Recent books about punk rock/musicians?
June 11, 2018 7:44 AM   Subscribe

Every few years I manage to find a kick-ass book to give to my husband for his birthday. He's very into punk rock, specifically DC hardcore because of his DC upbringing but all punk rock is very acceptable. General rock music also good. I'm drawing a blank this year. Any recently released books that I'm missing? Biographies, oral histories of bands, nitty gritty of music stuff (husband plays guitar in a band, so nerdy guitar history stuff also good) all welcome.
posted by gaspode to Media & Arts (20 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Kim Gordon (Sonic Youth)'s Girl in a Band?
posted by praemunire at 7:47 AM on June 11, 2018 [4 favorites]

Does he already have Banned in DC, the book of 80s punk scene photos, flyers, and stories from Cynthia Connolly?
posted by D.Billy at 8:02 AM on June 11, 2018

Richard Hell's autobiography, I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp, was a great read.
posted by General Malaise at 8:11 AM on June 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

I recently read Dream Baby Dream: Suicide: A New York Story, a great book about the original New York punk band Suicide. Of course, Suicide, if you're unfamiliar, weren't a guitar-based band, but keyboard, drum machine, and vocals, and set the stage for stuff like Industrial music.
posted by SansPoint at 8:14 AM on June 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

The 33 1/3 books may have something interesting. They make great gifts.
posted by tayknight at 8:20 AM on June 11, 2018

If he doesn't already have the City Gardens book, that will be a slam dunk. 1980s-1900s hardcore and other punk rock, as told to the authors by literally everyone in the national scene at the time. Truly amazing and a fun read.

No Slam Dancing, No Stage Diving, No Spikes: An Oral History of the Legendary City Gardens
posted by intermod at 8:25 AM on June 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

Does he have Meet Me In The Bathroom yet?

2nding Girl In A Band.

Spoke: Images and Stories from the 1980s Washington, DC Punk Scene by Scott Crawford.

Finding Joseph I: An Oral History of H.R. from Bad Brains by Howie Abrams.

Not DC or punk (or recently published) but in a similar ethos - Tales of San Francisco Cacophony Society or most things by Bill Drummond. And 2023: A trilogy by the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu.
posted by Candleman at 8:33 AM on June 11, 2018

It's not entirely recent — published 2016 — but Maynard Keenan's (auto)biography A Perfect Union of Contrary Things was quite good.
posted by myotahapea at 8:38 AM on June 11, 2018

There is a new 33 1/3 about Fugazi "In on the Kill Taker"
posted by sheldman at 9:15 AM on June 11, 2018 [4 favorites]

Mark Anderson, who has been a fixture in the DC scene since the mid-80s, has a new book about The Clash's final, ramshackle, return-to-roots tour out on July 3rd.

Maybe the best new-ish punk-related book I've come across in the last few years is Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements. It's a very deep, bordering on obsessive, dive into a small place and small group of people, and an attempt to excavate everything that it's still possible to dig up. I found it a little exasperating at times, but also kind of wondrous as an evocation of a cultural moment that I lived through, but now seems very far away.
posted by ryanshepard at 9:46 AM on June 11, 2018

Bob Mould's autobiography was a very good read.
posted by humboldt32 at 9:49 AM on June 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

Viv Albertine's new memoir To Throw Away Unopened is just out, the follow-up to the (brilliant) Clothes Clothes Clothes, Music Music Music, Boys Boys Boys, which for my money is the best insider's look at the original London punk scene.
posted by the return of the thin white sock at 11:00 AM on June 11, 2018 [2 favorites]

Since you mentioned general rock memoir is ok too, I'll recommend Kristin Hersh's Rat Girl. Really excellent tour and recording diary, Hersh is a brilliant writer, and it fills a gap, what it's like to be a young woman navigating all of it, complete with the experience of mental health issues/not being neurotypical and pregnancy (her writing about her ambivalence and the tension and connection between literal creation and artistic creation is great) and poverty and always, always the love of music, the feeling of music as a distinct presence that never leaves one's life or awareness. "Do you know what a sonogram is? It's seeing sound. So other people do this, too."
posted by ifjuly at 11:16 AM on June 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

How about The Spitboy Rule - Tales of a Xicana in a Female Punk Band by Michelle Cruz Gonzales?
posted by bibliogrrl at 2:43 PM on June 11, 2018 [3 favorites]

Oh, chiming back in to mention Under the Big Black Sun... it came out about two years ago, but on the off-chance he hasn't read it already, it's mandatory!
posted by the return of the thin white sock at 3:25 PM on June 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

He already owns the complete works of Greil Marcus, Lester Bangs, and Jon Savage, right? And Legs McNeil's seminal oral history Please Kill Me?

Heartily seconding the recs for the new Viv Albertine and for Rat Girl.
posted by Rush-That-Speaks at 7:12 PM on June 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

This is one of my favorite photo books, judging from the prices I guess it's out of print. Lots of cool DC and NY hardcore photographs and a lot more.

Fuck You Heroes: Glen E. Friedman

Here is one that I don't have. Just Fugazi photos. Much cheaper.
posted by trbrts at 7:54 PM on June 11, 2018

Violence Girl by Alice Bag
posted by lukemeister at 8:05 PM on June 13, 2018

I have not always loved the 33 1/3 books, and I'm pretty particular about anything having to do with Fugazi, but I really like the new In on the Killtaker book.
posted by OmieWise at 11:37 AM on June 14, 2018

These were all great answers, thank you!

He already had a few of them, so you were definitely on the right track

I ended up getting the In on the Killtaker 33 1/3 book and then one that wasn't recommended here: Live at the Safari Club: A History of harDCcore Punk in the Nation's Capital 1988-1998

And I picked up Meet me in the Bathroom for myself. About 10-15 years too late for his taste in music, but perfect for me!
posted by gaspode at 7:11 PM on July 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

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