Rock & Roll Books
Going Underground: American Punk, 1979-1992
by George Hurchalla
Zuo Press, 318 pp., $24.95
Hurchalla gets it right for using Idle Timer Dixon Colbourn's blazingly punk rock, Cash-esque photo of Randy "Biscuit" Turner, late of the Big Boys and this earth, as his cover shot. This second edition is dedicated to both of those Austin punk icons now presumably gigging across the great wide open in a winged Ford Econoline with Will Shatter, Joe Strummer, et al and includes an additional chapter on the Austin/Texas scene that's invaluable, both as historical record (the perpetually inclusive Big Boys contretemps with homophobic DCenesters Bad Brains is thick with menace) and as decidedly un-rose-tinted backward glance (MRR No. 6 sported the arresting cover header "The Dicks: A Commie Faggot Band!??!"). Trying to encapsulate the entirety of American punk rock, even with the 1992 cutoff in which Hurchalla wisely caps this exhaustive look-back, makes Hercules' Augean stable-boy routine seem positively fun, fun, fun. Nevertheless, Hurchalla's efforts are impressive, given the fragmented and regional nature of American hardcore in the Eighties, a time well before the Web made for a truly Punk Planet. Mimicking an Eighties-era tour, it meanders all over the place without ever fully wearing out its welcome. To paraphrase the Butthole Surfers: Regret is not having been there the first time round.