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LA Punk Rocker Kindle Edition
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At the age Brenda talks about (teenage) just six or seven years make all the difference - kids six years older are HISTORY to the younger set, and the younger ones might as well be on a different planet. Except of course, for the sweet current that runs through LA Punk Rocker, the sweet time of quick friends, battles with the parents, when days and nights were epic for no reason or because OMG you just saw/met some famous artist... when just being, hanging together, liking the same music, hating or being hated on by the straights, when clothes were language and language was made up of bands, music, a common code and joke between us. In other words, the essence of youth in the West.
I had many a nice memory as I read Brenda's story - I'm from the older generation, when at college in '76-77 there were only 4, count em 4, punks in the whole school. My wife and I were the "new wave" couple, and the other two were also a couple, more punk. What's the difference, you may ask? New wavers were a bit more eclectic, we wore bright non-neon colors, while punks were more severe, more formal in their attire and musical preference. And the music had a big overlap - we were at the time all outsiders, lost between FM Rock and Disco Sucks. (I remember my clothes, a shapeless puke-green sweater with my aunt knitted at school, boots I got at Caldor - NOT biker and NOT those thick soled ones, but ones with steel toes - and a red with black velvet smoking jacket; my step father's WW2 era long navy overcoat)
For some of the stars this may be a 40 year gig already, you may be in the hall in Cleveland, or you may be long dead already... but I bet any royalties coming to you are a blessing, and there's always an audience ready for your tours. Like Billy Idol, you're part of the entertainment biz now; you still put on that show and we still show up, a Kabuki of sorts, a ritual to our shared Youth.
But for many fans, time rides fast. Just a couple of years later there were plenty of punk and new wave kids on campus, and a whole new cycle was starting in LA. Like Patti Smith, we got married and had kids, our first born the same year as one of the memorable chapters in this book about meeting Bono and standing next to Bowie. Yea, we still kept up through records, but we'd dropped off the wave; we were now old, quiet and snotty.
(Though she likes and knows many of the songs, our youngest gets that look the young get when their parents play the oldies and get all wet-eyed remembering when)
A few mistakes: The opening chapter by Mark Barry, a fictionalized account of a Billy Idol concert, has a major error of fact. The narrator says to Billy, "You are in L.A." and "Sex Pistols played here in 1977." Actually, the Sex Pistols did not reach the US until early 1978, and their one California show was at Winterland in San Francisco, not Los Angeles. They didn't play L.A. until their reunion tour in the 1990s. And the venue where the Sex Pistols allegedly played is described as an amphitheatre. Their 1978 tour was small clubs (I saw them at the 800-capacity Kingfish club in Baton Rouge), except for Winterland, which was not an amphitheatre. Elsewhere in the same chapter, cocaine is described as a "line of Columbian," obviously meaning Colombian (as in Colombia the country, not Columbia the university).
Brenda talks about visiting places which many of us have only heard of in movies and in articles. She talks about hanging around with musicians before they became known. She leads us through her struggles as a teenager dealing with conservative parents yet trying to fit into the emerging punk scene - the only place she felt she belonged. It is a struggle many of us can relate to.
L.A. Punk Rocker is written in a way that makes the reader feel as if she is sitting with the authors over a drink, discussing their experiences. Ms. Perlin has added other stories, which provide other glimpses into the tumultuous time they lived and which many were lucky to survive.
I highly recommend this book for those wanting to look at an important time in musical history by those who lived it.
L. A. Punk Rocker is a beautifully written depiction of punk rock. Through their short stories, Ms. Brenda Perlin and her friends capture a vibrant time, from the perspective of teens. Ms. Perlin also brings her own particular viewpoint. She was a girl who didn’t follow the crowd. Rather, she set her own tone and style, despite the bullies who tried to make her life miserable.
The pictures bring their own value to the work. The snapshots and photos show action, sometimes frantic and sometimes poignant, of a time that seems long ago and faraway.
Check out L. A. Punk Rocker. Even if you missed it, you’ll live through it…vicariously, through the thoughts, feelings, and eyes of those who did.
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