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15 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Never mind the gunk punk moniker, it's all just rock n' roll
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...
Published on June 2, 2010 by A. Koziol

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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars IT'S CALLED GARAGE PUNK.
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...
Published 17 months ago by Billy Deeter


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15 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Never mind the gunk punk moniker, it's all just rock n' roll, June 2, 2010
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This review is from: We Never Learn: The Gunk Punk Undergut, 1988-2001 (Book) (Paperback)
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. It was sloppy, hardly had any production to it, but damn it sounded good and got you movin' and wanting more.

There were tons of bands during the time this book attempts to elaborate upon that would make it probably 10 times its size but it does a good job of gathering, without cherry picking, the cream of the crop and forerunners of the ilk. Teengenerate, New Bomb Turks, Devils Dogs, Mummies, the list goes on but they were all household names to those who were LIVING in that house, or at least in the same neighborhood.

So, in a nutshell, for you garage rockers who wanted to know the whole spew on the Tim Warren / Crypt record thing and other nuggets of 2nd-wave garage rock history, this will be up your alley. There's some decent stuff in terms of bands I didn't know about scattered among the stories that have already made a lot of these bands and related people legends in our own minds. Well researched and follows the chronology faithfully if only just summarily. I enjoyed it immensely.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars As subjective as it ought to be but..., June 20, 2011
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This review is from: We Never Learn: The Gunk Punk Undergut, 1988-2001 (Book) (Paperback)
...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
2.0 out of 5 stars IT'S CALLED GARAGE PUNK., April 19, 2013
This review is from: We Never Learn: The Gunk Punk Undergut, 1988-2001 (Book) (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. Strong focus on petty squabbles, etc, but nothing memorable. Many of the interviews aren't exactly riveting. Random anecdotes such as a record store clerk chasing down a shoplifter seem irrelevant when so many great bands are barely given a mention. It's frustrating.

One gets the feeling this book was hastily written. Much of the information is inaccurate. Dates and names are screwed up. The writing is derivative of the hyperbole found in a Crypt catalog combined with the bland, hipster insight of a small town weekly record review section.

The author should have called it "GARAGE PUNK 1990-1999" and narrowed it down to a dozen bands or so. The message is lost when some crappy skate-punk band like the New Bomb Turks (music for sweaty dudes with backwards baseball caps) or the Muffs (seriously??) pretend to be in the same league as great bands such as The Oblivians, Gories and Makers.

In the end, the author's vanity takes precedence. This should've been a great book, but it's a missed opportunity.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A good review of american (and a bit outside 90's and early 00's punk rock), May 30, 2014
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This review is from: We Never Learn: The Gunk Punk Undergut, 1988-2001 (Book) (Paperback)
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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2.0 out of 5 stars Not Much Flesh On the Undergut, March 28, 2014
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This review is from: We Never Learn: The Gunk Punk Undergut, 1988-2001 (Book) (Paperback)
As a fan of a lot of the bands covered in the book, as well as the author's, I thought I'd give it a try. Clearly based on books like Our Band Could Be Your Life and the two oral history progenitors Please Kill Me and We've Got The Neutron Bomb, the book takes a look at the parallel alternative music scene that was lumped under the "punk" rubric alongside the political rantings of mohawked teenagers like GBH and Rancid, but found its inspiration more from 60s garage madness like The Sonics and Screamin Lord Sutch than FEAR or Subhumans.

The chapters don't seem to really follow any sort of linear movement, so the book doesn't swell to anything. It just kind of stops. The oral interviews that segment the chapters drop in and cut off in confusing places since often times they have little or nothing to do with the text going on around them. There really isn't any linkage from one point to another. Secondly, there really is little information about the Gunk Punk Undergut at all. Mostly, we get a lot of information about Tim Warren of Crypt records and his various destructive personal affectations/personality, and a lot of information about the band The Devil Dogs, but if you're looking for a chronicle of the "other indie", that Indie rock that spawned during this era, with these groups, not as a musical style as Indie Rock tends to be fronted as today, with the same budgets and promo/press pushes as their mainstream brethren (since a lot of Indie rock bands today are on major labels anyways, not that the label a record comes out on necessarily matters one iota), then this book might give you a little bit of insight as to what it was like to sleep on a floor back then...if that floor was in Tim Warren's house in Germany, and if you were in the Devil Dogs while doing it, but, otherwise, maybe just go revisit the records.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another book of: where have have the goodtimes gone?, August 29, 2013
This review is from: We Never Learn: The Gunk Punk Undergut, 1988-2001 (Book) (Paperback)
This book is great & quite funny, especially if you lived those times.
i was living in madrid, spain at that time
& i had the luck to see most of thease bands in their prime time
& party with the members after the concerts.
which gave me the idea to make a fanzine: Waka Baby,
where i included interviews of most of thease
bands in spanish, no big deal.
anyway i'll continue editing this review when i get to the end
meanwhile you can trade your cupon here:
[...]
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great book! Where is the soundtrack?!?, June 13, 2013
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This review is from: We Never Learn: The Gunk Punk Undergut, 1988-2001 (Book) (Paperback)
Loved every minute of reading this book... it's filled with gems and great memories filtered through the watchful eyes of Eric Davidson. He's got a way with words! Now where the hell is my 20-Song download? The link for weneverlearnbook.com is dead... can anyone let me know where I can download this soundtrack? I wanna hear it!
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Big Disappointment, December 1, 2010
This review is from: We Never Learn: The Gunk Punk Undergut, 1988-2001 (Book) (Paperback)
My epicly long review has been taken down for some reason. I think I gave the book two stars then, but that was fresh after reading it and after more thought I'd have to give it a 1. The only reason I'm bothering to rereview it is that somebody who buys this expecting a "five star" book is probably going to be disappointed, and I wish somebody had given me the straight dope before I bought it.

As somebody else wrote, the book is sloppy and slapdash (but that person gave it five stars for some reason - probably the same reason the other reviewers did, which was trying to help push the book, I guess). The whole thing seems like a rush job, and you can get more information on most or all of the bands covered from the internet. Some bands are barely mentioned, as though it was felt they had to be worked in somewhere but there wasn't time to actually find out anything about them.

The prime example I remember is mentioning Junk Records because they were run by a Brother (African-American, that is.) He doesn't go into the story of the label, which is pretty interesting and all too typical one (kept getting every hot band down the pike to sign up to do records and then let the recordings sit in limbo and not release them because of problems in the company that eventually made them shut down, keeping everything). The brief
namedrop then segues into the Bellrays, because their singer is also African-American, though he doesn't go into any detail about them anyway. I already knew they existed, thanks - I've got their records, as well as more than a few Junk records. And for anyone who didn't know they existed, the brief bit in here isn't going to get them interested.

Some of the writing is pretty painfully convoluted - a lot of it is trying to be Tim Warren-style funny but just doesn't work, but other parts have simple ideas written up in a confusing, overcomplicated way. The book is pretty much a mess and hard to read.

The plus is that when Eric is writing about his band the New Bomb Turks or the bands they toured with, he has a lot to say and says it pretty well. He should of just written about that and stayed away from a bunch of stuff that he didn't know about and didn't really care or didn't have time to find out about.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an excellent compendium for records with no information, July 7, 2010
This review is from: We Never Learn: The Gunk Punk Undergut, 1988-2001 (Book) (Paperback)
Having tried to suss information about many of these bands (ex: The Mummies, The Makers, The Oblivians, et al) with no luck, this fine book fills in many biographical and historical gaps while uncovering many great bands I didn't know fit into the pantheon of dirt rock (or Gunk Punk or whatever). I was always mystified by much of what came out of this era (pre-internet, you know?). Really a great read (that comes with free MP3 featuring many bands discussed) which runs right up to the beginning of 2010 and covers not only many bands but labels (Crypt, Sympathy, Estrus), magazines and zines, gripes, grudges, and rip-offs (and the Rip-offs, who kinda cover all the aforementioned). Probably best for the converted but may do well for fans of Black Lips, Jay Reatard (mentioned there-in), Demon's Claws, etc. etc. etc. to sharpen their teeth on the bones of the bands who came before. And there is pictures...
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, October 8, 2013
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This review is from: We Never Learn: The Gunk Punk Undergut, 1988-2001 (Book) (Paperback)
A very verbose summary of this rock era (?) or rock genre (?). If you're familiar with any of the bands in the previews or reviews then it's worth acquiring.
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We Never Learn: The Gunk Punk Undergut, 1988-2001 (Book)
We Never Learn: The Gunk Punk Undergut, 1988-2001 (Book) by singer. Eric Davidson (Paperback - May 1, 2010)
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