Days of Punk | BOOK GALLERY


May 19, 2021

Suburban Voice blog #146 - LaptrinhX

PUNK POST PUNK NEW WAVE by Michael Grecco (Abrams, hardcover, 240 pg.)
This hardcover, coffee table book is a great visual time capsule of music photography from the late 1970s/early 1980s. Michael Grecco is a professional photographer and basically cut his teeth with these selections, taken mainly in Boston, although there are some from other east coast cities and the subtitle is Onstage, Backstage, In Your Face, 1978-1991. The cover, with Wendy O. Williams from the Plasmatics taking a sledgehammer to a TV in a radio station office, is immediately enticing. The photography includes plenty of live photos, but also candid ones of not only the bands but audience members and local “personalities,” as well. There are the requisite “big names”–PIL, Dead Kennedys, Devo, Cramps, Elvis, Killing Joke, Lene Lovich, Iggy and the Ramones, but lesser-known locals Human Sexual Response are featured in a number of photos. Grecco hit up just about every venue, from the DIY space Thayer Street Lofts and grungy clubs like Cantone’s and, of course, the Rat to larger venues like the Channel, Paradise and Orpheum Theater. And the photos aren’t always pretty. Plenty of sweat, motion and audience interaction. It’s all very intimate.
Throughout it all, Grecco successfully captures the ambiance (for want of a better term) of what was going on in the music scene. My only critique is the photos don’t have any captions or names on them and you have to consult the index in the back. I suppose the names shouldn’t matter, just the visual. This brings back a lot of great memories and will provide a view into the past for those who weren’t there–or can’t remember it! (
PUNKS AROUND #12-14 (half-sized zines)
The last three issues of Alex Herbert’s zine. Each issue takes on a specific topic. #12 deals with non-cis punks, with essays, interviews, drawings and comics contributed by trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming punks (as it says on the cover). If you think you know everything about trans issues, guess again–I learned quite a bit here and, one conclusion is that, for all of its professions of open-mindedness, not even punk is always that welcoming for non-cis people. You can never put yourself in someone else’s shoes, but it’s still valuable to be exposed to these viewpoints and recognize their daily battles.