Bookshelf: Bomp! Saving The World One Record At A Time

posted Wednesday Dec 12th, 2007

If you're looking for one of the most satisfying cultural curiosities that's surfaced recently in the publishing realm, it's no doubt that the Bomp book: Saving The World One Record At a Time is the guaranteed lock of the year. Whether it's for your own selfish indulgence or as a holiday gift for the rock'n roller who has everything, it's as impressive and gratifying as any other book you hold dear in your library, and deserves to be in every home that considers itself complete. In its lavish hardcover exterior and page after page of original Mojo Navigator, Who Put The Bomp, and Bomp! reprints and anecdotes from Suzy Shaw and Mick Farren, it's a truly incredible homage to the man that had the vision to wrap all of his festering fanaticism into what became one of the most important underground voices in rock'n roll history, Mr. Greg Shaw himself.

From the earliest evidence of his obsession, which can be read in reprinted pages from Greg's Mojo Navigator (turning in the first interviews with The Doors, Country Joe & The Fish and the Grateful Dead), it's an epic journey of a true behind-the-scenes pioneer of music journalism, multiplied by an unwavering enthusiasm that was unmatched in the earliest days of so-called "rock criticism." Interestingly enough, in the early 1960s, still years before Crawdaddy and Rolling Stone were started, adult magazines such as Escapade and Cavalier were the only nationally-circulated publications to feature independent rock journalism within their seedy pages, merely as a way to fill up the blank space between the pictorial layouts and blase' fiction that were the typical fare of these randy periodicals. As Greg's passion and drive for creating an alternative universe reinstated itself during the late 60s when imitators started to pop up along side Mojo Navigator, his life mission was firmly established, and the groundwork for the independent music community network we all know and love today, was forged.

As Mojo Navigator fanzine changed into Who Put the Bomp in the early 70s, it was Greg Shaw who trail-blazed the true rock'n roll path to salvation by rounding up the founding fathers of what would become the golden age of rock journalism (Lester Bangs, Richard Meltzer, 'Metal' Mike Saunders, among others), and let them loose in the unhinged and wide-open period of post-60s, pre-punk free-form writing that changed the way we all look at music today. Most of the top-notch epic articles (Bangs on The Troggs is timeless) are reprinted in their full glory, along with an abundance of rare snippets (you even get to read the unpublished 22nd issue of Bomp! still on the pasteboard) and cover images of long gone back issues. All tied together with Suzy Shaw's insider commentary interspersed throughout, it lends an endearing tone to the whole experience, which fills more than just the void of not having copies of these original issues.

As the times changed and Bomp! emerged in the streamlined format that it was best known for in the late 1970s, the Shaws found an even more solid niche and expanded the publication into it's logical and evolutionary second phase, which was the formation of Bomp! Records in 1974. Possibly the first to successfully take an underground rock'n roll publication into the next level of the process by actually producing the medium they were covering may seem to be an obvious move now, but in the formative years of independent music fandom, and well before 'punk culture' deemed it an affordable possibility, this was literally a groundbreaking step that would inspire the next generations more than they could have possibly imagined. Tracing everyone from Touch and Go and Subterranean Pop in the very early 1980s, to Flipside and Forced Exposure a few years later, the 'fanzine, turned record label' phenomenon finally had its clear and undeniable progenitor in Bomp!

This essential book includes tons of unpublished photos, along with titillating hook-up details (Suzy and The Stooges' James Williamson??), and dirty laundry aired in an effort to clear up old rumors surrounding the financial and business sides of the Bomp! operation, which refreshingly humanizes their iconic stature in the seedy world of rock'n roll. If you've ever wished you could just flip through the pages of a few of their vintage issues, this is the chance you've been waiting for, and it's well worth the price of admission. Check out some page images HERE and buy your copy today to ensure delivery before the holidays, and to quench your insatiable appetite for more musical minutiae that you sorely can't live without. Get your copy HERE.