Part memoir, part snapshot of 90s Bay Area punk rock, this book offers a revelatory glimpse into the intersectional experience of a Xicana fem punk rocker creating in a homogenous cis-white scene. For those that are queer, brown, or any other oppressed identity in a punk-rock scene, this book is for you. The Spitboy Rule sparked in me a sense of belonging that I hadn’t felt in a long time.
Though not a riot grrl band, Spitboy blazed trails for women musicians in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond, but it wasn’t easy. Misogyny, sexism, abusive fans, class and color blindness, and all-out racism were foes, especially for Gonzales, a Chicana and the only person of color in the band. Unlike touring rock bands before them, the unapologetically feminist Spitboy preferred Scrabble games between shows rather than sex and drugs, and they were not the angry manhaters that many expected them to be. Fully illustrated with rare photos and flyers from the punk rock underground, this fast-paced, first-person recollection is populated by scenesters and musical allies from the time including Econochrist, Paxston Quiggly, Neurosis, Los Crudos, Aaron Cometbus, Pete the Roadie, Green Day, Fugazi, and Kamala and the Karnivores.
About the Author
Michelle Cruz Gonzales played drums and wrote lyrics for several bands during the 1980s and 1990s. Her writing has been published in anthologies, literary journals, and Hip Mama magazine. Michelle teaches English and creative writing at Las Positas College. She lives in Oakland, CA. Mimi Thi Nguyen is associate professor of gender and women's studies and Asian American studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She is the author of The Gift of Freedom: War, Debt, and Other Refugee Passages. For the last fifteen years, Martín Sorrondeguy has been the singer of the openly queer punk band Limp Wrist. Sorrondeguy recently completed his third photography book, En Busca De Algo Mas.
“The Spitboy Rule is a compelling and insightful journey into the world of ’90s punk as seen through the eyes of a Xicana drummer who goes by the nickname Todd. Todd stirs the pot by insisting that she plays hardcore punk, not Riot Grrrl music, and inviting males to share the dance floor with women in a respectful way. This drummer never misses a beat. Read it!” —Alice Bag, singer for The Bags, author of Violence Girl: East L.A. Rage to Hollywood Stage, a Chicana Punk Story
Video of Author Talk: https://creativemornings.com/talks/michelle-cruz-gonzales/1
“Best punk memoir that I've ever had the privilege of reading. In a punk scene dominated by middle-class, white males, you can’t forget Spitboy, four brave women playing music with the intensity of an out-of-control forest fire. Gonzales’s involvement and presence in the punk scene, in particular, was significant because she represented a radical, feminist, person of color, and she reflected a positive change in the scene for the Bay Area. Gonzales’s memoir, chronicling her unique experience and perspective, occupies an important moment in the punk saga. This is a must-read for anyone still dedicated to social justice and change.” —Wendy-O-Matik, author, Redefining Our Relationships: Guidelines for Responsible Open Relationships
“Incisive and inspiring, Michelle Cruz Gonzales’s The Spitboy Rule brings the ’90s punk world to life with equal parts heart and realism. Her story becomes a voyage of self-discovery, and Gonzales is the perfect guide—as she writes in rapidfire drum beats about epic road tours, female camaraderie, sexist fans, and getting accused of appropriating her own culture.” —Ariel Gore, Hip Mama
“Michelle Gonzales's punk rock account is inspiring on many levels. For outsider artists, women musicians, or anybody who has ever felt the desire to forge an identity in uncharted territory, this book is detailed, heartfelt, and historically important. Briskly told in clean, conversational prose, The Spitboy Rule is an entertaining read and functions as an important historical, critical, and sociopolitical document of pre-internet DIY music.” —Jesse Michaels, vocalist, Operation Ivy; author, Whispering Bodies
"The Spitboy Rule follows the difficult and courageous journey of a young woman who wasn’t afraid to venture into a mostly white underground scene, to hold mirrors up to the faces of her worst critics." —Charlie Vázquez, Huffington Post
"The stories and observations in The Spitboy Rule benefit from years of reflection, schooling, and life lived . . . . It is a privilege to grow older, to have the chance to reflect on the formative struggles and building of consciousness that happens when we are young." —Leilani Clark, KQED
"Gonzales’ memoir convincingly brings the reader right back into the mentality of being a teenager; the trap of simultaneously looking to fit in and stand out, and an exhausting oscillation between self-consciousness, self-righteousness, vulnerability and outright stubbornness." —Chanelle Adams, feministing.com
"Stories of epic road trips, high-intensity punk shows, and dealing with sexist fans are told with phenomenal good humor and the wisdom of hindsight inserted wryly into the narrative." —Sara Century, bitchmedia.org
"The Spitboy Rule is an inspiring story of self-discovery by a proud Xicana artist and a defiant look back at the San Francisco punk rock underground that continues to inspire outsider youth and musicians around the world." —afar.com
"If you love punk music, or just want to read more about the experiences of a Xicana woman in a historically white male scene, check this book out." —David Nilsen, fourthandsycamore.com