The complete list of works I’ve used to rip, tear, and glue back together what I consider to be the narrative of punk rock. Don’t worry–I left the glue sniffing to the Ramones.
Andersen, Mark, and Mark Jenkins. Dance of Days: Two Decades of Punk in the Nation’s Capital. Berkeley: Soft Skull Press, 2001. Print. Washington D.C. saw rise to hardcore, as well as the DIY aesthetic. Further, the location allows for an interesting examination of the relationship between punk and politics.
A Band Called Death. Dir. Mark Christopher Covino and Jeff Howlett. Drafthouse Films, 2012. Film.
Bolton, Andrew, et al. PUNK: Chaos to Couture. N.p.: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2013. Print. Even if punk is “dead,” its ramifications in the world of fashion live on. PUNK: Chaos to Couture was written to accompany the Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition by the same name and details the emergence of punk fashion (designers such as Vivienne Westwood and her SEX clothing shop), as well as its evolution and subsequent influence on high fashion. In addition to speaking to the garments themselves, this book also interprets their deeper meaning within the context of the punk movement, how they were another outlet of expression for a musical activism.
The Decline of Western Civilization. Dir. Penelope Spheeris. Media Home Entertainment, 1981. Film.
Gordon, Kim. Cinderella’s Big Score: Women of the Punk and Indie Underground. New York: Seal Press, 2004. Print. Live Girls. The women in punk rock are the essence of the movement itself: rebellion against society’s definition of conventional gender roles, in an especially “in your face” kind of way.
Hell, Richard. I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp: An Autobiography. Reprint ed. Manhatten: Ecco, 2014. Print. Richard Hell is arguably the godfather of punk rock, thus I find his personal narrative especially revealing regarding the feelings that drove the movement.
Heylin, Clinton. Babylon’s Burning: From Punk to Grunge. Edinburgh: Canongate Books, 2007. Print. Another synthesis piece, Babylon’s Burning provides a more complete narrative to the transformation of punk. Heylin speaks to punk on both an aesthetic and a social level, beginning in New York, and concluding in Seattle.
Marcus, Greil. Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the Twentieth Century. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1990. Print. Lipstick Traces chronicles the entirety of the counterculture that emerged in the seventies, providing an understanding of punk rock in the context of pop culture.
McNeil, Legs, and Gillian McCain. Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk. Reprint ed. New York City: Grove Press, 2006. Print. Please Kill Me was the keystone of my research paper, giving an impressive array of uncensored interviews, capturing the history of punk rock (or what remains in light of the drug-addled haze that clouds many a memory), as told by those who made it.
Moore, Ryan. Sells like Teen Spirit: Music, Youth Culture, and Social Crisis. New York City: NYU Press, 2009. Print. Sells Like Teen Spirit will fit nicely into my final trimester, which is dedicated to synthesis. This work examines the evolution of punk, concluding with grunge, in the social context of history, and the invaluable role played by the youth. A key theme (referenced in the title) is the commercialization of the genre, which will help me to understand the unsustainable nature of the original, East Village sound.
Reynolds, Simon. Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-1984. Westminister: Penguin Books, 2006. Print. Rip It Up and Start Again is what came next: new wave. This is an explanation as to how the seedy, East Village sound morphed into the likes of Talking Heads, something all together different, and yet, in many ways the same.
Savage, Jon. England’s Dreaming. London: Faber & Faber, 2005. Print. England’s Dreaming speaks to the eruption of punk rock in Great Britain through the lens of the Sex Pistols, chronicling their infamous rise and fall. England is particularly relevant to the geographic spread of punk, as bands like the Sex Pistols and the Clash greatly influenced the movement through their pointed political critiques, using music as a channel to highlight the shortcomings of their government.
Smith, Patti. Just Kids. Reprint ed. Manhatten: Ecco, 2010. Print. Patti Smith is assuredly the godmother of punk rock, and so her own story not only speaks to the essence of punk, but also what it meant to be a women in a male’s movement.
Spitz, Marc. We Got the Neutron Bomb: The Untold Story of L.A. Punk. New York City: Three Rivers Press, 2001. Print. We Got the Neutron Bomb provides a narrative for the L.A. incarnation of punk, which gave a distinct, new sound to an established philosophy. Examining different subsets of punk by geographic region will allow me to attach greater meaning to the movement as a whole by determining its relevance within the grand scheme of American history, what gave it the ability to continually reinvent itself.
Stop Making Sense. Dir. Jonathan Demme. Prod. Gary Goetzman. Screenplay by Talking Heads. Cinecom; Palm Pictures, 1984. Film.
Stosuy, Brandon. Up is Up, But So Is Down. New York: NYU Press, 2006. Print. CBGB (& OMFUG) served as a physical cornerstone to punk rock, fortifying a motley crew of musicians, groupies, and ex-lovers into a movement. Up Is Up chronicles the downtown scene that emerged as a consequence of CBGB’s existence: guerrilla journalism, graffiti, and activism, punk rock serving as the score. This work attacks the social and artistic components of Lower Manhattan, providing appropriate context for the rise and fall of punk.
Thompson, Dave. Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell: The Dangerous Glitter of David Bowie, Iggy Pop, & Lou Reed. N.p.: Backbeat, 2009. Print. To comprehend punk, and what came after, one must also understand what came before, which is glam rock. David Bowie, Iggy Pop, and Lou Reed were the musical dissenters that served as inspiration to later punk rockers, an essential piece of the puzzle that is punk rock.
Velvet Goldmine. Dir. Todd Haynes. Miramax Films, 1998. Film.