Texas Is the Reason—The Mavericks of Lone Star Punk, By Pat Blashill, 241 pgs.

To know me is to know my obsession with music from the state of Texas. To this day, I can’t figure out how a kid from the west coast of Canada wound up with such a deep case of Texan music love, but here we are. While this goes for all kinds of music, it is predominantly focused on punk rock. My love of Lone Star punk spans from the likes of Big Boys and The Dicks though Riverboat Gamblers and The Marked Men through to today.

Pat Blashill was there at the dawn of punk rock coming to Austin. He had a camera, and he knew how to use it. This book is an extensive collection of Blashill’s photo documentation of a time where punk meant you could literally do what ever you wanted, and you had somewhere to voice that. Part of the magic that separates the punk rock communities of Austin (or Dallas, or Houston for that matter), with those of New York or Los Angeles is that they appeared as a free-thinking oasis in a sea of conservatism and redneckery.

Of course, the photos expertly catch the legendary roster of bands in their prime and in their elements, bands like the aforementioned Big Boys and Dicks, Butthole Surfers, and Scratch Acid among many more, but also tend to include wide swaths of the audience as well. This aligns with one of the key elements of punk rock. No separation of band and audience. Everyone is in this together. You can feel it in the photos. Blashill takes it a step further by including photos of various scene denizens, often candidly. The result is a feeling of family and camaraderie that is palpable.

The icing on the cake is the other photos that don’t show punk rock at all. Scenes of everyday Texan life in the late ’70s and early ’80s show a stark juxtaposition to the insanity that was happening in clubs such as Raul’s. Photos of the “prayer delegation” at the 1984 Republican National Convention and a Ku Klux Klan rally wedged between shots of Gary Floyd or Gibby Haynes working a sweaty crowd really hit home the feeling of how difficult it must have been to express yourself outside the norm. Interspersed throughout the photos are essays by the likes of director Richard Linklater, David Yow, and Butthole Surfer Teresa Taylor, but also people who were part of the scene, but perhaps not recognizable names. This again brings home the feeling of family and community rather than focusing on band members only.

This is an incredibly satisfying inside look at one of the most beloved scenes in punk rock history. Now go write your own book. –Ty Stranglehold (Bazillion Points, bazillionpoints.com)