Friday, June 23, 2017

"determind to transform themselves into human cannonballs"

From Under The Big Black Sun: A Personal History of L.A. Punk:
"There was a lot of adrenaline churning around, yes, but mostly we were a ragged pack of kooky people in pursuit of genius and fun.  This came to a screeching halt when Black Flag and the rest of the South Bay crew on SST Records came roaring onto the scene.  Greg Ginn founded SST in 1978, but it wasn't until the early eighties that its ascendancy began, and when it did, it unleashed a furious wave of testosterone on the scene that was crushing.  Women were the first to leave -- there was no place for them in the world of hardcore punk; gays and sensitive artist types went next, and the audience began to change.  People who went to punk shows in the early days were respectful, they listened, and they were genuinely interested in the band onstage, even if they'd seen the same band four nights earlier.  We knew we'd always see something new, partly because these were mostly not professional musicians, and nobody did the same show twice, because they weren't able to.  Professionalism came later for some, but in the beginning the scene was truly experimental, and the audience was tolerant and supportive.  With the arrival of hardcore, punk became a blood sport, and the mosh pit was colonized by sixteen-year-old boys with plaid flannel shirts tied around their waists, determined to transform themselves into human cannonballs." -- Kristine McKenna
"Now, if you wanted to ask me something, you could ask me about the backlash from the violence.  You could ask me if I mind the night terrors and the inability to be close to another.  You could ask me whether I could ever live vanilla when I had raped and slashed my way through he soft flesh of a rainbow.  I apologize for nothing.  I refuse to stand as some repentant fuck while the crimes of my past are read aloud in the court of post-punk history.  I love waking up afraid, and although I no longer hold those beliefs, I don't regret them." -- Jack Grisham (T.S.O.L.)
With a bit of simple editing (unless you're ee cummings please don't do no-caps, Mike Watt) this book could have been the Platonic ideal of a great music history read.  Compiled by John Doe, most of the stand-out chapters were by the women of the scene -- Kristine McKenna, Jane Wiedlin, Pleasant Gehman, and Charlotte Caffey.

Henry Rollins is always interesting as is his chapter, but unlike Jack Grisham he doesn't have much to say as to whether Black Flag and the other suburban punk groups "ruined" L.A. punk.  A lot of the people in this book seem to feel that way.

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