A Hardcore Heart: Adventures In A DIY Scene By David Gamage (Earth Island Books)

A Hardcore Heart: Adventures In A DIY Scene By David Gamage (Earth Island Books)

David Gamage has been a staple of the UKHC scene for over three decades, and he still promotes bands and authors through his record label Engineer Records and publishing company Earth Island Books. There’s no way you’ll have any serious talk about the punk rock scene in the UK without mentioning him at least once. Especially nowadays, after nearly 350+ records released under Engineer Records and around 20 books published under Earth Island Books. Of course, not to forget Joeyfat, Couch Potatoes, Rydell, Come The Spring, and The Atlantic Union Project, the bands he played or still plays with these days. David Gamage is an unstoppable force who gave so much to the UKHC scene. Of course, if you’re knee-deep into underground music, you probably already know the DIY scene takes more than it gives. Therefore, everything David does, he does straight from the heart, without asking for anything in return.

A Hardcore Heart: Adventures In A DIY Scene is his first book, of course, if we exclude Punk Faction BHP ’91 to ’95, a collection of zines he did back in the early nineties and later published as a book. I had the privilege of reading around 50 pages in the early stages of his writing process, and I was amazed by how many details David included in it. It’s a deep dive into the late eighties and early nineties, where he thoroughly describes how the life of a young punk rocker at the Royal Tunbridge Wells looked back then. I love the introduction to the book a lot because David included many details so you could get a brief idea of what was happening in the world at the time. He’s also showing off his writing skills right from the start, and you would never notice A Hardcore Heart: Adventures In A DIY Scene is his debut. Each story delivers a healthy dosage of humor, so you’ll have a good laugh while reading it.

After the introduction, David leads you through a comprehensive collection of stories based around Couch Potatoes, Rydell, Come The Spring, The Atlantic Union Project, BHP Zine, and Engineer Records. However, you’ll also have a chance to read about many other local and international bands, zines, labels, and promoters that shaped and still shape an underground scene today. Green Day, NOFX, Alice Donut, Jailcell Recipes, The BBMFs, Majority Of One, Spermbirds, The Babies Three, Understand, Samiam, Down By Law, Alloy, Hot Water Music, Bob Tilton, Tribute, Discount, Blue Tip, Leiah, Leatherface, Spy Versus Spy, Hunter Gatherer, Dismemberment Plan, Burning Airlines, and Piebald are just some of the bands you can expect to read about in A Hardcore Heart, but there are many more mentioned along the way.

You’ll be surprised how the bands crossed paths and worked together harmoniously, considering there was no social media or the internet in those days. Of course, David also mentioned straight edge, vegetarian and vegan movements in these stories, so you’ll get an idea of how things worked for those movements in the UK at the time. David certainly knows how to go into the depths and details, and you’ll get the impression that you were a part of it after reading A Hardcore Heart. Through this book, David shares insights into the 90s UK scene in a brilliant, descriptive, and entertaining way. These stories will occupy your attention until the last pages and hopefully inspire you to start a band, zine, or record label. A Hardcore Heart: Adventures In A DIY Scene is available to pre-order at Earth Island Books, so don’t miss it.

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