Published Sep 23, 2019Punk has expanded to mean a seemingly neverending number of cultural artefacts, but at the root of the music genre is a gritty underground scene built for rebels and misfits. The genre's origins are incredibly interesting, and that's exactly what John Doe, the vocalist of punk veterans X, and music publisher Tom DeSavia have done with their book, More Fun in the New World: The Unmaking and Legacy of L.A. Punk.
The tome details the many characters, movements and actions that made up the early L.A. punk scene, straight from the mouths of the people who shaped it. With countless people involved in the history of the scene, it's understandable they couldn't get everyone. From the numerous authors they gathered to write chapters on their perspectives of the time though, a well-rounded story comes to light.
Without ever being involved, readers can vividly picture the internal and external circumstances that led to punk's notoriety; each chapter brings you right back to the chaotic mess that made up the scene. Anecdotes from Circle Jerks vocalist Keith Morris, members of the Go-Go's, Social Distortion frontman Mike Ness, and Henry Rollins bring some celebrity power, but every aspect of the book feels relatable if you've ever been a part of punk from any generation. That much speaks to the power of the music, which is ultimately what the authors get across.
Punk is a style of music, but the attitudes and actions of the players involved were just as much a part of what made it great. Not every author or figure mentioned is known for being a musician, which further demonstrates that punk wasn't exclusively about mohawk-sporting, leather jacket-clad types bashing three chords on a guitar.
Whether you're an old-school punk or want to learn the roots of this music, More Fun in the New World: The Unmaking and Legacy of L.A. Punk is a fun read that paints a picture of nostalgia for a less-convoluted music scene. Following up Under the Big Black Sun: A Personal History of L.A. Punk was a smart decision on the authors' parts and helps build the narrative of the historic origins of L.A. punk music. (Da Capo Press)