Bill Sassenberger

Assassin of Mediocrity, a Story of Love, Loss and Loud Music (Fluke Publishing) book

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Assassin of Mediocrity is a soft cover book, 200 pp, telling the story of of Bill Sassenberger and Toxic Shock Records, a record store and label located in Tucson, AZ. Starting in the early '80s, Toxic Shock became vital to the local and then the West Coast punk scene, originally releasing the Treepeople album Guilt, Regret and Embarrassment. as well as records by Skin Yard, Raw Power, Mad Parade, Peace Corpse, Jack Endino, Zero Boys, Hickoids, Green Magnet School and the Noise from Nowhere compilations.  Assassin of Mediocrity is a compelling read about a fascinating punk era.

"There is what’s known as the Anarchist work ethic. One subject of that ethic is this book’s author, Bill Sassenberger. He was a Yippie who became a supporter of garage bands and the punk culture. He went from being homeless in 1977 and working in various low paying jobs, like being an apple picker in Washington state. He drove an ice cream truck in Orange County. Somehow, he ended up in Pomona, California and took over a headshop, converted it into a record shop/clothing shop, and sold fanzines for the “Blank Generation.” It got to the point where he released records on his own independent label.

"In this book there is never a dull moment. Bill’s story includes the shakers and the movers of the punk scene. It’s part autobiographical, part travel log. It contains American history, suspense, compassion, and music. Bill clearly describes his moments with the trials and tribulations of a Late Boomer. Perseverance became the order of the day. He struggled with poverty, crime, reprobates, the mentally ill, and a sick wife. Fortunately for all, he lived to write about it." - Stephen Morris