"xXx Fanzine (1983-1988): Hardcore & Punk in the Eighties" by Mike Gitter [Book Review]

- Dec 09, 2017 at 05:51PM
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Rating: 9 out of 10
The name Mike Gitter has echoes of significance for anyone who came up in the American hardcore punk scene during the 1980's, particularly for folk in the New England area. Gitter's approach to zines, along with his knack for contacting a prescient cross-section of the punk and hardcore scenes, was incredible. With a mix of youthful zeal, pounding pavement, and generally just getting involved without asking for permission, Mike was able to come out the gates swinging with his zine, featuring interviews, photos and reviews involving bands and musicians from such acts as The Misfits, Minor Threat, and S.S. Decontrol. The table of contents alone reads like an essential playlist of everything that defined the hardcore punk movement of the 80's, and in turn influence everything in punk today.

The book is a seminal guide for those nostalgic for an era that used to mean grinding for quarters to use the local Xerox machine, or for those who want to learn how a kid managed to memorialise a national movement with about as much funds as it takes to start a website today. Furthermore, the photographs tell as insightful a story as the words contained therein. They embody the power and fury of a youth movement that refused to allow a top down version of the music industry dictate their movements. Instead, together, they spoke to each other, and Gitter's own version of this stands as a testament to the direct control anyone with the will could reach out and grab it for themselves, as long as they were willing to do it themselves.

What is most powerful about this, and what is most clear from all of this, is that the zine teaches us the all-too-important and delicate balance of maintaining one's own personal drive, while also confirming that any movement takes a village. The amount of contributors, whether photographers or musicians or writers, meant that Gitter needed to consistently choose to sweat it out for his project, while simultaneously tapping the brilliant talents of other like-minded individuals. Overall, this is a book that acts as the best parts of coffee table companion and 80's punk blueprint. Indeed, it is Mike's own untempered delight for the scene that still skillfully guides the reader through a mesmerising take of the path that scores of fellow punks followed.

Written by: Mike Gitter
Publisher: Bridge Nine (November 10, 2017)
Format/Length: Hardcover, 288 pages

Check out the Minor Threat performing "In My Eyes" live!

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