Book Review: Sheet Music

David Ensminger

Sheet Music

Left of the Dial: Conversations With Punk Icons

by David Ensminger
PM Press, 296 pp., $20 (paper)

Sad and bloody day when Houston historian and educator David Ensminger, drummer for Randy "Biscuit" Turner's final outfit the Texas Biscuit Bombs, nailed the door shut on Left of the Dial in 2005. The most intelligent punk fanzine this side of S.F.'s Search and Destroy, the meat of the mag was Ensminger's penetrating interviews, wherein he confronted the cream of the subculture's history to ask questions no one had thought to ask. To a man, everyone save for Jello Biafra, whom I can testify is tough to steer off-script, was so disarmed by Ensminger that they spilled all. Anthologized here, those conversations stack up an impressive body of work, encompassing punk's founding fathers (Damned, Dils, UK Subs), hardcore heroes (Ian MacKaye, Gary Floyd, Mike Watt), and label-owning visionaries like Frontier Records' Lisa Fancher. Some of the most revealing and candid words spoken from inside punk rock can be found in Left of the Dial, the book. (David Ensminger appears Sunday, 1pm, at the Capitol Extension, Rm. E2.014.)

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Kevin Brass, Jan. 20, 2006

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Left of the Dial, Texas Book Festival 2013

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