A CULTURAL HISTORIAN DOCUMENTS A DEFIANT URBAN TRIBE
David Ensminger, 50, is a writer, folklorist, musician, and educator based in Houston, Texas. His research has focused on such aspects of what cultural historians commonly refer to as "material culture" as flyers for music gigs (performances at clubs and other venues), street art, clothing, record sleeves, and ephemera (such as pinback buttons).
In his book Visual Vitriol: The Street Art and Subcultures of the Punk and Hardcore Generation (University Press of Mississippi, 2011), Ensminger examines the street art, handmade or cheaply produced flyers, stencils, and graffiti that played a big part in shaping the punk movement's aesthetic and in expressing its values and outlook. Here, he shares with us some notes about his experiences photographing punk and other rock bands that have passed through Houston over the years. Many of the musicians whose stage antics he has captured with his camera have been very visibly tattooed. As a cultural historian, that characteristic and membership marker of the contemporary urban tribe of rockers and their fans is one Ensminger certainly has noticed.
by David Ensminger
I shot these photographs at small and medium-size clubs in Houston's rock’n’roll network. The performers they portray represent a range of styles and genres, from the industrial-punk fervor of a band like Youth Code to the feisty garage rock of Genzales, and the feminist post-punk sound of Lizzie Boredom. There's the molten groove-metal of Merkava and the contemporary, Southern California trad-punk of Neighborhood Brats, too.
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