Thursday, May 5th, 2016...10:00 am

Search & Destroy

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This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items recently cataloged from the Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.



Launched in 1977, Search & Destroy was the first punk rock and new wave publication to emerge in San Francisco. Created by V. Vale, who began publishing the zine through his employer, City Lights Bookstore, Search & Destroy was initially funded with $200 in contributions from Allen Ginsberg and City Lights co-founder Lawrence Ferlinghetti as a way to document the growing punk movement in the Bay Area. While the scene in New York City was already being noticed by the rest of the country, Vale found little coverage of punk on the west coast.


Vale’s vision for the magazine was inspired by Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine, which was filled with art and in-depth interviews. Vale, like many of the players at the onset of punk, frequently referenced the Dada and Surrealist movements. He also included interviews with authors that inspired rising musicians, like William Burroughs and J.G. Ballard. Search & Destroy featured artists who would become legends of this moment in music history – Patti Smith, Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, Jello Biafra, and the list goes on.


The zine itself allowed for the political to enter the conversation—Vale and his team are credited as experts in getting artists to discuss their own politics, and also ran a semi-regular “Politics of Punk” column. Vale distributed the zine across the country, no doubt having a hand in the D.I.Y. zine culture that would become synonymous with punk rock for the next several decades.

To learn more, the complete run of Search & Destroy can be found in Widener’s collection: San Francisco: City Lights, 1977-1979.

Thanks to Irina Rogova, Santo Domingo Library Assistant, for contributing this post.

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