Punk was a failure. There, I got your attention! The movement to undermine monster rock was brilliant, passionate, fiery and short lived. About five years on from the arrival of the Sex Pistols, the New Romantics were dressing up like clowns and excess was again the order of the day. Now that "punk" means major label bands prepped for teen mags, it seems truer than ever that it's like punk never happened.
However, Holly George-Warren's book, "Punk 365" -- published in an unusually shaped hardcover by Abrams -- proves that punk really did happen and that for the brief period in which it truly burned before flickering, it was red-hot.
A veteran fan of the music and the scene, George-Warren selected some of the great photos of the era by likes of Bob Gruen, Ebet Roberts, Roberta Bayley and Jill Furmanovsky and wrote brief bios of the bands depicted.
And she's exhaustive and inclusive. Beyond The Clash, The Ramones and Sex Pistols, there are the power poppy Flamin' Groovies, the already-long-dead Velvets, Cyndi Lauper and Blue Angel, Musical Youth, Bow Wow Wow and The Jesus and Mary Chain, to name a few of the many entries you could argue about.
Too young to have been there at the start, I'm lucky to be able to say I caught the tail end of punk (I was, however, perfectly placed for the arguably more inspired and interesting post-punk bands like Gang of Four).
"Punk 365" is in part a document of the music that will always mean to the most to me, no matter what's currently spinning in the CD player. I especially enjoyed looking for a young me in a picture of the Dead Kennedys at Bond's in 1981 and seeing the pic of The Jam on Tom Snyder's show, which I attended by slipping out early from classes at Murrow High School and for which I still have the cue sheets that a cameraman gave me.
The book is available at bookshops everywhere is would make the perfect gift for your 12-year-old brother or sister as a bit of musical history and to give them an idea of what's possible.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.