You are here

Great New Stories about the LA Punk Scene 1977-1982

Under the Big Black Sun: A Personal History of L.A. Punk

by John Doe (of X) and Tom DeSavia


Under the Big Black Sun: A Personal History of L.A. Punk

The book’s geographical home is LA and the famous Hollywood music club, The Whisky (Whisky A Go Go), where many iconic rock bands made their break-throughs.

The late great Ray Manzarek produced the first few albums by X and in the video above, he tells the fascinating story about his band, The Doors, making their last appearance at The Whisky.

X, the band that became synonymous with, and in many ways defined, L.A. punk…

…was formed by singer/songwriters John Doe and Exene Cervenka in the late ’70s and was a seminal band for a whole host of ultimately popular punk-inspired groups that followed: The Go Go’s, Blondie, Talking Heads and of course many more.

As John Doe has described for NPR, factions of punk splintered during this period and X was in some ways the glue that held the punk movement together, as more hard-core punk took over the genre.

Additionally, throughout the 70s and 80s, Dave Alvin and his late brother Phil’s band The Blasters were killing audiences in and around LA and in fact, for a period, Dave Alvin was a member of X. Dave contributed an essay to the new book as well.

“Under the Big Black Sun shares stories of friendship and love, ambition and feuds, grandiose dreams and cultural rage, all combined with the tattered, glossy sheen of pop culture weirdness that epitomized the operations of Hollywood’s underbelly. Readers will travel to the clubs that defined the scene, as well as to the street corners, empty lots, apartment complexes, and squats that served as de facto salons for the musicians, artists, and fringe players that hashed out what would become punk rock in Los Angeles.” —Amazon

Under the Big Black Sun explores the nascent Los Angeles punk rock movement and its evolution to hardcore punk as it’s never been told before. Authors John Doe and Tom DeSavia have woven together an enthralling story of the legendary West Coast scene from 1977-1982 by enlisting the voices of people who were there. The book shares chapter-length tales from the authors along with personal essays from famous (and infamous) players in the scene. Additional authors include: Exene Cervenka (X), Henry Rollins (Black Flag), Mike Watt (The Minutemen), Jane Wiedlin and Charlotte Caffey (Go-Go’s), Dave Alvin (The Blasters), Chris D. (The Flesh Eaters), Robert Lopez (The Zeros, El Vez), Jack Grisham (TSOL), Teresa Covarrubias (The Brat)…and more.”

Leave a Reply