Whoever grabbed a musical instrument for even a month and played it in an overheated, sweaty rehearsing room full of like-minded colleagues knows how musicians’ life can be difficult. However, the life of a touring punk rock musician is even more difficult due to so many bad things that can happen along the way. When you live your life by a DIY ethos, you can only depend on your organizing, navigating, scheduling, booking skills and follow some basic instinct what’s good and bad for you and your band. Thankfully, most of the time spent on the road consists of meeting/hanging out with likewise people, fun times, anecdotes, epic fails, awkward situations that can only happen to a punk rock musician. The book I would like to introduce to you today perfectly depicts life on the road for not only punk rock but any other musician who decided to get into the van with a bunch of friends and tour the globe.
Directions to the Outskirts of Town: Punk Rock Tour Diaries from Nineties North America is a tour diary written by a Welly Artcore legendary UK zinester mostly known for operating Artcore Zine since 1985. Since the early nineties, Welly also played in various bands such as Four Letter Word, Chaos UK, Signal Crimes, State Funeral, and Violent Arrest. He also operated Damaged Records from 2004 to 2008 and Ghost Town Records from 2012 to 2014. Directions to the Outskirts of Town: Punk Rock Tour Diaries from Nineties North America describes life on the road during two tours. The first part follows a life in a van with Chaos UK and all the situations they went through together when the band spent two-month touring across the United States in 1994. The second part follows Welly’s band Four Letter Words while touring across the States and Canada in 1998. The best part about these stories is that it isn’t all about playing shows and hanging with fellow musicians, but also having troubles with authorities, driving long distances, and documenting all possible and impossible things you can stumble upon while on the road.
Like any other tour diary, Directions to the Outskirts of Town: Punk Rock Tour Diaries from Nineties North America carries detailed stories about the life of punk rock musicians on the road. The book includes stories about the gigs they played, bands they met along the way, stories behind the scene, anecdotes, and all other stuff. It is one of those books you read in one sitting without making a pause. It’s entertaining reading material from scratch to finish, and Welly fully stacked these stories with a healthy dosage of wittiness and humor. Besides talking about life on tour, Directions to the Outskirts of Town: Punk Rock Tour Diaries from Nineties North America also serves as a significant document about the times when some bands and festivals were still underground and far away from the mainstream. This book is also proof that the crowd was still interested in activities on the underground punk rock scene, despiting the rise of alternative rock and grunge up to the mainstream circles.
As usual, Earth Island Books did their best to showcase these stories in the brightest light. You’ll be blown away by the quality of the cover, paper, printing. Earth Island continues to amaze with each new edition. The publisher printed Directions to the Outskirts of Town: Punk Rock Tour Diaries from Nineties North America on glossy paper that doesn’t reflect the light too much, and the thick plastified covers will protect your copy of the book for a very long time. The book has over 300 pages with previously unpublished photos, posters, flyers, and other material, so this book will be such a treat for all those music enthusiasts who love good punk rock literature. Head over to Earth Island Books for more information about ordering.