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We Never Learn: The Gunk Punk Undergut, 1988-2001 (Book) Paperback – June 1, 2010


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We Never Learn: The Gunk Punk Undergut, 1988-2001 (Book) + We Got the Neutron Bomb : The Untold Story of L.A. Punk + Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 354 pages
  • Publisher: Backbeat Books (June 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879309725
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879309725
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.7 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #118,358 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Eric Davidson had his share of sleazy good times and success as the singer of the Columbus, Ohio punk band New Bomb Turks, who have played hundreds of gigs in dozens of countries on three continents and countless labels.

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Customer Reviews

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See all 16 customer reviews
I enjoyed it immensely.
A. Koziol
And where the book really helps me is seeing how big the picture really was: The book roams all across the States, to Europe, Japan, and Australia.
John G. Norman
Great stories from the people that were around during the '88-'01 period the book focuses on.
charles gaskins

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A. Koziol on June 2, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've seen the New Bomb Turks live a dozen times or so and when I caught wind of this book from a former Teengenerate member's blog, I had to check it out. Davidson's got a great turn of phrase and his writing style is both polysyllabic and accessible. Not quite a thinking man's Please Kill Me, just more intelligent sounding. Collegiate, if you will. Am I even allowed to say that? Dilligaf.

In reading, you might find yourself reference checking the way a record collector's "record collector" knows more than you ever will and you just pick up some new stuff as you go along. A lot of the honorable mentions and also-rans in this book are scattered about in my own record collection so it's good to know you weren't the only loser feverishly mailing in money orders or cash (pre-Ebay & Paypal) to grab up some low-pressing copy of some inept, 3-chord noise from a band no one's ever heard of and probably never will unless they read this book. But there were these niches within niches and that gets a good deal of fleshing out here which is good. Many of the bands that Davidson mentions toured many places and countries long before more famous bands were around for even a year. Even the Mummies know that a reunion show will only work in Japan ([...]). Who else would see them in the 21st century that's even heard of them?

I recall many of the stories in this book during the time of I would call the 2nd wave of garage rock influenced by people too young to have "been there" when punk exploded on the scene during the mid-70s but old enough to have started their own bands and been influenced by the 1st-wavers. Gunk punk? Maybe, I don't know. I'm no expert but I know what Davidson means by it.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By oldmanron on June 20, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
...it could have used a bit more more work, either by it being longer or less 'comprehensive'- trying to cover too many 'scenes' is a big mistake of the book. The more rounded-out sections, such as the ones on the Gories, the Devil Dogs,Pussy Galore and the Gibson Brothers are both great info and fun to read. On the other hand, the sections on The Lazy Cowgirls, the Cheater Slicks and Dead Moon are absurdly short given how important both bands were and are (the 'Slicks are still at it!) Also, the manner in which Davidson attempts to wrap it all up feels sloppy and slapdash.

Also, many important underground rock bands are overlooked completely because they do not fit into the 'garage punk' category. Which as it turns out (and this is what make the book the most informative) was created by none other than Tim Warren, who did more for shaping and moulding the Garage Punk sound than anyone else. As the book reveals, the Gories got their sound by listening to 'Back from the Grave' compilations, which was issue by Warren's Crypt label. The 'Gunk Punk' label is Davidson's make-believe moniker, and that is it.

In spite of the faults, I would still recommend this book for anyone interested in music from the era. As far as I know, no other books have been written on this subject.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Billy Deeter on April 19, 2013
Format: Paperback
Don't believe the 5-star reviews. They're standard Amazon shills - friends, fans, relatives, etc.

The author's insider status should've been a strength, but he's so incredibly self-serving the entire book becomes an annoying showcase for his own mediocre band. Just scan the index. Most of the featured bands generally receive between 1-4 pages. The author's own band is mentioned (always in the most flattering context) on a whopping 58 pages! Many of the bands don't get photos, and yet there are 7 photos of the author himself. Why didn't he just write a memoir about himself? Oh yeah, it would NEVER get published.

The author lacks scope. Not only is the book ridiculously Ohio-centric and Tim Warren-obsessed as other have pointed out, but the author tries to encompass too many diverse styles and sounds under one banner - Gunk Punk. Yes, this a stupid name and it will never catch on, but it's also terribly misleading. The Cosmic Psychos have virtually nothing in common with Billy Childish, for instance. They barely belong in the same universe, much less the same genre. It isn't very cohesive. Some people are given far too many pages (Greg Lowery) with nothing to offer but boring gossip and trite stories about spoiled band members who hated each other. Who edited this book? Meanwhile, some bands get relatively little ink, such as Dead Moon and The Makers, two bands that were hugely popular and undeniably influential back in the 90s. The author's true love is Tim Warren and Crypt Records and trust me, it becomes irritating. They seem to be his sole focus throughout the book.

Overall, there is a heavy emphasis on label owners, the only ones to actually make money and prosper during this period - unlike the bands. Very little emphasis on the actual music.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Good book, explaining very well who is who is the 90-s early 2000 Punk rock worldwide.
Despite that many bands, which were critical on the development of punk rock in the late 90's are barely mentioned, anyway this is more like an oral story from Eric Davidson's point of view than an accurate guide to that time punk rock

Anyway is well written and easy to read, a CD with some of the mentioned bands is included to enhance reading experience, so i'd recommend it if you were into punk rock that days, today, or you like a lot New bomb turks
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