Posts Tagged ‘Under The Big Black Sun’

Signed Book: "Under the Big Black Sun"
£38 GBP (approx.)

Under the Big Black Sun explores the nascent Los Angeles punk rock movement and its evolution to hardcore punk as it’s never been told before. Authors John Doe and Tom DeSavia have woven together an enthralling story of the legendary west coast scene from 1977-1982 by enlisting the voices of people who were there. The book shares chapter-length tales from the authors along with personal essays from famous (and infamous) players in the scene. Additional authors include: Exene Cervenka (X), Henry Rollins (Black Flag), Mike Watt (The Minutemen), Jane Wiedlin and Charlotte Caffey (The Go-Go’s), Dave Alvin (The Blasters), Chris D. (Flesh Eaters), Jack Grisham (TSOL), Teresa Covarrubias (The Brat), Robert Lopez (The Zeros, El Vez), as well as scencesters and journalists Pleasant Gehman, Kristine McKenna, and Chris Morris. Through interstitial commentary, John Doe “narrates” this journey through the land of film noir sunshine, Hollywood back alleys, and suburban sprawl—the place where he met his artistic counterparts Exene, DJ Bonebrake, and Billy Zoom—and formed X, the band that became synonymous with, and in many ways defined, L.A. punk.

Under the Big Black Sun shares stories of friendship and love, ambition and feuds, grandiose dreams and cultural rage, all combined with the tattered, glossy sheen of pop culture weirdness that epitomized the operations of Hollywood’s underbelly. Readers will travel to the clubs that defined the scene, as well as to the street corners, empty lots, apartment complexes, and squats that served as de facto salons for the musicians, artists, and fringe players that hashed out what would become punk rock in Los Angeles.

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Doe’s inspiration came in a feverish burst in Tucson, Arizona, where he was recording with Howe Gelb (of Giant Sand) and spent time with his friend, author Michael Blake (Dances With Wolves), hours before his death. From the opening rumble of The Westerner’s leadoff track “Get On Board,” Blake’s spiritual presence and the inevitability of mortality are threaded through the album.

“This may not be a country record but it is definitely a Western record,” Doe “It has all the horizon, sand and beautifully scary things of the desert.”

Reverb-heavy, twangy guitars punctuate “My Darling, Blue Skies,” propelled by Doe’s wild-eyed repetition and distorted stabs of organ that recall the Doors. “Alone in Arizona” is as desolate as its title, with narcotic acoustic guitar strums and ominous, trebly bursts of electric guitar accenting Doe’s narrative of loss and longing. Blondie’s Debbie Harry lends her voice to “Go Baby Go,” one of a handful of revved-up garage-rock tunes that act as a counterbalance to the album’s quieter moments.

Additionally, Doe’s first book Big Black Sun: A Personal History of L.A. Punk, will be published on May 1st. As an integral part of the scene with X, Doe’s own account of the time will be accompanied by contributions from members of other influential Los Angeles punk and hardcore bands.

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