Brenda Perlin is someone I sincerely look up to. A women who spent her younger years cruising the L.A. punk scene; watching bands like X, The Germs and T.S.O.L. (just to name a very few). She grew up and did the adult thing, but once a punk always a punk. Lucky for us she has channeled her experiences with the punk scene and put them in writing. In her latest book, Crime and Punkisment, Brenda got together an all-star team of punk legends to write about some of their personal memories. Brenda also fills us in throughout the book on her own punk past, such as the time she tried to channel Darby Crash with a Ouija board just days after his death.
Jack Grisham of T.S.O.L. writes the forward and gives an interview as does Linda Ramone and Captain Sensible. Throughout the book we see personal images from everyone's own punk photo albums as well as punk inspired artwork. Tossed in with the fun memories are also real ones that discuss deaths, suicides and other unfortunate events. Brenda does a great job giving all perspectives of a scene that created a blueprint for the punks of today. She discusses her own struggles of being an "adult" and still having punk rock in her blood. She writes about her return to the scene when she goes to see The Dammed on their 40th Anniversary Tour and the re-ignition it gave her. I can relate so much to her in that story because as we age we are led to believe that music gets left with us in our adolescence. For punks though, this couldn't be further from the truth.
A few other names who contribute are Palmolive of the Slits, Genny Schorr of Backstage Pass, and Fur Dixon of the Cramps. The list goes on but the theme is the same with everyone: Punk Rock changed lives. It was a lifestyle, a safe place for the black sheep, a playground for the weirdos, and a community that was inspiring. I was a part of this in the 90's, and I know that there are so many incredible people a part of it now. Reading this book is proof that the effect of a music community will stay with you forever. Some people move on from it, some people stay in it their entire lives. Regardless of where you end up, its always good to go back and remember how it felt in the moment. Brenda Perlin does exactly this with Crime and Punkishment. Consider it a must read. More details below.