My Little Red Book

Under the Big Black Sun: A Personal History of L.A. Punk

John Doe

My Little Red Book

Los Angeles' original punk moment, roughly 1977-82, had a simultaneous trashy vibrancy befitting its ascendancy in the shadow of the Hollywood dream factory, and a dark literary gravitas emerging from the same demimonde driving Charles Bukowski and Raymond Chandler. Some of the best bands – X, the Germs, Flesh Eaters, Gun Club – wrote lyrics rhapsodizing lives lived rough on Tinseltown's margins, attempting glamour in a thrift store Dumpster raid, satori from a shoplifted 40-ounce beer. In redressing the paucity of volumes covering said instant in punk, X's John Doe gathers key musicians, writers, and one or two journalists to explain "how a bunch of outsiders, fuckups, and losers turned into a bohemian, punk rock community." Exene Cervenka chronicles cultural revolution, the Go-Go's Jane Wiedlin and writer/musician Pleasant Gehman explain the nonstop party, the Zeros' Robert Lopez and Brat's Teresa Covarrubias detail Chicano culture's crucial contribution, the Blasters' Dave Alvin notes the uneasy injection of American roots, and Black Flag's Henry Rollins and the Minutemen's Mike Watt pinpoint the hardcore transition. A book as special as the scene it anthologizes.


Under the Big Black Sun: A Personal History of L.A. Punk

by John Doe with Tom DeSavia and friends
Da Capo Press, 336 pp., $26.99

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

L.A. punk rock, Summer Reading 2016, X, the Germs, Flesh Eaters, Gun Club, Go-Go's, Zeros, Blasters

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