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TOUCH AND GO: The Complete Hardcore Punk Fanzine ’79-’83 (Book Review)

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touchandgofanzineLong before the internet made it possible for assholes like myself to have an outlet to instantly publish and propagate our thoughts and opinions, the fanzine reigned supreme when it came to discovering and championing music that was not quite mainstream.

In the early 90’s I wrote for two of these black and white music ‘zines: Oil: The Music Tabloid, and Slowfish: The Underwater Magazine. They were given out for free at local record stores, bars, nightclubs, or anywhere else that we could find to distribute. What I didn’t know at the time was how far back the legacy of the fanzine went…

Through my own musical exploration I’d discovered Touch and Go Records. I can’t recall which band hit me first, but it was either THE JESUS LIZARD, URGE OVERKILL, or THE BUTTHOLE SURFERS – all three of which entered my ears for the first time somewhere around 1992. While the label was familiar, it was on a regular trip to Iowa City one Friday (it became a ritual of skipping school and going on a hunt for records) that I discovered that Touch and Go started out as a black & white fanzine. Tucked away in a distant corner of an Iowa City record store were a couple of xeroxed back-issues from the early ’80’s. I have no idea if they were originals or copies, but either way the discovery was a glimpse into the past.

The original Touch and Go (created by Tesco Vee and Dave Stimson in Lansing, Michigan) ran for 22 issues from 1979-1983, with the early issues said to have only seen print runs of 100 copies, with later issues hitting 1000. Even with a print run that seems ridiculously low, the ‘zine became a legendary icon of underground music.

Now, thanks to BAZILLION POINTS, the entire run has been collected into a massive, softcover volume – complete with new essays looking back on the era, along with show flyers and other memorabilia from the day.

TOUCH AND GO: The Complete Hardcore Punk Fanzine ’79-’83, is a behemoth – with nearly 600 pages and the weight of a phone book, T&G is a time capsule that should be owned and cherished by fans of punk rock, hardcore, ska – or just music aficionados in general.

I’ve had the book in my collection since July, and it was something that just could not be digested in one sitting. It’s a book to be absorbed over time.


The Rock Father Rating: 5/5 Stars

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