August 30, 2010

We Never Learn- The Gunk Punk Undergut 1988-2001

What would YOU call the punk music scene of the late 80's through the new millenium? This period was largely underground; as the original wave's of old school (Ramones, Dead Boys, Clash), college (Husker Du, Replacements), and hardcore (Bad Brains, Black Flag) had either self-imploded or been destroyed by outside pressures. The original garage punk scene was fizzling. Grunge was gearing up, hair metal was thankfully starting to die and rap was omnipresent.

What were all the mutants to do?

Eric Davidson, lead singer of the uber awesome NEW BOMB TURKS has written the definitive history of the descendants of the time between the original hopes of punk and the emergence of the New School bands like Rancid and Green Day with We Never Learn- The Punk Gunk Undergut, 1988-2001.

The Dwarves make this site not safe for work

Davidson lived through the time and his band, along with such reprobates as The Mummies, The Gories, The Dwarves, Supersuckers and a million other bands; crisscrossed the USA, Europe and even the Far East; inflicting their alcoholic three chord furnace blasts of the rawk. The songs were rude, the players (and crowd) were wasted and the music was loud and nasty.

That's the blueprint for rock n roll.

The New Bomb Turks in Las Vegas 2000

We survived many of these shows during that time. For me and my buddies, we were past the point of thinking that being drunk was a novelty or that it was "cool". No- we drank because we had to- it was part of our fabric. Same thing with vicious rock n roll. We were there because we had to be! And that's the feeling that we got from these bands as well. They played and drank because that's what they had to do.
It wasn't really a "scene" and from my alcoholic memories, it didn't seem that there were an cliques- it was just a revolving series of fucked up people and fucked up bands.

That is... fucked up people and fucked up bands that could rock the shit out of you.

The Mummies in a pensive moment 1991

The strengths of We Never Learn are in the writing- Davidson is an expert on the subject and either part of most events or knew the people responsible. The book flashes from interviews to recollections to conventional historical prose. The book reads similarly to The Replacements history "All Over But The Shouting", where the "close to the action" stories also flesh out the story.

This book fits on your shelf right next to American Hardcore and Our Band Could Be Your Life.

Oh yeah, if you buy the book, you get a link to download a cd's worth of classic toonage from the bands in the book. 20 songs- and I only owned one of 'em beforehand. So you can melt the wallpaper whilst you read.

Whaddya waitin' for????


Rinjo Njori! said...

I just finished reading it myself. Great book. The only question I had is-- The Spits got the cover photo, but are mentioned once with a bunch of other 2001 bands. Odd choice, but great book overall. I suppose a photo of the New Bomb Turks would have been gratuitous

Heff said...

The Mummies.

Fuckin' genius.

Nazz Nomad said...

rinjo - maybe the spits visually represented the corn fed middle american deranged vibe that the book celebrated?

heff- if only the mummies used their powers for good. what a better world this would be.

Rinjo Njori! said...

Nazz- I will get to the bottom of the Spits picture. Also, do you get the feeling he is down on NoFX and Fat Mike?

Nazz Nomad said...

rinjo- yeah, alot of people are down on fat mike and the record label. i attribute some of it to jealousy.
I have nothing but respect for those NOFX guys... aside from some questionable choices regarding drugs, I think NOFX is the band that best exemplifies punk rock over the last 25 years.