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Hardcover version of 'Hardcore Heart'

We're bouncing off the walls again at Earth Island HQ today as we’ve shipped over 1000 copies of David Gamage’s ‘A Hardcore Heart’ in paperback, and to celebrate, we now also have copies of this monster 666 page book as a hardback!


Officially launched back on Valentines Day, 14th February 2023, as a paperback and ebook, this hefty tome is a love letter to the hardcore scene with all its friendships, frailty and positive possibilities. It’s packed with colour photos and flyers, and contains a foreword by Frank Turner and supports the Music Venue Trust.

The hardcover version of ‘A Hardcore Heart’ is even more beautifully printed and is shipping now.

Packed with first-hand stories and unpolished nuggets, this hefty but very-readable book plots a path through UKHC in the ‘90s as it developed into an underground scene.

Focusing on the people; artists, promoters, venues, record labels and fanzines, and following the evolution of the author’s bands, it looks at the intricacies of the post-punk genre and bursts with ‘straight from the horse’s mouth’ hardcore anecdotes that’ll keep you turning the pages.

You’ll read about touring and gigs with hundreds of bands, including Green Day, NOFX, Alice Donut, Jailcell Recipes, The BBMFs, Majority Of One, Spermbirds, The Babies Three, Understand, Samiam, Down By Law, Alloy, Hot Water Music, Bob Tilton, Tribute, Discount, Blue Tip, Leiah, Leatherface, Spy Versus Spy, Hunter Gatherer, Dismemberment Plan, Burning Airlines, Piebald and many more.

If you were ever in a band, then you’ll recognise and empathise with much of the narrative. And if you’ve wondered what it would be like to tour and release records at the underdog end of the alternative music scene, then this book will take you on an invigorating and enlightening roller-coaster ride.

“ ‘A Hardcore Heart’ is an invigorating time capsule, of a period before Instagram, Facebook and MySpace, even before mobile phones, sat navs and Google Maps. It wasn’t easy (nothing worth doing ever is) but we somehow made things happen; we stubbornly battered our dreams into reality and bullishly ignored anyone that told us it couldn’t be done. It was a truly inspirational time, when it seemed anything was possible, and a two-bit hardcore band from a leafy town in Kent could share stages and records with the best the world’s hardcore punk scene had to offer.”

Ian Glasper, Author of ‘The Scene That Would Not Die’

“There have been hundreds of books, films and documentaries about punk rock, it’s initial explosion and the impact it had. They all have their merits, but all seem to think it all stopped in 1979. While a lot of the old guard moved on, punk didn’t die, it moved underground and became more pure, more political and much more relevant to a new generation.

While those early bands talked the talk, these new kids were walking the walk, punk was now a lifestyle. Like a lot of us, David found himself immersed in this lifestyle, and spells out how he got involved, how it all worked and why it was so intoxicating.”

Tony Whatley, Editor of Suspect Device fanzine

"A Hardcore Heart is a comprehensive collection of stories narrated by Gamage, a hardcore punk veteran who shares insights into the '90s UK scene in a brilliant, descriptive, and entertaining way. This book will hold your attention until the last pages and hopefully inspire you to start a band, zine, or record label.”

Djordje Miladinovic, Editor of Thoughts Words Action blog

The key to the success of this weighty tome is in the title: heart. Intelligently written, Gamage avoids the alienating aspects of much academic work, while not succumbing to the flat prose of so many punk memoirs. Every facet of DIY punk scene involvement is here and, that it takes place mostly in the nineties, is frankly irrelevant. Every word imbued with an excitable fervour; this is timeless, essential storytelling that will speak to anyone - from any era - who has spent time immersed in the DIY punk scene.

Steve Midwinter, Personal Punk

Stories like these are much more interesting than biographies of multi-millionaire rock stars who became famous playing safe, lowest common denominator pap. A book like this tells the story of people finding their own voice and doing something because they believe in it.

Andy Pearson, Fear and Loathing

Thirteen years of travelling in worn-down vans, with crates of CDs, t-shirts, heavy backlines and a few smelly band-members. Sounds like quite an ordeal, and it must have been at times. Yet the D.I.Y. romance just leaps from this book. You can feel the love for the genre, the love for the other bands on the bill. It’s all too recognisable for those who were there at the time, just before the internet exploded, making music or gluing a fanzine together.

Martijn Welzen, Never Mind The Hype

About the author - David is a musician and author. He’s played in bands since his teens, including Couch Potatoes, Joeyfat, Rydell, Come The Spring and The Atlantic Union Project, and is an active part of the alternative music scene, having promoted gigs, edited a fanzine, and run a record label.

He established his current label, Engineer Records, back in 1999 and continues releasing great records to this day, with well over 350 releases and counting.

David lives with his wife and two sons in East Sussex, and when he’s not playing with his family and their five cats, or writing, he enjoys travelling, strangling his guitar and introducing others to obscure rock bands.

David’s previous book, ‘Punk Faction: BHP '91 to '95’, and his latest ‘A Hardcore Heart: Adventures in a D.I.Y. scene’are both available from Earth Island Books.

You can grab a copy of either direct from us, or from most good book and record stores. ‘Hardcore Heart’ is available as paperback, hardback or ebook.

Now we're waiting for him to get on and write the sequel, which apparently he already is, another tale of inspiration from hardcore music and the punk rock scene entitled ‘The Fire Still Burns’.

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