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TOUCH AND GO. The Complete Hardcore Punk Zine ’79-’83. (Bazillion Points Books, USA, 2010)

“Touch and Go” is not only the name of one of the most exciting and important underground labels (The Fix, Necros, Negative Approach etc.). “Touch and Go” was also a legendary Hardcore Punk fanzine that lasted from 1979 to 1983. In fact, the fanzine came first, founded by the provocative and anus tooling mastermind Tesco Vee (Meatmen singer) and Dave Stimson, before in 1981, they started releasing records together with Corey Rusk. Now we all know the music that the “Touch and Go” label has put out (and continues to release) and we all have heard of the fanzine and saw clippings and pieces from it over the years. With the very small press run and the rather regional Midwest rooting, it remained to be pretty obscure though and hard to get hold of. When Ian Christe of the excellent Bazillion Points publishing house announced the reprint of “Touch and Go”, I could hardly wait to see the book. Now, not too many moons later, it is here. And it is fantastic!

The vast majority of this blog’s readers (including the writer) were too young or too far away or both to really have witnessed the formative years of Hardcore (and by Hardcore, I mean american Hardcore, because Hardcore was american). Sure, you might say, you bought this and that record or fanzine then and then, but honestly, what do you understand, overview, realize when you’re a teenager still, making your first experiences with so many things, including that of being a “music fan” (how despicable this sounds now!).
«The internet in all its immediacy will see to it», says Tesco Vee in his introduction, «that neither an idea, nor a fanzine will ever be allowed to percolate, fungate, and grow to fruition in this modern age. The web will see to it that said idea is co-opted, bastardized, and rendered passé within 24 hours. I know this all reeks of an old buzzard ranting about the good old days of independent music, and for that you must forgive me. No, PISS OFF!!!» He continues: «If I could only make you feel it made us feel as we watched it unfurl, listened o it, wrote about it and chronicled it all in our little fanzine». Then Tesco adds a little etymology: The root word of fanzine is «fan».
The makers of “Touch and Go” didn’t grow up on Hardcore Punk. And, they weren’t old enough to disappear with the first wave of Punk, like so many did. But most importantly, they were just completely into the exploding Hardcore scene. They loved the music, the energy and in the best sense of the word, they were fans. Fans and not consumers. Do you remember the time when being a “fan” was per se something a bit out of the ordinary and being a “fan”, regardless of the specific musical context, also meant that you felt enthusiastic about something and you wanted to take part in shaping that something? In the later 70s (that’s how I recall it), you had the choice still of being a “fan” or being a “normal guy”, whereas now, everybody is a “fan” of this or that. So first and foremost, “Touch and Go” was a fanzine. But of course, it was much more than that. Tesco Vee and Dave Stimson were not just following, they were creating by following. Tesco Vee calls it the “poison pen”: As music fans with strong views, harsh judgments,  a clear vision and a zine, they had power, even if the press run of “Touch and Go” started with 100 copies only and never really got big. That’s one of the first subtexts you will notice when going through the “Touch and Go”-book: The authors don’t simply pass shallow judgment. They’re holding the assizes. What they love, they love with power and what they hate and detest (and that’s a lot, actually), they hate and detest with a passion. In regard to Hunter S. Thompson, you could say that the makers of “Touch and Go” shared the same credo: Gonzo. Hardcore, the way they saw it, was all about Gonzo. It was not correct, it wasn’t nice, it wasn’t political in that sense that actually means ideological – it was wild! Every word is written in acid. “Wake up! This ain’t the peacelovin’ 60′s anymore. Times change, and if you want to sit back and play dead that’s your business. Just don’t do it around me – it’s too fucking depressing.” (Dave Stimson in issue 4, 1980).

Flipping through the 550 pages is not like a journey back in time. Of course you’re constantly bombarded with the yesterdays, but in the end, it will make you only realize that we all live in the 2010s now. We’ve had this discussion before and we’ll have it again: Times change, as Stimson said when he attacked the lame local punk scene in the above quote and of course, times have changed in the past 30 years. I tend to believe that the discontinuity between, say, 1980 and now is more distinctive then the one Stimson refers to (between the 60s and the emerging Hardcore scene). It’s a paradox, really, because on the other hand, the way music changed between 1975 and 1980 is much more drastic than it changed from 1980 to 2010. It’s a very complex and interesting phenomenon we’re talking about and when you realize this, it will shatter your cheap identity politics. “Touch and Go” remains to be dynamite. Just read it, look at it!
The retro garbage of today makes me sick and people who are stuck in their 1980s identities make me just as sick. Wake up! This ain’t the hateful 80s anymore! They all have family now, are married, have kids, steady jobs, they grew fat and ugly. Some have mellowed out, gotten real soft while others make try to make a living as re-enactors. But don’t fool yourself. When you listen to that aggressive 1980s record today, it feels so much different than it did back then. You take the needle off the vinyl, or stop iTunes with a fingertip and it’s not 1980. Can’t you see it?! You listen to some fancy retro Hardcore band, perfectly styled in every detail, and you immediately hear, right from the first second on, that this is just a product of today. Disposable. Boring. Lame. And that’s not all: That “sounds just like an 80s band” will never mean the same to the new generation like that real 80s band meant back then, in the times before the last musical wilderness got mapped and mainstreamed.
I recently had a little conversation with one of the editors of a very well known (Metal) music magazine. I asked him, a bright man in his mid twenties, to talk frankly, just between us, how we felt about the journalistic qualities of the magazine he works for. What quality?, he responded and started his lament. How they all were on drip-feed from the dominating labels who with their advertisements were a major financial backbone in these days. People don’t buy magazines anymore, just like they don’t buy records; the role of the industry in the print business is now even more dominant than it has ever been. I laughed. Bizarre, I said, so the magazines neat concept of portraying a sometimes socially deviant subcultural scene is corrupting its own standards by being little more than a big, glossy promotion tool for the music industry? So it is, he said – and even worse: By printing totally irrelevant and superficial garbage, we actually form our own readership. «You know», he said, «when I read blog like yours or old fanzines, I feel very sentimental. You guys do what you want to do and you’re so full of enthusiasm. And enthusiasm, real enthusiasm, is something that has totally vanished in the 21st century media overkill.»

Fanzine editions like this monumental “Touch and Go” book are invaluable. Whether it’s the instant-art of the typewriter and xerox machines days that appeals to you or the record reviews that have encapsulated the novelty factor they once had to the reviewer: You may say see all of this as tree rings or a melancholic ghost of the past. And you will laugh your ass off reading!

Buy “Touch and Go” from Bazillion Points or order it from your bookstore. The first 100 copies come with the extras you see in the photos above. In the meantime, listen to The Fix or the “Process of Elimination” comp.

37 Comments

  1. Thomas

    The difference between HC then and what passes as HC now, is quite simple: There’s no danger involved anymore. And that makes all the difference in the world. Because it shapes what you feel, how you play, what you say and how you say it. When those guys started it was fucking dangerous. You were a 17 yr old pimply kid, but you were THE ENEMY. And the only way to strike back was through music. That’s why it’s so angry, it’s so desperate, it’s so raging, it’s so in yr face. That’s why it speaks as directly to the listener as humanly possible. That’s why good HC doesn’t age. And that’s why HC sucks so bad now. It already sucked when we got in the game in the mid-80′s, because it was far from being as dangerous as in the beginning, in the suburbs of Reagan-America.

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    dewey.decimal Reply:

    Retard.

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    Posted on 08-Jul-10 at 13:26 | Permalink
  2. fix me

    so when I order the lim. ed. version I will also get the cuddly yellow bear?

    that whole “hc is over” thing starts making sense to me. great review thanks for this!

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    Posted on 08-Jul-10 at 13:41 | Permalink
  3. Ass Cobra!!!!!!!!!!!

    so tesco loved venom?
    great fucking review. meaty!!!!!!

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    Posted on 08-Jul-10 at 14:12 | Permalink
  4. elliott

    damn. i remember when i was all “hardcore’s not dead” or whatever. now i don’t care anymore. if it’s dead that’s good if it’s not then whatever. now i’m a pretty young guy but 80s hc has tuched me in such a way. more than the new hc i listen too. it inspired me to create my own thing. not rehash the same mormulas over and over but maybe do something else with hardcore. anyway i’m actually blind so this don’t do shit. hey if anyone makes an audio version i’ll get it hahaha. sounds really cool and informative. i agree with that person on the fanzine thing. and great writing. and hahaha i love everyone talking about the little bear you have.

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    Admin Reply:

    It’s a small yellow teddy bear that I sometimes place in front of record covers or books. It creates a funny effect; the often grim looking covers and the cuddly bear, haha.

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    Thomas Reply:

    I always thought it was a replica of you.

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    Posted on 08-Jul-10 at 16:17 | Permalink
  5. not guilty

    The Bible of Hardcore. HC would be alot better in 2010 if this zine survived and MRR folded after a couple years…

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    Posted on 08-Jul-10 at 16:38 | Permalink
  6. howardx

    how old is the average reader here? im 47 myself. i was under the impression this blog had an older crowd of commenters…

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    Posted on 08-Jul-10 at 19:19 | Permalink
  7. Kuhlcher Korner

    Yes this was the only real fanzine in the 80′s…along with Suburban Voice. So glad to be able to have all the material compiled together into one solid read!!!

    Nice one Tesco!!!

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    Posted on 08-Jul-10 at 20:54 | Permalink
  8. “real enthusiasm, is something that has totally vanished in the 21st century media overkill”, I like that. Zombie consumerism, easily manipulated, like fish forever taking the bait, an animal in heat, predictable. Thanx for the read Erich, definitely something to reflect upon. Looking back, hardcore was a inspired moment in the evolution in music, an event, a culmination of events. Like a unique ocean wave, riden by many, that eventually crashes to the sand. People still ride waves, but not THAT wave.

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    Posted on 08-Jul-10 at 22:07 | Permalink
  9. fernando

    Wow. I enjoyed this post a lot, lovely to read, thank you very much!
    * “The root word of fanzine is «fan»”. – Hehe, I guess that’s why the anarchoguys tended to speak about ‘zines’ without the ‘fan’ part. Like they were ashamed of their idolizing their spiritual-@political leaders. It’s funny to look back at that. I think the word ‘zine’ still circulates in the retro circuits though…
    * “…the way music changed between 1975 and 1980 is much more drastic than it changed from 1980 to 2010″ – Can’t agree more!
    * I enjoyed also the true confessions of the metal magazine guy. That’s how I see the music press since… well, the 2nd half of the 80s or even earlier! To spoeak with Crass, “grey puke, fxxking sheet!” :D
    * Extra thanks for that Wretched cover combined with this very post!
    Saludos & spezielle hallöchen to the Bärchen as always!

    Fernando :)

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    Admin Reply:

    I as very surprised and quite pleasantly so when a read that fan-thing (no pun intended) in Tesco’s foreword. It reminded me of how much I loved fanzines with their subjective and often arrogant and inflamatory journalistic style. Magazines always wanted to sell you something; fanzines were written with joy and pleasure. All the nights I spent on the floor of my tiny room, putting together my own fanzines, listening to new records, saying goodbaye to “regular life” (there simply was no time to go to work anymore so I quit my apprenticeship in 1985). Great personal experiences.

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    Adamski Reply:

    Erich, this is EXACTLY my experience! I was so wrapped up in punk to the point of obsession & much to the detriment of everything else. Two jobs were quit in quick succession & I grew some balls for the first time in my life. I’d just sit in my room blasting hardcore & putting my fanzine together. Punk is STILL my obsession, but not to the same intense degree (no pun intended! :))

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    Posted on 08-Jul-10 at 23:33 | Permalink
  10. Sean

    @Howard…I’m 37, though I got “into it” roughly around ’89/’90 when a majority of the “danger” had evaporated. But it’s all perspective and experience. I read old interviews and for every band that had the experience of getting beat by cops or rednecks, there was a twin whose only “anger” was from being bored and ignored. I dunno, musically the early foundations of hXc created something that went beyond words even in it’s heyday…but speaking to punks around Howard’s age (I even dated one, lol), or reading these old interviews, a lot of these people came off as the same contrarian douchebags as today…wearing getting beaten and hospitalized or having a SEVERE drug habit as a badge of honor (so…painfully losing teeth RULES?). I’ve said it before here in Erich’s comments and I’ll say this again: the music was PHENOMENAL, but the negative self-absorbed attitudes connected to it can suck a dick. WHO wants to relive an era where there were rampant riots at every show, grisly violence, extreme homophobia (yes, even from our beloved “godheads”), disease, addiction, and suicide? WHY can’t people rock the fuck out, but leave others alone? Why must there be people on the hunt for “danger”, when they end up bringing it upon innocents as well? I’ve seen pieces of this in teh crowds that some of the “dinosaurs” bring out…fellow fans just as ancient throwing glass in the pit, looking like they belonged to Aryan Nations etc. No thanks…THAT part of 80s hXc I am THANKFUL to remain dead.

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    howardx Reply:

    in the beginning the bonehead factor was way down, i think the “exposes” a number of the tabloid news shows did at the time showing a pit at a show somewhere and bloviating about “the violence” did a lot to ruin the scene and bring out the jocks.

    what i miss the most, in retrospect, was how it wasnt all handed to you on plate (or a website) you had to talk to people, buy records based on hope, go to shows and read fanzines to find out who the good bands were.

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    dewey.decimal Reply:

    Howardx, are you retarded?

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    Admin Reply:

    What’s the matter, DD?

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    dewey.decimal Reply:

    Well, for starters, “bloviate” means “a boaster or braggart.” So much for the old boy howardx’s attempt at intelligentsia. The tabloids were boasting and bragging about violence at shows? On reflection though, my ire should have been directed at Sean, who makes no sense at all.

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    howardx Reply:

    sorry you dont agree with my word choice chucklehead, gotta wonder what kind of douche gets off on correcting peoples casual comments on the internet.

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    dewey.decimal Reply:

    Doo-shay Howardx! My jizzfest garners my first compliment of the day! Must be why I admire Tesco’s work at T&G.

    justin Reply:

    Your “ire”, who fucking cares about your emotional state? From “retard’” to “ire”, is that your attempt at “intelligentsia”? You’re a clown and you’re having more than a jizzfest pal, it’s more like you’re cum gobbling.

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    Dewey.decimal Reply:

    My second compliment of the day! Don’t make me cry in my man mayo sweetie

    Posted on 09-Jul-10 at 02:26 | Permalink
  11. Thomas

    When I got ‘into’ it, I found it to be extremely down-to-earth, in the first place, never ‘dangerous’. I remember buying DRI’s Crossover in january ’88, and the way the names were printed on the backcover; Kurt, Spike, etc.. I thought ‘wow, these are just regular guys, no fancy studiomusicians’. The whole record sounded like it was recorded in their garage on a tapedeck. Well, I was hooked.. When I started going to shows late ’88 (MDC, Christ on Parade, Negazione, etc..), I thought the same thing.. What I want to say, a kid nowadays, will experience the same thing now as in 1988, the way the scene has no pretensions. Nothing ‘dangerous’. And I don’t mind that. The world itself is dangerous enough IMO.

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    Admin Reply:

    I don’t think so. When you started going to shows in 88, you knew this music and what comes with it was not 22 years old already. There was no internet, the were the last traces of what could be called “underground”. etc. etc.

    I don’t know who came up with the “danger” topos as a thing that would threat the physical integrity. That’s not what I was talking about.

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    Posted on 09-Jul-10 at 14:35 | Permalink
  12. René

    Without myriads of new kids that play or listen to retro-80′s HC-crap, there would be no “Touch & Go”-book (probably).

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    Admin Reply:

    You’ve gotta be kidding.

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    René Reply:

    don’t get me wrong, Erich… when i got the “best of Touch & Go Magazine”, that Selfless Records published 1991 I was really thrilled by the pure energy and stunned by some of the outrageous stupidity. it was really inspiring. and so it will be for some of the younger readers today.
    but why this book sees the light of day now? because the musical style survived through reissues, boots, and all the bands that try to copy the sound of some bands of that era.
    maybe this retro-thing is lame, especially for the older folks that heard everything from the fine beginnings of rock’n'roll to harsh noise/shitcore.
    (listening to something new is always like deja vu.)
    but without all that rehash, maybe no books like this or films like “You weren’t there” would be produced.

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    Admin Reply:

    First off, I think movies, books and records produce the rehash and are not their product. Secondly, I would bet that since 1991 and today, things have changed massively. Kids of today don’t buy such a book. And even if: What would be the significance of it?

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    fuck retro Reply:

    one of them is probably already scanning & uploading his dad’s copy hahaha

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    Posted on 09-Jul-10 at 15:21 | Permalink
  13. Excellent writing. I’ve said it many times before but can be repeated over and over. Make me eager to get a copy of it NOW.

    The scene is dead and it’s a pity so many try to relive it. It will never be the same. About the music. It will live on in one form or another whetever we like it or not. In the beginning of the 00′s I was totally soaked up by the retro trend cause it felt fresh compared to what was going on in the 90′s. Now it’s a bit of guilty pleasures sometimes but I get more and more pissed that the kids don’t manage to do something different out of the rich and creative heritage they can dig from. It would be so easy to make something different nowadays inside what goes for punk or hc instead they seem more concerned about not sounding like THAT old 80s HC band or 70s punk band.

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    eddie Reply:

    I totally agree with you! Word to the Small Penis!

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    My penis is small Reply:

    Typo:”instead they seem more concerned about NOT sounding” take away not if that wasn´t clear.

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    Posted on 09-Jul-10 at 19:49 | Permalink
  14. Dewey Decimal

    My copy just arrived, can’t wait to dig in, love that Brannon is the cover

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    Posted on 10-Jul-10 at 00:47 | Permalink
  15. eddie

    I purchased my copy via Paypal a few days ago and I’m anxiously waiting for it to arrive!!

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    Posted on 10-Jul-10 at 02:20 | Permalink
  16. eddie

    By the way, I am not reading Erich’s article on the fanzine book because I don’t want it spoiled. I will read Erich’s article article after I see it.

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    Posted on 10-Jul-10 at 02:23 | Permalink
  17. Aside from all the retro crap music, does the world really need any more books or movies made about Punk and HC? I suppose this particular effort serves it’s purpose for some folks, so I’m not totally bashing it, but I would never read it and I am an avid reader. That scene just wasn’t all that great or earth-shattering as to deserve all these retrospectives and I’m stating this as a FAN. They could have just as easily scanned the masters for this zine and stuck them up on the web.

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    Dewey.decimal Reply:

    Retard

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    mrpoopy Reply:

    That’s the best you can come up with?

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    dewey.decimal Reply:

    Only a retard would say, “That scene wasn’t all that great or earth-shattering as to deserve all these retrospectives and I’m stating that as a FAN.” mrpoopy, if you were there for that scene, then you must have been deaf, dumb and blind if you found Neg. Approach, the Fix, Necros, Meatmen, etc. “not all that great.” All I’m saying. And the book is a fucking inch and a quarter thick, double sided. So much for your brilliant idea of scanning and sticking them up on the web.

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    mrpoopy Reply:

    They had to transfer them into digital format in order to publish the book, Einstein, so of course they could make the files available for download. Many businesses scan that many pages a DAY for their records and store them on a shared hard drive for years, so their employees can view them without the hassle of losing the files in a file cabinet. It’s 2010, shithead.

    I wasn’t there. Never liked Negative Approach. I bought the records as a kid and haven’t played them in years. Unlike some of you guys, I don’t play with the same toys I played with when I was 18 and I don’t mire myself in nostalgia. I have new toys now and the good old days weren’t all that good. I sometimes go months without spinning my old records because, quite frankly, I have better things to do and so should any other adult who isn’t independently wealthy and has to take care of providing for themselves–or do you still live in mommy’s basement? This is a book some 20 year-old kid might find interesting–most grownups have better things to read with their limited free time, unless they’re hard up for something to look at in the shitter.

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    Admin Reply:

    Yeah, I bet you got better things to do, crybaby.

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    eddie Reply:

    Mrpoopy, why don’t u go poop somewhere else!

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    eddie Reply:

    Erich, you thought my posts were idiotic??? Well this guy’s post takes the fucking cake!!!

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    justin Reply:

    Uh, oh Erich, they’re trying to give you hand jobs again.

    [Reply]

    eddie Reply:

    Whatever . . .

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    Posted on 10-Jul-10 at 02:49 | Permalink
  18. jonas

    I ordered the book right after reading this. Great job as always! The only blog I know to have great music and writing of academic quality.

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    Posted on 10-Jul-10 at 14:03 | Permalink
  19. Zach

    So when is the Megawimp book coming out? haha.

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    Admin Reply:

    There’s a local publisher who’s interested in releasing the four issues (incl. the never released original issue from 84-85) as a small book, actually. Haha.

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    Posted on 10-Jul-10 at 21:11 | Permalink
  20. What's the Truth?

    Interesting post, Erich. I think it does a good job of summarizing a lot of the stray and passing statements you’ve peppered across many posts on the subject of retro-fetishism.

    As you know, I can’t comment on this specific past, but on the present, as Foucault (haha, yes, I know, I know) said:

    “All of this beauty of old times is an effect of and not a reason for nostalgia. I know very well that it is our own invention. But it’s quite good to have this kind of nostalgia, just as it’s good
    to have a good relationship with your own childhood if you have children. It’s a good thing to have nostalgia toward some periods on the condition that it’s a way to have a thoughtful and
    positive relation to your own present. But if nostalgia is a reason to be aggressive and uncomprehending toward the present, it has to be excluded.”

    That being said, I do believe that there is an empirical problem with music today. Personally, I think that the problem is that the energy of the past, reproducing the sheer exuberance and creativity, is just not encouraged today. It’s sort of the same problem with people recording cover songs that sound exactly the same as the originals, with the artist struggling to erase themselves and superimpose their influences in their place.

    Deleuze, in Difference and Repetition, had an interesting way of categorizing phenomena. He argued that something’s relationship to its predecessor should be assessed by how closely the difference it creates resembles the difference created by its predecessor, rather than by looking at whether or not the thing itself resembled its past. In other words, trying hard to sound like 1980 Black Flag in 2010 wouldn’t be doing much to embody Black Flag or their influence, but doing for “hardcore”-descended music now what the Flag did for Punk back then would be. It’s about creating an impact by transforming what exists now, doing something new. No one is really doing that.

    In general, I don’t mind when I see kids today dress as if they walked out of 1983. The problem for me is when this becomes part of that issue Foucault outlined…using elements of the past is one thing, but obsessively trying to recreate a past era and hanging onto that notion of authenticity is hopeless and even suicidal.

    [Reply]

    Admin Reply:

    I think it’s quite simple, actually: A subcultural phenomenon such as Hardcore, which drew its power and creativity from the immediacy and spontaneity, collapses rapidly.

    One of its undeniable qualities was that it was pretty open to be interpreted – that’s why and how all these often strange variations came about. From left radical political bands to fascist, from hedonistic to straight edge, from the nihilistic to Krishna etc.

    I personally find it very difficult to operate with Foucault or Deleuze in the way you did. These global, widespread and a bit ahistorical theories can hardly be applied here, in such an isolated and short lived and, frankly, actually quite uninteresting cultural sector. It can be made interesting, I think, when you contextualize the Hardcore, the Punk, the Metal – you name it – phenomenon, but that would also mean to find a context to make the examination productive, fruitful. This is where I see “big theory”.

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    Posted on 11-Jul-10 at 05:01 | Permalink
  21. XXX

    I hate goodbadmusic. this blog is like a pain in the ass. the boring writing never ends and the music mostly sucks. you have no idea of hc and you know shit about anything. your agenda is simply to put down radical music and politics. you’re a fucking moron. go fuck yourself. go to philosophy class if you really need people to listen to your sermon. loser.

    [Reply]

    Admin Reply:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QsogswrH6ck

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    Thomas Reply:

    That’s pretty well put.

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    What's the Truth? Reply:

    If you hate this place so much, why do you keep coming back to tell everyone how much you hate it? No one forces you to spend your time on this tiny corner of the internet.

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    Posted on 11-Jul-10 at 11:32 | Permalink
  22. Phil Vas

    I like the Uniform Choice in conjunction with this post — an album (and perhaps an agenda) that appeared when hardcore was in its death throes to some, its infancy to others.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 12-Jul-10 at 05:24 | Permalink
  23. Sean

    My initial statements weren’t aimed at anyone in particular. When you’re inundated with people who are pushing 50 and they’re STILL completely fucked up from their pasts (often with no remorse for their actions), it just gets very depressing to me about human nature as a whole (as if punk to them was ONLY about being a hardass or a loser). Maybe it’s regional (L.A. bullshit “gangster” mentality), but my ENTIRE experience(s) speaking with old punks, checking out old archives of material (both mainstream AND “authentic lifer” documents such as zines) there seemed to be this pursuit of the so-called “danger” on a physical level (it was always stated to me as physical rather than any sort of spiritual excitement one feels from a band). They (the dinosaurs) still talk like that…they LOVED the violence they experienced and perpetrated at shows. They want THAT aspect back it always seems and never the more positive vibes.

    On the flip side…ERICH, you would have a field day with L.A.’s current scene. On the surface you may dismiss them as “lost kids”, but I tell you there’s so damn much energy and new (okay, maybe “new-old”) ideas flowing in all aspects, not just the manufacture of music to consume. Punk here is far, faaar from dead,.

    Lotta contrarian douchebags in this thread though (they’re jealous of you of course Erich).

    [Reply]

    Admin Reply:

    Maybe these people (men, I’m sure) just wanna sound really tough – cause they’re pathetic old losers?

    I don’t know, Sean. The word “scene” alone makes me feel uncomfortable. And I don’t like to hang out with kids so much, quite frankly (unless they’re female). Let them have their life; it’s not mine.

    Jealous of me? Haha, good one.

    [Reply]

    howardx Reply:

    sean you may be right in attributing that attitude to LA, the scene in seattle wasnt all that violent, occasional fights but no real gangs you had to worry about or anything. i know when you see interviews of people like jack grisham of tsol he does seem to go on about the violent part of it more than any positive aspect. if i may be permitted another attempt at “intellegentsia” punk was city and hardcore was suburb, with all that goes along with that.

    [Reply]

    howardx Reply:

    i guess i would have to spell it right to begin with…

    [Reply]

    Thomas Reply:

    Violence certainly was not a problem of the European HC scene. Actually, the violence of the traditional punk scene led to kids searching for a different outlet, travelling to smaller cities where the “big punks” didn’t go and visiting smaller shows in youth centres and so on where HC could and would flourish. In particular I remember one Bad Brains show in Munich in May 1983 (with ZSD and Toxoplasma opening) where the brutality got so out of hand that this meek pimply 17 yr old swore to himself never to attend a punk show like that again. It was just no fun being steamrolled by some guys that were double my size. Then there were show in Kempten (DOA) that were much more civilized, then we heard of something like a HC scene in AJZ Bielefeld and became jealoius, then I saw a HC show in Berlin in summer of 84 with real stagediving courtesy of some insane Italians, then there was Spermbirds. Th first time I saw them in Nagold was just the most intense epiphany one can have. Mind you, not all that much “danger” involved, but that was European HC.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 12-Jul-10 at 11:45 | Permalink
  24. I knew this was comming but had forgotten about it so thanks for the reminder, will buy now!

    To all of those that have so much to say about hardcore in 2010, I wonder: Nevermind the obvious cheap plastic crap bands that are evidently around today, but what about the truly GREAT records being released today?

    When you write off todays hardcore bands as ‘nostalgic’ etc, to what extent do you think that you are a qualified person to make this judgement? Are you aware of what is happening today? Or as I imagine, are you just making lazy ignorant comments based on having spent 5 minutes on Myspace?

    I imagine you had to get involved to find out about things back in the day, the same is true today. Based on that alone, I doubt many people commenting here are allowed to make informed comments on hardcore in 2010.

    Remember DIY?

    [Reply]

    Admin Reply:

    I only remember DRI.

    [Reply]

    fuck retro Reply:

    nobody’s talking about taste: who cares what you like and what not? we’re talking about a once original and vibrant movement that vanished like every other has or will do. if some retro garbage that is flogging a dead horse 25 years later still does do it for you ….. as erich said somewhere: imagine we had covered the beatles back then.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 12-Jul-10 at 15:53 | Permalink
  25. fuck retro

    ^^^@ “tony”

    [Reply]

    Tony Reply:

    ^^^@ “retro fuck”
    I know that the internet is predominately a place to throw around casual and uninformed opinions, but I could not help myself questioning this overwhelming negative view about hardcore in 2010. It was not a comment about (my) tastes.

    There are definitly hardcore bands that should be considered “cover bands” or “hardcore imitation” or “retro hardcxore” bands today, but I am sure the same could be said about 1981. The point is that there are also bands today that are forward-looking and pushing hardcore in all sorts of new directions.

    Writing off DIY hardcore punk in 2010 as simply “some retro garbage that is flogging a dead horse” (as you did) is absurd. It says more about you than the state of hardcore in 2010. It also illustrates exactly what I meant in the first place: Those that say that “hardcore is dead” is really just saying that they have lost interest in hardcore.

    To paraphrase: who cares that you are no longer interested in hardcore?

    [Reply]

    Admin Reply:

    C’mon Tony. This is getting pathetic. Any 50s, 60s or 70s retro hipster would say just what you said. But we’re not discussing your personal sensitivities here (which I hope is good in general), we’re trying to scratch the surface and come up with arguments, thesis and some reflection.

    [Reply]

    Thomas Reply:

    Doesn’t it come down to the question: is HC a style of music or is it actually an attitude, transported through music? The reason why HC HC guys didn’t wanna do anymore HC anymore (instead forming bands like, say, Loveslug) was because it became boring and repetitive, because the original sentiment that drove the music was gone. I’m not saying a band today that chooses to play the style of HC can’t be good, it is just not an original form of expression but a copy of some already existant form – as I am sure is a valid statement for a lot of HC fron the eighties, too.

    [Reply]

    Admin Reply:

    That’s one way to look at it, Thomas. I look at it as historian, not as somebody who’s been actively involved. I find it extremely interesting that a certain type of music, or rather yet: of playing music was developed globally at more or the less the same time. Not that it was “invented” by band this or producer that – it was “in the air”. As I see historical processes, time (politics, culture, knowledge, power etc.) acts through people, societies or forms of art, and not the other way round. That’s the whole conception of what I’m writing about. I try to isolate certain topics from others, try to find points in time when things may appear the same, but the context around them has changed so radically, that in fact what “is” the same – is not the same.

    [Reply]

    Lars Reply:

    Brilliant, just brilliant! This method may be common in science (history, literature etc) but I’ve never seen it applied in this context. You should write that book Erich, you really should.

    [Reply]

    Admin Reply:

    Thanks, Lars! Has your dissertation been published in the meantime? Can’t seem to find it …..
    Yeah, I know, I know. I’d love to write that book. But you know the (financial) problems, don’t you ;-)

    Tony Reply:

    Erich, that is all perfectly sound to me. But most peopl ehere were not trying to come up with any reflection or thesis. Rather all I have seen here was a load of emotional outbursts along the “you were not there” type -which I think rather comically deserves the response of “You are not here”.

    Jokes aside, I don’t understand how it must follow that HC in 2010 is solely backwards-looking, retro, pointless whatever. I am genuinely interested.

    I don’t think you agree that the term HC should be used solely in a historical setting that describes the musical similarities at the single point in time of geographical distant bands such as Bad Brains, Black Flag, Middle Class and Teen Idles.

    Or perhaps Huvudtvatt was a retro band? What about Terveet Kadet, the Shit Lickers, Wretched, Kangrena, Dezerter and Gauze?

    What I don’t understand is: When exactly did hardcore “die” and at what time do you think that “retro hardcore” began? I know historians aren’t that keen on making observations about something as dangerous as the present, but how should the various ways that hardcore has evolved over 30 years (and in fact continuing to evolve) be understood? Are there really more differences than similarities between hardcore in 1982 and hardcore in 2010?

    Are these not legitimate questions to ask?

    [Reply]

    Admin Reply:

    I think these are very interesting questions. I have tried to answer these from different points of view, in different contexts in various posts. If you’d ask me for a simple chronology, I’d say Hardcore as an innovative and productive movement faded away in the mid 80s. For others, it dies in 1983, yet others would say it lasted until the 90s, when it became seriously marketed.

    Dewey Decimal Reply:

    Retro hardcore in 1981. Right!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 12-Jul-10 at 17:19 | Permalink
  26. René

    this post and it’s comments are one big proof how outstanding this blog really is. every moron (like myself) threw in his two cents and because of what? because something snapped by reading it… and thats a rare thing in blogland desert. it’s provocative in the best sense of word and don’t confuse it with wanna-be-offensive “i like to piss on your leg, ’cause i’m soooo mean”-stuff. it’s clever and witty writing. i just can agree with approximately 30% of it (same goes with the posted music), but i’m a devoted reader.

    [Reply]

    Admin Reply:

    Thans a lot René. It’s good to hear you appreciate the blog critically. That’s what keeps it rolling!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 12-Jul-10 at 21:55 | Permalink
  27. jeff

    after reading I had to order the book. great blog. reminds me of the old mrr days but way fresher. thanks.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 13-Jul-10 at 23:43 | Permalink
  28. eddie

    I got this book in the mail yesterday and I was lost in the nostalgia of what the scene used to be like. I had heard about T&G fanzine back in the day but never got to see a copy. The only fanzines that were being sold at the magazine shop was Flipside and MRR and then later Ink Disease. I had a copy of Ripper when I bought Crucifix’s first 12″. I encourage all lovers of old school hardcore to buy this book.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 15-Jul-10 at 03:00 | Permalink
  29. Rusty James

    I just ordered the book including the extra stuff, can´t wait to get it!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 16-Jul-10 at 12:19 | Permalink
  30. Thomas

    1. Excellent job, Erich, keep on trucking.

    2. I ordered the book a week before (the 1st ltd. edition with all the fancy stuff), but didn’t get it until now!

    3. I’m not an old pathetic moron, but today’s Hardcore shows are like the Kindergarten, nice boys and girls listening to fast music, but that’s o.k., I don’t wish the ol’ times back, because it was so f…ing violent here in Germany, always troubles with cops, rockers, rednecks, soccer supporters (10 on 1 was the regular relationship), gangs and skinheads, you always better had to watch your back everywhere and it wasn’t glorious, but these times had a special vibe, which is no more in music, fashion, style and so on. It’s just over, it burnt out around 1985.

    [Reply]

    Thomas Reply:

    Which hardcore scene are you talking about exactly? There was no hardcore in Germany before, let’s say, 1984… at least none that was discernible to me or what I would call hardcore… Most of what you’re talking about would apply to what I would call the punk scene, plain and simple… Maybe it’s just semantics, but I don’t really agree with your view.

    [Reply]

    Admin Reply:

    That’s what I thought too. The Hardcore scene in Germany was a really friendly and almost familiar little scene, especially in the south where everybody seemed to know everybody.

    [Reply]

    eddie Reply:

    Thomas, you left out that the kids fucking old punk rock parents escort them to the shows! What a fucking joke that is! They don’t want their kids to do the same things they did at the shows and don’t want them to get hurt! Fucking pious conformists!!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 19-Jul-10 at 20:36 | Permalink
  31. Thomas

    Thomas u-r right with yr critics.
    I’m talking about the German Punkscene from 1980 til 1983, that was different than the German Punk circuit from 1977 til 1979 on a high level, not even musically, it had a rough suburban element in it from 1980 on like in California, because all the young Hardcore-Punks (incl. me!) from suburbia invaded the ‘scene’, so these Hardcore-Punk years were full of Teenage angst & violence.
    After this came the classic Hardcore years, even in Germany, u know, what I’m talking about…all these stuff going on after 1984 with bands like the Spermbirds, Tu Do Hospital, SOS, HOA etc., it was different, but wouldn’t seperate it too much.
    This Hardcore thing burnt out in Germany around 1989, in my opinion.

    [Reply]

    Thomas Reply:

    See, semantics. I’m with you on that on all accounts. And I remember the rocker-wars in Ampermoching and later the skinhead-thing – very bad in Nuremberg.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 20-Jul-10 at 18:10 | Permalink
  32. modern poseur

    The administrator’s obsession with modern punk is puzzling to me. He goes out of his way to repeatedly slam it, say it doesn’t exist, etc., which betrays an aura of insecurity. Not to mention, it’s even more laughable coming from someone who wasn’t even in a first wave hardcore band. “The scene” had been dead way before his grind band even put anything out! Hit up my email with your address and I’ll send you a gun with one bullet and a mirror you old joke.

    [Reply]

    Admin Reply:

    What people like you can’t understand: We’re not talking about your petty sensitivities here. It doesn’t make me or anybody my age (or older) insecure to see the young geriatrics worldwide copying and copying. That just proves how retro it is. And age is absolutely unimportant to acknowledge this or debate it: Whether you’ve been part of “it” or not doesn’t change a thing. I guess this just proves how insecure it makes you feel, playing the loudmouth anonymously. Imagine that: You’re like 20 years old, play “hard” music and then your parents generation tells you how lame it all is. And of course you know it and you wish and wish you were a bit older or brighter or more creative or braver – or all of it together. How horrible must that be. Is this why you wanna nick your daddy’s gun and mail it to me?

    By the way, we formed our “grind band” because we wanted to create something new. We all had been heavily active in the music thing for many years before that.

    [Reply]

    James Reply:

    Why so polite, Mr. Keller? Why even bother and let such stupid comments through?

    [Reply]

    Admin Reply:

    Where to draw the line? What would I not let through? If it doesn’t get very, very bad, I simply approve the comment. In this case, it seemed appropriate because it’s so unwillingly funny.

    [Reply]

    francis (born 1987) Reply:

    guess the admin stroke a nerve. save that bullet for yourself.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 23-Jul-10 at 06:12 | Permalink
  33. Rusty James

    My copy arrived today. AWESOME! This book is a must for everyone that is seriously interested in Punk and Harcore Music!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 24-Jul-10 at 13:16 | Permalink
  34. Clinton Chapman

    The Touch and Go book arrived to my parent’s address some 1000km’s away(as I neglected to change my details in my paypal account). Anyway, upon first opening the book the cover just peeled right off the bound insides. Such a shame that so much effort has gone into doing a book like this, and the soft cover just peels away. Was there a hard cover edition? I could use one of them.
    Killer book, nice to see the early issues and see how things evolved. A bunch of the later stuff I’d already seen in the 1991 newsprint re-issue.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 10-Aug-10 at 03:56 | Permalink
  35. As a Librarian, I felt it was my duty to order this book for the Library I am at. The book should be coming in any day.
    I try to bring cool and interesting things into the Library to educate the kiddies.
    Plus, I gotta support Tesco Vee!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 02-Sep-10 at 20:08 | Permalink
  36. rodrigo

    Ordered a copy couple of days ago,cant wait to receive in my hands such a fucking big piece of music history printed on paper.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 20-Jul-11 at 08:01 | Permalink
  37. floss

    i am 33. got exposed to hardcore via the melvins. (literally… they practiced next door to my uncle’s house.) very early in my life. maybe 7 or 8. i didn’t know what it was about hardcore. but it really made my high school years bearable. especially since i was in high school during the height of powerviolence, or whatever it was called.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 31-Dec-12 at 09:52 | Permalink

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