TRIPLE BOOK REVIEW: Punk Bands, Town Drunks, And Others
by James MacLaren
More Barroom Transcripts, Featuring Tony Straub
Rich Stewart and Tony Straub, 2001, Craphouse Press, craphousepress.com
Tales of a Miscellaneous Man
J. Berk, 2001, Craphouse Press, craphousepress.com
Amped, Notes From a Go-Nowhere Punk Band
Jon Resh, 2001, Viper Press, viperpress.com
Whattayasay we take a little time out for some fun, ok?
I’ve had it with towel-headed dingdongs, living in some godforsaken hole in the
ground that doesn’t even have shitpaper, waving their moronic fists in the air
and shouting, “Death to America.” I got news for you, assholes: When it comes,
it’s gonna be Death FROM America. We’re big enough and bad enough that we can
kick your sorry asses back to the stone age (wait a minute, you guys are still
IN the fucking stone age, so I guess we’ll just have to kick your sorry asses
back to the Precambrian or something) and get drunk and party like hell at the
same time. So fuck you.
Now, where were we?
Oh yeah, fun.
Gotta love fun, right? Well, except for all you butthole towelheads.
Are there any fun-loving towelheads out there? Hey guys, if it’s true that some
of you like fun, let us know. Tell us about your wild and crazy high jinks. As
opposed to high JACKS. Boogie with Osama. What a concept.
Now guys like Tony Straub, Jon Resh, and J. (c’mon J., tell us what it stands
for, ok?) Berk know how to fucking PARTY! Big time. And, lucky us, they can
either write about it themselves (Jon and J.), or have somebody hanging around
with them that can (Tony).
Deranged, psychotic, megaloony partying.
Each of these books approaches the subject from its own unique perspective. And
each one seems to enhance and feed off of the other two in a delightfully
More Barroom Transcripts continues the tradition of Barroom Transcripts, which I
may have been a little harsh on in my review of it. So fuck me. Straub and his
drinking buddy/chronicler Rich Stewart just sort of hang out in the sleazy end
of town in the local deadfalls and watch it all swirl around them. When they’re
not swirling right along with it themselves. The series of essays starting on
page 52, detailing the crazed activities surrounding nocturnal visits from
deranged friends, laughing gas, sex, drugs, alcohol, and god knows what else, is
just a fucking PRIZE. I can’t even begin to properly describe it, but it’s good.
And, as a special bonus, the copy of the book I’m holding right here jumps from
page 72 to page 82 and then runs BACKWARDS, back down to page 73 where it then
skips directly to page 83 as if nothing at all had happened. I can’t imagine
this was deliberate, but then again maybe it is. This book likes to fuck with
your head I guess.
Amped is a, more or less, straightforward accounting of the birth, life, and
death of a certain punk rock band, Spoke, as told by one of its members in a
lovingly hilarious style. Bloodied dummies in the road attracting throngs of
police and rescue units, lawn gnomes taking clandestine trips across country,
going on tour and PUSHING a broke-down VW van six MILES down an interstate to
the next offramp, and on and on and on. Ripping good stuff!
Tales of a Miscellaneous Man is the hardest of the bunch to categorize, which is
actually a good thing. It too includes tales from the peregrinations of a punk
band, but there’s so much more. What I did with my summer vacation, a stint in
Africa, gonads getting shaved by a girl who’s tripping, people going through
plate glass doors, oh hell, there’s no end to it. All of it obnoxious and
hilarious as hell.
None of the above descriptions even begins to APPROACH adequacy, but it’s the
best I can do. I say read all three of these things. Not in any particular
order. Or even switching back and forth between them as you go.
Then maybe use’em as the subject for a book report in English class, just to
see what the teacher says.
It’s all just for fun anyway, right?