‘We Got Power! Hardcore Punk Scenes From 1980s Southern California’ – Book Preview
Last week, Bazillion Points Books released ‘We Got Power! Hardcore Punk Scenes From 1980s Southern California,’ a detailed look at the “second wave” of punk groups that crawled from the muck of Reagan-era Los Angeles.
The 304-page hardcover tome comprises more than 400 photos snapped by David Markey and Jordan Schwartz — creators of the ‘We Got Power!’ zine — as well as essays by members of Blag Flag (Henry Rollins, Keith Morris and Chuck Dukowski), the Minutemen (Mike Watt), Suicidal Tendencies (Louiche Mayorga) and many other key bands.
Diffuser.fm has teamed up with Loudwire to offer a sneak peek at Markey and Schwartz’s book, and the following 22 images feature everyone from Belinda Carlisle — the Go-Go’s weren’t always smiley-happy water-skiing pop stars — to Dead Kennedys rabble-rouser Jello Biafra and eternal Social Distortion badass Mike Ness. Unlike previous punk permutations, hardcore was a DIY movement based more on aggression than aesthetics, and ‘We Got Power!’ presents the scene in all its gritty, grimy, at times bloody glory. Scroll on through — then punch a hole in your monitor!
Mike Roth at We Got Power headquarters—Dave Markey’s bedroom—1982. Mike became a Calvin Klein model after being stolen from We Got Power by fashion photographer Bruce Weber.
Onetime Sin 34 guitarist Bob Bitchen, sporting a clean punk haircut, shows off a photo of himself in longer-locked days.
The Go-Go’s, the Whisky A Go Go, January 1, 1981. This was one of my first times going out in Hollywood, as a 17-year-old kid. They didn’t let cameras into the Whisky, and I had to sneak in my Pentax K1000 35mm.
Red Cross playing an upstairs bedroom at a Hollywood house party.
Mike Muir of Suicidal Tendencies with skanker on his shoulders. The youngest kid behind him is Junior.
The black-light posters identify this space immediately as Bob’s Place in Watts. You risked your life by going there, but that was where the gigs were happening in 1982 and 1983. The last show there was raided by some locals who were clearly miffed that suburban white punks had taken over their dance hall. They raided the gig, mugging punks for their cameras. A girl was raped in the bathroom. That was the end of Bob’s Place.
Jello Biafra as the president of the United States in Lovedolls Superstar, occupying an empty office adjacent to SST/Global, 1985.
Dez Cadena checking out the Minutemen at the Grandia Room, 1982. Oftentimes, nobody was going to see these bands except their friends in other bands. The Minutemen didn’t really have a crowd until Double Nickels on the Dime in 1984.
The Minutemen, house party, Hollywood, 1982. Mike Watt playing Earl Liberty’s bass. The hepcat in the glasses to the left of Watt is Spot, producer of all the early SST records by Black Flag, Hüsker Dü, the Minutemen, Meat Puppets, and many others. The blonde woman is Janet Housden from Red Cross, the guy in the checkerboard jacket is David Markey, the guy behind Watt with the Aunt Jemima bandanna and raised fist is Henry Rollins, and the heavy-lidded fellow with glasses on the right is celebrated Black Flag roadie Davo Claassen. Earl Liberty looks on at far right.
Milo Aukerman and the Descendents, Glen E. Friedman with his camera visible in audience. 1982.
Jordan in his porkpie hat at the Punk Shack, Santa Monica. Jordan wrote PRESS on the back of a business card and stuck it in the brim of his hat like a character out of a 1940s movie. He used this to scam his way into shows in Hollywood. He would stare dead seriously at the person in the ticket booth: “I’m Jordan from We Got Power fanzine, and I’m here to review the show tonight. I need entrance plus one. Thank you very much!”