Remember when John Doe told us that he was going to write a book of his own about the origins of LA punk? Well he’s gone and done it. “Under the Big Black Sun: A Personal History of L.A. Punk” is now in stores.

Under-The-Big-Black-Sun-A-Personal-History-of-PunkIn an interview I did with John Doe of the band X a year or so back, he mentioned that he was writing a book of his own to set the record straight with regard to the history of the LA punk scene. [As you might recall, he wasn’t too happy with the job former LA club owner Brendan Mullen had done with We Got the Neutron Bomb: The Untold Story of L.A. Punk.] Well, I guess it’s now done. I just got word this morning that Doe’s Under the Big Black Sun: A Personal History of L.A. Punk is now rolling out to bookstores.

Here’s the blurb from Amazon, which lists the other notable folks from the LA punk scene who contributed to the book.

Under the Big Black Sun explores the nascent Los Angeles punk rock movement and its evolution to hardcore punk as it’s never been told before. Authors John Doe and Tom DeSavia have woven together an enthralling story of the legendary West Coast scene from 1977-1982 by enlisting the voices of people who were there. The book shares chapter-length tales from the authors along with personal essays from famous (and infamous) players in the scene. Additional authors include: Exene Cervenka (X), Henry Rollins (Black Flag), Mike Watt (The Minutemen), Jane Wiedlin and Charlotte Caffey (Go-Go’s), Dave Alvin (The Blasters), Chris D. (The Flesh Eaters), Robert Lopez (The Zeros, El Vez), Jack Grisham (TSOL), Teresa Covarrubias (The Brat), as well as scenesters and journalists Pleasant Gehman, Kristine McKenna, and Chris Morris. Through interstitial commentary, John Doe “narrates” this journey through the land of film noir sunshine, Hollywood back alleys, and suburban sprawl, the place where he met his artistic counterparts Exene, DJ Bonebrake, and Billy Zoom and formed X, the band that became synonymous with, and in many ways defined, L.A. punk.

Focusing on punk’s evolutionary years, Under the Big Black Sun shares stories of friendship and love, ambition and feuds, grandiose dreams and cultural rage, all combined with the tattered, glossy sheen of pop culture weirdness that epitomized the operations of Hollywood’s underbelly. Readers will travel to the clubs that defined the scene, as well as to the street corners, empty lots, apartment complexes, and squats that served as de facto salons for the musicians, artists, and fringe players that hashed out what would become punk rock in Los Angeles.

L.A. punk was born from rock ‘n’ roll, from country and blues and Latin music, the true next step in the evolution of rock ‘n’ roll music. It was born of art, culture, political and economic frustration. It spoke of a Los Angeles that existed when regionalism still reigned in the USA. It sounded like Los Angeles.

For the first time, the stories and photos from this now-fabled era are presented from those on the front lines. Stories that most have never heard about the art that was born under the big black sun.

And do go back and read that interview I did with Doe, if you get a chance. As I recall, it was pretty good.

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2 Comments

  1. PSD
    Posted April 9, 2016 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

    Did he ever tell you specifically why he didn’t like We Got The Neutron Bomb?

  2. Peter Larson
    Posted April 11, 2016 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    I do not remember that occasion.

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