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Tesco Vee discussing his book ‘Touch and Go, The Complete Hardcore Punk Zine ’79-’83’ at Vacation Vinyl on Thursday April 14th

On Thursday night, Tesco Vee of the Meatmen was at Vacation Vinyl to present and sign his book ‘Touch and Go, The Complete Hardcore Punk Zine ’79-’83’.

Of course Touch and Go is better known as the label from Chicago but it all started by a zine, that Tesco Vee and Dave Stimson launched in 1979 in East Lansing Michigan, before it became in 1981 the independent record label which released American underground music of the 80s and 90s.

The heavy book (it’s a thick 576 page book!), which is actually the work of Tesco Vee, Stimson and editor Steve Miller (of the Fix), compiles 22 issues of the Touch and Go zine, and some bonus material from Ian MacKaye, Henry Rollins, and Keith Morris.

It was ‘shotgun journalism’, as Tesco Vee said, a self-printed fanzine compiling essays, reporting on the debuting hardcore-punk scene in Michigan, doing record reviews and interviews of then unknown bands like Effigies, Necros, Void, Crucifix, Minor Threat, SSD, Negative Approach, Misfits, Youth Brigade, Iron Cross, Scream, the Minutemen, Battalion of Saints, Bad Religion, 7 Seconds…

As models, he cited a few magazines which had ‘set the bar high’, like ‘Lester Bangs and Creem magazine of course!’

Obviously, this guy was in the middle of all this when it happened and he seemed to have known everyone, describing with passion a scene that will never happen again.

‘The 70s had it all’ he explained, talking about all the new different styles of music, ‘The Misfits are all over the book’ he also said telling he was good friends with Glenn Danzig until he turned into a douchebag (I think he actually used an even worst term)

There’s a little bit of nostalgia in all this, since, as he noticed, everything is so immediate now because of the internet, and long gone are the days when it was taking him 6 months to find a certain record. But as he was looking around him, he was happy to see vinyl records all over the place, and even tapes! ‘Everything seems to have come in full circle!’

He talked about his appearance with Ian MacKaye on Saturday Night Live, at the request of John Belushi who managed to get the hardcore band Fear as a musical guest and wanted some slamdancers for the occasion,… wow, hasn’t Saturday Night Live really changed!! ‘It was an embarrassing moment’, he said, the producer was angry, damage was reported, but he did remember (with an amused smile) about wanting to join Belushi getting high in the dressing room… but his favorite part of all this debacle? Some guy walked out with a huge pumpkin (it was a Halloween show), smashed it on stage and John Brannon grabbed the mic to yell on national TV: ‘Negative Approach, it’s gonna fuck you up’!

8000 copies of  ‘Touch and Go’ have already been sold, and listening to him, I couldn’t follow everything, couldn’t catch every name he was mentioning, as if a large part of punk rock history was passing in front of me in a very short amount of time.

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