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REVIEW: Kids of the Black Hole by Dewar MacLeod

Product Description

Los Angeles rock generally conjures memories of surf music, The Doors, or Laurel Canyon folkies. But punk? L.A. s punk scene, while not as notorious as that of New York City, emerged full-throated in 1977 and boasted bands like The Germs, X, and Black Flag. This book explores how, in the land of the Beach Boys, punk rock took hold.As a teenager, Dewar MacLeod witnessed firsthand the emergence of the punk subculture in Southern California. As a scholar, he here reveals the origins of an as-yet-uncharted revolution. Having combed countless fanzines and interviewed key participants, he shows how a marginal scene became a mass subculture that democratized performance art, and he captures the excitement and creativity of a neglected episode in rock history.
Kids of the Black Hole tells how L.A. punk developed, fueled by youth unemployment and alienation, social conservatism, and the spare landscape of suburban sprawl communities; how it responded to the wider cultural influences of Southern California life, from freeways to architecture to getting high; and how L.A. punks borrowed from their New York and London forebears to create their own distinctive subculture. Along the way, MacLeod not only teases out the differences between the New York and L.A. scenes but also distinguishes between local styles, from Hollywood s avant-garde to Orange County s hardcore.
With an intimate knowledge of bands, venues, and zines, MacLeod cuts to the heart of L.A. punk as no one has before. Told in lively prose that will satisfy fans, Kids of the Black Hole will also enlighten historians of American suburbia and of youth and popular culture.

About the Author

Dewar MacLeod is Associate Professor of History at William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey.


  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Univ of Oklahoma Pr (Trd) (November 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806140410
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806140414



    1. Have you read The Heebie Jeebies at CBGB's? It's the story of New York punk; I'm now dying to read this to compare the two.

    2. Susan -- I have to buy that book! David would love it! I went there once in 1979 -- me and my fake ID which no one bothered looking at. I was a bit disappointed at how small CNGBs was.

      Oh and ACKK! I had this post done LAST YEAR and when blogger switched to the new format, things started posting AGAIN. AND my review vanished. sigh

    3. Hi Mary - thanks for the tip on this interesting looking book. I love this genre of music. Long ago a read a few books in the history of the punk movement, “England's Dreaming” by John Savage is one that sticks in my mind as being really good. Way back in collage I even took a couple of classes on Rock history that touched on the movement.

      I am very tempted to read this one.


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