Monday, December 01, 2008
The Encyclopedia of Punk
I just got this book in the mail... haven't read it... just went straight to page 81 where there is a photo of The Dils by yours truly.
It continues to be a peculiar feeling that a huge chunk of your own life is now reflected upon in terms of the influence you and your friends' youthful indiscretions had on future generations of indiscreet and/or wild wild wild youth. On the other hand... who doesn't like to wield a bit of influence? I'd much rather that young kids today get politically motivated by the likes of the Dils than by whoever is supporting those whose views are contrary to mine. Selfish, I know. But that's how everyone feels.
You can read reviews and synopsis of the book, The Encyclopedia of Punk at Barnes & Noble. But if you don't like clicking away, here's what they said:
When people think of punk they often think of outrageous fashion and iconic bands like The Ramones and the Sex Pistols. But the reality of punk stretches over three decades and numerous countries, with a history as rich and varied as it is shocking and daring. With this lavishly illustrated and authoritative A-Z guide, Brian Cogan leads readers through the fiery history of a furious, rebellious, contradictory, and boundary-redefining musical genre and cultural movement that remains as massively influential as it is wildly misunderstood. As The Encyclopedia of Punk clearly proves, punk music and culture has produced a rich trove of material, above and beyond the hundreds of bands, from books and films to incendiary political movements.
While a "punk encyclopedia" seems like an oxymoron, music writer and musician Cogan nicely succeeds in producing a "useful resource" illustrating "the urgency and importance of punk rock" from its mid-1970s start to "the movement's vitality in the present day." A plethora of great photos-from the Clash and the Sex Pistols to newcomers Groucho Marxists and the Shemps-accompany knowledgeable, fascinating and fast-paced entries that illuminate punk bands' struggle to survive (the Ramones were paid only $5,000 for their starring role in Rock 'n' Roll High School in 1979) while avoiding being co-opted by the mainstream music biz. (Nov.)
It sounds like my kind of big fat coffee table-sized position paper! I'm glad I got one, courtesy of the kind folks at Barnes & Noble who worked very hard researching the photos. I think it would make a great gift for anyone... a great companion piece to the ever-growing library of punk rock coffee table books, a few of which we talked about last year - click here for a refresher course.
The Germs, in my opinion, avoided being co-opted by the mainstream music biz, but mainstream fans embrace them now since prime time TV idol Shane West became Darby Crash on the silver screen...
Just a reminder that if you are in the general Central Pennsylvania area, my exhibit, UNGUARDED MOMENTS: Backstage and Beyond opens on December 5 at Metropolis Gallery during the First Friday event. It will be up through January 31... and its the only place during this period of time where you can buy any and all Punk Turns 30 photos too. Hope to see you there.
And remember, punk rock makes a great holiday gift!