Between Rock & a Hard Place

“A great book about zol, jol and beautfiful losers struggling to make a buck, get laid and  topple apartheid in the days when that shit really mattered.  As a chronicle of 20th century counter-culture, it stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the classics of the genre.”
Rian Malan – author of My Traitor’s Heart

“A wild and crazy rock ‘n roll ride through an age of paranoia and revolution. Turn this book up loud!”
Gus Silber – author & journalist

Summer Music Festival, Hartleyvale Cape Town, December 1982

How does a middle-class Afrikaans boytjie from Springs, guileless product of Christelik-nationale Opvoeding, end up in the grubby world of protest punk, slap-bang in the middle of the Struggle? That’s a good question…

The Eighties in South Africa were a mess, a schmangled clusterfuck of a decade. For most whiteys, it was braaivleis, rugby, sunny skies, and Chevrolet. For others, like the author, it was a one-eyed stumbling about in a world without signage.

Between Rock & a Hard Place is a memoir of the author’s role in the counter-culture punk and new wave scene of the late Seventies and early Eighties as a musician, promoter, and enthusiastic participant, and tells the story of those tumultuous and giddy times with heartfelt irreverence. Veering between lucid moments of desperate innovation and psychedelic adventures on the rim of sanity, all the time riding roughshod at delirious speed over the potholes of “culture”, the reader is introduced to half-forgotten champions of unwinnable battles and the band of misfits who attempt to disrupt “The System”.

National Wake

From music festivals in Port St Johns to disastrous concerts in the Platteland; from Juluka to The Dyslexix and Peach to Mapantsula; from big ideas to narrow escapes; from huge successes to massive fiascos, roadblock to roadblock, gig to gig, Between Rock & a Hard Place is simultaneously a blow-for-blow rock ’n roll story told from the dubious vantage point of being below the underbelly; an aberrant coming-of-age tale set in a time of political madness and mad debauchery; and, finally, a lesson on horses.

“This is history like you’ve never read it before. It’s rock and punk and down and out among the bars and clubs of Cape Town in the 1980s.  It’s Carsten Rasch freelancing out along the razor’s edge of those years. Read it. You’ll laugh out loud.”

MIKE NICOL – author of Payback



“At times Carsten’s book flows like a rollicking road trip, windows wound down and tank running on empty, while elsewhere it skips jauntily through anecdotes as if he’s flicking through a pack of faded photographs. You’ll learn something about a lost generation of bands, musos and misfits, strung together as a type of degenerate Spear of the Nation, resisting apartheid while having a fat party, and a fat zol at that.”

TOAST COETZER – writer & beat poet

Published by MF Books March 2019

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