My new book, Brave Punk World: The International Rock Underground From Alerta Roja to Z-Off, is now officially out, released as of October 15, 2017. It’s 350-ish pages exploring the history and development of punk rock music in regions outside the United Kingdom & United States, regions such as Asia, the U.S.S.R., Eastern Europe, Western Europe, Africa, Central America, South America, North America, and Oceania. Don’t worry, there are pictures.
This book is a labor of love I spent the past couple of years laborin’ on almost every minute of every day and I’m very excited for it to be out and potentially in your hands. So go get it at Amazon or Rowman dot com. Or some other place, if you find it there. Barnes & Noble? Barnes & Barnes?
Good news if you live in New York City or the surrounding area: at 8 P.M. on November 16, Quimby’s Bookstore in Brooklyn will be hosting yours truly for a Brave Punk World reading and signing. You will also be able to ask me questions, questions which I will answer. A real Q&A!
More promo events to be announced soon, I hope, in places not unlike New York City (and maybe a few very unlike New York City). Yeah, I know I said I wouldn’t be doing live public appearances for this book, but guess what? Things changed! So stay tuned!
ALSO, if you contributed to the Brave Punk World research fund last year on a rewards level (one or more autographed books), your rewards are coming to you in the next two to four weeks. Thank you so much for your patience and thanks to every single person who donated, rewards level or not.
Hey, big fat thanks to everyone who did anything to support or encourage this book and my writing in general. Wouldn’t be here without youse.
SPOILER ALERT: there might be spoilers in this.
– the nightmare never really ends, time is anything it wants to be, reality may be actively working against you; these are the sentiments I take away from season three of “Twin Peaks,” an eighteen hour tapestry that’s as frustrating as it is arresting and interesting; if you agree life is more about the journey than the destination, hop in, because we might end up at the DMV
– ask me why the original “Twin Peaks” strikes a chord with so many viewers and I’ll theorize it lies in the even braiding of various fascinating strands: the inherent kitsch of Anytown, U.S.A., the seamy underbelly of Anytown, U.S.A., the Pacific Northwest’s foggy weirdness, a police procedural, and a bevy of legitimately intriguing townies; “Peaks ’17” skews that balance as scores of principle characters and their stories are pushed aside for jaunts with new cast members, lengthy views into unsettling paranormal screen savers, or bizarre non-moments; the art to be found in the sequence where Robert Forster makes a 15 minute Skype call in real time is the lack of art
– David Lynch is critic-proof, of course; perhaps the only way his fans would cry foul is if he’d done anything conventional for the new “Twin Peaks”; that said, the decision to bury our hero, Agent Dale Cooper, in a doppelgänger story line wherein he is not himself at all for the majority of the season while relegating our other beloved icon Audrey Horne to a handful of similarly out-of-character sequences comes across in some ways as cruel (especially if this is in fact the last “Peaks” ever, as Lynch has suggested); it feels like maybe we’re being punished for enjoying these people too much
– don’t worry, we spent plenty of time with Lucy and Andy; you’ll be happy to know they’ve somehow become even stupider
– the game is afoot from the first episode, after a character declares that very unpopular “Peaks” staple James Hurley has “always been cool”; David Lynch has seen your “fuck James Hurley” memes
– when fans say “Twin Peaks: The Return” is unlike anything on television, they’re correct; it trusts its audience implicitly, assuming from them a specific brand of loyalty and intelligence; also, many of the aforementioned journeys into unexplained realms are uniquely hypnotic; the program may vex you but it’s rarely boring to look at, even when a guy is just sweeping a floor
– the remark has been made that, thanks to his role in this, Jim is now the Belushi with the more revered body of work; this is only because season three of “Twin Peaks” is longer than all of John Belushi’s films combined
– the final two episodes introduce a few wonderful and brilliantly conclusive ideas, only to pull them back and present something else; Lynch is as Lynch does, and that itself may be the true point of this coffee soaked exercise
– there are some wigs in this thing, hoo boy; Spirit Halloween shoulda been thanked in the credits; to be fair, I don’t know how to make a wig (I also don’t know how to make prestige television)
– at eighteen hours you’d think they would have found room to throw in Bill Pullman wailin’ on a saxophone but no such luck; at least we get (the) Nine Inch Nails and Edward Louis Vedder Severson
My second book, Brave Punk World: The International Rock Underground From Alerta Roja to Z-Off, is about to go to press and is scheduled to be released mid-October. Here now, an info dump covering pertinent deets.
What’s the elevator pitch?
Punk rock may have started in the United Kingdom and United States, but it certainly didn’t stay in either country. The genre flew around the globe like a contagion, touching off simultaneous movements in nearly every market imaginable. Performing punk rock in many of these places wasn’t just rebellious, it was legitimately dangerous, thanks to regimes both oppressive and brutal. Brave Punk World immerses readers in these foreign scenes, describing the lifestyles and art of passionate, hard-charging groups who remain relative secret to the punk majority but who are just as crucial as the Ramones or the Sex Pistols. Punk diehards and travel enthusiasts with a taste for chaos will enjoy the country-by-country cultural explorations and wild stories offered within these pages.
How long is it?
Listings on the Internet say 324 pages but the most recent manuscript draft I was given to proofread says 365. So somewhere in that area.
Are there pictures?
Yes. Enough to keep you flippin’ (I think).
Is every punk band from every country in the world covered?
Of course not, a book that robust and in depth would probably be six times as long. Though I did my absolute best attempting to outline the birth of punk across Asia, the U.S.S.R. & Eastern Bloc, Western Europe, Africa, Central & South America, North America, and Oceania, some regions and countries are absent because they proved too difficult for me to accurately and fairly convey, or I ran out of time, or both.
Name some of the bands you talk about in this thing.
The Saints, the Stalin, W.I.T.C.H., Black Power, Los Violadores, the Buttocks, Tits, Dirt Shit, Dead Nittels, Proud Scum, Free Sex Shop, Anal Babes, Ebba Grön, Dangerous Rhythm, Third World Chaos, George Imbecile & The Idiots, Brutal Verschimmelt, the Comes, Ghoul, Lip Cream, Ulster, Los Estómagos, Los Prisioneros, Size, the Dishrags, Solución Mortal, Fifth Column, Teenage Head, National Wake, Hubble Bubble, J.M.K.E., Kuzle. That really is quite a small sampling of the galaxy included.
You actually talk to any of these bands?
Yeah, some of ’em.
You go to any foreign countries for your research?
Yes, I went to Mexico, Norway, Japan, and Brazil (though that last one didn’t work out very well). A few years prior to the conception of Brave Punk World, when I was just some drip curious about other lands, I spent small portions of time in Germany, France, and Canada (high points were usually the hours spent in record shops or conversations with new friends about punk rock).
Oh, that’s right, you had crowd funding for your research last year. If I contributed to that on a rewards level, when will I get my book(s)?
The second they’re off the press! Figuratively, of course. I will not be at the pressing place. I don’t even know where it is. As soon as I get my hands on ’em, I send ’em to you.
Where can I pre-order Brave Punk World?
Click right here. Use the promo code RLFANDF30 to save 30% off.
Will you tour for it?
If the book is optioned to be a trade paperback, yes. Currently Brave Punk World is only scheduled for hardcover release; as such, it will be marketed toward libraries and colleges and probably won’t appear at your local book retailer. The opposite will be true if the book becomes a trade paperback. Then this thing’ll be all over the place, and I will have reason to traverse this great land of ours so I may promote my work in person at every Uncle Timmy’s Book Hole and READIN’ TOWN that will have me.
What factors play into the hardcover being optioned for paperback?
If the hardcover sells a metric shit ton. So if you’d really like me to come to your town and nervously read out of Brave Punk World at some point in 2018 or 2019, buy the hardcover (or convince someone else to, or both).
Will you do anything to promote the hardcover release?
Yes. Specifically, interviews with whatever media outlets come calling and appearances at whatever institutions of higher learning will have me.
What’s the advanced word? Is this book actually any good?
Rolf Yngve Uggen, a.k.a. Raldo Useless, guitarist for groups like the Lust-O-Rama and Gluecifer, read the thing and said, “I absolutely inhaled this book! Greene’s writing is filled with enthusiastic taste and warmth and fascinating tales of anti-establishment action.” What more encouragement do you need?
The hardback edition of my new book, Brave Punk World: The International Rock Underground From Alerta Roja to Z-Off, is now available for pre-order. CLICK RIGHT HERE to access the magical pre-order page and use the secret wizard’s code RLFANDF30 to get 30% off list price.
Brave Punk World (due for release this October) explores the evolution of punk rock outside the United Kingdom and United States, tracking how the genre took shape in regions like Asia, the U.S.S.R. and Eastern Bloc, Western Europe, Africa, Central and South America, North America (yes, there are countries other than the United States in North America!), and Oceania. It’s over 320 pages long and even offers fifteen pictures. You know how many pictures are in The Grapes of Wrath? Zero!
Is every single band from every single country covered in Brave Punk World? Of course not. That book would be six times as long. Unfortunately neither I nor the publisher could commit to that. Despite this handicap, advanced word is positive. Rolf Yngve Uggen, star rocker of Lust-O-Rama and Astroburger, signed off on the following pull quote: “I absolutely inhaled this book! [The] writing is filled with enthusiastic taste and warmth and fascinating tales of anti-establishment action.”
Yes, my friends, hot buttered anti-establishment action. There’s also sex, drugs, rock n’ roll, murder, suicide, robots, bluejeans, bowling, saran wrap, and one “CHiPs” reference. Larry Wilcox, I wish I knew how to quit you.
So there you have it. Pre-order Brave Punk World. Or don’t. It’s your life.
Star Wars celebrates 40 years of escapism, influence, and cultural currency today. The founding chapter of this now colossal property was released May 25, 1977, across a pittance of screens. Popularity ignited like a house on fire and before anyone could blink this thing was obliterating contemporaries like A Tale of Two Critters, Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo, and Viva Knievel!. Only Smokey And The Bandit gave Star Wars any kind of run for its money, and there’s still a gap of about $180 million in domestic gross between the two. Burt Reynolds just couldn’t charm his way around Chewbacca.
There’s a documentary feel to the 1977 Star Wars which helps it resonate deeply, a framing where the audience isn’t following narrative but observing environment; the awkward broth of fantasy exposition is dismissed and we’re allow us to ferret out details as we witness events in these alien realms. This is especially true of desert planet scenes where the robots fumble along, get swooped up by the junk dealers, and are unceremoniously dumped into Luke Skywalker’s life. This fly-on-the-wall style counters so many other sci-fi films that desperately want to impress upon you their grandiose, mythical nature. Star Wars just drops you in there and lets many fantastical moments unfold nonchalantly, because these characters see lasers and blue milk every day.
Pivoting on that point, one of the best decisions George Lucas ever made was to insist this beginning Star Wars is actually the fourth installment of a who-knows-how-long saga. That let our imaginations go purple trying to fill in the priors. As incredible as the visuals and characters in Star Wars are, they suggest much more with that context. On the other side of the ewok, one of the dumbest decisions George Lucas ever made was giving in to temptation and actually filming the first three chapters, bluntly extinguishing the dreams we spun for ourselves across several decades.
Star Wars numbers four and five came before one, two, and three; there are probably those who also believe the immediate sequels—1980’s The Empire Strikes Back and 1983’s Return of The Jedi—should have never been made, allowing the 1977 film to remain the purest of entities. Foolish mortals! Star Wars made so much fucking money it was never going to be singular. Let’s just count our blessings over the miracle of The Empire Strikes Back, that rare sequel which bests its founder in pulp, artistry, and thrill. Star Wars 6 and 7 (and Rogue One) are great too, but there’s just something about the dreamy nightmare of Empire that cannot be equaled.
Of course, Star Wars at 40 is more of a conglomerate than ever, absorbed by Disney so they can have Darth Vader roaming the halls of their luxury hotels with minimal overhead. Star Wars belongs to our entire planet but it’s a U.S. invention and there’s nothing more “American” than celebrating a successful business. So rats off to maximizing profits and creating a global brand. And thanks for being so lenient with the fans who have restored and distributed the theatrical versions of the ’77 movie and its two sequels; this must be an admission of guilt or disagreement regarding “the vision” George Lucas suddenly decided he had for the original trilogy in 1997.
What else is there to say? Nanu nanu, put more Greedos in Star Wars 8.
A few very esteemed colleagues and I have started a new publication dedicated to the wonders of melody and measure, recorded and otherwise, called No Recess! (it’s a more concise Nirvana reference than We Hate Ourselves And Want To Die). I’m contributing on the weekly tip. My first three joints:
Don’t just read my junk, though, read every savory morsel of No Recess! because everyone writing for it is Actually Good™. Thanks for your interest and see you in the “well, they seemed funny when I was six” pages.
Part of a Star Wars display at the Mall of America Lego store in Bloomington, MN. There are some artistic liberties occurring here, which I encourage.
Incredibly sexual centerpiece at the Mall of America Peeps store. Should marshmallow be this arousing?
My best friend John owning it in the style of his birth city (the Bronx).
A very beautiful lake in Stockholm, Wisconsin.
I attended a wedding looking like this (and I wasn’t thrown out!).
Abandoned rubber chicken in the mailbox area of my Orlando apartment complex. Never got the full story on this sensational find.
Main entrance of Florida’s infamous Howey Mansion. I was granted exclusive access when I wrote a story about it for Orlando Weekly.
Angry mid ’90s Rolling Stone reader.
Orlando area toll plaza decorated for Halloween.
Record store regrets.
Street art spotted deep in Mexico.
Some of my roommate’s nonsense.
Some of my own nonsense.