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We Got Power!: Hardcore Punk Scenes from 1980s Southern California Hardcover – October 30, 2012


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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Essential reading...the funniest of the local mags”—Matt Groening, 1983

“The book is a wonderful document of something that has continuity and lasts, the stuff that matters. It’s the finding of a voice of a generation.”—Chuck Dukowski

"Vital to understanding the birth of American punk rock...an essential addition to the history of a movement"—Los Angeles Times

"Celebrating the hardcore punk scene of 1980s Southern California... a new book by zine gods David Markey and Jordan Schwartz"—LA Weekly

"One of the most thorough and lush compendiums of any punk movement"—Dangerous Minds

"There are no rose-colored glasses, zero phoned-in memories, and no homogenized takes; gritty, raw, and real as real can get is the tone delivered on every page."—Metal Army America

"This is a book of human stories, funny and sad and tragic… It offers a reminder that what separates the heroes from the burnouts can be just a stroke of luck, or a twist of fate."—The Wire

"Absolutely stunning"—Creative Loafing

"Stunning and beautiful"—AP

"None of the essays are too nostalgic or academic—they're quick vignettes from people who were there, and it feels more like an oral history than an anthology. It's about the zine—we get historical essays from both Power! editors—but it's more about what inspired them to make it in the first place."—Pitchfork

"South California's punk explosion recorded in style... the introductory allegorical essay by Henry Rollins himself is a fascinating insight, setting the tone for a scene dead set on its own destruction."—Classic Rock

"A yearbook for SoCal dropouts who changed the world."—Inked

"A seriously impressive collection of hardcore punk alumni"—Terrorizer [5/5 stars]

"[We Got Power!] made an impact on the hardcore punk scene that is still being felt today... A document of bands and people who would go on to be legends in one way or another."—Maximum Rocknroll

"A fearless mix of insight and irreverence...beautifully produced...you'll be inspired"—RTE (Radio-TV Ireland) [5/5 stars]
"A history lesson for the novice and nerd alike, packed to the spine with pictures and essays that will blow the mind and flare the nostrils"—AOL Noisecreep

"The pair’s gritty, deadpan photos captured the bands, DIY venues, and SoCal vagrants that would eventually define an entire subculture...stunning"—The Fader

"Hundreds of gloriously candid photographs… meticulously curated and fantastically edifying."—Decibel

"The true, on-the-ground account... essential"—Metal Hammer [UK]

"The stark, often beautiful imagery presents an intimate portrayal of West Coast punk in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. With the accompanying personal reminiscences of turmoil and tenacity, which add depth and evocative context, it is a fantastic document of the scene’s emergence."—PopMatters

"Phenomenal... Essential reading."—Bakersfield Californian

"Reports from the frontlines of the huge and thriving Los Angeles scene...with first-hand accounts from some of its biggest luminaries"—VH1

"We Got Power! gives a great impression of the scene’s liveliness, the fans’ intense devotion to the music, the audience’s intimacy with the performers and the excitement of being part of something new."—Los Angeles Review of Books

"[An] entertaining trip back in time... funny and enthusiastic."—Chicago Reader

"A super interesting take on the Southern California hardcore scene... Henry Rollins piece on the late Kim Pilkington is one of the best and most heartfelt things he's ever written."—Byron Coley, Arthur Magazine
"An easy-to-digest scrapbook of candid photos and unbelievable tales from an indelibly interconnected group of friends reminiscing about the crazy, spastic, possibly drug-addled moments when hardcore peaked."—The Long Beach Post

"An intimate portrayal of the early hardcore movement."—Rebel Ink Magazine

"To flesh things out, the book integrates essays from scene participants like Henry Rollins, Keith Morris, Mike Watt, Joe Carducci (SST), Vandal's Steve Human, Tony Reflex of Adolescents, and other artists, filmmakers, players, scenesters, and members of Black Flag."—Pitchfork

"Amazing! Get it if you have any interest in Californian punk and hardcore!"—Daniel P. Carter, BBC Radio 1 Rock Show

"The essays are sometimes anecdotal, sometimes reflective, but never maudlin. And photographs—nearly 400 of them, hard-boiled and loving simultaneously—capture the decrepit L.A. landscape and its wasted youth"—LA Record

"A nostalgic trip through the past for those who lived it, but an anthropological case study of a lesser-known subculture, and quite simply, a work of art"—The Los Angeles Beat

About the Author

DAVID MARKEY was born December 3, 1963, in Burbank, CA. He made his first film at the age of 11 and published a neighborhood newspaper at 12. In 1980, he became involved in the local underground music scene. He helped form Sin 34 in 1981, and captured the punk scene in the Super 8 film The Slog Movie. Markey was a part of We Got Power fanzine from 1981 to 1983, then kept the name alive through his We Got Power Films. He cowrote and directed Desperate Teenage Lovedolls in 1984. He photographed, edited, cowrote, and directed Lovedolls Superstar in 1986. Also that year, his band Painted Willie toured with Black Flag for six months, a period depicted in his film Reality 86’d. Later, he traveled with Sonic Youth and Nirvana across Europe to make 1991: The Year Punk Broke. Markey has directed music videos for Meat Puppets, fIREHOSE, Shonen Knife, Mudhoney, and Pat Smear, and collaborated with visual artists Cameron Jamie, Raymond Pettibon, and Kim Gordon. In 2005, he accidentally discovered he was adopted, leading to work on the autobiography Dark Circles. Markey directed the documentaries The Reinactors; Dinosaur Jr. Bug (Live) at 9:30; and the Circle Jerks film My Career as a Jerk.

JORDAN SCHWARTZ met David Markey while skateboarding in a flooded Santa Monica parking garage in 1979. As they discovered the growing Los Angeles hardcore punk rock scene, Jordan teamed up with David, his sister, Jennifer, and Alan Gilbert to found We Got Power magazine. Jordan contributed in many roles, including that of staff photographer. Jordan had producing and acting roles in Desperate Teenage Lovedolls and the sequel, Lovedolls Superstar, notably appearing as the rock star Brews Springstein. Jordan facilitated the release of three Black Flag skateboards featuring original artwork by Raymond Pettibon. In 1984, Jordan began working and living at SST Records’ Global Network Agency booking gigs and tours for various high-profile bands on and off of the label during the pioneering years of the U.S. independent scene. In 1988, Jordan began a career working with computers connected to the Internet. He lives in Santa Monica with his wife and dog, still hangs out at Rip City on the weekends, and makes it to local gigs.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Bazillion Points (October 30, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 193595007X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935950073
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 12 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #341,917 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By William Most Heat Moon on October 21, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I just bought a second copy of this book to save for posterity. Packed with beautiful photos of bands such as Redd Kross, Black Flag, and The Minutemen, playing early shows at house parties and in apartment bedrooms. A few kids with DIY attitude started the We Got Power fanzine and documented the Los Angeles punk scene coalescing around the birth of the SST Records scene. The full zines are reprinted in this book and there are hundreds of additional photos documenting the beginnings of those aforementioned bands, as well as Suicidal Tendencies, Circle Jerks, Nip Drivers, and many others. The stories are starkly different from those of East Coast punk scenes, and far more entertaining, due to the use of brutal police violence to shut down live shows, the threat of gang violence and abundance of hard drugs - all amidst the decaying stucco and palm trees of Hollywood and LA's beach towns. Not boring. A great document of just how decrepit Hollywod and LA's beach communities were in the late 70's and 80's and a visual explanation of why this great music emerged where it did.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Justin on November 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I hate giving 5 stars to anything, but, this book diserves it. David and Jordan put together a book full of great interviews and photos that speak for themselves. This was the music my friends and I listened in high school even though we were babies during the scene. Just flipping through the pages takes me back to when we would visit record stores and "discover" a bunch of horrible bands with songs a minute long and, of course, we would blast them with the volume turned all the way up to 11. On the wrong side of 30 still listening to hardcore, just not around the old lady. She hates that sh*t.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Paula Evans on November 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a stellar composition of pictures and articles from the early days of the LA punk scene. For me, it was a walk down memory lane as I came of age during this time and place. Many of these people were my friends, and this misunderstood movement was a powerful source of fun and energy for me. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys the music and is interested in its history.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Paul De La Cruz on July 10, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a must have for anyone that experienced this Historical time period in the Los Angeles music scene. If you were late to the party this is also a must buy.
David Markey and his co- founders of We Got Power Magazine put together a masterpiece of photos and reviews of shows, records and highlights of the unforgetable violence from the Police(LAPD)harassment to the riots at various shows. I never though I would get the opportunity to relive these moments of my youth in Los Angeles. If you like Punk Rock from the City of Angeles here is your chance to witness a movement so powerful it changed the world!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Eric K Ankle on April 26, 2014
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I really enjoyed the trip down memory lane. I was in the scene from '78 on and remember a lot of clubs? (places where gigs were held) that I had forgotten about. This is a well done, somewhat brief history of the early LA hardcore scene.More than that, it was great to see once again the type(s) of fanzines we had back before we carried computers in our pockets. Worth the money in my opinion.
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