SUB POP USA: The Subterranean Pop Music Anthology 1980–1988

Bazillion Points Books is proud to announce the Nov. 15 release of SUB POP USA: The Subterranean Pop Music Anthology 1980–1988, (ISBN 978-1-935950-11-0) by Bruce Pavitt, an unprecedented, 400-page cross-genre survey of American independent music during the 1980s. Combining all nine issues of Pavitt’s Subterranean Pop zine and six years of monthly Seattle Rocket newspaper columns, the book chronicles the rise of regional American indie pop, punk, hardcore, art/noise, metal, spoken word, hip hop, and rock’n roll—over 1,000 bands all told—alongside Pavitt’s own path as DJ, zine editor, record store owner, music booster, and ultimately founder of Sub Pop Records.

In addition to unseen photographs by Charles Peterson and Michael Lavine, and early artwork by Charles Burns, Jad Fair, and Lynda Barry, the book includes indie perspective and regional background via original essays by Calvin Johnson (Beat Happening/K Records/Dub Narcotic Sound System); Ann Powers (NPR Music; Los Angeles Times); Larry Reid (Fantagraphics); Gerard Cosloy (Conflict, Matador Records); and Charles R. Cross (the Rocket, Heavier Than Heaven).

Over 1,000 recording artists hunted down and hyped in their original indie habitats, including Black Flag, Sonic Youth, Hüsker Dü, the Wipers, Dinosaur Jr., Run-D.M.C., Slayer, Beastie Boys, Mudhoney, Screaming Trees, Soul Aslyum…plus an entire nation of inspired amateurs.

In 1979, Bruce Pavitt moved from Chicago to Olympia, Washington, and began programming a show called Subterranean Pop on local community radio station KAOS-FM. In 1980, he launched Subterranean Pop magazine, dedicated to the unsung punk, new wave, and experimental regional bands of the Pacific Northwest and Midwest. Calvin Johnson of K Records joined the zine’s staff later that year, beginning with the second issue.

The Sub Pop zine puzzled punk and new wave fans from major cities; readers were surprised that there were enough bands in the forgotten cities and states to devote a column, let alone an entire fanzine. Even more puzzling was the exclusion of artists like the Clash or Blondie, solely because of their major label associations. Driven by the power of independent thinking, early issues featured impassioned rallying cries for local action that make more sense than ever today, alongside early published artwork by Linda Barry, Charles Burns, and Jad Fair.

In 1983, Pavitt moved to Seattle and commenced his widely-read Sub Pop USA column in the Rocket newspaper, each month exposing new underground and independent artists. From Beat Happening and Pell Mell to early records by the Beastie Boys, Metallica, and Run-D.M.C., Sub Pop became a 1980s regional indie music bible, written with a diverse appreciation for happening scenes across the country. In 1986, Pavitt put his ideas into practice, launching Sub Pop Records with the historic Sub Pop 100 compilation and Soundgarden’s first release, Screaming Life. While the Sub Pop Records legacy is today legendary, the groundwork and creative wellspring that put Seattle on the musical map is assembled here for the first time.

Sub Pop USA is part of a roster of deeply authoritative punk rock, heavy metal, and film titles at Bazillion Points Books including hardcore punk playbooks We Got Power!, NYHC, and Touch and Go; early Metallica/Slayer/Megadeth photo history Murder in the Front Row; the acclaimed documentary Mellodrama: The Mellotron Movie; as well as Bruce Pavitt’s first book, Experiencing Nirvana: Grunge in Europe, 1989, a “microhistory” of Nirvana’s breakthrough first overseas tour. Bazillion Points books are available at all good bookstores, music stores, and online retailers, distributed to the book trade via PGW/Perseus in North America, and Turnaround in Europe, or directly from the publisher.

Submit Comment

Post a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Juice is an interview magazine featuring skateboarding, surfing, art and music. Since 1993, Juice has been independently owned and dedicated to the core. Juice Magazine specializes in coverage of core skateboarders, surfers, musicians, skatepark builders, artists, photographers, rock n roll, metal, hardcore, pools, pipes & punk rock. Keep Skateboarding A Crime.
© 1993-2019 Juice Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced by any means; electronic, mechanical, photocopy, or otherwise without the prior written permission of the copyright owner, photographers, writers, or artists named herein. Trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.
%d bloggers like this: