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Under the Big Black Sun : A Personal History of L.A. Punk
by John Doe and Tom Desavia


Overview - Under the Big Black Sun explores the nascent Los Angeles punk rock movement and its evolution to hardcore punk as it's never been told before. Authors John Doe and Tom DeSavia have woven together an enthralling story of the legendary West Coast scene from 1977-1982 by enlisting the voices of people who were there.  Read more...

 
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More About Under the Big Black Sun by John Doe; Tom Desavia
 
 
 
Overview
Under the Big Black Sun explores the nascent Los Angeles punk rock movement and its evolution to hardcore punk as it's never been told before. Authors John Doe and Tom DeSavia have woven together an enthralling story of the legendary West Coast scene from 1977-1982 by enlisting the voices of people who were there. The book shares chapter-length tales from the authors along with personal essays from famous (and infamous) players in the scene. Additional authors include: Exene Cervenka (X), Henry Rollins (Black Flag), Mike Watt (The Minutemen), Jane Wiedlin and Charlotte Caffey (Go-Go's), Dave Alvin (The Blasters), Chris D. (The Flesh Eaters), Robert Lopez (The Zeros, El Vez), Jack Grisham (T.S.O.L.), Teresa Covarrubias (The Brat), as well as scenesters and journalists Pleasant Gehman, Kristine McKenna, and Chris Morris. Through interstitial commentary, John Doe "narrates" this journey through the land of film noir sunshine, Hollywood back alleys, and suburban sprawl, the place where he met his artistic counterparts Exene, DJ Bonebrake, and Billy Zoom and formed X, the band that became synonymous with, and in many ways defined, L.A. punk.

Focusing on punk's evolutionary years, Under the Big Black Sun shares stories of friendship and love, ambition and feuds, grandiose dreams and cultural rage, all combined with the tattered, glossy sheen of pop culture weirdness that epitomized the operations of Hollywood's underbelly. Readers will travel to the clubs that defined the scene, as well as to the street corners, empty lots, apartment complexes, and squats that served as de facto salons for the musicians, artists, and fringe players that hashed out what would become punk rock in Los Angeles.

L.A. punk was born from rock 'n' roll, from country and blues and Latin music, the true next step in the evolution of rock 'n' roll music. It was born of art, culture, political, and economic frustration. It spoke of a Los Angeles that existed when regionalism still reigned in the USA. It sounded like Los Angeles.

For the first time, the stories and photos from this now-fabled era are presented from those on the front lines. Stories that most have never heard about the art that was born under the big black sun.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780306824081
  • ISBN-10: 0306824086
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • Publish Date: April 2016
  • Page Count: 336
  • Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.25 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Music > Genres & Styles - Punk
Books > Music > Individual Composer & Musician
Books > Music > History & Criticism - General

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2016-04-04
  • Reviewer: Staff

Doe, frontman for X, has gathered the testimonies of punk’s progenitors in L.A., a scene only rivaled by those of New York and London for fecundity and influence. Twenty-four chapters draw on the accounts of Mike Watt (the Minutemen), Jane Wiedlin (the Go-Gos), El Vez (aka Robert Lopez), and others to follow the genesis of punk beginning with glam, garage, and early punk abroad. Focused around the Masque club and the Canterbury Apartments, a few hundred outcasts exploited the low-rent environs of Hollywood and downtown L.A. to live in semi-communal squalor and make rock new again. The punk scene ultimately became fragmented by way of heroin, death, and migration to major labels, with the final blow coming from the brutal intrusion of Orange County musicians (“OC kids”) who didn’t share punk artists’ art-school inclinations or gender ambiguity but embraced their confrontational rage to create hardcore metal. Chapters by older artists and members of the East L.A. contingent demonstrate punk’s broad appeal. Even the despised OC kids get a say through Jack Grisham (TSOL), whose response to the original punks’ contempt for the newcomers, while self-aggrandizing, is both savage and eloquent. In an essay on photographers and other visual artists, Doe’s co-editor, talent scout DeSavia, traces an influence that transcended sound. L.A. punk’s unique aesthetic, heir to Raymond Chandler and Joan Didion, is filtered through “exhaust fumes, rumble, muscle and smoking tires” to reveal the darkness behind the sunglasses. (May)

 
BAM Customer Reviews