such as zine columns, and a healthy dose of conjecture.

Metaphysical Ukulele, The
By Sean Carswell, 184 pgs.
By Kevin Dunn

The dozen stories are all about well-known writers written in that writer’s style... But goddamn does Carswell nail it in each and every story.Throughout, he is borrowing stylistic tricks—informed references and passages from each author—yet his own authorial voice remains intact.

NOFX: The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories
By NOFX, Jeff Alulis, 357 pgs.
By Adrian Salas

This is tied with Joe Keithley’s I, Shitheadand Michael Azzerad’s Our Band Could Be Your Life as the best punk rock book I have read.

Over for Rockwell
By Uzodinma Okehi, 332 pgs.
By Jim Joyce

Over for Rockwell is the story of Blue Okeye, an aspiring comic artist who leaves Iowa City for Hong Kong... But as far as fiction goes? It’s delicious to watch a jagoff at play, and that’s what kept me coming back.

Punk Rock Entrepreneur: Running a Business without Losing Your Values
By Caroline Moore, 127 pgs.
By Kayla Greet

Moore had been volunteering as a photographer and coordinator for Weapons of Mass Creation festival for three years. She lead a seminar called “How Punk Rock Made Me a Better Entrepreneur.”

Rise, The Fall, and the Rise, The
By Brix Smith Start, 455 pgs.
By Kurt Morris

Start literally writes of her entire life, starting with her birth in 1962 and everything that came after. She shares her upbringing, including her parents’ divorce, her father’s many marriages, and the shuffling between family members in Chicago and Los Angeles.

Spitboy Rule, The: Tales of a Xicana in a Female Punk Band
By Michelle Cruz Gonzales, 144 pgs.
By Jimmy Alvarado

All told, The Spitboy Rule is a highly recommended read for anyone interested in gender/ethnic studies, Spitboy, the punk scene in which it existed, the often contradictory and landmine-ridden political climate of that scene, or simply a memoir about living an extraordinary life during an extraordinary moment in America’s musical timeline.

Featured Book Reviews from Issue #91
The Story of Lookout Records, Portland Punk, Specious Species, Sick Pack
By Staff

Fabulo’s abs don’t want fame and fortune. They want freedom!

Big Shiny Prison, The: Volume 1
By Ryan Bartek, 484 pgs.
By Michael T. Fournier

This book, the first of several installments, recounts Ryan Bartek’s nine months on the road, on busses and on tour, all the adventures he has, all the people and bands he talks to and interviews. But despite all the experience, all the words and pages, remarkably little is said.

Good Trouble: Building a Successful Life and Business with Asperger’s
By Joe Biel, 222 pgs.
By Adrian Salas

Joe Biel’s autobiography serves two functions: Biel’s personal history as seen through the twin lenses of an evolving punk ideology and an Asperger’s syndrome diagnosis, and a history of Microcosm publications.

Good Trouble: Building a Successful Life and Business with Asperger’s
By Joe Biel, 222 pgs.
By Kurt Morris

Anyone in the zine scene in the past twenty years knows of Microcosm. For many years they were the largest zine distro out there. A lot has changed with Microcosm and founder Joe Biel, though.

Locust House: A Novella
By Adam Gnade, 48 pgs.
By Kurt Morris

Adam Gnade has written a novella that tells the story of a house show—the last night for the house before the residents are evicted.

Railroad Semantics: Train Hopping Across Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada,
California, and Oregon By Aaron Dactyl, 96 pgs.
By Jackie Rusted

The life of a traveling kid is a simple one. The layer of filth on your skin is a badge of honor and everything you need to survive is meant to be carried on your back.

True Homosexual Experiences
By William E. Jones, 220 pgs.
By Jim Woster

Like William Burroughs, Boyd McDonald was what writer William E. Jones calls an “Ivy League fuck-up.”

All Ages: The Rise and Fall of Portland Punk Rock 1977-1981
By Mark Sten, 315 pgs.
By Jimmy Alvarado

Portland’s Mark Sten’s take on the scene’s history unravels more like a memoir than straitlaced history, peppering its traditional timeline format with personal anecdotes, snarky comments, and heapings of the sarcastic wit that made punk’s early waves so goddamned funny.

Disco’s Out... Murder’s In!
By Heath Mattioli & David Spacone, illustrated by Raymond Pettibon, 224 pgs.
By Jim Woster

Most histories and memoirs of the ‘80s Los Angeles punk scene address its pervasive violence. Disco’s Out … Murder’s In! tells the story from the violence’s point of view.

Do-It-Yourself Guide to Fighting the Big Motherfuckin’ Sad, The
By Adam Gnade, 60 pgs.
By Adrian Salas

As summarized in the title, this is basically a compact guidebook to dealing with depression and/or general malaise. Much of Gnade’s advice is often laid out in succinct, easily digestible, seven point lists.

How to Ru(i)n a Record Label: The Story of Lookout Records
By Larry Livermore, 282 pgs.
By Michael T. Fournier

It appears Livermore’s answer to the titular question is to hire a woman. As Molly Neuman becomes part of the label’s management, we see Lookout! Records come off the rails, acting like a major label, spending ridiculous money on barely-seen videos, putting out more records than it can adequately promote, and dealing with Ben Weasel.

Single Stroke Seven
By Lavinia Ludlow, 185 pgs.
By Kurt Morris

Single Stroke Seven is a novel whose protagonist Lilith drums for a band called Disonanz. All the members of the band are struggling through quarter-life crises—working jobs they hate or having no work at all, lacking health care, and struggling to make a go of the one thing that they (or at least Lilith) want to do: make music.

Specious Species, No. 7
Edited by Joe Donohoe, 282 pgs.
By Adrian Salas

This anthology covers an admirably far-ranging physical and historical area (often informed by a punk perspective), and feels like a text that supplements the study of California’s many unique yet integral historical eccentricities. Boasting around forty entries, contributions range from comics and poems, to interviews, to exhaustive historical surveys.

Sick Pack
By MP Johnson, 104 pgs.
By Paul J. Comeau

Sick Pack is the story of a man and his abs. Male model Fabulo’s six pack has brought him fame and fortune, but Fabulo’s abs launch a daring plan to escape him and his drudgery of crunches, leg lifts, and constant flexing. The result is an absurd and surreal tale of body parts trying to find themselves, and a man left to figure out who he is. 

Featured Book Reviews from Razorcake Issue 90
Featuring Denvoid, Human Punk, Last Mass, and Restart Me Up
By Staff

Punk’s heart, punk’s past, Windows 95, and Spain’s colonization of California.

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