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Gimme Something Better: The Profound, Progressive, and Occasionally Pointless History of Bay Area Punk from Dead Kennedys to Green Day Paperback – Bargain Price, September 29, 2009

3.9 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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About the Author

Jack Boulware is the author of San Francisco Bizarro, and was a columnist at SF Weekly throughout the 1990s. His writing has appeared in many publications including The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, Playboy and Mojo.

Silke Tudor was born in the Bay Area and reared on punk. She was a columnist at SF Weekly and the Village Voice.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics); Original edition (September 29, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143113801
  • ASIN: B00342VF0U
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,100,103 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Steven Patterson on December 7, 2009
Format: Paperback
Wonderful book about a fascinating subject, and, if you're not familiar with the cast of characters, an fine introduction to some memorable musicians. Unlike so many books on rock'n'roll that either gush about their subjects or seek to crucify them, reading "Gimme Something Better" feels like hanging out in a seedy bar and splitting a pitcher with some extremely colorful folks who aren't afraid to talk about the lows as well as the highs. Not afraid to talk about anything, actually. The jerks are jerks, and the geniuses are geniuses, but none of them are boring. Highly recommended.

Steve Patterson
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I really enjoy reading punk rock related oral histories- my favorite is Our Band Could be Your Life by Michael Azerrad. Gimme Something Better starts at the very beginning of the SF punk scene and takes you up to about 2007. There is a fair amount on the very early SF punk bands which I was less familiar with. I was hoping for more history on Op Ivy and other Lookout! bands but you get a good amount of Green Day history. If you are at all interested in punk history, then this is worth a read. I would recommend not purchasing the Kindle edition.

The formatting in the Kindle edition is a bit weird- there are a lot of places where the name of the speaker is not bolded or offset and so you have to read twice to see who is speaking. Also, there is one image that is not rendered at all, it's just a target mark with a caption. For a book with very few images, you'd think they could have made sure all 4 or 5 of them made it into the Kindle edition especially for the $14.99 price.
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Great book, I really enjoyed it. The first half is great, but when they began talking about stuff like Rancid, who to me are such derivative, cliche sell outs, and Gilman street, where you have to read and follow their little punk rock rule book to be down...Clearly the early days, with incredible bands like Crime, Avengers, Flipper and Negative Trend, were of a totally different vibe and mind set... In a nutshell, the early bands were amazing, then it all got regimented and lame. Still, this book is totally worth picking up!
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Not the best version of an oral history on punk, but it does pertain to the San Fran Bay Area and that is not easy to come by. As per most books of this type, it is random in spots and moves quickly (adding confusion to the experience of reading it). All in all, it is an important aspect of history and the result is a treasure trove of quotables and one-liners.
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This does not come off as filtered through the perceptions of the editors. On the contrary, if I recall correctly they make no contributions at all, they only quote interviewees. Fantastic read, can't recommend it enough. I've seen a person or two put it down, I think they are silly. You won't go wrong with this.
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Kinda interesting, but to be honest, as someone who was right in the middle of punk in SF throughout the 80's, and in the Haight when some of the events in one chapter were kinda/sorta mentioned, this book left me kind of disappointed. If you were one of the two dozen or less people repeatedly mentioned in the book, I am sure it was great, but to give a feel of what the City was like in those years and in that mix...eh, really was a bunch of name dropping...and let's admit it...Green Day?? 1990's? Not really the heyday of the punk era. Would really have liked more about the entire vibe of the scene, more venues, and interviews with more people.
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Great book! The oral history style lends itself well for punk rock scene stories. This ones better than others because it continues through the years & into the current century. You experience how violence & factionalism nearly killed punk but celebrate how it bounced back with a vengeance. My main complaint is the don't even mention my favorite band J Church. I don't understand how a band with hundreds of releases(really!) could somehow be overlooked. Anyway the rest is good...
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