"Toxic Shock Records: Assassin of Mediocrity" Book Reading & Signing with Bill Sassenberger

Amoeba Berkeley - June 22nd @ 2:00pm

Join us at Amoeba Berkeley for a book reading and signing of Toxic Shock Records: Assassin of Mediocrity with Bill Sassenberger on Saturday, June 22nd at 2pm! The reading is free, but you must purchase the book at Amoeba Berkeley to attend the signing.

Toxic Shock Records: Assassin of Mediocrity is a full color, 200-page book that chronicles the history of the punk record store/mail order enterprise and groundbreaking record label Toxic Shock from its origins in 1980 in the grimy suburbs of Pomona, CA to its demise in Tucson, AZ in 2014.

Loaded with many rare photos and gig flyers, and through a combination of a very personal biography, oral history, and extensive imagery, the book covers the many twists and turns that made Toxic Shock an often misunderstood punk rock institution. It also covers how the death rock band Christian Death inspired the co-owners to create the record label.

Graphic artists such as Pushead, Vince Rancid, and Jim Blanchard lent their work to its earliest label releases and mail order catalogs. It documents Toxic Shock's involvement with the bands Decry, Zero Boys, Corrosion of Conformity, Dayglo Abortions, Skinner box, the Hickoids, th’Inbred, Skin Yard, Sloppy Seconds, Treepeople plus tour diaries with Italy's Raw Power.

Toxic Shock features cover art and several illustrations from graphic artist Brian Walsby, plus several never before published photos from the iconic Ed Colver. The book covers the trials and tribulations of running a totally independent record store for 34 years and an in-depth oral history from former employees and musicians from the Toxic Shock roster—such as Decry, Modern Industry, Manson Youth, Massacre Guys, Human Therapy, Raw Power, Peace Corpse, Pillsbury Hardcore, Hullabaloo, House of Large Sizes, and more!


Bill Sassenberger and his late wife Julianna Towns were the proprietors of Toxic Shock Records, which operated its gloriously weird store and record label at various Pomona locations from 1980 to 1988, before decamping to Tucson, Arizona where it became vital for a whole new group of outsider music fans up until its 2014 closure. Today, Bill lives in Tucson and enjoys spending his spare time collecting gimcrack and eating broccoli.

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