The most wide-ranging and provocative look at punk rock as a social change movement told through firsthand accounts
Punk rock has been on the front lines of activism since exploding on the scene in the 1970s. Punk Revolution! is a reflection on this cultural movement over the past 45 years, told through firsthand accounts of hundreds of musicians and activists.
John Malkin brings together a wide cast of characters that include major punk and postpunk musicians (members of The Ramones, Bad Religion, Crass, Dead Kennedys, Patti Smith’s band, Gang of Four, Sex Pistols, Iggy & the Stooges, Talking Heads, The Slits, and more), important figures influenced by the punk movement (Noam Chomsky, Kalle Lasn, Keith McHenry, Marjane Satrapi, Laurie Anderson, and Kenneth Jarecke), and underground punk voices. These insightful, radical, and often funny conversations travel through rebellions against Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, Donald Trump, and Vladimir Putin, to punk activism that has taken on nuclear war, neoliberalism, modern warfare, patriarchy, white supremacy, the police, settler colonialism, the climate crisis, and more.
The result is a fresh and unique, global history of punk throughout the ages.
John Malkin is a musician, activist, filmmaker, photographer, and radio & print journalist. He is the author of Sounds of Freedom: Musicians on Social Change & Spirituality, and his interviews and writings have been published in many magazines including Punk Planet, Z Magazine, In These Times, Ode, Spirituality & Health, Shambhala Sun, Tricycle, The Sun and Sojourners. He lives in Santa Cruz, California with his wife and son.
Acknowledgments and Gratitude
Introduction: What You Think Changes How You Act
Chapter 1: Mixing Punk and Politics: Common Ground for the Revolution
Chapter 2: Do It Yourself: DIY Together
Chapter 3: We Are All Pussy Riot: Punk on the Front Lines, Russia to Myanmar, China to Mexico
Chapter 4: East Berlin Punk: Clandestine Concerts behind the Berlin Wall
Chapter 5: Music Is that Powerful Tool: Blackfire Navajo Punks
Chapter 6: Tijuana No!: Latin Punk Rock from Peru to Mexico to East LA
Chapter 7: Pansy Division: Out of the Closet into the Slampit
Chapter 8: Positive Force: Mark Andersen and Fugazi in Washington, DC
Chapter 9: Fight War Not Wars: Punk Rock, Militarism, and War
Chapter 10: Just Another Gulf War: Punk, US Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and 9/11
Chapter 11: America! Fuck Yeah!: Punks Perform for US Soldiers
Chapter 12: Nazi Trumps Fuck Off!: Punk in the Trump Era
Chapter 13: I Am an Anarchist: Antiauthoritarian Soundtrack
Chapter 14: To Hell with Poverty: Capitalism and Class in Punk Rock
Chapter 15: White Riot: Race and Antiracism in Punk
Chapter 16: Equal but Different: Gender and Feminism in Punk
Chapter 17: The Revolution Is Personal: Politics with a Small “P”
Chapter 18: The Revolution Will Be Commodified
Chapter 19: Burn Punk London: Joe Corré and Extinction Rebellion
Chapter 20: How Revolutionary Has Punk Rock Been?
Chapter 21: Where Is the Revolution Now?
List of Interviews
About the Author
Journalist Malkin debuts with a riveting insiders’ history of punk’s charged relationship with social change, collecting interviews with some of the genre’s biggest names (including members of the Ramones and the Sex Pistols) and intellectuals with links to the music (such as Noam Chomsky, who recorded an eight-minute analysis of the Gulf War for Bad Religion’s 2001 album New World Order: War #1). The discussions unpack how punk music challenged war, white supremacy, police brutality, and political violence, from the Clash’s 1981 Sandinista, which tackled "the so-called Cold War" in "Ivan Meets GI Joe," to Pussy Riot’s 2020 release of "Rage," a vivid, impassioned critique of Russian political repression. ….Malkin supplements the impressive array of interviews with comprehensive background analysis, and energizes the proceedings with his clear passion for the topic. Punk fans will find this a gold mine.
Musician/activist/filmmaker/photographer/journalist Malkin (Sounds of Freedom) conducted more than 140 interviews with musicians and influencers from the 1970s to the present for this oral history of punk rock. This book examines the roots of activism in punk and explores the genre beyond its reach in the U.S. and the UK.... The book pulls from interviews with members of bands such as Bad Religion, Crass, Dead Kennedys, Gang of Four, and Sex Pistols. The author also talks to Noam Chomsky, Kalle Lasn, Keith McHenry, Marjane Satrapi, Laurie Anderson, and Kenneth Jarecke about punk’s impact. There is a wide range of interviews and stories that will attract readers interested in punk or who are fans of the bands addressed in the book.... Malkin’s book will be of interest to many.
Excellent and engrossing! It's a tribute to John Malkin's interview style that he's extracted such a range of people to dig deeper than, dare I say, most punk books—revealing not only factual histories but emotional positions. The book is a far-reaching reflection on the revolutionary nature of punk rock, its strengths, its failures, its impact, and its diversity—an inspiring overview that is both engaging and informative.
The book is very cool—full of great interviews. Like it.
An engaging music and cultural history document, this book is a portal to both the personalities and introspection of notable global participants in the punk scene culled from illuminating conversations over two decades with author John Malkin. Essential.
The punk revolution might have been the most influential of all twentieth-century subcultures. John Malkin gets up close and personal with the seditious heroes behind rock’s most powerful socio-political movement.
John Malkin offers a much-needed, fresh perspective of punk rock and its enduring impact on society. Both a celebration and exploration, this oral history is a collection of ideas defiantly proclaiming that if we use art and culture to inspire us, we can remake the world from a place stuck in conflict into one where peace is ascendant.
Overall, I got a lot out of this book. It showed the many facets of punk - so many more than I had even considered before. It also gave many examples of performers using their art and their platforms as activists. It was a good mix between performers I knew and performers I was just discovering thanks to this book.
Other books cover similar subjects, but the wide variety of voices and the impact of the subjects covered in Punk Revolution! make it a standout.... Punk and politics can’t be separated, but that doesn’t mean we all see things the same way. In Punk Revolution!, John Malking skillfully presents different viewpoints of the politics that are functionally and aesthetically a part of punk, from people with different life experiences and different worldviews, in a way that is organized, compelling, and highly entertaining.
6/14/23, Lookout Santa Cruz: John Malkin is interviewed for a feature article about the book.