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Treat Me Like Dirt: An Oral History Of Punk In Toronto And Beyond 1977-1981

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This is an uncensored oral history of the 1977 Toronto punk explosion as told by the bands who were there (in the style of Please Kill Me). This is a limited edition book of 500 copies. It is the ONLY book on the 1977 Toronto punk scene; an indispensable reference work. There is a wealth of previously unpublished photographs (The Dead Boys, The Ramones, The Nerves, in addi This is an uncensored oral history of the 1977 Toronto punk explosion as told by the bands who were there (in the style of Please Kill Me). This is a limited edition book of 500 copies. It is the ONLY book on the 1977 Toronto punk scene; an indispensable reference work. There is a wealth of previously unpublished photographs (The Dead Boys, The Ramones, The Nerves, in addition to The Viletones, Poles, Diodes, Dishes, Teenage Head, etc). The book offers an extensive history of The Diodes, Teenage Head, Forgotten Rebels, The Viletones, and also Simply Saucer in addition to B-Girls (Bomp Records), The Ugly, The Curse, etc. It includes the clubs, the drug use, murder, sex and all the related highlights. The book was written by music journalist and author Liz Worth (Exclaim), edited by pop musicologist Gary Pig Gold, and designed by Ralph Alfonso. Maximum Rock'n'Roll magazine has already run interviews with the 3 main bands (Viletones, Teenage Head, The Diodes).


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This is an uncensored oral history of the 1977 Toronto punk explosion as told by the bands who were there (in the style of Please Kill Me). This is a limited edition book of 500 copies. It is the ONLY book on the 1977 Toronto punk scene; an indispensable reference work. There is a wealth of previously unpublished photographs (The Dead Boys, The Ramones, The Nerves, in addi This is an uncensored oral history of the 1977 Toronto punk explosion as told by the bands who were there (in the style of Please Kill Me). This is a limited edition book of 500 copies. It is the ONLY book on the 1977 Toronto punk scene; an indispensable reference work. There is a wealth of previously unpublished photographs (The Dead Boys, The Ramones, The Nerves, in addition to The Viletones, Poles, Diodes, Dishes, Teenage Head, etc). The book offers an extensive history of The Diodes, Teenage Head, Forgotten Rebels, The Viletones, and also Simply Saucer in addition to B-Girls (Bomp Records), The Ugly, The Curse, etc. It includes the clubs, the drug use, murder, sex and all the related highlights. The book was written by music journalist and author Liz Worth (Exclaim), edited by pop musicologist Gary Pig Gold, and designed by Ralph Alfonso. Maximum Rock'n'Roll magazine has already run interviews with the 3 main bands (Viletones, Teenage Head, The Diodes).

30 review for Treat Me Like Dirt: An Oral History Of Punk In Toronto And Beyond 1977-1981

  1. 4 out of 5

    Dr. Detroit

    Without fail, the tale of every old-school punk scene follows the same story arc: 1) A new generation of puberty-afflicted musical misfits, finally fed up with the prog, corporate rock, and boogie-enamored dinosaurs in control of their local FM crotch-rock mothership and local bars - inspired by the Stooges, MC5, Ramones, and British glam – chop off their hair, pick up pawn-shop guitars, and start bashing out three chords of kiloton cretin teenage bop, singers spitting defiance and discontent bec Without fail, the tale of every old-school punk scene follows the same story arc: 1) A new generation of puberty-afflicted musical misfits, finally fed up with the prog, corporate rock, and boogie-enamored dinosaurs in control of their local FM crotch-rock mothership and local bars - inspired by the Stooges, MC5, Ramones, and British glam – chop off their hair, pick up pawn-shop guitars, and start bashing out three chords of kiloton cretin teenage bop, singers spitting defiance and discontent because they mean it maaaaaaaannnnn, fully convinced that if someone would just give them a chance, they could change the world, if not the music biz, 2) Fans, sycophants, miscellaneous hangers-on, groupies, and the slightly tetched begin to congeal in dive bars all over town like some sort of retroactive ginger ale/saliva/beer/puke liquid mix that has been festering in the sun for two days, all for one, one for all, and every man for himself, fiercely provincial and insular, drinking fountains of liquor and waiting around for Western civilization to slip into anarchy, 3) Unity soon gives way to petty jealousies, rivalries, head games, turf wars, and competition for gigs and pie-in-the-sky record contracts, threatening to bring the whole house of cards down, 4) The kids from the suburbs finally catch on, latch on, and carry on, exhibiting all the charm of winged roaches and behaving just like those crazy punk rockers they’ve read about in Creem and seen on TV, fighting, fucking, and drinking everything in sight, turning a once exclusive club into a giant Tupperware party for assholes, 5) Smack, needle, spoon, rinse, repeat. 6) The end… It was no different in Toronto, maybe even worse as far as the drugs, drinking, and violence go, the kids north of the border definitely NOT alright, the three-headed hydra of local punk - The Viletones, Teenage Head, and The Diodes – playing to packed houses rumbling with all the momentum of a beautifully-orchestrated riot and the Who “stampede” show in Cincinnati. It’s one of life’s great imponderables why the beer wasn’t served in plastic cups instead of glass bottles. Yeah, so I went to a hockey game last night, eh, and a punk rock show broke out. Full disclosure: I’m an easy mark when it comes to oral histories. If I came across one about the potato famine, I’d probably read it. The amount of interview material crammed into this one is staggering. Great book but it should come with a warning: Stow your valuables in the overhead rack, stick your head between your knees, and kiss your ass goodbye.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lesbianfunworld Online

    I stumbled across this book quite by accident, while looking for something complete different. I saw it and thought "Wow! I was totally on the periphery of Toronto's punk scene back then. I recognize some of these names, the bands and the music. I went to Lee's Hideaway, I wore safety pins and army jackets, I hung out in a gay punk-n-porn shop on the strip called Queen of Hearts (I remember looking at Tom of Finland t-shirts when a high school teacher come out of 'the back room' and said hi. He I stumbled across this book quite by accident, while looking for something complete different. I saw it and thought "Wow! I was totally on the periphery of Toronto's punk scene back then. I recognize some of these names, the bands and the music. I went to Lee's Hideaway, I wore safety pins and army jackets, I hung out in a gay punk-n-porn shop on the strip called Queen of Hearts (I remember looking at Tom of Finland t-shirts when a high school teacher come out of 'the back room' and said hi. He signed my year book that year with 'To the Queen Of Hearts'). Good times! Let me relive my wild youth!" So I read the book. Well, I started to read the book, then I started to skim the book. Then I just stopped reading the book. So many of the musician I thought were awesome, smart, angry radicals in the late 70s and early 80s... were actually f*cking jerks. Those biting, angry lyrics about topical news were, I see now, not important social commentary supporting the oppressed and downtrodden, but sexist, racist, homophobic bile. Not all, of course, but enough. Henry Rollins once said "Half of life is f*cking up, the other half is dealing with it.” I get the sense that many of the people in this book are ignoring the other half.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Robert

    What I learned from this book? - context is everything. Words spoken in conversation read differently when presented as "oral history". I feel obliged to give credit where due. On page 346, I'm quoted as follows, "I remember going to see something at the Upper Lip, I think. It was these third-string Hamilton bands, and The Raving Mojos played." I've no doubt I spoke those words because I've repeated this story so many times. Sometimes to make a point. A point that has little to nothing to do wit What I learned from this book? - context is everything. Words spoken in conversation read differently when presented as "oral history". I feel obliged to give credit where due. On page 346, I'm quoted as follows, "I remember going to see something at the Upper Lip, I think. It was these third-string Hamilton bands, and The Raving Mojos played." I've no doubt I spoke those words because I've repeated this story so many times. Sometimes to make a point. A point that has little to nothing to do with "Punk". Anyway, if I'd imagined anyone would have ever read whatever it is I might have had to say, I would have named names. I should have named names. The "third-string Hamilton bands"? Loudmouth (a fine NY Dolls style rock band, indeed from Hamilton), Durango 95 (from Oshawa, featuring my friend Rob Sweeney, who to this day preaches the gospel of the Electric Guitar with his band, Crummy Stuff), and The Hoodoos (ferocious blues-rockin' interlopers from out west). There. Now it's a matter of record.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jacqueline Valencia

    Need more books like Liz Worth's "Treat Me Like Dirt" about #Toronto. We have so much history & we tend to bury it. Expose it! #ourhistory Need more books like Liz Worth's "Treat Me Like Dirt" about #Toronto. We have so much history & we tend to bury it. Expose it! #ourhistory

  5. 5 out of 5

    Don Bennie

    Much longer to read than anticipated. If you do not know many of the names, locations, and characters already then it will be a very long read as you flip to the cast descriptions repeatedly. Take a flip through the catalogs of the Viletones, Simply Saucer, The Dishes, the Ugly, Teenage Head, the Demics, and the Forgotten Rebels before reading. Fascinating read and the discography at the end is excellent. Someone should make a Spotify playlist for this book!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    This is a fine oral account, of a music scene in Ontario, by those who experienced it first hand. You have bands like Simply Saucer, Teenage Head, The Nerve, etc. and the band members frequently reference bands they had either seen perform or went on tour with. The cast of characters page is invaluable since so much is covered.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Valton Landrum

    Excellent oral histories of the early Toronto punk scene.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    A very dense book - lots to read!!! Although not during 'my time', it was fun to look up the old venues to see what is there now. Also makes you rather sad for the punk scene and for the Canadian music industry. Heaven forbid Canada put out something different. Heaven forbid they support and promote their own. Great read, though. Really great! A very dense book - lots to read!!! Although not during 'my time', it was fun to look up the old venues to see what is there now. Also makes you rather sad for the punk scene and for the Canadian music industry. Heaven forbid Canada put out something different. Heaven forbid they support and promote their own. Great read, though. Really great!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    Really cool history of Toronto (and GTA) punk. Tons of info on Teenage Head, the Viletones, the Diodes, the B-Girls, etc. I want to lend this to my dad since he was around for all of it.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

  11. 4 out of 5

    Justin

  12. 5 out of 5

    Nick

  13. 5 out of 5

    Emily Rebecca

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tim Waterfield

  15. 4 out of 5

    Madison Clark

  16. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Robinson

  17. 5 out of 5

    Nick Gergesha

  18. 4 out of 5

    John Self

  19. 5 out of 5

    Dan A

  20. 5 out of 5

    Arif

  21. 4 out of 5

    Steve

  22. 4 out of 5

    Brendan Kyle Jure

  23. 4 out of 5

    Katrina Griffiths

  24. 5 out of 5

    Steve Erickson

  25. 5 out of 5

    Piotr Pelc

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kat

  27. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

  28. 4 out of 5

    Craig

  29. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

  30. 5 out of 5

    Christen

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