Spooge Hard: With a Vengeance (A Book Review of Loose Gravel)

Josh reviews Loose Gravel - a tale of a greasy punk band on tour

Sketchy promoters! Dingy motels! A band called Babyhead Clingwrap? This book has it all! Loose Gravel is a tantalizing tale of a fictional punk band named Spooge and their adventures on tour through a non-specific land in a non-specific time period. Is it Canada? Is it America? Is it the 90s? Author Ginny Fanthome leaves such details ambiguous and as a result, it allows the reader to fill in the blanks. Although the absence of smart phones would definitely lead one to the conclusion that this story takes place in the early 90s, it really doesn’t matter, as the craziness that takes place transcends time.


While Fanthome herself has stated this book is NOT autobiographical (as per her and Josh’s conversation on the PunKanormal Podcast), it is safe to say she can relate to the main female protagonist, as they are both drummers in a predominantly male punk band. In addition to Sam, the dreadlocked beat keeper, we are also introduced to the rest of the band: Steve, the homosexual East Indian singer, Lion, the gargantuan bass player who can be giant asshole depending on the day, and finally, Markus the womanizing guitar player. While they all have their differences, they come together to make Spooge! Ha! In addition to the band, we will also see a street kid, with an absolutely tragic backstory, pop in from time to time but for the most part, Loose Gravel really captures the tour life well. And by that I mean, we meet new characters every chapter and most vanish just as quickly as they appeared.

The book wraps up in about 300 pages and cruises at a breakneck pace. Fanthome doesn’t waste time on the boring downtime of the tour; she dives right into the juicy parts of which there is no shortage. Without giving too much away, you can expect the usual band battles in this story: bandmates too drunk to remember the songs, bizarre opening acts, inter-band romance gone wrong. But you will still be caught off guard by a large portion of their antics and, it’s safe to say, a little bit disturbed during some parts. (Thanks for the trigger warning!) But all in all, she does a marvelous job capturing the frenetic chaos that is a middling punk rock band’s tour - right down to the amount of vomit that would be present.


To conclude, Loose Gravel is a fantastic read and you’ll find yourself saying “Just one more chapter” time and time again as your nightly REM cycle becomes completely screwed. But it’s worth it! Of course, lovers of the punk rock genre will embrace this book due to the musical aspects but she surprisingly dives into much deeper topics such as racism, homophobia, and child abuse as well. While there are definitely some heavy moments, she makes sure to keep it light for the rest of the story. Whether it’s the absurd opening acts the bands encounter or the goofy banter between the pals, you’ll find yourself chuckling repeatedly as you turn the pages well into the night... much to the chagrin of your partner who is begging you to turn that damn light off and go to sleep!

An image from Hardcore Logo - which this book has similar vibes to!


Grab your copy at Ginny’s Shopify page today!

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