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We Got the Neutron Bomb : The Untold Story of L.A. Punk Paperback – November 13, 2001
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From Library Journal
For years, West Coast punks have been ardently arguing for some much-deserved respect. Though the L.A. punk scene had a late start, it has turned out more relevant bands in the last two decades than the communities in New York and London combined. There's only been one roadblock in L.A.'s way until now, there hasn't been a book. Spitz, senior contributing writer at SPIN magazine, and Mullen, founder of the seminal Masque club that fostered many of the bands covered here, have fashioned a long-overdue oral history along the lines of Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain's Please Kill Me, Gotham punk's definitive history. Starting in 1971 with Jim Morrison and the glitter rock invasion and ending in 1981 with the Go-Go's commercial success, this book presents raw quotations from vital scenesters, promoters, and musicians. Readers will get glimpses into the formation and demise of acts like the Runaways, X, and the Circle Jerks. Much more thorough than Forming: The Early Days of L.A. Punk (LJ 11/1/99), this book not only titillates with insights and anecdotes that are alternately hilarious and grisly but also fills a gap in popular music history. Highly recommended for all libraries, especially those in the Golden State. Robert Morast, "Argus Daily Leader," Sioux Falls, SD
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Spitz and Mullen give the L.A. punk-rock scene the same treatment that Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain gave the New York scene in Please Kill Me (1996). Out of interviews with dozens of club owners, promoters, musicians, journalists, and groupies they shape an evocative oral history of the mid-seventies L.A. punk subculture, before bands like the Go-Go's made it to the cover of Rolling Stone. They show the small number of those who dug the New York Dolls and Iggy Pop transforming a stagnant West Coast scene dominated by the Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, and their cronies into a chaotic, culturally vibrant synthesis of art school, rockabilly, surf music, and hard rock. Producer-promoter Kim Fowley put together an all-jailbait girl band, the Runaways, which prompted others. X, the Germs, and Black Flag soon followed, offering a mixture of raw energy, aggression, and real, honest-to-goodness talent. Heroin, AIDS, and self-destructive behavior played a tragic but not unsurprising role in it all. An eminently colorful account. Benjamin Segedin
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top Customer Reviews
Once it got going it was a little better, but everything seemed a little glossed over. I always felt that I was missing some key element to the story. Just comparing the size of the book with Please Kill Me shows how much of a difference there is between the two. McNeil really brought you into the depths of late 70s New York, where Mullen and Spitz let you look at it from the outside. The focus is limited to a few bands, the only one that got any major focus being the Germs. To be fair, X, Black Flag, The Screamers, The Go-Gos, and The Runaways all get some coverage.
If you don't know much about L.A. Punk, this is a good palce to start. But it really only whets your appetite.