December 2017


Punk Rock and Rock Personalities:
Books Are The Singles of Our Time
Article By: Nikki Palomino

Lou Reed: A Life by Anthony DeCurtis

"People always say to me, 'Why don't you get along with critics?'" Lou Reed told me one night in 2012. "I tell them I get along with Anthony DeCurtis. Shuts them right up."

Makes sense that Anthony tells Lou Reed's story as a veteran storyteller and contributing editor at "Rolling Stone Magazine" for the past thirty-five years. He has authored "In Other Words" and "Rocking My Life Away" and co-wrote Clive Davis's autobiography, "The Soundtrack of My Life," a New York Times Bestseller. Anthony is a Grammy Award winner and has been part of the Hall Of Fame nominating committee for twenty-five years.

"You reviewed 'New York' for 'Rolling Stone,' right?" Reed asked referring to his classic 1989 album.

"Right,"Anthony answered.

"How many stars did you give it?"


"Should have been five," he said. But he was smiling.

Anthony DeCurtis says, "to borrow a phrase from one of Lou's close friends, the photographer Mick Rock, I saw Lou the way he wanted to see himself."

"Lou Reed: A Life" reaches deeper into the essence of an icon as lead singer and songwriter for the Velvet Underground and as a solo artist. Lou Reed wasn't just the juvenile delinquent musician from the wrong side of the polished tracks of rock 'n roll, he wrote words of a poet while stirring a sexual revolution with his persona. Lou walks you wildly into a Warhol loft to mingle with artists he influenced without trying, like the New York Dolls, David Bowie, Bob Dylan, a list that could reach the moon.

OK, Lou, this book gets five stars.

2018 Punk Rock and Rock Personalities Series: a one-to-one interview with Anthony DeCurtis about his years with "Rolling Stone."

Please Kill Me The Uncensored Oral History of Punk By Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain 20th Anniversary Edition

"Does for the Ramones what the disciples did for Jesus." L.A. Weekly

The 20th anniversary of "Please Kill Me" in 2016 coincided with the 40th anniversary of the Ramones debut album. Legs McNeil was the Resident Punk at "Punk Magazine," a senior editor at "Spin" and currently contributes to "Vice" teamed with author Gillian McCain, "Tilt" and "Religion" to chronicle punk rock history. But the authors didn't analyze the musical revolution or how a movement sledgehammers a generation. Instead, whatever the punk rock era brought, the criticized, eulogized and idealized people who were there say what might have remained unspoken. As the authors say in a new afterword about the beauty of the oral narrative, "draws from every art form, the chapters have the rhythm of a song, the cuts are cinematic, newspaper headlines can punctuate incidents, slang is celebrated, and first-hand accounts bring the poetry of the spoken word."

David Johansen: It was real easy to take over because there was nothing happening. There weren't any bands around so we just came in and everybody said the Dolls are the greatest thing since Bosco. But we were the only band around, really, so we didn't have to be that good.

Danny Fields: We went back to the motel in Ann Harbor and I was sort of beaming and said, "So?"

Bill Harvey said, "Frankly, I heard nothing at all."

That's when the Stooges were dropped from Electra.

I was appalled. I thought "Raw Power" was genius. "Search and Destroy" was one of the greatest rock & roll songs of all time. It just doesn't get any better than that.

Joey Ramone: I saw Patti (Smith) at Kenny's Castaways, real early on. She was reading poetry. And every time she'd read a poem, she scrunched up the paper in a ball and threw it on the floor or she'd be reading something and she'd pick up a chair and throw it across the room, smash it into a wall or something. I thought that was great. I never knew anything about her, but I was real impressed.

Jim Carroll: It was not like "Let's smash guitars and the drum kit," like the Who. This was like, "let's smash the whole fucking place, you know? Burn it down! It was scary, actually."

Malcolm McLaren: I came back to England determined. I had these images that I came back with, it was like Marcos Polo or Walter Raleigh. These are the things I brought back: the image of this distressed, strange thing called Richard Hell. And this phrase, "the blank generation."

Lenny Kaye: All the kids in the audience came up on the stage, and you'd think they would have trashed it, but they just sat down on the stage. It was the ultimate in respect and honor. It was like these kids were the metaphor...we were turning the stage over to them, and now it was their time, to go off, and become who they were going to become.

Bob Gruen: That night I went back to Johnny's place to see him off to New Orleans. His cousin, Danny, was going to drive him to the airport. And while Rachel was trying to pack his suitcase, he was sitting on the floor in the bathroom trying to find a vein. I told him I hoped things worked out in New Orleans and that he cleaned up because I really wanted to see him again. And he just kind of looked up at me...it was just like a faraway kind of farewell look. Kind of spooky.

DeeDee Ramone: My friend Mark Brady was trying to get me back on the scene. He was making a Johnny Thunders movie and gave me a little part in it. After we called it a wrap, we went to our friend Rachel's apartment to relax with some weed. We were sitting there and the phone rang. It was Stevie, Johnny Thunders' guitarist. He had some bad news. Johnny was dead. I felt cold. I was not really aware of what I had just heard. Six months before Stiv Bators had died, and my friend Phil Smith had just died. Life seemed pretty cheap at that moment. I got up and left. I was hoping that I would be next.

Iggy Pop summed up the essence of "Please Kill Me" when they went onstage opening for the band Cream, and everybody was yelling "We want Cream! Get off, we want Cream!"...Iggy was heartbroken. Later that night, Dave Alexander's mom served him a cheeseburger with a candle in the middle of it. The idea was to keep going and things would get better. Don't give up.

Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain deliver a genuine cult book. Like uncorking your favorite wine, you'll not want to call an end to the evening without emptying the whole bottle.

The Best of Punk Globe Magazine by Ginger Coyote

Alternative press that emerged during the 1960's became the voice of the youth in an era of social and cultural change. What the larger press ignored, Ginger Coyote didn't. She left the Midwest to San Francisco and never returned except on tour as the singer of the White Trash Debutantes.

"San Francisco needed a fun magazine that would help promote all the great bands and people who these magazines ignored. I had seen a copy of the zine 'Sniffing Glue' and decided I could do that. However, my new zine would not only showcase bands, it would also spotlight audience members who came to the shows. I also loved film and television so I incorporated film, music and everyday people in my new 'Punk Globe Magazine'. It was the original People Magazine of which I was very proud."

A different perspective on subculture requires an underground writer to be an activist first and journalist second. Ginger embraced her position as publisher with very little tools at her disposal. For over thirty years, the White Trash Debutantes racked up a history of world tours, opening for Green Day, the Ramones, Rancid, L7 and pulling in fans like Faith No More, Joey Ramone, Jim Carroll to name a few.

"The Best of Punk Globe" transitioned from print to online because of cost and the amount of global readers the zine could reach. Behind the making of the documentary about the evolution of Ginger Coyote, "Punk Globe Magazine" and the White Trash Debutantes is the Canadian production company One Finger Films. Passing the torch to each generation of rebels is what "Punk Globe Magazine" accomplishes from the mouths of artists like Boy George, Jayne County, Bebe Buell, Pauley Perette, Nick Hawk, Joe Dallesandro, Debbie Harry and others.

Roddy Byers, Roddy Radiation and The Skabilly Rebels, former Specials' guitarist, and hit songwriter for Amy Winehouse, says, "I'd like to change the world, but I'm getting too old now. There's got to be a new generation out there coming up with the same motivation that we had."

"The Best of Punk Globe Magazine" encapsulates all the reasons why.

PUNK AVENUE: Inside the New York City Underground, 1972-1982 By Phil Marcade

Paris-born, like my grandfather "The Chef" was, author Phil Marcade drifted from Boston to the West Coast and back, then wound up in New York City. I could relate because "The Chef" immersed himself cooking for the mob, the Rat Pack and Hollywood elite with a restless nature I picked up in Phil's writing. Once the author became deeply part of the burgeoning punk rock scene, he absorbed the new world of music and through first-hand tales of his experiences, touched the people he befriended. He also started the beloved NYC punk-blues band The Senders.

Debbie Harry of Blondie asks, "Why were the seventies so important and interesting? Probably because nobody cared."

Phil found belonging to the New Underground an honor. Surrounded by people like Robert Mapplethorpe and Donyale Luna, ex-girlfriend of Brian Jones, Phil gives a humorous straightforward approach to the names of that era. He developed intimate relationships with other artists like Debbie Harry, Nancy Spungen, Johnny Thunders and Willie DeVille. But it's his slant on the artistic, sometimes too-serious view of the punk rock scene that makes the reader laugh. Phil knew how to have fun.

Phil talks about a Hell's Angel at CBGB who would walk up to every girl he saw and say something to the effect of, "How are you darling? Don't you remember me? You're all I think of, baby, to the point that I've even got your name tattooed on my dick to prove my love for you." He talks about parties at artist Arturo Vega's and the Ramones, but what Phil remembers is more than a list of albums or the last gig or which record label picked up which punk rock group.

Phil found himself right behind DeeDee and Arturo, and heard a little bit of their conversation. "I've done everything. I've done every drug, every kind of sex, it's all a bore. I've tried it all. What can I do now that I've never done before?" Dee Dee asked Arturo who offered philosophically, "You've never killed anybody!" There was a little pause, as if they were both contemplating before DeeDee stated, satisfied, "Oh, yeah, I guess you're right." Hahaha!

Sable Starr says it best. "In life, you meet a handful of people whom you adore and hold close to your heart." Philippe fits that role.

When Legs McNeil assembled a list of people to interview for "Please Kill Me", "Philippe was at the top of the list, just because I wanted to know what was going through his head during his punk days. I was probably thinking, 'Is Philippe really that cool?' His interview was even better than I expected. Philippe was just so damn funny."

For the Kerouac's American road travel experience, Phil Marcade risked jumping right in with a tribe that could have rejected him. Legs McNeil says, "But he was a star, back in the day when that word meant something."

New York Rock by Steven Blush
From the Rise of the Velvet Underground to the Fall of CBGB

New York Editor and Publisher of "Seconds" Interview Magazine, author Steven Blush wrote cult classics and co-produced the documentary for "American Hardcore," "American Hair Metal," ".45 Dangerous Minds" and "Lost Rockers." "New York Rock" gives the reader a documentary in words on NYC. "The city represents endless possibilities. It's a cross-collision of art and commerce, style and substance, subversion and illusion, and tension and danger," says Steven who was born on the Lower East Side.

Willie DeVille (Mink DeVille): All kinds of things happen in New York, and if you can live under that kind of pressure you can live anywhere. (1977)

Lou Reed: I take drugs just because in the twentieth century in a technological age living in the city there are certain drugs you have to take just to keep yourself normal like a caveman. Just to bring yourself up or down, but to attain equilibrium, you need to take certain drugs. They don't getcha high even, they just getcha normal.

Steven gives the reader a timeline, clarifying the reasons why NYC holds the artistic captive. Broadway led to The Beat Generation. Andy Warhol helped usher in new rules with his Factory scene of freaks and wannabes and "fifteen minutes of fame." John Lennon said of New York City, "Nobody came to bug us, hustle us or shove us, so we decided to make it our home." The Velvet Underground applied Minimalism to Phil Spector's Wall of Sound, according to Steven Bush. Music progressed and regressed but always to the vibe of the streets or the echos heard in the wee hours of the morning.

David Johansen On Glitter Rock: When the Dolls got together, that was a time when everybody, at least in the East Village, had taken a lot of acid, and was real into the utopian idea of androgyny...It wasn't like we all got together and said, "Let's dress outrageously." That's what brought us together.

Johnny Thunders: The Dolls proved you didn't have to be a technical genius to play rock and roll. It was all down to style, energy and attitude. In that respect we paved the way for today's New Wave bands, who nearly all rate the Dolls as innovators. (1977)

Then the music got louder, faster as the economy tanked and businesses failed. The city stripped down as did everything related to music. Drop the mass production, limit the chords and solos, dress with what anyone could find in a thrift shop and cop an attitude. As Patti Smith said in "Rock N Roll Nigger", "Outside of society, that's where I want to be."

John Holmstrom (Punk Magazine): There was a thing back then about not playing it safe. You weren't supposed to be commercial yet you were supposed to sell records. There was an idea that if you could be bad enough to make everyone hate you, you could eventually get good enough to make 'em love you.

As Steven Blush shows within the pages of "New York Rock" one scene leads to another on a packed island of dreams found and paradise lost.

"It's the end of the '70s. It's the end of the century." Ramones, "Rock and Roll Radio.

BRIAN JONES: The Making of THE ROLLING STONES by Paul Tryanka

Brian Jones didn't grow up on the Southside of Chicago hanging out on the stoop to watch water spray from a fire hydrant. He never pulled off his shoes and socks, rolled up his pants to wade through standing water in the Mississippi Delta. But he understood the new world of blues opening up to a kid who didn't go to bed hungry across the Atlantic. He got many things wrong in his life, but the most important thing he got right was music that changed the world.

Paul Trynka, a writer known for his groundbreaking role as editor of "MOJO Magazine," "The Guitar Magazine" and "International Musician Magazine" as well as author of "Starman" and "Open Up and Bleed," biographies of David Bowie and Iggy Pop, says of the founder of The Rolling Stones, "Right from the start, there was something of the Devil in Brian Jones." Like Robert Johnson traded the secrets of guitar playing for his immortal soul. "And as we know, the Devil has the best tunes."

For that reason, The Rolling Stones rose as an epic rock 'n roll band during the British Invasion that connected a generation of youth more interested in the beat than the color of one's skin. Paul unravels a musician, a visionary that the modern-day Stones forget to mention. It's as if Brian's blues influence has rotted with the shacks along the Mississippi after years of neglect.

But Brian Jones was the soul behind the band. He came to London already a fully-developed musician. He was profoundly knowledgeable and sought any new scene with the fascination of a child encountering a carnival attraction for the very first time. But a band is similar to a family, a marriage, a group of kids on a playground where competition can spin out of control.

Machiavelli wrote in his book "The Prince" that we often resent people who open doors for us with a sense of obligation. Could that definition apply to the rift between Keith Richards, Mick Jagger and Brian Jones?

"Jones' death took his impact on the Stones away from him," drummer Ginger Baker said. "Brian was the main man in the Stones. Jagger got everything from him."

"Glide Magazine" says, "If as the years continue to go by and Brian Jones becomes more and more a mere player in the tale he created, this book should bring him back into the position he belongs."

SPOKE Images and Stories From the 1980s Washington, DC Punk Scene Compiled by Scott Crawford.

What started out as his 2014 debut documentary "Salad Days" on the U.S. Capital's hardcore punk revolution, author, music journalist, graphic designer and filmmaker Scott Crawford decided to put together "SPOKE" a compilation of the electrifying subculture into print. What seemed like a a well-kept secret where New York City stole the spotlight, Scott grew up in D.C. with bands like Minor Threat, SOA (Henry Rollins' first band), Bad Brains, and Fugazi. They carved a place in a new culture raging against the political climate during the Reagan administration. Scott was only twelve when he found what would give his life purpose. As a teenager, he founded "Metrozine," a fanzine on hardcore punk. 2001, he launched "Harp" Magazine as editor-and-chief for over seven years.

Scott told "DAZED Magazine" that being outspoken on social and political issues was just part of anyone's DNA born and raised in D.C. "I think the fact we weren't New York, we weren't L.A., we had something to prove." "SPOKE" like the documentary explores a dynamic music scene that could not be ignored. Each chapter reveals a different band, their oral history and photos with the same intensity of the documentary.

Henry Rollins, Bad Brains leaving D.C. after being banned: Bad Brains were one of the most influential bands of my life. They were the band we aspired to be...we knew we wouldn't be as good, but we would die trying.

John Stabb, Government Issue: I wanted to be the David Letterman of hardcore.

Dave Grohl, Nirvana, FooFighters: The first time I saw Nirvana was when I flew up there to audition to be their drummer, and I get there and there's like a thousand people at their show. I was blown away that there were that many people there to see a local band because I thought the only place where that happened was in Washington D.C., with Fugazi.

James Canty, The Nation of Ulysses: Our van would break down, we'd be fighting, we'd run out of money...But everything would come together onstage.

"Salad Days" naturally morphed to "SPOKE." Everything came together for Scott.

Next stop for him is a documentary about "Creem Magazine." Scott pulls together the heyday of the magazine's existence until it folded in the 80's. Scott interviews everyone from Iggy Pop to Wayne Kramer from MC5 to Chad Smith from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Scott attributes "Creem" for his discovery of what real Rock 'n Roll journalism was all about. During the making of "Salad Days" people mentioned how "Creem" was the first magazine they'd ever read about punk rock. He couldn't resist what had meant so much to music fans.

Without someone like Scott Crawford, a skinny, non-athletic kid, discovering he could create a magazine from his mother's kitchen table, the relevance of the D.C. punk rock community might remain misunderstood in a world hungry for creativity.

Punk Rock and Rock Personalities Series: Books are the singles of our time and make great holiday gifts for the music lover. Article Contributors Spencer Drate, Akashic Books, St. Martin's Griffin, Three Room Press, , Marc Floyd, A Plume Book,Grove Press, Little, Brown and Company, New Haven Publishing, and all the musicians, PR representatives, cover designers for making this Christmas very special for fans of great music and the stories behind the artists.

Still Dazed. Through a Grunge Rockers Eyes. Nikki Palomino