Back in the day The Red Guitars were having a blast gigging up and down the UK & Europe, and fanzine’s were where it was at. We met a sparky young guy in Leeds who produced a fanzine either named after him…or was he named after the zine? Rouska was the name.
After hassling us for an interview following our tour with The Smiths, Richard Rouska asked intelligent questions, was genuinely interested in the answers. The Red Guitars were featured amongst a zineful of cool companions, The Mekons, The Three Johns, The Redskins, The Inca Babies, The Skeletal Family, NMA, Red Lorry Yellow Lorry. His grainy political and musical ramblings were not wasted on us. As young musicians from Hull, the music biz – with the emphasis on Business – suddenly wanted a piece of us, and Richard Rouska – a real music fan – was one of the good guys for sure.
Among other mostly music related activity over the years, Richard Rouska continued to make publications and play music, and when his brand new book-fanzine-deluxe-to-beat-’em-all popped up in our newsfeed I was straight on it. 250 limited edition copies available from 1977cc (Being Normal Is So Overrated!) folks, so get it while you can. I hit the website, clicked ‘Buy Now’ in a flash – and it arrived the very next day, beautifully wrapped in a baby sling box.
Turns out Captain Swing is just about the same age as me so I was right back there with some of the early days tales: ‘The Chopper’ (tho’ mine was blue. I actually won it in a competition on the side of a tin of peaches, it was my pride and joy), ‘Cheesecloth Shirts’ (mine were from Boodle-Am I guess I was more of a hippy) ‘The Sex Pistols Live’ (at the Fforde Green tho’ for me). Rouska moved to Hull at one point, frequenting a host of familiar Hull haunts. Buy the book and read maybe a thousand and one crazy but (probably) true tales yourself. Rouska’s Black Book is a riveting, rollicking good romp through the music scene of Yorkshire with a good dollop of socio-political tales running through it’s veins.
Back in Red Guitars days, we got on with Richard Rouska because, like us, he was essentially a music fan. I loved watching bands, listening to music, talking about it, reading about it, and then telling stories about it and living it all over again on the way home. And the next day. And now. The Black book, a fabulous read, dedicated to – among others – Red Guitars’ good friend and independent record guru Tony K of Red Rhino. I would say ‘A perfect end’ but no, it’s just end of part one…the next chilling installment is due out in winter 2014. See you at the front of the queue.
The Black Book (The Life & Crimes of Richard Rouska) by Captain Swing More details and buy it here