When punk rock hit San Francisco (c.1977), I started publishing in angry reaction to mass media articles that reduced punk to spitting and safety pins. Allen Ginsberg and Lawrence Ferlinghetti each gave me $100, and through 1979 I published, edited and distributed 11 issues of Search & Destroy. My editorial policy was one of empowerment: "Do It Yourself/ Anyone Can Do It/ Always ask, Is it against the status quo?"--the punk credo.
In 1980 I started RE/Search with initial funding from Geoff Travis of Rough Trade Records and actress/film director Betty Thomas. At the same time, an old friend loaned me enough money to start a typesetting business. This enabled me to realize my dream: putting out slick, large format books with uncompromising, high-quality "underground" content. The '80s saw the release of RE/Search books on William S. Burroughs, Brion Gysin, J.G. Ballard, Incredibly Strange Films, Pranks,and my best-selling, trend-starting Modern Primitives. During the '80s typesetting was my day job, publishing my labor of love.
By 1991, having put out two underground bestsellers, the support of independent bookstores and small regional distributors made it possible for me to live on book publishing, and I sold the typesetting business.
Now, corporations control book distribution and they chew up and spit out independent books (literally returning hundreds of shop-worn, ruined books every month for credit towards brand new ones). Independent publishers like us are rapidly going belly-up (e.g. Henry Rollins' 2.13.61, and the Gates of Heck). If you don't want corporations deciding what you are able to buy and read, please support us by ordering directly from us - NOT Amazon - at our online store.
And we will continue to publish new material without compromise.