MOJO Magazine - Punk: The Whole Story [book] (Cover Artwork)

MOJO Magazine

Punk: The Whole Story 📕 (2006)


More like Punk: A Mainstream Music Journalist's View.

Let's address this book's merits: It is big, glossy, contains a lot of information, big articles, photos (and features on some of the great punk photographers), and interviews, is well-presented, and great to look at. It comes with bonus features, such as recommendations of great punk albums and 20 great heyday punk singles from the UK. Were all this in order, this would leave us with a pleasant five stars--were it not for the price, and the usual bias away from the U.S. punk and Orgcore that this website so appreciates. Okay, 4 and a half stars then.

But consider this: If it doesn't look at bands like NOFX and Bad Religion, how can it be the whole story? This is certainly an inconsistancy: The third section of the book, entitled "What Happened Next?", contains only three big articles: one on Black Flag's early years; one on Sandinista!; and one on Green Day. Refused are congratulated on The Shape of Punk to Come, but don't make the classic albums section (which consists largely of debuts, discographies, and collections). NOFX are not mentioned once, or Operation Ivy, Strung Out, the Lawrence Arms, Against Me!, the Adicts, Leatherface or any of the bands that the underground holds to be heroes (it also misses out on a certain band that claimed to have fucked a cat). Glen E. Friedman doesn't get a feature for his photos. Obviously they couldn't be bothered to dig deep enough to find them, or didn't see them as important as they weren't there in the glory days, which is what can be expected from mainstream journalists. Crass get mentioned once or twice; Bad Brains once, for breaking stuff in CBGB. This and other odd things (Green Day are praised but they do not make the "Greatest Punk Albums" list, unlike the Hives and the Lemonheads) puts the book down to three and a half stars.

Finally, there are little bits in some of the articles that differ from more worked-out articles in the magazines. This could be expected, though, considering the huge amount of information in the book, there's obviously a chance of this happening. However, the book loses half a star. Sorry.

Now, I'm not saying I hate this book. No way. When I got into punk I read this book like the Bible, and I learned a lot of the basics, and the huge knowledge I gained almost scared my Dad, who was actually alive in 1977 and now knew less than I did. If you want lots of information on the Sex Pistols, the Clash and the New York scene, you have come to the right place (the book says more on Patti Smith than the Sonics!). Want something easy to read? The book is lighter than this review.

I recommend it to new punks or people who want to find out about the genre, but when you're done with it, you have a long way to go.