Last fall, I was both surprised and proud when I heard that a book about the Anthrax club was being published. My hometown punk/hardcore scene – which happened to coincide with my own formative years – merits a book? Maybe the music and atmosphere were really as great as I remembered them – and my memories weren’t just growing fonder as I grew older.

I had only been to the Norwalk location maybe 20 times during my high school years (1986-1990) but those nights were so great that I couldn’t wait for Everybody’s Scene, a book that is as much a visual history (through flyers and photos) as it a written one.

Great memories were likely the driving force behind Chris Daily writing and compiling the photos for Everybody’s Scene: The Story of Connecticut’s Anthrax Club. This is a book that is obviously going to appeal to anyone who spent their youthful years listening to the aggressive sounds (which eventually included the occasional metal show) the Anthrax presented, a population that maybe includes a few thousand people. At first glance, the club and its history were basically a microcosm of the do-it-yourself punk ethos that was happening all over the country in the 1980s. Certainly, just about every New York club that hosted punk and hardcore shows was more important to the music’s history. What made the Anthrax, which was located in Stamford and then Norwalk, CT, so special – and thus important – wasn’t that it happened in the shadows of New York and Boston (although that surely played a part) but that it was able to happen at all in culturally vapid Connecticut – and how organically it grew.

As he states in his introduction, author Chris Daily experienced the club in real time, discovering the Stamford location as a young skateboarder. But rather than take the “one fan remembers” limited and nostalgic view, he wisely leaves the storytelling to those most fit to tell it. The recollections of club owners Brian and Shaun Sheridan and musicians like Moby, John Porcelly, Ray Cappo, Walter Schreifels and other hardcore veterans drive this narrative.

It doesn’t take more than a few pages to realize that Everybody’s Scene is essentially a love letter. It’s a love letter not only to a club that existed in three physical locations between 1982 and 1990 but to a place and time; when two brothers beat the odds by creating a thriving musical community in sleepy suburbia through sheer determination and tuning into the mood of disaffected youth throughout the country. What the Sheridans accomplished simply can’t be overstated. Looking back on the bands that played the club: 7 Seconds, Cro-Mags, TSOL, Circle Jerks, Fugazi, Bad Religion and Sonic Youth hardly scratch the surface. Today it’s hard to fathom any of those bands playing Fairfield County, Connecticut, let alone all of them at the same venue. Look at those reprinted flyers, what a schedule! No wonder why my memories of the place resemble a dream. And this happened in an environment that was all-ages and alcohol-free.

If Everyone’s Scene succeeds on spirit, it occasionally trips itself with awkward phrasing (one “recalls” a particular show, not “recants” it). And Daily definitely tells the story from the Sheridans’ point of view – you can’t help but notice how one-sided the story becomes when the Norwalk club’s final stand against condominium developers is presented as a good vs. evil-like battle. But these are easy to overlook given the overall spirit (do-it-yourself spirit, naturally) that guides this wonderful recollection of a culturally significant scene that blossomed in the most unlikely of places. It was a scene that needed to be documented. Daily deserves a lot of credit for doing so.