For nearly twenty years, the much-beloved music magazine Roctober has featured work by some of the best underground cartoonists, exhaustive examinations of made-up genres such as “robot rock,” and an ongoing exploration of everything Sammy Davis Jr. ever sang, said, or did. But the heart of the magazine has always been the lengthy conversations with overlooked or forgotten artists. Flying Saucers Rock ’n’ Roll gathers the most compelling of these interviews. Eccentric, important artists—including the rockabilly icon Billy Lee Riley, the jazz musician and activist Oscar Brown Jr., the “Outlaw Country” singer David Allan Coe, and the pioneer rock ’n’ roll group the Treniers—give the most in-depth interviews of their lengthy careers. Obscure musicians, such as the Armenian-language novelty artist Guy Chookoorian and the frustrated interstellar glam act Zolar X, reveal fascinating lives lived at rock’s margins. Roctober’s legendarily dedicated writers convey telling anecdotes in the fervent, captivating prose that has long been appreciated by music enthusiasts. Along with the entertaining interviews, Flying Saucers Rock ’n’ Roll features more than sixty images from the pages of Roctober and ten illustrations created for the book by the underground rock ’n’ roll artist King Merinuk.
Jake Austen is an independent music writer and the editor of Roctober magazine. He is the author of TV-a-Go-Go: Rock on TV from American Bandstand to American Idol, the editor of A Friendly Game of Poker: 52 Takes on the Neighborhood Game, and a founder and co-host of the cult-favorite dance show Chic-a-Go-Go, which airs on Chicago Access Network Television (CAN-TV).