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Violence Girl: East L.A. Rage to Hollywood Stage, a Chicana Punk Story Paperback – September 27, 2011


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"It's rare that someone at the real beginning of something so monumentally influential is around long enough to put it down in writing. I recommend Violence Girl." - Henry Rollins, LA Weekly


"A riveting autobiographical reflection from the former lead singer of The Bags, equal parts Chicana Lit and punk rock." - OC Weekly 

"An autobiography unlike any other. Powerfully yet simply written. Brutally honest and often tragic. A story of hope and redemption against all odds, with a revolving cast that is sometimes mind-boggling. Deeply personal." - Australian Hysteria Magazine, Feb 2012

"Fierce and funny, feminist and political, and punk as f___, Violence Girl is a true survivor's tale. An introduction to an irrepressible spirit you'll be glad you met." - Bitch


"Absolutely inspiring..in Violence Girl, we find a thoroughly moving story of personal triumph." - The Stranger

"Violence Girl is not some sentimental look back at how great it all was. Alice [Bag], without exaggeration, allows the reader to understand how exciting and in-the-moment things could be—but also how quickly and easily things can go bad and come to an end.With The Bags in the middle of it, it was a time of incredible innovation, explosive creativity and recordings that stand the test of time."—Henry Rollins for LA Weekly

"The book’s slices of punk life from thirty-five years ago also document a flashpoint for a city rich with talent and anger, erupting into something completely oppositional to the feel-good, pastoral, and often saccharine Laurel Canyon melodies and glistening surf music of the preceding decade." - City Watch LA

"Now 52 years old and a lot less angry, Alice is an author. Last year she published her first book Violence Girl: East L.A. Rage to Hollywood Stage, A Chicana Punk Story (Feral House) which spawned from a blog she started for fun. Violence Girl details stories of the 70s punk scene, her complicated relationship with her parents, her father’s rage, her nationality, drugs, growing up poor in East LA and rising into a punk icon." -Vice

"After decades of dudes telling their stories of punk's formative years in memoir, we finally get one of L.A. punk's most crucial figures—Alice Bag, frontwoman of The Bags—telling her tale. Unsentimental and tough, she gets out from under her patriarchal family and finds her place among a crew of motley, misfit kids as they accidentally invented the American West Coast punk in bands like X, Black Flag, Germs and her own band, The Bags." --Jessica Hopper, Rookie

About the Author

Alice Bag was there at the origins of L.A. punk, at the famed Masque and Whisky-a-Go-Go, hanging out with Darby Crash and the Go-Gos. But she started as Alicia Velasquez, and English was her second language. She knew Mariachis better than rock music. A certain violence was passed on to her from her Mexican-American father. Alice's feminist qualities were seen in the notorious Castration Squad band she formed in the late '70s.

Alice and her Bags band was featured in the notorious documentary, The Decline of Western Civilization. She is currently married, has children, and lives in Phoenix, Arizona.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Feral House (September 27, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1936239124
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936239122
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #100,303 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Over the past 30 years, I've been in a series of little known but influential bands that championed alternative feminism as well as queer and minority rights. I created and still maintain a non-commercial web archive documenting the role of women in the early LA punk scene through an ongoing series of unedited interviews, a sort of oral history of the early Los Angeles punk scene as told by the female participants. I maintain an open dialogue around social issues on my blog, Diary of a Bad Housewife. Most recently, I authored a memoir by posting chronological stories on a daily basis to one of my blogs, interacting with my readers along the way. In effect, the entire book was written in full view of the public. What started out as a series of autobiographical blog entries ended up telling a much bigger story. The result is my first book, Violence Girl, published by Feral House in Fall 2011.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 18 customer reviews
Her stories are sad, moving, funny, and very interesting.
Dan Allen
Great pictures of early punk scene in Los Angeles and Alice Bag .Alice was a RiotGirrrrl before the term even existed ,wicked cool!
Walter T. Blythsom
I strongly recommend you buy this book, read it, and pass it on to others.
Tim Brown

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By BitterOldPunk on September 25, 2011
Format: Paperback
Alice Bag's memoir is less about the first-wave LA punk scene that she was such an integral part of and more about family, growing up, finding yourself, and testing your limits. A discursive book written in short chapters, "Violence Girl" is a quick read, even though it's more than 300 pages long. Alice's voice shines through -- a thoughtful, confrontational, sometimes confused but rarely cowed woman, Alice goes from being an awkward, overweight teenager with an Elton John obsession and crooked teeth to being the lead singer of the seminal proto-hardcore band, The Bags. Along the way, she befriends and bemuses a bevy of LA scenesters like creepy impressario Kim Fowley; doomed, nihilistic Darby Crash of The Germs; the women who would become The Go-Gos; Patricia Morrison, who co-founded The Bags and would go on to be in both The Gun Club and influential Goth act Sisters of Mercy; even Tom Waits makes a cameo. But the book is more than a name-dropping trek across the glittery landscape of late-70s Los Angeles. It's about struggling with family and faith, it's about reconciling ambition with reality, and it's about how punk rock's D.I.Y. ethos helped a young woman define herself and claim her place in the world. While many in the early punk scene burned bright and died young, Alice Bag seems made of sterner stuff. Near the end of the book, readers get a glimpse of her post-punk rock trajectory -- she travels to Managua, Nicaragua at the height of US meddling in Nicaraguan affairs and finds a country stripped to the bone and surviving on little more than willpower and pride. I wish this section of the book had been longer, and I would have enjoyed hearing more of the tantalizing anecdotes she only hints at. A love affair with a prisoner? Rebuffing an invitation to dinner with Oprah? Tell me more!Read more ›
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jamie T on October 18, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Being a fan of the late seventies west coast punk scene, I ordered this book based on the author's history in the Bags, a band I had only heard of in relation to other bands of the time. I have to admit that I expected this book to be similar to other punk tomes I have read: either a sloppily written oral history or a breathless tell-all about the crazy punk days. What I got was so much more. Violence Girl is a universal coming of age story of a bright young artist who is struggling to come to terms with her identity as a daughter, a woman, a chicana...and how she finds her voice and sense of purpose through her incredible experiences. I was blown away. Certain scenes made me catch my breath with their ferocity and then I would turn the page and find such heartbreaking tenderness and forgiveness that I was moved to tears. NOT your average rock and roll fairytale, Violence Girl has many lessons to teach. In fact, I turned around and ordered books for my entire high school advanced reading class. Get this book, share it with a young person. It will inspire you.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Nancy Sheets on October 7, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is an autobiography unlike any other..not selectively choosing only the flattering memories to tell the reader, but rather openly, willingly, painfully at times & with great humility Alice's recollections are conveyed. As a woman who was part of the same music scene a few years already into her genesis as a frontwoman for the Bags, I am humbled to have shared the intimate details of just how this woman put HERSELF up front. There is a constant thread throughout this book...it is one of hopefulness & truth. The lessons in futility become the fuel for this formidable female who realized her value emanated from within not from the external view..there is great beauty in this book, even within the violent times painful as they must have been. This is a story for everyone..about growing up, rising up, surviving, finding your voice & healing your heart through your own actions. Inspiring, interesting, funny & powerful define this book....these same traits describe the Author. Get this, share it with your daughters. Empowering. xoxo
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Donna Lethal on September 11, 2011
Format: Paperback
I can't put it down so this is only a partial review from a reader halfway through who has to get back to finishing it. Alice (Uh-lee-sha) writes with humor, grace, and a wry sense of irony, as well as an incredible perception of her own situation, without judgment. No "poor me"s here, but you'll be shaking your head over "the fuzzy tortilla" (I won't spoil it for you) and other only in Alice-in-Bag-land situations. Get it!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sectmaniac on September 23, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I just got the book last week and I couldn't put it down... It's an amazing memoir from one of punk rock's first ladies. Alice's first hand accounts of her memories are heart-warming, frightening, familiar (myself being first generation Mexican-American as well), eye-opening, and inspiring all at the same time. It was fantastic getting her first-hand account of how the punk rock scene in Los Angeles first blossomed and reading all about Alice's early influences...but the best if the way Alice tells and conjures up memories of her life as a little girl and all that happened to her and around her that influenced her stage presence and art. To me, Alice is truly a visionary artist and this book illustrates just how much of an influence she has become to so many. It's truly inspiring and fascinating to read about her life "after" punk rock in her journey through college to her position as a school teacher. A truly great memoir that I can guarantee you won't be able to put the book down either... Felicidades, Alicia!
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