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‘It’s Called Anarchy Arsehole’: The art of the punk black leather jacket
11:51 am


Vivienne Westwood
leather jackets

When a chubby Marlon Brando roared into town on a motorbike in The Wild One he popularized the black leather jacket as a fashionable symbol of rebellion. Leather jackets may have been worn by bikers for protection, but they were quickly adopted by rock musicians (from Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent, The Beatles to Elvis) as an endorsement of their outsider status.

While fashions changed in the 1960s to soft denim and psychedelic colors, the black leather jacket never lost its iconic status as edgy, radical and subversive. The black leather jacket of the revolutionary students in Paris in 1968, became the fashionable uniform of the chaotic Baader-Meinhof, before returning to its spiritual home in the form of the matching outfits of proto-punk rockers The Ramones.

Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee and Tommy made the black leather jacket de rigueur for punks, and soon became the latest fashion sold by a canny Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren in their London boutique SEX. 

Teenagers across the UK bought cheap black leather or faux leather jackets and decorated them with the names of their favorite bands, political slogans, or mini manifestoes written in White Out, paint, or nail polish. There was a naif art to such DIY accessorizing, a uniqueness that encapsulated the essence of punk (its ability to offend) and the character of the jacket’s owner.

This small selection of photographs captures some of the early DIY punk leather jackets from the mid-1970s to the later more fashion conscious dress code of the 1980s and 1990s. Nowadays a punk leather jacket with studs and badges will set you back $200 on eBay.
More black leather jackets, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘What is Punk?’: Children’s book answers that question with clay figures of Iggy Pop and the Clash
06:41 am


What Is Punk
Anny Yi
Eric Morse

Last year, DM told you about a marvelous children’s book called What Every Child Needs To Know About Punk Rock. In that post I mused a bit at how odd it was, given that punk has been identifiably a thing for roughly 40 years, that there weren’t more books explaining that musical/cultural/fashion phenomenon to kids—there are, after all, members of early punk bands who now have grandchildren, and there’ve long been punk band onesies for the offspring (sorry) of the conspicuously hip.

Well, it looks like something IS stirring in those waters after all, because now there’s the wonderful What Is Punk? published by Akashic, the imprint owned by former Soulside/GVSB bassist Johnny Temple. Akashic became widely known among normals a few years back for the amazing kid lit parody Go the Fuck to Sleep, and have been in the pages of DM before for their publication of The Jesus Lizard Book and David Yow’s Copycat. While What Every Child Needs To Know About Punk Rock was co-written by a child development specialist and focused on DIY culture and rebellion against capitalist norms, “What is Punk?” is a different beast altogether, a whimsical primer on that movement’s early history written in verse by Eric Morse, a writer and publicist who in the oughts founded Trampoline House magazine.

Once upon a time,
there was a deafening roar,
that awakened the people,
like never before.

With their eyes open wide
they shouted in fear,
“What new sound is this?”
and covered their ears.


More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Punks battle skinheads in the brilliantly demented ‘Green Room’
10:11 am


Green Room

Green Room is to cinema what hardcore is to rock and roll: brutal, blunt and exhilarating. With its explosive mix of anarchic punks, neo-Nazi skinheads, pitbulls, machetes and shotguns, director Jeremy Saulnier (Blue Ruin) has made a gory thriller that has the impact of a jack boot kick to the face. Artfully constructed and highly entertaining, Green Room was one of the most exciting features screened at this year’s Fantastic Fest. It’s got A-list actors, including a sinister turn by Patrick Stewart, and enough Hollywood sheen that it may be that rare “cult” flick that forces its way into your local cineplex, where it will be about as welcome as a Skrewdriver cover band at a Bar Mitzvah.

Green Room‘s plot is crazily clever: Ain’t Rights, a young punk band from the Washington D.C. area who proudly channel their Dischord Records’ influences, land a last minute gig during a tour of the Pacific Northwest (somewhere near Portland). Booked into a rural music venue that turns out to be a gathering place for white supremacist headbangers, Ain’t Rights find themselves confronting the mosh pit from Hell. Far from the security of the suburbs where Hot Topics sell Doc Martens to fifth generation punks, Ain’t Rights are hurled into a dark reality where Ed Gein has traded in his plaid cap for a pair of red bootlaces and suspenders. Performing Dead Kennedys’ “Nazi Punks Fuck Off” before a mob of Hitler-worshiping fuckwads is a heroically dumb move for our band of young anarchists, but it’s just the beginning in an ever-escalating nightmare involving murder, thrash metal, heroin and a violent gang of skinheads led by the epically skin-headed Patrick Stewart.

While the movie avoids getting too deep into the sociopolitical aspects of its story, the similarities between the Aryan Youth Movement and Patrick Stewart look-a-like Tom Metzger can’t be an accident. I’m rather certain director Saulnier’s choice of location, Portland, wasn’t arbitrary. The hipster capitol was at one time a headquarters for the Ku Klux Klan and until recently the home of Volksfront , a particularly nasty group of numbskull Nazis. The Green Room doesn’t shove any of this down the viewer’s throat, it doesn’t preach. It makes its points by bringing us into its world without having to describe it.

Whether or not you give a shit about its cultural resonance, Green Room succeeds in its mission to pin your ass to the theater seat. It combines the tightly crafted action chops of John Carpenter’s Assault On Precinct 13 with some of the psychotic mayhem of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Hill’s Have Eyes.  But instead of mutant cave dwellers and Leatherface, we’ve got goose-stepping skins with boxcutters and shotguns: The Rocking Dead.

For those viewers who know more than a little bit about punk culture, Green Room works so well, despite its off-the-wallness, because it feels authentic. It gets the details right. Jeremy Saulnier knows the punk scene and the vibe of his subjects because he was one of them, as evidenced by a savvy soundtrack that perfectly weds music to action. Napalm Death, Bad Brains, Misfits, Minor Threat and Slayer create the background roar to a movie that is disturbing, funny and supremely badass. I only wish that Saulnier had thrown The Damned’s “Smash It Up” into the mix.

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Sweet old-school pins featuring PiL, DEVO, Iggy Pop (and MORE!) from 70s and 80s
07:56 am


Elvis Costello
vintage pins

Vintage 70s Devo flicker/flasher pin
Vintage 70s DEVO flicker/flasher pin
Of the many random things I remember about my youth, one of them was the excitement of visiting the merch table at a live show. Honestly, I’ve never really grown out of that pursuit, and seldom leave a gig empty-handed.

Like a lot of 70s and 80s kids, I was a HUGE fan of covering my trashy Levis or Baracuta jacket with badges, pins and patches. So I nearly lost my mind when I happened upon the vintage 70s DEVO “Flicker” pin (sometimes called a ” flasher” pin), above.
Nixon campaign flicker/flasher pin, late 1960s
Nixon campaign flicker/flasher pin, late 1960s
Flicker pins were big during the 60s - for instance, politicians running for office used flicker pins (see our pal, Tricky Dick above) to display not only an image of themselves, but also their message. Because when you tilt the pin, the image changes. So naturally, curiosity got the better of me and off I went in search of pins and badges from 40 years ago. Because, why not? And my search unearthed some pretty cool and fairly rare old-school swag.
Elvis Costello vintage mirror badge, 70s
Elvis Costello mirror badge, late 70s, early 80s
Iggy Pop
Iggy Pop New Values  mirror badge style tour pin, 1979
In addition to the flicker pins, mirror badges were sort of like the crowning jewel when it came to pins (much like the enamel “clubman” style pins you probably remember ogling at Tower Records, or Spencer’s Gifts at the mall that put a giant hole in your clothes). Mirror badges were usually large and actually had a piece of glass placed on top of the image which made them rather heavy.

Vintage mirror badges are really hard to come by these days and believe it or not, sell for a good bit of cash. As do any vintage flicker pins or promotional buttons/badges/pins that were sold at live shows. Would you pay $54 bucks for a vintage 70s promotional flicker pin that was sold at a performance Alice Cooper did in Las Vegas at the Aladdin Hotel when he recorded his 1977 live album The Alice Cooper Show?
Alice Cooper 1977 promotional flicker/flasher pin
Alice Cooper 1977 promotional flicker/flasher pin
I know I’m not alone when I say, yes. Yes, I probably would. In case that seventeen-year-old kid inside you just said yes, too, pretty much everything in this post is out there somewhere for sale. Tons of images follow. I also included some vintage enamel clubman pins because I couldn’t help myself.
Public Image mirror badge, early 80s
Public Image mirror badge, late 70s, early 80s
Lene Lovich mirror badge, 80s
Lene Lovich mirror badge, 80s
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Joy Division: The Documentary
07:12 am


Joy Division
Ian Curtis

It hardly seems like thirty-five years since Joy Division’s lead singer Ian Curtis committed suicide and brought to an end one of the most promising bands since The Beatles. Though perhaps not unexpected, Curtis’ suicide came at a crucial moment for Joy Division on the eve of a major US tour. Guitarist Bernard Sumner later said that if Curtis had decided on killing himself, then there was nothing anyone could have done to prevent him from doing so. Indeed, Curtis often confided in his wife Deborah that he had no desire to live past his twenties. It was a romantic notion of the artist as tortured poet. Deborah thought Ian was just going through a phase that he would eventually grow out of. However, when she discovered some of Ian’s early teenage poems she understood that the singer was darkly troubled.

As TV presenter and record company supremo Tony Wilson once remarked, punk rock said “Fuck off,” Joy Division said, “We’re fucked.” The idea of being fucked came in part from Curtis’ own sense of alienation and the environment in which he, and his fellow bandmates Sumner, Peter Hook (bass) and Stephen Morris (drums) grew up—a dilapidated industrial wasteland being slowly bulldozed to make way for high rise buildings and shopping centers.
This was Britain in the seventies: a twice bankrupted country, deprived inner cities with no amenities, where buildings were collapsing, services defunct, unemployment and poverty rife. This is all too easy to list, but take one example of what conditions were like—this was a country where a vast number of homes did not have indoor toilets. The demand for change was not just inspired by a sense of political or social justice but by the arrival of American television programs—detective shows like Cannon, Columbo, Ironside, and kids shows like The Monkees and even The Banana Splits—which presented an alternate technicolor world where people had spacious apartments with central heating, air conditioning, hot and cold running water, matching curtains, scatter cushions and an affluent lifestyle. Joy Division’s hometown of Manchester—like Glasgow or Newcastle or Liverpool or Leeds or Birmingham—was Dickensian in comparison, and the lack of shared communal, creative experiences led many to focus inwards.

When punk arrived in the form of a Sex Pistols gig at the Lesser Free Trade Hall, Manchester in 1976, Curtis and co. saw a way out. Joy Division: The Documentary tells the story of Ian Curtis, Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook and Stephen Morris from their beginnings as a punk-inspired band Warsaw to recording their seminal and generation defining records Unknown Pleasures and Closer. It’s a story of how lasting success is created by the disparate involvement of managers, producers, designers, club owners, friends, but most importantly talent.


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
London punks mouth off five years after ‘Anarchy in the U.K.’
09:54 am


Sex Pistols

“I’ll be looking like this until I’m 22 and then I’ll take up motherhood. I’ll be looking just the same this time next year. This time in five years? I’ll be dead.” 
In December 1981, The Face magazine ran a spread called “Punk Rock: 5 Years On.” What they did was send photographer Virginia Turbett out into the field and photograph/interview any punks she came across. The magazine didn’t specify how to date those “5 years” precisely but it does happen that “Anarchy in the U.K.” was released in late November of 1976, so we can make it that.

It’s interesting to see the relatively uniform roster of bands most of these young punks name: Crass, Exploited, the Psychedelic Furs, plus a few that are mostly forgotten today: Anti Pasti, Theatre of Hate, and Vice Squad. Below are the results of Turbett’s investigations. Clicking on any image in this post will spawn a larger version.

“I wouldn’t class myself as a punk, I’m just an individual. I don’t like being put into categories.”

“Now there’s some great new bands: Exploited, Anti Pasti, Vice Squad, Theatre of Hate, Crass, the Subs. I liked the music at the beginning, but I didn’t start dressing up punk until after the Pistols split up.”
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘Berned in D.C.’: Images of Bernie Sanders with hilarious fake punk rock quotes
06:32 am


Bernie Sanders

We’re overly fond of goofy single-purpose Facebook pages here at DM, and lately we’ve been loving “Berned in D.C.” It seems to be less than a week old, and its premise is super simple: images of the surprisingly popular candidate for the Democratic party’s presidential nomination are paired with Maximumrocknroll-ishly purist “quotations” about underground punk. Given that Sanders and independent punk share an ideology that rejects corporate power, this actually works really well.


What the American people are angry about is they understand that they did not cause this recession.

Teachers did not cause this recession. Firefighters and police officers who are being attacked daily by governors all over this country did not cause this recession. Construction workers did not cause this recession.

This recession was caused by a few so-called punk and hardcore bands who charged obscene door cover and priced their merch like it was goddamned Prada.

There’ plenty more below, and more still on the Berned in D.C. Facebook page.


More hardcore Bernie after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Malcolm McLaren demonstrates how to make subversive trousers

An exhibit called “Eyes for Blowing Up Bridges: Joining the dots from the Situationist International to Malcolm McLaren” opened this past weekend at the John Hansard Gallery in Southampton, UK. Endeavoring to do exactly what the subtitle says, the exhibit features, among many other artifacts, porn novels by the Situationist-affiliated novelist Alexander Trocchi, radical tracts published by the UK anarchist group King Mob, and the punk music and fashion instigator’s student artwork, notes and sketches, all to underscore the influence that the Situationists’ critique of Capitalism’s insidious effect on everyday life had on McLaren’s cultural-prankster sensibilities at the time of his seismic impact on early UK punk.

Presenting rarely exhibited material – including cut-ups, film, video, sound and slide, as well as self-published books, pamphlets, anarchist propaganda, punk ephemera and graphics – the exhibition examines the creative interplay between William Burroughs, Guy Debord, Asger Jorn, Alexander Trocchi and King Mob, and their collective influence on Malcolm McLaren in his endeavours to disrupt the cultural and social status quo from the 1960s to his premature death in 2010.

Having repudiated painting as a bourgeois form of expression like Asger Jorn before him, McLaren’s lifelong work was inspired by such Situationist techniques as détournement (the juxtaposition of pre-existing elements), Burroughs’ ‘cut-ups’, and Debord’s emphasis on the staging of situations “that bring a revolutionary reordering of life, politics and art”. Eyes For Blowing Up Bridges will present representations of the “defiguration” paintings exhibited by Jorn in the early 1960s, alongside the détourned comic strips of the Situationist International’s literature and Debord’s cinematic masterpiece, The Society Of The Spectacle.

To celebrate the opening of the exhibit, curator Paul Gorman has shared a wonderful rarely seen clip from a French TV special called “Being Malcolm.” It was released by McLaren’s estate via Dazed Digital, and in it McLaren discusses the inspiration for bondage pants and work-safely demonstrates the utility of a zippered split crotch.


Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Kids in the Hall’s Scott Thompson was in an ‘80s punk band and their album just went up on Bandcamp

Buddy Cole. QEII. Over 100 waiters. As a member of the god-tier sketch troupe The Kids In The Hall, Scott Thompson’s contributions to comedy have been indelible, and as a rare openly gay public figure as far back as the ‘80s, Thompson blazed a courageous social trail as well. I’ve been a fan of his work forever, but the news that he’d been in a mutant punk band in the late ‘80s, contemporary to the emerging popularity of KITH, came as a surprise to me. The band was called Mouth Congress, and Thompson co-founded it with KITH writer Paul Bellini (the same Bellini as the recurring towel-clad-man character in many KITH sketches) and Jeff Goode, now a producer/host of Thompson’s Scott Free Podcast. And their stuff was rather a lot of fun. Via Chart Attack:

Over the past month, some kind soul has uploaded a trove of Mouth Congress recordings to Bandcamp. So far, the dump includes 15 albums, with names like The War On Flowers and A Fey Breeze, featuring should-be classics “Paul Jude Bellini” and “How to Strip for Your Husband” alongside live show recordings, sound collages, sketches, and a who’s who of cameos from the comic group that the pair were hanging around. It’s a time capsule of Canadian punk, comedy and queer culture, and as good an excuse as any to tune out for the rest of the day or week or whatever.

Here’s the Bandcamp playlist. You can buy the digital album here, if you like. Some material is NSFW so any nine-to-fivers reading this, you might want to use your earbuds.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
The entire print run of transgressive LA punk art and music zine NO MAG is now online
04:57 am


Ryan Richardson
Bruce Kalberg

Ryan Richardson is one of the United States’ foremost collectors, archivists, and dealers of punk rock records and ephemera, as well as being the Internet saint who created free online archives of StarRock Scene, and Slash magazines. He also runs, a repository of various early punk zines as well as the exhaustive punk info blog Break My Face.

We’ve written about Richardson’s punk altruism before here at Dangerous Minds, and well, it looks like he’s gone and done it again—bigtime.

Richardson’s gift to the world this time around is a doozy. He is hosting on his website,, the entire print run of the early LA punk and art magazine NO MAG. The fourteen issues published between 1978 and 1985 by Bruce Kalberg cover a lot of the same musical ground as LA contemporaries Slash and Flipside, but NO MAG is decidedly artier and, well, filthier than those publications. 

Be warned before you download and open these issues—they aren’t exactly safe for workplace viewing. If Larry Flynt and the Vienna Aktionists got together and published a punk zine in the late ‘70s, it would have looked a lot like NO MAG. NO MAG‘s publisher Bruce Kalberg, and the sordid turns of his life, were recently covered in LA Weekly‘s piece “Beautiful Loser, Tortured Killer.” 

From that article:

Bruce Kalberg started NO MAG in 1978 with Michael Gira, a friend from Otis College of Art and Design, who left for New York after several issues to form the early noise band the Swans. Aside from the requisite profiles of X, Fear, the Germs, Johanna Went, Phranc, Suicidal Tendencies, ad gloriam, this sub-Slash tabloid fanzine amply captured the corrosive admixture of medical atrocities, sexual pathology, gallows humor and political anarchy endemic to the times: autopsy photos; profiles of working dominatrixes; textbook entries on female circumcision and how to synthesize heroin from morphine; cartoons of “Nancy Reagan’s favorite color” (bloody Tampaxes); and house ads featuring photos of progressive gum disease, with the caption, “You liked our smile, now catch our disease” — what Kalberg once called “the old cliché of shit-and-guts imagery” by which to wage war on polite society.

It also frequently bordered on the pornographic — Susanna Hoffs topless, Belinda Carlisle naked under tights, Germs producer Geza X with his cock in his hand, the Cramps’ Brian Gregory with a semi-erection and a python, and the irrepressible El Duce shitting on a plate are a fair representation—forcing him to manufacture it in San Francisco, where printers are apparently more tolerant.

NO MAG in many ways reminds me of a flashy LA version of what Search and Destroy was doing in San Francisco around the same time period. In my opinion, this rare print run being made available is an even bigger “get” than the Slash print run recently offered by CirculationZero. It’s an edgier magazine and, in many ways because of the artistic focus, seems more timeless than its contemporaries, dated only by its political incorrectness and non-digital layouts. The sometimes-transgressive art and photography, along with the interviews of now-legendary bands, make this run a crucial historical resource.

The download of the complete set is free, but Richardson asks that those taking advantage make a charitable donation to Electronic Frontier Foundation, Doctors Without Borders, or Austin Pets Alive. He has provided donation links on—go there now to download NO MAG, and while you’re waiting on that file transfer, scroll through this gallery of covers:


More after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
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