Punk Rock at ICP: Redux by Joe Ketner

Punk Rock at ICP: Redux

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Back by popular demand (read: the demand of several vocal library staffers), it’s another punk rock dispatch from the ICP Library:


Susie J. Horgan. Punk Love.
TR681.M86 .H67 2007

Noise and speed were some of the necessary criteria in early punk rock, and hardcore took those qualities even further. If you grew up with hardcore, you likely idolized either Henry Rollins or Ian MacKaye or both. Rollins was famously the vocalist for hardcore pioneers Black Flag (incidentally, their original vocalist Keith Morris is now in the excellent band OFF!). Rollins is also a photographer in his own right, and just published a book of color photographs from around the world, Occupants ( http://www.amazon.com/Occupants-Henry-Rollins/dp/1569768153). MacKaye formed the equally legendary acts Minor Threat and Fugazi: with the former he coined the term “straight edge” and launched a movement, and with the latter he helped to immortalize $5 cover charges and long-winded rants (http://www.chunklet.com/index.cfm?section=blogs&ID=574).

But in the image above the young Henry and Ian are scooping ice cream at a Haagen-Dazs in the DC neighborhood of Georgetown. In Susie Horgan’s Punk Love, she immortalizes their early years with snapshots of these intimate moments and of performances by a number of bands active in the late ’70s DC punk scene.
Kevin Cummins. Joy Division.
TR681.M86 .C861 2010

In the post-punk genre (somewhat confusingly titled since it wasn’t chronologically all that far behind punk), few acts loom larger than Manchester’s Joy Division, who were active for only a few short years before the suicide of lead singer Ian Curtis. The band is captured here by Kevin Cummins, who also reproduces extensive band ephemera, from buttons to guitars to set lists. At first glance, his fairly straight-forward documentation of these objects is a far cry from the more anarchic snapshot style of some of the other books selected here (see Morten Andersen below), but his interest in representing torn, stained, or otherwise cast-off band relics is in perfect keeping with the genre.


Charles Peterson. Touch Me, I’m Sick.
TR681.M86 .P48 2003

It seems appropriate, as we’ve just passed the 20th anniversary of the release of Nirvana’s Nevermind, to turn to Seattle grunge, a punk-inspired sub-genre best represented in ICP’s stacks by Charles Peterson’s Touch Me, I’m Sick. Peterson, who produced substantial work from this era both independently and for the Seattle label Sub Pop, chronicles the scene that moved fairly quickly from basements and rented halls to MTV. His subjects include Nirvana, Mudhoney (whose song title is borrowed for the book), Pearl Jam (whose lead singer Eddie Vedder penned the introduction), Sleater-Kinney, and Sonic Youth (on loan from New York).


Morten Andersen. Ass Time Goes By: Turbonegro 1990-1998.
TR681.M86 . A53 2008

In case Kurt Cobain jumping through drum sets doesn’t soothe your destructive impulses, this colorfully titled volume by Morten Andersen presents a sweaty, hard-drinking tour diary of the Norwegian “deathpunk” band Turbonegro. I have to confess to only passing knowledge of their music, but I’ll venture a guess that Andersen’s often-blurry images are an attempt to recreate the fast-paced lifestyle of a road trip with Hank von Helvete (above) and the boys.


C. George. The Ramones: Complete Discography.
TR179.5.G469 .R36 2010 (Rare)


Finally, a non-photo book among the photo books and a return to classic punk rock: in ICP’s rare holdings is an artist’s book that neatly summarizes the career of the Ramones. A completist’s dream with a simple mission, this thin book lists all of the band’s performances in chronological order, printed over images of speakers embedded in leather. As it turns out, this was produced as part of a larger exhibition project and the images depict a wearable leather jacket/soundsystem that plays modified Ramones songs. I imagine Joey Ramone would be pretty happy with that.

That’s all for now – leave a comment below if you’re in the stacks and find something else that I missed!

Joe Ketner

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