• Read the Chicago Tribune's profile of Jake Austen.

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  • List of Figures ix

    Foreword / Steve Albini xi

    Acknowledgments xiii

    Introduction. Hi Yo, Silver! / Jake Austin 1

    Oscar Brown Jr. / James Porter 11

    David Allan Coe / Jake Austen (Interview conducted by Jake Austen, James Porter, and Bosco) 31

    Guy Chookoorian / Jake Austen 63

    Sugar Pie DeSanto / James Porter 113

    Billy Lee Riley / Ken Burke 128

    The Treniers / John Battles (Interview conducted by John Battles, Jake Austen, Mike Maltese, ken Mottet, and Dan Sorenson) 190

    Sam the Sham / James Porter 209

    The Good Rats / Jake Austen (Interview conducted by Jake Austen, Jacqueline Stewart, and Ben Austen) 226

    Zolar X / Jonathan Poletti 246

    Appendix. Suggested Listening, Viewing, Surfing 277

    Contributors 281

    Index 283

  • Steve Albini

    Jake Austen

    James Porter

    Ken Burke

    John Battles

    Jonathan Poletti

    Bosco

    Mike Maltese

    Ken Mottet

    Dan Sorenson

    Jacqueline Stewart

    Ben Austen

  • “A pop culture junkie, with a jones for weird and off-beat stuff, Austen is an archaeologist of the sublime and the silly, the divine and the demented, from the phosphene glow of teen dance shows and American Idol to the hidden and musty corners of rock and roll’s bargain basement.”

    “By the end of each [chapter], I wanted to check out the interviewee’s music and I felt like I had an unprecedented, candid glimpse into their lives, both as musicians and as people. . . . Even when uncomfortable and thorny subjects are brought up—sexism, racism, wife-beating—the insights unearthed are thought-provoking. Humans making music are often a messy, flawed bunch and there’s some awesome shit tackled in those grey areas.”

    “Complete with photographs and contextual bios, each interview details the trials and tribulations of pioneering musicians often toiling away in the shadows of rock ’n’ roll history. VERDICT Serving as both a brief history of Roctober and an anthology, this collection of interviews will be welcome by fans of the zine and will appeal to serious rock ’n’ roll readers.”

    “Duke University Press has done a great service by publishing Flying Saucers Rock ‘n’ Roll. . . . The obscure and marginal need to have their say and something said about them. . . . Pick up Austen’s collection if you love to explore the strange by-ways of rock music, and to experience some outstanding rock-crit writing. Indeed, consider subscribing to Roctober. You’ll learn even more of the strange world of the almost-almost famous.”

    “Nicely—even elegantly—written, well edited, and consisting of material not published elsewhere, this is an entertainingly rare gem of a book. Bravo to Jake Austen and his contributors for taking the high road throughout, and presenting these fragile personalities with the dignity and respect they deserve.”

    “The riveting pieces are by Austen and other Roctober contributors, whose unbridled enthusiasm for their subjects makes the book hard to put down (plus there’s an enthusiastic foreword by longtime fan Steve Albini).”

    “To give you a solid example to express my enjoyment level of this book, I read the nearly 300 pages in three days. Couldn’t put it down . . . . I am hoping this is actually the first part in a series of ‘Best ofs…’, and perhaps next time we can read more about the Black Lone Ranger?”

    Reviews

  • “A pop culture junkie, with a jones for weird and off-beat stuff, Austen is an archaeologist of the sublime and the silly, the divine and the demented, from the phosphene glow of teen dance shows and American Idol to the hidden and musty corners of rock and roll’s bargain basement.”

    “By the end of each [chapter], I wanted to check out the interviewee’s music and I felt like I had an unprecedented, candid glimpse into their lives, both as musicians and as people. . . . Even when uncomfortable and thorny subjects are brought up—sexism, racism, wife-beating—the insights unearthed are thought-provoking. Humans making music are often a messy, flawed bunch and there’s some awesome shit tackled in those grey areas.”

    “Complete with photographs and contextual bios, each interview details the trials and tribulations of pioneering musicians often toiling away in the shadows of rock ’n’ roll history. VERDICT Serving as both a brief history of Roctober and an anthology, this collection of interviews will be welcome by fans of the zine and will appeal to serious rock ’n’ roll readers.”

    “Duke University Press has done a great service by publishing Flying Saucers Rock ‘n’ Roll. . . . The obscure and marginal need to have their say and something said about them. . . . Pick up Austen’s collection if you love to explore the strange by-ways of rock music, and to experience some outstanding rock-crit writing. Indeed, consider subscribing to Roctober. You’ll learn even more of the strange world of the almost-almost famous.”

    “Nicely—even elegantly—written, well edited, and consisting of material not published elsewhere, this is an entertainingly rare gem of a book. Bravo to Jake Austen and his contributors for taking the high road throughout, and presenting these fragile personalities with the dignity and respect they deserve.”

    “The riveting pieces are by Austen and other Roctober contributors, whose unbridled enthusiasm for their subjects makes the book hard to put down (plus there’s an enthusiastic foreword by longtime fan Steve Albini).”

    “To give you a solid example to express my enjoyment level of this book, I read the nearly 300 pages in three days. Couldn’t put it down . . . . I am hoping this is actually the first part in a series of ‘Best ofs…’, and perhaps next time we can read more about the Black Lone Ranger?”

  • “Jake Austen has the brains of a world-class scholar driven to illuminate previously obscure but vital arcana, the soul of a historian eager to bring the past roaring back to life, and the heart of a furious but funny rock ’n’ roll hell-raiser. As the majordomo of Roctober, fronting a posse of like-minded and equally passionate fellow travelers, he has picked up the mantle of that first-generation rock-critic giant Nick Tosches and at long last given us his answer to Unsung Heroes of Rock ’n’ Roll. Yes, Flying Saucers Rock ’n’ Roll really is a book worthy of being mentioned in that company, and it’s a must for any serious rock reader’s bookshelf.” — Jim DeRogatis, critic, author, educator, and co-host of, Sound Opinions—the world’s only rock ’n’ roll talk show

    “With an awe-inspiringly integrated and thoroughly unassuming knowledge of all the nooks, crannies, and hidden corners of American popular culture, there’s no more appropriate cheerleader for musical humanity than Jake Austen, a polymath force of nature who’s been amazing me for twenty years. If any of the rest of us had just a hundredth of the energy, enthusiasm, and big-heartedness that Jake seems to show with every project he undertakes, the world would be a much better place—and a lot more fun.” — Chris Ware, cartoonist and author of, Jimmy Corrigan—The Smartest Kid on Earth

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  • Description

    For nearly twenty years, the much-beloved music magazine Roctober has featured work by some of the best underground cartoonists, exhaustive examinations of made-up genres such as “robot rock,” and an ongoing exploration of everything Sammy Davis Jr. ever sang, said, or did. But the heart of the magazine has always been the lengthy conversations with overlooked or forgotten artists. Flying Saucers Rock ’n’ Roll gathers the most compelling of these interviews. Eccentric, important artists—including the rockabilly icon Billy Lee Riley, the jazz musician and activist Oscar Brown Jr., the “Outlaw Country” singer David Allan Coe, and the pioneer rock ’n’ roll group the Treniers—give the most in-depth interviews of their lengthy careers. Obscure musicians, such as the Armenian-language novelty artist Guy Chookoorian and the frustrated interstellar glam act Zolar X, reveal fascinating lives lived at rock’s margins. Roctober’s legendarily dedicated writers convey telling anecdotes in the fervent, captivating prose that has long been appreciated by music enthusiasts. Along with the entertaining interviews, Flying Saucers Rock ’n’ Roll features more than sixty images from the pages of Roctober and ten illustrations created for the book by the underground rock ’n’ roll artist King Merinuk.

    Contributors
    Steve Albini
    Ben Austen
    Jake Austen
    John Battles
    Bosco
    Ken Burke
    Mike Maltese
    King Merinuk
    Ken Mottet
    Jonathan Poletti
    James Porter
    "Colonel" Dan Sorenson
    Jacqueline Stewart

    About The Author(s)

    Jake Austen is an independent music writer and the editor of Roctober magazine. He is the author of TV-a-Go-Go: Rock on TV from American Bandstand to American Idol, the editor of A Friendly Game of Poker: 52 Takes on the Neighborhood Game, and a founder and co-host of the cult-favorite dance show Chic-a-Go-Go, which airs on Chicago Access Network Television (CAN-TV).

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