My mood has been kind of feisty as of late, so, in true Christmas spirit, I've been listening to a lot of punk rock. Punk was the first music genre I ever really got into as a teenager, and while my taste evolved over the years, I've always been fascinated by it. Not just by the music, but by the history, the differences between U.S and British punk rock, the sociological context from where it arose, the personalities, etc. I could probably write a whole book on it, but since space is limited and there are other things I should be doing, I thought I could share a few recommendations. I won't go into music(there are way too many great albums, but my favorite of all times is London Calling). Here is a list of some really valuable books and documentaries regarding the punk scene.
- Legs McNeil's Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk. Probably the most entertaining book about US punk rock. Gossipy and deep at the same time. Iggy Pop is an insufferable but still likable character, but nothing redeems David Bowie. Lots of stories about The New York Dolls, The Ramones, and the groups from that era.
- If you want to know more about British punk rock, I would start by Jon Savage's England's Dreaming, Revised Edition: Anarchy, Sex Pistols, Punk Rock, and Beyond. I read the first edition of this book one week I was locked inside a Club Mediterranee when I was 17. For some, Club Mediterranee is the idea of paradise. For me, it was torture. So I spent the week reading the book near the pool, and getting a reputation for being anti-social.
- For a cool inside history of The Ramones, pick Monte Melnick's On The Road With The Ramones. If you like the Sex Pistols, Johnny Rotten's Rotten: No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogsis a poignant and honest description of those chaotic times.
- The masterpiece here is Julian Temple's The Filth and the Fury - A Sex Pistols Film. Just watching Johnny Rotten being moved only by his guilty feelings about not having been able to save Sid Vicious is worth the movie.
- The Ramones were huge in Argentina. I saw them 7 times, including in a 50,000 sold out stadium, where they were the headliners. Their story, though, is quite unusual. Did you know that Joey and Johnny didn't speak to each other since the early 1980s, because Joey's then girlfriend left him for Johnny? The documentary End of the Century - The Story of the Ramones captures that and more. By the way, if you watch it, there is a scene where the band is inside a van, leaving a hotel, and they are chased by a mob as if they were The Beatles. That scene is in Buenos Aires. Yes, they were that huge there.
- I've never been a great fan of the movie Sid & Nancy, but if you like punk rock, you have to watch it. And Gary Oldman is a great Sid Vicious.
Can you recommend me any additional material? Specially books and DVDs (despite what it looks like here, I actually listen to a great variety of punk bands, not just Sex Pistols, The Clash and The Ramones). Am I missing something?
P.S: How many of you recognize the quote of the title (Boring, Sidney, Boring), without googling it?