V. “Valhalla” Vale is a writer, keyboard player and, as Vale Hamanaka, was a member of the initial configuration of Blue Cheer, prior to that band becoming famous as a power trio. He is the publisher and primary contributor to books and magazines published by his company, RE/Search Publications. Vale is the host of the television talk show Counter Culture Hour on Public-access television cable TV channel 29 in San Francisco. The show is edited by his wife Marian Wallace. He studied English at UC Berkeley and is a Japanese-American.
In 1977, while working at City Lights Bookstore, with $100 donated each by Allen Ginsberg and Lawrence Ferlinghetti, he began publication of Search and Destroy, a San Francisco-based zine documenting the then-current punk subculture. In 1980, he began publication of RE/Search, a tabloid format zine focusing on various counterculture and underground topics, with financial help from Geoff Travis of Rough Trade Records and actress/film director Betty Thomas. At the same time he also started his own typesetting business, allowing for a day job to fund his publishing exploits and guaranteeing high quality typography and design for his magazines and books.
The 1980s saw the expansion of RE/Search books from tabloid-formatted zines to academically-modeled books. Vale published and contributed to many books on the subjects of pranks, obscure music and films, industrial culture, authors J.G. Ballard and William S. Burroughs, modern primitives, and many other underground topics. In 1991, Vale sold his typography business to focus on publishing full-time.
Vale, who works like a cultural anthropologist, describes his focus for writing: (I have) “this weird theory that there’s only 1000 interesting people on this planet that I refer to as primary source thinkers. It’s my job to find them. I’m just after something that lasts longer, not “high sugar fluff” as Henry Rollins put it. I want something I don’t get right away. One of my favorite phrases, and I heard this from William Burroughs, is “belief is the enemy of knowledge.”
V. Vale, Terminal Punk, Punk Philosophy, San Francisco, Re/Search Publications, 2016 (4th edition), 5,5″ x 8,5″, Photocopy, 48 pp.
Krusty Wheatfield, V. Vale Bio-Comic #0, San Francisco, Re/Search Publications, 2016 , 7.5″ x 10.5″, Inkjet printing, 24pp.
V. Vale & Danielle Neu, Lost Angels of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Re/Search Publications, 2016, 5,5″ x 5,5″, Inkjet printing, Folded 11″ x 17″ sheet, 20 copies