Radical subcultures in an unlikely place
“This beautifully crafted page-turner presents the outsider history of a thriving southern punkhouse where military brats, rocker chefs, queerdoe artists, revivified veterans, a newborn, and a rotating pack of dogs lived nearly cash-free in a filthy and vibrant wonderland they made imperfectly together.”—Anna Joy Springer, author of The Vicious Red Relic, Love
“A Punkhouse in the Deep South is a ray of light from a completely unexpected direction: a lucid, humble, sweet-natured account of building a small DIY utopia that would continue to flourish for more than 25 years in ostensibly hostile terrain. Its success may not be replicable, but that it happened at all is cause for wonder.”—Luc Sante, author of Low Life: Lures and Snares of Old New York
“The first punk oral history to illuminate a chronically undervalued context for southern misfit life: that it thrives because of its relationship to its community, not despite it.”—Nate Powell, artist of the March trilogy
“This book celebrates the punks who do the grunt work to build places where they can conspire to make a better way of life. It is an essential contribution to the history of music, counterculture, and cities.”—James Tracy, coauthor of Hillbilly Nationalists, Urban Race Rebels, and Black Power: Community Organizing in Radical Times
Told in personal interviews, this is the collective story of a punk community in an unlikely town and region, a hub of radical counterculture that drew artists and musicians from throughout the conservative South and earned national renown.
The house at 309 6th Avenue has long been a crossroads for punk rock, activism, veganism, and queer culture in Pensacola, a quiet Gulf Coast city at the border of Florida and Alabama. In this book, residents of 309 narrate the colorful and often comical details of communal life in the crowded and dilapidated house over its 30-year existence. Terry Johnson, Ryan “Rymodee” Modee, Gloria Diaz, Skott Cowgill, and others tell of playing in bands including This Bike Is a Pipe Bomb, operating local businesses such as End of the Line Cafe, forming feminist support groups, and creating zines and art.
Each voice adds to the picture of a lively community that worked together to provide for their own needs while making a positive, lasting impact on their surrounding area. Together, these participants show that punk is more than music and teenage rebellion. It is about alternatives to standard narratives of living, acceptance for the marginalized in a rapidly changing world, and building a sense of family from the ground up.
Including photos by Cynthia Connolly and Mike Brodie, A Punkhouse in the Deep South illuminates many individual lives and creative endeavors that found a home and thrived in one of the oldest continuously inhabited punkhouses in the United States.
Aaron Cometbus has been publishing the zine Cometbus since 1981. He is the author of many books, including Double Duce and I Wish There Was Something That I Could Quit. Scott Satterwhite is a historian, educator, and journalist who teaches writing and literature at the University of West Florida. Cometbus and Satterwhite are former residents of the 309 punkhouse.
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