Monday, April 4, 2011

American Hardcore (Second Edition)

(Feral House) When this book first came out I read it cover to cover,  drunk on how into I was, even though it was far from perfect.  I felt that Midwestern punk, especially Chicago stuff, was a bit misunderstood and underplayed, but that's the point of hardcore, you gotta respect your scene and not be surprised when others don't get it the way you do. Also, Blush certainly made some questionable decisions, and just limiting it to the Midwest section I can point out his weird take on Husker Du as gay NAMBLA predators and his mention of the "niggerization" of Chicago's South Side (quotation marks his...who is he quoting? And why?). Plus he thinks Cheap Trick are from Chicago. But whatever, the book is obviously his personal take, and not objective journalism, which fits into the fucked up d.i.y. vibe of h/c, and what makes this book great is not Blush's framing or commentary or grandiose beliefs of himself as hardcore's sole documente, but rather his tireless labor of compiling 8 million quotations from hardcore heroes and obscurities. Like his work in Seconds magazine demonstrated, Blush knows how to shut up and let interesting people talk, and it is great to hear an era put into perspective by a pit full of Minor Threateners, Meatmen, Descendants, Articles of Faith, Gang Greens, Misfits, Necros, Cro-Mags, and the rest. Even when these guys are idiots, or wrong, or delusional, it's awesome to have it in their words.  Anyhoo, this new edition appears to be twice as thick, and I read it through cover to cover again, though I can't tell you what exactly is different other than tons more photos and flyers, and definitely a few more folks interviewed who were not in the first edition. And he does a little self-attitude adjustment in the conclusion (note: Blush's film version of the book changed our conclusion, of sorts, to our Black Punk Time feature, which used to only span 1976-1983, but his argument about Reagan's reelection killing hope made us change the end date to 1984). If you are into hardcore and have not read this you are lazy, and the fact that they just added 100 or so pages and only upped the price $3 makes this a must buy. Or if you're too punk to buy it, a must steal.

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