A white, stenciled title over a photo of rows records at a record store

Crate Digger: An Obsession with Punk Records

by Bob Suren Author

In this engaging memoir, a small town Florida teenager discovers punk rock through a loaned mix tape and before long, punk music and culture slowly takes over all aspects of his life. His new passion causes him to form a band, track down out-of-print records that he loves and begin to reissue them, open a record store, begin a record distribution operation as a public service, mentor a host of young musicians, and befriend all manner of punk luminaries along the way. Slowly, his life’s pursuit pushes him to the point of personal ruination and ultimately redemption.

In Microcosm's first-ever audio book, the unabridged book is read by the author and includes excerpted songs from most of the bands featured in the book!

Read an interview with Bob on our blog!

Comments & Reviews


“Florida hardcre honcho Bob Suren is one of a kind…It’s a real killer read that is funny as it is endearing as it is devastating.”


"You'll laugh and you'll hurt with Suren all the way...While the records are the initial guide, they're only a brief intro into life intertwined with the tunes that give this book its edge."



“Anyone with deep affection for Punk Rock, record collecting or dodging conventional lifestyle norms out to find comfort in this read…an emotional journey into the world of a DIY punker and examines the lifestyle free of any rose-tinted lenses.”


"Crate Digger is one of those memoirs that feels like an old friend telling his best stories from three decades of existence in punk. I even lamented its conclusion because it felt like that friend was leaving and I wouldn’t get to hear his anecdotes anymore."



"This book hit some very specific, topical nerves for me...a gritty non-fiction High Fidelity with better records. That is to say: essential reading."


"This book certainly succeeds....[it's a] journey of discovery for the uninitiated it is best as an entertaining yet cautionary note to us true believers."



“It just never gets boring. Also the way he structured the book (each chapter is named after a record he loves and tells a story that involves that record)... It is not all just punk rock, it is also about love and loss – it is Bob Surens life.”


“Suren’s life is a wonderful reflection of someone who collects records…I would highly recommend this book to any punk enthusiasts or record nerds…I guarantee that you’ll dig it.”



“The book’s tone is casual and makes you feel as though you’re hanging out in your friend’s living room, talking about the records stacked around you.”


“[H]ardly yer standard rock memoir…Frank, funny and tinged with poignancy, Crate Digger is a fascinating insight into vinyl addiction in the pre-internet world.”


"In a time when nostalgia has become an addiction, and so much writing is “thinkpiece”-style sociophilosophy…Suren’s simple storytelling is refreshing. [He] doesn’t fear probing emotional depths, either, recalling moments of drama that transcend musical obsession...”


"Most chapters are like a soundtrack in print...a quick, easy read that will have you buying recommended records off Discogs in no time."


"It is this very same obsession with hardcore records that drives the personal narrative [in Crate Digger]...without giving away any spoilers, Suren depicts in a brutally honest fashion the price we sometimes pay for our obsessions."



"Crate Digger highlights the International nature of punk... [painting] a realistic picture of both the positive and negative elements of an obsession with collecting things, and of the redemption one can find in being part of a bigger scene."



"Founder of Burrito Records and Sound Idea...[Suren's] anecdotes bring to life the American punk scene in its prime."


"In Bob Suren's Crate Digger, record collecting equates to far more than stockpiling choice cuts for turntable...[it is] more than a work of non-fiction."



“[Bob Suren] made this more real and captured why these records and this music connects and becomes so important to him. This whole punk thing is much more than just music…I did not want this book to end, so I stopped reading this for a couple weeks before finishing off the last four chapters. “



"After all is said and done you wanna cheer for the guy because if you aren’t just like him then you have a close pal who is. So in the end Crate Digger isn’t just about collecting records (thankfully)... [it's] about friendship, redemption and much more. I had a hard time putting it down."



"Folks who enjoy punk rock or record collecting or who just want to read an interesting life story will dig this book."



"Crate Digger gives a great look at the power of punk rock and more than that, about how a life becomes enriched when you define success on your terms- not societies."



"This is not only one of the best books about punk rock and hardcore I have ever read, it’s one of the best books I have ever read PERIOD."

Brett Beach - Hardware Fanzine


"If you have any sort of personal connection to punk music whatsoever, this book moves from being a must read into flat out essential."

Michael Blain - Crypt Magazine


"This book is for the person who always has a song playing in their head, who are happy to tell you at-length why this record or that was important to them, what it means to them. That's what Bob is able to accomplish with Crate Digger. "

Suburban Voice Blog


"The book will likely make you think of your own collections and connections, and lead you to revisit some of those moments of your own life. Plus, you might learn a thing or two about certain records and bands"

Michael Doherty - Pop Culture Beast


"Be sure to clear off a couple hours from your schedule when you start this, cause you won’t put it down until you’re finished."

Shrum - New Noise Magazine


"a basic piece of your punk history collection. "

Alternative Revolt


"a life in the trenches of 'record-collector scum,'"

David Ensminger - Houston Press


paints a full picture and it's inspiring and a bit heartbreaking as well...So it is with all my heart and passion that I recommend this book.


" a connection to the history of punk that can teach us all what collecting records is really about."

Colleen Wells - I Wanna Be a Geek


"Really brings to life the early days of the American punk scene as it spread slowly across the country, through turntables, fanzines, and word of mouth. His vivid vinyl recollections illustrate how good record stores and adventurous college radio stations were so essential in bringing startling new music into the lives of many previously isolated kids. It follows the trajectory of a kid-turned-concert-promoter as his passion for music became all-consuming."


"There’s death here, and heartbreak; along the way, Suren discovered you can’t recount your life in music — or anything else that even partly defines you, really — without recounting your life."

Scott Harrell - Creative Loafing


"Full of hilarity, heartbreak and inspiration, Crate Digger: An Obsession with Punk Records is a must-read"

Jason Schreurs - Rice and Bread Magazine


Good work, Bob! Looking forward.