Punk rock culture in a preeminently average town
Synonymous with American mediocrity, Peoria was fertile ground for the boredom- and anger-fueled fury of punk rock. Jonathan Wright and Dawson Barrett explore the do-it-yourself scene built by Peoria punks, performers, and scenesters in the 1980s and 1990s. From fanzines to indie record shops to renting the VFW hall for an all-ages show, Peoria's punk culture reflected the movement elsewhere, but the city's conservatism and industrial decline offered a richer-than-usual target environment for rebellion. Eyewitness accounts take readers into hangouts and long-lost venues, while interviews with the people who were there trace the ever-changing scene and varied fortunes of local legends like Caustic Defiance, Dollface, and Planes Mistaken for Stars. What emerges is a sympathetic portrait of a youth culture in search of entertainment but just as hungry for community—the shared sense of otherness that, even for one night only, could unite outsiders and discontents under the banner of music.
A raucous look at a small-city underground, Punks in Peoria takes readers off the beaten track to reveal the punk rock life as lived in Anytown, U.S.A.
Part I. The Rise of Peoria Punk Rock: 1956–1986
1. Heebie Mesolithic Eon Drizzle
2. Creating the Peoria Scene
3. Punks Live on Straight Edge
4. The Underground Goes Aboveground
5. I Was a Mutant Cornchip . . .
Part II. Building the Scene: 1986–1992
6. Great Loser Bands and Loosey-Goosey Backwash Gigs
7. What Played (and Didn’t Play) in Peoria
8. Public Enemy Number One
9. Montage of Madness
10. Nazi Punks Fuck Off
Part III. The Next Nirvana: 1992–1997
11. Teenage Airwaves
12. For God and Country
13. This Is Not a Fugazi Chapter
14. Rock over London, Rock On Peoria
Part IV. Tolling of the Digital Bell: 1997–2007
15. Hidden by Cornfields
16. Our CBGB
17. Peoria Heights . . . and Lows
18. For God and Country (Alternate Take)
Jonathan Wright is a writer, editor, musician, and longtime veteran of the Peoria music scene. He is editor in chief at Peoria Magazines. Dawson Barrett is an associate professor of history at Del Mar College. His books include The Defiant: Protest Movements in Post-Liberal America.
Dawson Barrett is Asscoiate Professor of US History at Del Mar College in Texas. He is the author of Teenage Rebels: Successful High School Activists, from the Little Rock Nine to the Class of Tomorrow (Microcosm Publishing, 2015) and The Defiant: Protest Movements in Post-Liberal America (NYU Press, 2018).
Russell P. Strange Memorial Book of the Year Award 2022
— Russell P. Strange Memorial Book of the Year Award