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Rock Reads: Touch and Go: The Complete Hardcore Punk Zine '79-'83 by Tesco Vee & Dave Stimson

Reviewed by Kevin Wierzbicki

Touch and Go was the perfect printed companion to the punk music being made in the late '70s and early '80s. The zine was certainly an underdog, published in the not so much a punk hotbed of Lansing, Michigan and having at first a miniscule distribution. What the zine had going for it was the high entertainment value provided by the uncensored output of its publishers and primary writers, Tesco Vee of the Meatmen and his pal Dave Stimson. The pair weren't afraid to spit out well-aimed phlegm balls; if they thought something sucked they said so, often in vulgar terms. Besides the sometimes brutal reviews of albums and shows, each issue featured a lengthy list of what Vee and Stimson liked and disliked with the former consisting mostly of musical acts and the latter ticking off things like leprosy, Detroit radio and "people from California who think people in Michigan are ignorant." Naughty cartoons and irreverent inserts of all types added to the zine's personality but T & G's lasting value is to be found in exclusive content like interview pieces with Minor Threat, JFA, Youth Brigade, Necros, Die Kreuzen and dozens of other punk mainstays. Stimson burned out on the mag towards the end and Vee put out the last few issues on his own and then went on to concentrate on the Touch and Go record label. The entire twenty-two issue output of the zine is here, appended with new commentary from Vee and Stimson and introductory essays from scenesters like Black Flag members Henry Rollins and Keith Morris, Ian MacKaye of Minor Threat and Steve Miller of the Fix who also edits the book. Relatively short articles make Touch and Go good bathroom reading material but a bygone era is also nicely encapsulated in this profusely-illustrated 500+ page coffee table-style book; plan on eventually making room on your bookshelf for this keeper.

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