November 5, 2010

New England libraries get hardcore


Rarely do second editions get a lot of press. Even less likely is the chance an author will tour for the release of a second edition, especially if the book is published by an indie press. But that didn’t stop Feral House from sending out Steven Blush, author of American Hardcore: A Tribal History.

For a book about hardcore, one might’ve expected Feral House to send Blush on a full DIY tour, complete with readings at rock clubs or house shows and have him crashing on people’s couches. In a sense this was true, though the venues he chose weren’t likely to have seen much in the way of slam dancing or mosh pits. Blush recently went on a tour of libraries in New England, which he said was the suggestion of Portland, ME, teen librarian Michael Whittaker, who at one time was a publicist at SST Records, the seminal hardcore record label started by former Black Flag guitarist and founder Greg Ginn.

In an interview with Library Journal yesterday, Blush told Justin Hoenke the occasion was a also a chance for him to set the record straight about one of the last true subcultures. “I’ve learned so much more and have even reached new conclusions,” he said. “I had one last chance to get the story right.”

Blush thinks that the DIY ethos of hardcore and libraries’ mission to empower citizens with knowledge make a library tour a natural fit. “I come preaching an important message of DIY self-empowerment,” he says, “and libraries are ideal forums to help mold young minds. Plus, everyone pays lip service to ‘doing it for the kids’-I guess you can say I’m putting my money where my mouth is!”

When Hoenke asked him how hardcore overcame the music industry’s dismissal as a movement, and how librarians can similarly blaze their own path, Blush said:

Hardcore’s DIY mentality is something modern libraries could take cues from. The scene preached making your own opportunities and thinking outside of the box. So don’t sit around and wait for the inevitable budget cuts, branch out with dynamic new ways to raise funds or create awareness. Be as self-sufficient as possible, roll with the changes, and remain true to your ideals.