Hit the Ground Stumbling: By Nate Gangelhoff By Daryl Gussin

Jun 03, 2011

Taking place in the all-too-familiar setting of fuckhole suburbia, Hit the Ground Stumbling is Mr. Nate Gangelhoff’s autobiographical tale of life as a degenerate punk rocker. It’s a tale that many can relate to but, luckily for the reader, Gangelhoff can spin the stories of reckless teenage escapism (i.e. vandalism) into engaging, introspective escapades. Focusing around his relationship with fellow restless teenager—Rick—and their mutual disdain for authority, another story emerges that many can relate to, one that may baffle the teachers and guidance counselors, the story of finding punk in a meaningful way and gaining at least a minuscule amount of direction from it. While old chums, with their Deicide cassettes in hand, drift into a blurry horizon of senseless defiance, the author, while still reasonably miserable, retains incentive to not completely drop off, even if just to learn Black Flag tabs.

At times I found myself wondering if Hit the Ground Stumbling is a finalized version of stories that have been told multiple times over beers, details either remembered or forgotten, skewed a little to juice it up. But the best stories are the ones that have been told the longest, and as Gangelhoff finds himself settling, not down, but amongst the chaos, he finds his place in telling these stories. More Carswellian than Cometbus, the pages replace nostalgia for questions, and he doesn’t claim to have all the answers.

Fans both of his zines or bands will surely find that this book is of a familiar and enjoyable tone. Bringing the reader a little closer into his story, and solidifying Gangelhoff at the table of “punk fiction,” in this context, a term used in admiration, rather than disparagement. (Arsenic Books)

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