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Cover for Disturbing the Peace

Disturbing the Peace

415 Records and the Rise of New Wave

Bill Kopp, Joel Selvin (Foreword By)


List Price: 29.99*
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The story of groundbreaking indie label 415 Records is told in a new book, Disturbing the Peace: 415 Records and the Rise of New Wave, out January 2022, from HoZac Books. The label founded by Howie Klein released era-defining singles, EPs, and albums, and influenced other labels that followed.

In the late ’70s and early to mid ’80s, San Francisco was a creative incubator, bringing forth all manner of new music acts. Ground zero for the scene was the Mabuhay Gardens, home to huge barrels of popcorn, once-a-week spaghetti nights, colorful emcee Dirk Dirksen, and punk/new wave bands from all over the Bay Area. Concert booker and renegade radio DJ Howie Klein joined with Chris Knab, owner of the local Aquarius Records, to launch a record label in support of that scene.

Measured in strictly commercial terms, 415 Records was at best a modest success. But then, for Klein and Knab, financial gain was never the primary goal. Ask Klein about his objectives, and he’ll tell you: “F-U-N,” he’ll say. “It was all about fun.”

But 415 Records would have a lasting impact, one that extended far beyond the minor chart action that a few of the label’s artists achieved. Klein and his cohorts established new ways of doing business in the music industry, and were at the forefront of a resurgence of independent labels.

Disturbing the Peace is Bill Kopp’s chronicle of the groundbreaking independent record label founded by Howie and Chris, featuring the stories of Romeo Void (“Never Say Never,” “A Girl in Trouble”), Red Rockers (“China,” “Shades of 45”), Translator (“Everywhere That I’m Not”), Wire Train (“Chamber of Hellos,” “Skills of Summer”), Roky Erickson (“If You Have Ghosts,” “I Walked with a Zombie”), The Nuns, Pearl Harbor and the Explosions, and nearly two dozen other bands.

Featuring a foreword from Joel Selvin (Hollywood Eden) and based on Kopp’s nearly 100 interviews with the artists, industry execs, producers, friends, rivals, onlookers, journalists and hangers-on, Disturbing the Peace also features hundreds of photos and memorabilia from the archives of those who were there.

Praise For Disturbing the Peace: 415 Records and the Rise of New Wave

"In the late 1970s, indie labels popped up all over America, forming an underground network that altered the course of musical history. Each one had a vision, characters and a story of DIY ingenuity, but those were overlooked as their bands took the spotlight. Trouser Press worked a lot with Howie Klein and San Francisco's pioneering 415 label, but I really didn’t know much about the company. Thanks to Bill Kopp's definitive Disturbing the Peace, now I do."

— Ira Robbins, co-founder of Trouser Press magazine

"The direct line leading from San Francisco’s psychedelic hippie-band era of the ’60s to the city’s punk and new wave movement of the late ’70s-’80s has never been drawn this clearly — or with this much sheer elation — before. Although they might seem to have little in common musically, philosophically or stylistically, 415 Records bands like Romeo Void, The Nuns, Translator and SVT (whose bassist, Jack Casady, had been in the earlier era’s Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna) followed the same guiding DIY principles, rebelliously eschewing a craving for mainstream success in favor of fomenting a true cultural revolution. Disturbing the Peace is more than just another profile of a local rock scene or record label—it’s the story of a seismic shift, and the passions of the people who created it."

— Jeff Tamarkin, author of Got a Revolution!—The Turbulent Flight of Jefferson Airplane

"By sweeping together the minutiae of one particular music scene — San Francisco in the late ’70s and early ’80s, when 415 Records began and flourished — Bill Kopp manages to remind us of the way punk and alternative music blossomed into cultural forces influencing the ’90s and beyond. Yes, it really happened: dozens and dozens of bands, club hoppers, radio hounds and record store geeks built and maintained a scene without the internet. This devourable, fanatically researched document is indispensable for those who were there and will gall into jealousy those who weren’t."

— Karen Schoemer, author of Great Pretenders: My Strange Love Affair With ’50s Pop Music

HoZac Books, 9781735998534, 360pp.

Publication Date: January 3, 2022

About the Author

With a background in marketing and advertising, Bill Kopp got his professional start writing for Trouser Press. After a stint as Editor-in-Chief for a national music magazine, Bill launched the online zine Musoscribe in 2009, and has published new content every business day since then (and every single day since 2018). The 4000+ interviews, essays, and reviews on Musoscribe reflect Bill's keen interest in American musical forms, most notably rock, jazz, and soul. His work features a special emphasis on reissues and vinyl. Bill’s work also appears in many other outlets both online and in print. He also researches and authors liner notes for album reissues — more than 30 to date — and co-produced a reissue of jazz legend Julian “Cannonball” Adderley’s final album. His first book, Reinventing Pink Floyd, was published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2018, and in paperback in 2019. Disturbing the Peace is his second book.