Book Review: The Ties That Bind

Rock & Roll books, bound but ungagged

The Ties That Bind

The Art of Punk

by Russ Bestley and Alex Ogg
Voyageur Press, 224 pp., $40

If writing about music is like dancing about architecture, how lucky that a volume predicated on the visual art of punk can avoid the Moscow Ballet describing the Texas School Book Depository. Subtitled The Illustrated History of Punk Rock Design, this boutique repository presents page after color-filled, eye-grabbing page of album covers, concert posters, band flyers, zines, and Xeroxed stickers from the Ramones, the Sex Pistols, Patti Smith, and others as known and revered. From the Lurkers, the Adverts, and others more obscure, to a wide and scattered spectrum of performers and provocateurs from around the globe, The Art of Punk preserves more than three decades of DIY aesthetics that have only recently become reduced to a Halloween costume your more hyperactive kiddos might opt to wear. Bestley and Ogg, whose visceral appreciation of the genre is more than matched by their academic researches into it, provide not only their own informed remarks to contextualize the array of images, but also frequent interviews with and commentary by many of the musicians, designers, and artists responsible for this captured gallery of visuals that riled the fuck out of everybody back in the late 1970s and continue to raise a righteous ruckus here in the 21st century.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More punk
Don't Call It Street Punk
Don't Call It Street Punk
A new breed of anarchy in the ATX

Tim Stegall, Feb. 5, 2016

South By So Much Punk
South By So Much Punk
Pussy Riot, 'The Punk Syndrome,' and – count 'em – two docs about Green Day: Yep, punk is having a moment in the movies

Audra Schroeder, March 8, 2013

More Music Reviews
You Can’t Judge a Book by Its Cover
Wasn't That a Time: the Weavers, the Blacklist, and the Battle for the Soul of America
Once, folk singers faced jail time and worse for their political affiliations

Kevin Curtin, Dec. 21, 2018

You Can’t Judge a Book by Its Cover
Tori Amos's Boys for Pele
The cult of Tori Amos and how to navigate a life of writing

Rachel Rascoe, Dec. 21, 2018

More by Wayne Alan Brenner
What If the Marx Brothers Got Around to Making That Movie With Salvador Dalí?
What If the Marx Brothers Got Around to Making That Movie With Salvador Dalí?
Josh Frank brings the legendary unproduced movie to printed life

March 22, 2019

"Stella Alesi: Journeying" at Prizer Arts & Letters
The artist extends her protean skills toward the bold and minimal

March 22, 2019

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

punk, gift guide 2012, Ramones, Patti Smith, Sex Pistols

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle