What Is Message from the Underworld?

1) A really great song by the Weirdos.
2) A weekly newsletter about music, books, and books about music from punk whisperer and fiction writer Jim Ruland.

What do I get?

  • Behind-the-scenes stories. Whether I’m taking a deep dive into SST Records, going on tour with Bad Religion, or interviewing some of the most exciting artists working today there’s always a story behind the story and this is where you’ll find it.

  • Updates on my latest books and projects, including Make It Stop (Rare Bird Books April 11, 2023) and Corporate Rock Sucks: The Rise & Fall of SST Records (paperback June 12, 2023).

  • Candid reviews of music books, crime novels, punk rock records, and horror movies from the perspective of a sober punk rocker.

  • Discounts on zines, pins, prints from my Etsy store.

Why subscribe?

Message from the Underworld is free, but you can support this project by subscribing for $5 a month or $40 a year. I am a full-time freelance writer and every bit is appreciated.

Plus, Orca Alert!

Orca Alert! is a weekly round-up of links with a focus on the arts, culture, and science that you may have missed while avoiding the terrible news of the day. Orca Alert! is only available for paying subscribers of Message from the Underworld.

Praise for Jim Ruland’s Corporate Rock Sucks

LA Times bestseller and named best of 2022 by Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair and others

“Take the most influential Southern California punk label from the 1980s, combine it with the master touch of music historian Jim Ruland, and you get this incredible historical narrative that is difficult to put down.”—Greg Graffin of Bad Religion

“With Corporate Rock Sucks, Jim Ruland asserts his power as a leading chronicler of Southern California punk rock.”―Erin Osmon, author of Jason Molina: Riding with the Ghost and John Prine

“For Corporate Rock Sucks, it's clear Jim has logged thousands and thousands of miles, talking to seemingly everyone who ever even heard of SST, digging up old record reviews and interviews and photos and zines no one has probably looked at for decades.—Luke O'Neil, author of Welcome to Hell World: Dispatches from the American Dystopia

“Ruland combines his personal knowledge of the SoCal punk scene, in-depth research, and interviews with key players to tell the whole sordid tale. Corporate Rock Sucks is a must-read for fans of ‘80s/‘90s hardcore, punk, and alternative rock.”—S.W. Lauden, editor of Forbidden Beat: Perspectives on Punk Drumming

"Jim manages to cut through all the convolutions to deliver the straight dope on the influential imprint in a concise, informative and entertaining way."—Tony Rettman, author of Straight Edge: A Clear-Headed Hardcore Punk History and NYHC: New York Hardcore 1980-1990.

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Punk whisperer.


Writer. Sailor. Punk. Rat.