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Everyone remembers their first punk show…
Blake Schwarzenbach (Jawbreaker / Jets to Brazil)
“I wanted to live with Exene and have her read the Bible to me, but I wanted to sleep in Chavo’s closet at the Black Flag church, under an American flag with cigarette burns in it. Lee Ving would be my uncle who would teach me about horse racing, and would let me drink one beer while we worked on his car.”
Michelle Tea (Valencia / Rose of No Man’s Land)
“The show at the Channel was full of boys. And none of them were wearing makeup. I thought the whole point of punk was to have a boyfriend who wore as much makeup as I did. We could kiss and it wouldn’t be a big deal because our makeup would already be smeared.”
Michael Azerrad (Our Band Could Be Your Life)
“In the middle of the set, John Belushi, from an obscure, late-night sketch comedy show on NBC, came up and played drums on ‘Sonic Reducer.'”
Blag Dahlia (The Dwarves)
“I started talking to a girl I met outside the liquor store. She had a haircut that looked like a comma balanced on her head and a drunken scowl on her face. When her older boyfriend came out of the liquor store he told me to fuck off with a mouth that smelled like old carpeting moldering in a dumpster.”
Russ Rankin (Good Riddance)
“As we were filing out of the club, I remember Rikk Agnew standing by the door shaking everybody’s hands and, when he shook mine, I was struck with how awesome punk rock was and how there really didn’t have to be any rock stars or separation between the bands and the audience.”
“Youthful idealism is beautiful. No matter how silly or misguided they may end up being, the urgency and power that a group of humans with the same beliefs and ideas can harness, is intoxicating and infectious. I think that’s what does it; that’s what makes people invest their lives and take ownership of a scene, sub-culture or identity, even though they mature and inevitably change. It’s about the ability to participate and build, rather than just plainly observe and accept, without question; it’s about being in a place so intimate that just showing up makes you an integral part of the whole: knowing that without you it couldn’t be the same, knowing you are connected. This book captures the very beginning of that process.”—from the Introduction
The punk movement has permanently altered youth culture. Today’s art, politics, and aesthetics wouldn’t be the same without the hundreds of thousands of young people who have embraced punk over the last 30-odd years. What does each of these recruits have in common? They all remember their first time. Hear what it was like straight from the fanatics.
Whether it was Jawbreaker in Berkeley; Sick of it All in DC; The Dead Kennedys in Berkeley; The Dickies at CBGB’s; Gang Green in Boston; the Ramones in Milwaukee; The Circle Jerks in the West Village—or Baltimore; Neurosis at Gilman Street; The Decline of Western Civilization in Venice; Fugazi in Chapel Hill; 7 Seconds in Sparks, NV; or their goofy friends at a party, these fans recount the inspiration, the embarrassment, and the redemption of their first time.
Contributors include: George Hurchalla, Harrison Haynes, Jack Rabid, Rob Fish, Joe Queer, Shawna Kenney, Chris Rest, Al Quint, Ben Sizemore, Boff Whalley, Shannon Stewart, Pete Slovenly, Paul Curran, Darren Walters, Scott Kelly, Jillian Lauren, Scott Bourne, and many, many more.
Chris Duncan is an Oakland-based artist, father, and aging punk. He remembers his first time.
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