Punk Books Deliver the Goods Print
Music - Music News
Written by John M. James   
Wednesday, 05 December 2007 02:27

Punk 365Punk rockers old and new can get their literary fix in four terrific new books that revel in the spirit, the lifestyle, and the humor of banging the drum their own way. It's not a sex confessional, but the spurts and snorts of My First Time are just as charged with sweaty adolescent discovery. Originally conceived as a small-run fanzine and now expanded into a full book from the AK Press, editor Chris Duncan invited more than 40 rock writers, artists, band members, and fans to share their first-punk-show stories. Not merely recollections of the concerts themselves, each tale is more the story of where the author was in life at that time, the cultural and social zeitgeist, and the often-hilarious anecdotes of getting to that show. Highlights include passages by Jack Rabid, Blag Dahlia, Jade Tree Records' co-founder Darren Walters, Joe Queer of The Queers, and scene historian George Hurchalla.

A new coffee-table tome salutes the squalid, free-form style of low-rent or (no-rent) punk living quarters in Punk House from the publishers at Abrams Image. Boasting an introduction by Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore, the book by photographer Abby Banks documents the anarchist love shacks found on the wrong side of the tracks in towns such as Seattle, Olympia, Minneapolis, and Cleveland. Festering in enough weeds, band stickers, dirty dishes, and impromptu paint jobs to make Martha Stewart cry, the residences and makeshift studios remind many of us of the days when we weren't what we possessed.

Hot off her co-authorship of the New York Times bestseller The Book of Lists, Amy Wallace has teamed up with the legendary Dictators' frontman Handsome Dick Manitoba for the can't-put-it-down Official Punk Rock Book of Lists. From the unbelievable (but true) to the outrageously silly, if you think you know it all, prepare to be schooled. From the list of 108 subgenres of punk to Jon Spencer's 14 foods to avoid while on tour, there's a kick and a gob on every page, smartly illustrated by talented caricature artist Cliff Mott. I laughed out loud at the memorable quotes from the 1982 episode of Quincy, M.E. titled "Next Stop Nowhere" and other punk television oddities such as the Bosom Buddies double date with Andrea Pus and Beki Bondage, and Mott's spot-on drawings of Jello Biafra jetting off with a bag of Dead Kennedys' cash and Tony Soprano and Paulie Walnuts as New Jersey hardcore punks. (Can you name the 14 punk-rock classics that have graced The Sopranos?) Other gems include The Plasmatics' five favorite acts of on-stage destruction, items stolen by Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols, and how 33 punk bands got their names.

Sure to rip the stocking from the wall at five pounds, Holly George-Warren has collected a page-a-day year's worth of punk history and its most beloved (and lost) icons in Punk 365, also on the Abrams imprint. Gorgeously illustrated with candid photographs that capture the innocence and the majesty of the DIY movement, these backstage, back-alley moments serve as a reminder of just how boring it's all become. Reaching back to the seeds sewn by The MC5, Captain Beefheart, and the Velvet Underground and up through the heady late 1980s, each daily nugget of punk history blasts off the page like a beautiful, dangerous, unruly child.

 

Television Alert:

 

As the writer's strike continues to dry up late night, Tavis Smiley presents Wyclef Jean this evening. And Last Call with Carson Daly hosts OneRepublic this evening and Gym Class Heroes on Thursday overnight.

 

New Releases Coming Tuesday, December 11:

 

Meredith Bragg - Silver Sonya (Kora Records) new sparse solo tracks named for the studio it was recorded in

Buckethead - Acoustic Shards (Avabella) rare acoustic-guitar sessions from 1991

Cheyenne - The Whale (Cheyanne Songs) featuring new guitarist Josh Harper

Cocoa Tea - Biological Warfare (Minor 7 Flat 5 Records/Groove Attack) new thinking-man Rastafarian delights from the Jamaican star who debuted in 1974 at the age of 14

Counting Crows - August & Everything After (Geffen) available only at Circuit City

Dwarves - Dwarves Limited 10 Inch (MVD Audio) split single featuring live radio sessions from 2004 and vocalist Blag Dahlia covering The Ramones' "The KKK Took My Baby Away" and AC/DC's "Big Balls"

The Great Debaters - original motion picture soundtrack (Atlantic) featuring music by Alvin Youngblood Hart, Sharon Jones, and David Berger & The Sultans of Swing

Hi-Tek - Hi-Teknology (Babygrande/Koch) with guests Little Brother,Talib Kweli, Raekwon, and Ghostface

Jools Holland - Best of Friends (WEA) with special guests Prince Buster, Tom Jones, Lulu, Norah Jones, KT Tunstall, India.Arie, Mica Paris, David Gilmour, Chrissie Hynde, Madness' Suggs, Solomon Burke, and Eric Clapton

LCD Soundsystem - Confuse the Marketplace (DFA) three-song 12-inch single featuring a Onastic Dub mix of "North American Scum"

Dave Matthews Band - Live at Piedmont Park (Bama Rags/RCA) CD and DVD set recorded this past September in Atlanta, with guests Warren Haynes and Gregg Allman

Wu-Tang Clan - 8 Diagrams (Loud/Universal) with guests Shavo Odadjian of System of a Down, George Clinton, and John Frusciante, the long-awaited return features George Harrison's son Dhani in a reinterpretation of his father's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"

Youth Without Youth - original motion picture soundtrack (Deutsche Grammaphon) Francis Ford Coppola's latest film, featuring a score by Argentine composer Osvaldo Golijov