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American Hardcore: A Tribal History

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Hardcore punk was an underground tribal movement created with anger and passion but ultimately destroyed by infighting and dissonance. This oral history includes photographs, discographies, and a complete national perspective on the genre.


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Hardcore punk was an underground tribal movement created with anger and passion but ultimately destroyed by infighting and dissonance. This oral history includes photographs, discographies, and a complete national perspective on the genre.

30 review for American Hardcore: A Tribal History

  1. 4 out of 5

    jamie

    An oral history/testimony-style text, this book is a collection of quotes from the alleged originators of hardcore -- people like Jello Biafra, Ian MacKaye, Henry Rollins, and many more -- and various scene participants who made art, wrote zines, and put out hardcore records. Sounds like a great document of early hardcore, right? Not so much. The author is only interested in documenting his version of what the early hardcore scene was, from his white, dudebro perspective. The text is divided int An oral history/testimony-style text, this book is a collection of quotes from the alleged originators of hardcore -- people like Jello Biafra, Ian MacKaye, Henry Rollins, and many more -- and various scene participants who made art, wrote zines, and put out hardcore records. Sounds like a great document of early hardcore, right? Not so much. The author is only interested in documenting his version of what the early hardcore scene was, from his white, dudebro perspective. The text is divided into chapters by geographic scene, thus emphasizing scene rivalries, rather than connections and community. The side he took in each rivalry is always apparent, and so are his other biases against 'p.c. punks', Maximumrocknroll and it's leftist 'fascism', and New York City's 'pretensions'. Few women or people of color are interviewed, and when a quote from a woman is included, it's to validate the author's claim that few women were really in hardcore, that the few who were involved were 'ugly bitches' (he actually says that in the next, no joke), and that they were all put off by how straight edge guys wouldn't have sex -- because you know, that's the only reason women would be interested in hardcore shows, the potential dates they could get out of it. The author touches on issues of misogyny, racism, and homophobia, and many of the white guys interviewed tells stories of violence, bigotry, destruction, and incredibly selfish behavior -- but there's no real thought or analysis of why this happened or what effect it had. The book is full of lazy generalizations and unfounded assumptions, about women and people of color, about how different cities are, and maybe most troublingly, about how hardcore is 'over'; the author insists that real hardcore was only made from 1981 - 1986, thus dismissing all of the incredible hardcore that has been produced since then. Is the author right about any of this? I don't know. I appreciate that he was there, and as a trained feminist/postcolonialist historian, I tend to privilege personal experience. But personal experience is of little worth without reflection or context, and this text is sorely lacking in both. Only recommended to readers looking for insight into the stereotypical, self-important hardcore dudebro mentality.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Troy

    I really wanted to like this. I felt a tinge of nostalgia and wanted to read about hardcore, esp. about the D.C. scene which I was never a part of and which sounded mythical to my teenage self. We had this at our store and I picked it up, wondering why I'd never read it before. It was structured like Please Kill Me, a book I fucking loved, so I knew it would be good— Except it wasn't. It is a poor attempt at an oral history. Whereas Please Kill Me is filled with tons of amazing voices, contradict I really wanted to like this. I felt a tinge of nostalgia and wanted to read about hardcore, esp. about the D.C. scene which I was never a part of and which sounded mythical to my teenage self. We had this at our store and I picked it up, wondering why I'd never read it before. It was structured like Please Kill Me, a book I fucking loved, so I knew it would be good— Except it wasn't. It is a poor attempt at an oral history. Whereas Please Kill Me is filled with tons of amazing voices, contradicting each other, and full of weirdness and wonder, everyone in American Hardcore comes off as boring and self-obsessed bros. Now I've met a few people who were a part of the mythic scene I so wanted to be a part of as a kid and they are not boring, not self-obsessed, and not bros. And I've heard of plenty of stories from people who were there, and they're all great stories! Worse, the book is insanely one-sided and, even worse, misogynist. But its biggest failure is that it's boring. How the hell is an oral history boring?

  3. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    I can't remember where exactly I read this review (I want to say it was Felix Havoc writing for Heartattack?), but the reviewer nailed it on the head when he said something along the lines of: "it's like Steve Blush did years of patient & thorough research for his masters thesis & then waited until the night before it was due to type it all up." Couldn't have said it better myself. American Hardcore is full of typos and (at times) inappropriate opinions and biases of the author, but luckily 80% I can't remember where exactly I read this review (I want to say it was Felix Havoc writing for Heartattack?), but the reviewer nailed it on the head when he said something along the lines of: "it's like Steve Blush did years of patient & thorough research for his masters thesis & then waited until the night before it was due to type it all up." Couldn't have said it better myself. American Hardcore is full of typos and (at times) inappropriate opinions and biases of the author, but luckily 80% of the book is interviews & Blush was smart enough not to mess with that. Many people have panned this book, but I'm actually a bit of a defender because: A) again, the meat of the book is the interviews, and B) Blush deserves credit for covering bands & scenes that no one else has bothered to write about. He really attempted to document areas of the early 80's American hardcore scene that have traditionally been overlooked, and for that reason alone this book has great value. "American Hardcore" may not be perfect, but where else are you going to read about bands like Battalion of Saints?

  4. 5 out of 5

    Josh

    As important of a document as this book has the potential to be, much of it is wasted by the author's intent to glamorize the violence, dismiss any view that isn't white-centric hetero dudebro conservatism, and trivialize the involvement of women and people of color. "American Hardcore ain't no revisionist history based on what I personally think happened" Blush writes in the forward. Why, then, does he make such a point to demonize MRR, Jello Biafra, or really anyone with whom he disagrees. Str As important of a document as this book has the potential to be, much of it is wasted by the author's intent to glamorize the violence, dismiss any view that isn't white-centric hetero dudebro conservatism, and trivialize the involvement of women and people of color. "American Hardcore ain't no revisionist history based on what I personally think happened" Blush writes in the forward. Why, then, does he make such a point to demonize MRR, Jello Biafra, or really anyone with whom he disagrees. Strange statements like "Strategically, it was best to get there early enough to see Saccharine Trust's weird shit, get loaded outside during the Minutemen, then return in time to rage for Flag" (as if no one cared about Boon and Watt's legendary performances) and his minimizing of the problems with white power bands (dismissing it all as MRR scaremongering) show clearly that Blush has an agenda, and he wants it to be taken as gospel. His rampant misogyny and homophobia distract from what should be an account of DIY ethics and innovation. He spends pages to describe alleged homophobic statements made by members of the Bad Brains (only because it led to their demise), but doesn't blink an eye when describing (homosexual) members of Hüsker Dü "bare foot and drugged out . . . on the prowl for young meat after the show" as if the mere fact of being gay makes one a predator. His own sexual exploits, by comparison, are recalled in " boys will be boys" terms ("I got a really lousy blowjob from a really pretty blonde chick in the bathroom.") All the typos, cringe-worthy interjections, and unnecessary bragging distract from what could have been a valuable piece to commemorate what is one of the most spontaneous and important movements in recent history. What a shame.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jordan E.

    I liked this book for what it covered, but hate it for what it didn't cover. There was hardcore after nineteen eighty-whatever. Also, it needed a lot more Descendents....but I could say that about any book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    catechism

    There are good things about this book. The discography in the back is nice. I always appreciate a juicy bit of gossip or a good story, and this book has a few of both. And man, check out that cover! The colorized photo, enhanced so the blood is extra red. Plus the tagline, proclaiming that this book is “The definitive work on one of rock’s most important eras.” In the foreword, it says that the first edition of this book “set the record straight on American Hardcore Punk music.” These claims — th There are good things about this book. The discography in the back is nice. I always appreciate a juicy bit of gossip or a good story, and this book has a few of both. And man, check out that cover! The colorized photo, enhanced so the blood is extra red. Plus the tagline, proclaiming that this book is “The definitive work on one of rock’s most important eras.” In the foreword, it says that the first edition of this book “set the record straight on American Hardcore Punk music.” These claims — that the book is definitive, that it sets the record straight — are repeated on the back cover. I do enjoy a good definitive history. A nice, straight record. I also enjoy a totally biased first-hand account of a given person’s experiences. Really, I do. I like autobiographies, ghost-written or no (usually yes; the people with the best lives are not necessarily the best writers). There’s courage in that, in saying, “This is my life, and I lived it the way I lived it, and maybe I fucked it up, but at least I fucking lived.” What I do not particularly enjoy is something that pretends to be one thing (definitive and objective), is actually something else (biased and personal), and yet refuses to admit it. It drives me absolutely batshit. Guess which category this book falls into. Mmm-hmm. (And for the record, I don’t like it the other way, either. I don’t like autobiographies that are devoid of opinion and spin. What the hell’s the point of that?) But whatever. This book is divided into four sections, each of which is subdivided into chapters. The first section is basically an overview, with short chapters on the scene/lifestyle. The second section is by far the longest; it’s divided more or less geographically, with chapters on the LA, OC, SF, DC, Boston, NY, midwest and Texas scenes. Smaller scenes are lumped together into an end chapter; and Black Flag, the Misfits and the Bad Brains are each given their own chapter. Within each chapter, Blush will exposit for a while, in bold-text Authoritative Voice, and then there will be a few source quotes discussing the topic at hand. Here are some things he says in Authoritative Voice: • [H.R.]’s also a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, mentally ill loser who disappointed virtually everyone he touched. • …and the late Toni Young, who died of “pneumonia” in the late 80s. • [MRR] deserves major credit for fostering and radicalizing the scene, but in doing so, a 30-something pack of Marxists manipulated kids to serve their own narrow self-interests. • Jello’s low point came on May 7, 1994, after suffering a vicious beating at The 924 Gilman Street Project, from Skinheads linked to Maximum RockNRoll. Though Biafra “made” MRR, editor Tim Yohannon’s crew shielded the goons. If you ever needed evidence that scene unity was a total crock, there it is. I can’t even deal with it, you guys. Why is “pneumonia” in scare quotes? Did he mean “HIV/AIDS”? Maybe “the gay plague”? I also enjoy the blanket accusation that Tim Yo had some kind of pack of Marxist goons that he sent after Biafra because he was a sell-out. I love me some DKs, but Biafra is perhaps not the most super reliable of sources, and maybe, people writing history books, you should talk to at least one other person before you start talking about Marxist brute squads. Just an idea. I’ve already complained about the misogyny. What else can I complain about? Where to begin. I can start small, with the editing. Names are incorrectly or inconsistently spelled. Chunks of the book were clearly moved around without regard for whether the info makes sense in its new context (in the Misfits chapter, for example, he starts talking about two members of the band leaving, but those two people were not even in the band yet, according to the larger timeline, so it’s like, wait, what? Who? What?). I also found the book physically difficult to read; there is page after page of bold text that is not very easy on the eyes. It’s fine when it’s maybe a paragraph at a time, but each chapter tends to end with a giant list-like info-dump of bands from that scene, the records they made, and what the members are doing now. That stuff is nice to have but it doesn’t make for riveting reading, and the formatting doesn’t help its case any. I could overlook that shit, but wow, I am totally over dudes who think that punk rock died in 1977, or 1981, or 1986, or 1991, or whenever it died for them. This has been covered elsewhere, and covered well, but for fuck’s sake. There wasn’t one punk rock that was exactly the same for everyone, that was experienced by all and sundry the same way at the same time. There was not some kind of punk rock meteor that wiped it out in a planetary event like the one that took out the dinosaurs. I’m sorry, sad dudes who lost your scene, that you are sad and you lost your scene, but it didn’t happen to everyone, and this is the shit that makes me really mad: when you assume that your experience is the only one that counts. This moment, right now, it’s happening to you in a certain way, and you interpret it the way you interpret it based on your background and your experiences and all the moments that came before. Fine. No problem. The problem is when you go and assume that everyone else feels and understands and experiences this moment or this song or this painting or this scene the same way you do. And if they do not happen to agree with your interpretation, well, they’re not even worth listening to. Your experience is the only experience, and everyone else is doing it wrong. No. Actually, asshole, YOU are doing it wrong. …what was I talking about? Oh, right. Punk rock. Except, fuck it, I have been thinking about this book and re-reading it and complaining about it for MONTHS. Literally for months, and now I am just exhausted. I have a lot of ~feelings~ about hardcore, apparently, and this book pushed like 127 of my 133 buttons, and I’m done. So I apologize for the half-assed review, but I cannot give this book any more energy than I already have. Seriously, every time I even think about it, I start ranting. (I have, over the course of this review, started and stopped and deleted and re-written and re-deleted rants about homophobia, racism, the editorial process, Jello Biafra, Ian MacKaye, John Joseph, the state of Texas, the city of Chicago, basketball, Revolution Summer, riot grrrl, and Glenn Danzig. I am not even kidding.) So. There is good information in this book — there’s a lot of it, actually — and there are a lot of stories that I liked reading. But I had to wade through so much infuriating bullshit to get to that information that I really don’t think anyone else should do the same. (repost from now-defunct punk rock book club blog)

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kurt

    This book seems to have struck up some controversy since it's release. Some complain that the content is edited to flesh out the authors ideas and theses. Some complain that this or that group doesn't get their due. Some say that Blush diminishes female's roles (and other minorities; gays, blacks) in The Scene. The noise surrounding the book echoes a lot like the music it chronicles. But I really enjoyed the book. I enjoyed it because it was the first I came across that actually tried to get thi This book seems to have struck up some controversy since it's release. Some complain that the content is edited to flesh out the authors ideas and theses. Some complain that this or that group doesn't get their due. Some say that Blush diminishes female's roles (and other minorities; gays, blacks) in The Scene. The noise surrounding the book echoes a lot like the music it chronicles. But I really enjoyed the book. I enjoyed it because it was the first I came across that actually tried to get this important era down on paper, between covers, and do it some kind of justice. It's hard to be entirely objective because I was involved in this stuff, so I have my own experiences, opinions and baggage to drag along with me, but I think Blush did a good thing by tackling this. It may fall short, it may not be definitive, but it calls itself "A Tribal History", not "THE Tribal History". So having this overview to read, someone that knows nothing about this era can come out of it with a pretty good feel for what was happening at the time and probably be inspired to do more research and listening on their own. In other words, you could do a lot worse. And I'm sure someone will.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Hater Shepard

    Whoops-- hiding on my shelf in plain view. good compendium of band names, and some quality quotes. But the author's voice is mostly aggravating. A fair amount of misinformation and plain old typos/errors. It's a good piece of the puzzle, tho. Read Get In The Van, Our Band Could Be Your Life (gentrification of hardcore!), watch We Jam Econo-- also good resources. Azerrad's inclusion of some bands to the exclusion of others is utterly ridiculous, no matter how arbitrary your account for "taste". Whe Whoops-- hiding on my shelf in plain view. good compendium of band names, and some quality quotes. But the author's voice is mostly aggravating. A fair amount of misinformation and plain old typos/errors. It's a good piece of the puzzle, tho. Read Get In The Van, Our Band Could Be Your Life (gentrification of hardcore!), watch We Jam Econo-- also good resources. Azerrad's inclusion of some bands to the exclusion of others is utterly ridiculous, no matter how arbitrary your account for "taste". When are we going to get an authoritative treatment on BAD BRAINS? I wonder if someone will come out with a Best-of MAXIMUM ROCKNROLL 25th Anniversary Edition? didn't that "zine" start in '82? commercialized DIY indeed... What we do is secret.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rick

    Essential reading for any fan of hardcore punk or for anyone who remembers that early 80s era and wondered what the hell was going on. The author was part of the scene and a show promoter, but most of the book is snippets of interviews with band members and others on the scenes of various cities across the country where hardcore punk popped up. Not a dreamy, nostalgia trip -- one chapter deals on how girls and women were pretty much marginalized by the whole male-dominated scene -- the book exam Essential reading for any fan of hardcore punk or for anyone who remembers that early 80s era and wondered what the hell was going on. The author was part of the scene and a show promoter, but most of the book is snippets of interviews with band members and others on the scenes of various cities across the country where hardcore punk popped up. Not a dreamy, nostalgia trip -- one chapter deals on how girls and women were pretty much marginalized by the whole male-dominated scene -- the book examines each hardcore punk scene and the important bands. It touches on the impact hardcore had, from influencing every rock band since, to creating the entire indie rock distribution system, to its impact on society with movements like straight edge. Awesome book full of great interviews.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Lanter

    This book should be a great resource full of information from the people in bands or that went to shows in the 80's. Instead, it all too often devolves into the author's personal attacks or biases. The tipping point is when he claims that hardcore (or you get the feeling punk music too) aren't relevant anymore, because the music and the people involved aren't lucky enough to live when he did. This is total nonsense. There is good information in this book, but the problems are glaring enough that This book should be a great resource full of information from the people in bands or that went to shows in the 80's. Instead, it all too often devolves into the author's personal attacks or biases. The tipping point is when he claims that hardcore (or you get the feeling punk music too) aren't relevant anymore, because the music and the people involved aren't lucky enough to live when he did. This is total nonsense. There is good information in this book, but the problems are glaring enough that you will wonder if it was ever really worth worth reading.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    Though it covers some of the same turf as Our Band Could Be Your Life, American Hardcore is by no means a repeat. The raw energy of the original scene comes through in the writing--complete with typos, mistakes, etc. Think of it as a very well-constructed 'zine. Most of the big names are well-represented. If you want Ian Mackaye or Henry Rollins stories, you'll get your money's worth. But it's the vivid descriptions of the far out hardcore scenes in Reno or Vancouver that remind you that just li Though it covers some of the same turf as Our Band Could Be Your Life, American Hardcore is by no means a repeat. The raw energy of the original scene comes through in the writing--complete with typos, mistakes, etc. Think of it as a very well-constructed 'zine. Most of the big names are well-represented. If you want Ian Mackaye or Henry Rollins stories, you'll get your money's worth. But it's the vivid descriptions of the far out hardcore scenes in Reno or Vancouver that remind you that just like all politics is local, so is your "scene" (for want of a better term). Culture is a choice to some, but to these guys (for the most part, yes, it was a colloquial sausage factory) it was something they created with blood, sweat and beers (well, except for the straight-edge kids).

  12. 4 out of 5

    Gabriel Strange

    Steven Blush was biased throughout the book. However, I can forgive this as most of the bands in the Hardcore Scene from what I gather were all about spitting their own biased agenda regardless. Seeing as he was a kid involved in the scene at the time, I believe it's fitting. It took me a little while longer than normal to finish this book as I wanted to allow some of the information to set in each chapter and do some of my own research into the great/terrible bands presented within the book. Grea Steven Blush was biased throughout the book. However, I can forgive this as most of the bands in the Hardcore Scene from what I gather were all about spitting their own biased agenda regardless. Seeing as he was a kid involved in the scene at the time, I believe it's fitting. It took me a little while longer than normal to finish this book as I wanted to allow some of the information to set in each chapter and do some of my own research into the great/terrible bands presented within the book. Great interviews, photographs and a shit load of information to elevate you from the average to expert listener. One of my favorite music related reads in a long time.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Krotpong

    An oral history gathered from people with biases, grudges, and faulty memories. Much of the book is poorly written/edited and there are some glaring omissions and mistakes. Hardcore didn't end in 1986. "If you was there man, you'd know what it was all about, man. But you wasn't. I was there, man. I was cool!" is what I take away from "American Hardcore". Still, if you're nostalgic and don't particularly feel like thinking about what you're reading, it can be mildly entertaining. The graphics are An oral history gathered from people with biases, grudges, and faulty memories. Much of the book is poorly written/edited and there are some glaring omissions and mistakes. Hardcore didn't end in 1986. "If you was there man, you'd know what it was all about, man. But you wasn't. I was there, man. I was cool!" is what I take away from "American Hardcore". Still, if you're nostalgic and don't particularly feel like thinking about what you're reading, it can be mildly entertaining. The graphics are cool.

  14. 5 out of 5

    matt

    Having gone the past ten years without reading this, I picked it up hoping for illuminating quotes/insights for an article I'm writing but Blush's editorializing and poor framing of the subject matter is pretty distracting. He has a pretty even hand in showing the idiocy and brilliance of each band/scene but there's a sloppiness to the writing/editing that is inexcusable regardless of how 'punk' that might be. Certainly better than the film but more of a slog to get through than an oral history Having gone the past ten years without reading this, I picked it up hoping for illuminating quotes/insights for an article I'm writing but Blush's editorializing and poor framing of the subject matter is pretty distracting. He has a pretty even hand in showing the idiocy and brilliance of each band/scene but there's a sloppiness to the writing/editing that is inexcusable regardless of how 'punk' that might be. Certainly better than the film but more of a slog to get through than an oral history on hardcore ought to be.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    If you're at all interested in punk or hardcore music, read this book. It's a good history of the 80's hardcore scene that uses interviews with musicians and zine writers as a basis. This book strips the nostalgia and glory from the scene in favor of realism and accuracy. For the most part, I was engaged, but there's a chunk in the middle that just goes through small scenes that didn't have much impact. This part is boring, but probably because what actually happened is boring.

  16. 4 out of 5

    wolfhunter

    Excellent. I completely fell in love this book. Really interesting and shares a good amount of information that will certainly keep you engaged and reading until the end. It's an in depth reality about how it all started, and the bands that kept hardcore alive and dead. My favorite, so far. If you're interested in this kind of music, you'll love it. If you don't have a clue about what this music is and represents, then you're better off not touching it. Grreeeaatttt!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Greg Franklin

    I grew up on the tail end of this movement in 1980s America. I hung around a few times with members of one of the bands mentioned in the book. This book gives excellent perspective to a splintered musical genre that developed in the 80s, and provided me with background on how it developed and spread across the USA.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Ashley

    While filled with a ton of anecdotal history, it was nearly impossible to finish this book...it just ended up feeling like a bi-coastal circlejerk about who played with whom, who fought whom, and how it all got fucked up. if you dig old-school hardcore, it is worth reading the chapters about bands you care about, though.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Nate

    A good compliment to "Our Band Could Be Your Life", Blush documents the hardcore side of the 80's underground. I don't know if this will convey what the big deal was to anyone who wasn't around at the time, but it meant a lot to me and is an excellent document of a mostly forgotten era.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Dante Johnson

    Being a music fan I love books about the history and evolution of music. I do have a tendency to get bored with them. I found this book to be very interesting and well written. A great look into the American Hardcore Punk scene in the late 70's and 80's

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    This book is worth reading for sure. I read it a long time ago, but some of the stories and histories still stand out to me. There are some great photos as well. However, the author's bias, attitude, and slight tendency to repeat himself get annoying.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Brendan

    not the best book about hardcore out there, mostly because the author's shitty attitude kind of gets in the way of my enjoyment of the content he's providing. and speaking of that content, there are a shit ton of factual errors in this, especially in the section about western mass.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ludovico

    Not bad, it gives you a deep insight on the scene at that time, sometimes maybe even too deep mentioning maybe every single band of the time but without much criticism...definitely worth reading for everyone whose heart has beaten with Minor threat, gorilla biscuits and dead kennedys...

  24. 4 out of 5

    Fritz

    A lot of idiotic 1 star reviews by kids upset that the author thinks HC died in 86, or by SWJ upset by the lack of diversity in the interviews. What a load of bollocks - we are talking about a scene that had practically no female artists and barely any black people, and even spawned white power rock. The content is a reflection of the scene, simple as that. The book is what it is, it does a great job in giving an overview of this unique scene, very influential and yet still not recognized within A lot of idiotic 1 star reviews by kids upset that the author thinks HC died in 86, or by SWJ upset by the lack of diversity in the interviews. What a load of bollocks - we are talking about a scene that had practically no female artists and barely any black people, and even spawned white power rock. The content is a reflection of the scene, simple as that. The book is what it is, it does a great job in giving an overview of this unique scene, very influential and yet still not recognized within the rock history canon, reaching parts of the country few others cover. Plus some interesting bits of gossip. The author doesn't hide his bias but this is a oral history, he was a player too and therefore his voice ia to be treated as any other. Not a riveting read, but lots of food for thought for the music geek.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Joe

    I did come away with some solid context for a lot of the scenes and micro-scenes in early hardcore, which was really encyclopedic, and legitimately loved reading many of the first-hand reminiscences. But I’m kinda over the “hey it’s a punk book so I’m gonna tell it like it is” narrative voice. Especially when that includes bullshit like saying that women who went to NY hardcore shows were mostly ugly. That turned me off pretty early in the book - fortunately the interviews took up the vast major I did come away with some solid context for a lot of the scenes and micro-scenes in early hardcore, which was really encyclopedic, and legitimately loved reading many of the first-hand reminiscences. But I’m kinda over the “hey it’s a punk book so I’m gonna tell it like it is” narrative voice. Especially when that includes bullshit like saying that women who went to NY hardcore shows were mostly ugly. That turned me off pretty early in the book - fortunately the interviews took up the vast majority of space, and sometimes were at their most interesting in the differences of memory/opinion/etc.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Alejo

    A great book that covers a great landscape of the original Hardcore movement. The first part is truly interesting, covering all the sociological aspects of this movement, without mincing any words. the second part, the largest one of the book, tries to cover all the local scenes and all the bands that sprung from them which it can be a little heavy handed, also it could have eased up on the black Flag story that is covered in other book; but it does shoot to be thorough. Excellent book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    John Marr

    A good, if flawed history of the first wave of hardcore. Other reviewers have already called him out for his sexual politics (guess I should have been in DC where all the hot punk chix were). My gripes are the downplaying of scene violence and exaggeration of MRR's power to impose its views on the scene. But props are given for Blush's involvement with No Trend, one of my favorite bands of the day. Just like love, hardcore was a dozen dead roses.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Stevie Mcfly

    Anything you can find in this book that's interesting to read (rather than to reference) can be found in a glut of other oral histories. It's cool to read about all the bands forgotten to those who weren't there, but it can be a bit of a slog trying to get through the details of the entire discography of every punk band from every town, city, village, etc., in America between 1978 and 1992.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Andy

    This book is trash filled with factual errors and the writer lacks any sort of writing style to atone for this. On top of that, there are traces of racism and homophobia. There would probably be misogyny, too, if the topic discussed wasn’t roughly 95% male.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sam

    If you experienced early- / mid- '80s hardcore or have some reason be interested in it this is an impressive overview.

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