Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Punk Rock: An Oral History by John Robb

This was my travel book on the Turkish junket. I didn't really know that John Robb was as much of a player in the UK punk rock game as he is, but I will give him his due props for opting for the anecdotal format in Punk Rock: An Oral History. Ponderous dissertations have ruined books like Lords Of Chaos for me in the past, plus with jokers like Johnny Rotten and Captain Sensible in the fold, I'd venture it's best not to misquote. Robb is currently the singer for Goldblade and evidently was part of The Membranes, who were evidently held in some esteem in the UK punk scene. He's also written for UK music rag Sounds for some time and can evidently be blamed for coining the term Brit-pop.

Punk Rock: An Oral History covers the rise of punk rock in the UK from its inception in the 70s through its implosion in early 84. Not a lot of new ground being broken. You probably won't come away struck by Johnny Rotten's modesty, but the anecdotal format lets a lot of the humor that's so often overlooked in the scene shine through. Don Letts comes across as a total gem, and a guy who's autobiography I'd like to see printed stat. It's also nice to hear Glen Matlock's take on things as well. Whether you're a casual fan of the genre or a fanboy who wants to soak up every but of minutae, there's definitely something for everyone here. I read it twice in a week. See what you think.


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