Review: Denvoid and the Cowtown Punks

Denvoid and the Cowtown Punks
By Bob Rob Medina
In Denvoid and the Cowtown Punks, Bob Rob Medina compiles an exhaustive history of 1980s Denver punk and hardcore with an impressive collection of personal anecdotes, interviews, old show flyers, and beautiful full-color animations on almost every page. With the selection of artifacts presented throughout the book, it’s as if Medina spent a lifetime compiling ephemera with the sole purpose of exhibiting it in an enormous encyclopedic tome. Beginning with interviews of arguably the most important figures of ‘80s-era Denver punk—Wax Trax’s Duane Davis and Mercury Cafe founder Marilyn Megenity—the book offers a wide spectrum of subjects that includes the scene’s heavy hitters (Frantix and Rok Tots) and its lesser known contemporaries (Acid Pigs and Malibu Kens). It also showcases promoters (Jill Razer), venue owners (Nancy and Tom of Kennedy’s Warehouse), artists that still perform locally (Little Fyodor), “that guy on the bicycle” (Phil the Fan), and the scene’s unseemly side (Shawn Slater, a racist skinhead who appeared in national newspapers after organizing a klan rally during a Martin Luther King Jr. parade). Denvoid and the Cowtown Punks is essential reading, not just for ‘80s punks who lived through the chaos, but for anyone who has been involved in the Denver music scene throughout the years, because it was the movers and shakers in these very pages that booked shows, built venues, started zines, cultivated unique audiences, and attracted nationally touring acts that paved the way for the thriving music culture that permeates Denver today.