For anyone with an interest in L.A.‘s budding pre-punk culture, or fringe-music culture in general, Brendan Mullen’s book We Got the Neutron Bomb: The Untold Story of L.A. Punk is required reading—as is his book on the Germs (Lexicon Devil: The Fast Times and Short Life of Darby Crash and the Germs). Mullen, owner of original L.A. punk club the Masque, is not only a documentarian on the thriving misfit culture, he also lived within it, and still plays music as both a DJ and in an instrumental duo. I could print pages on Mullen’s unique take on the role of “punk” within the music community, but this is what we have space for—the rest you’ll have to ask him about in person.
What words of inspiration can you give to the next generation looking to start something unique? Beware of hard-line punk fundamentalism with rules and dogma, like that weird veganist hardcore anarcho-hippie punk thing. Keep record companies out of it. Always make the records yourself and put the time into figuring out distribution. Also, punk DOES NOT OWE YOU A CAREER OR A LIVING. It’s not necessarily your “big opportunity” to get into the music biz. It’s all about creating music entirely for yourself, your family, your friends. No rules. No stereotyping. Your interpretation of punk should be completely open-ended and subjective according to your experiences. Punk is basically suburban “folk music.” Anybody should be able to get in on it, just like a bunch of grisly Appalachian billy goats sitting around their porches playing banjos and fiddles.