Western History & Genealogy Blog

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We Got Power! A New Book From An Old Zine On Hardcore Punk

Back cover. We Got Power! Hardcore Punk Scenes From 1980's Southern California. Markey, David and Schwartz, Jordan.
Front cover. We Got Power! Hardcore Punk Scenes From 1980's Southern California. Markey, David and Schwartz, Jordan.

In 1981, David Markey and Jordan Schwartz were kids in strip mall Santa Monica. Alienated by their surroundings and inspired by punk rock, they created the zine We Got Power!, writing it with Jennifer Schwartz and Kim Pilkington in the apartment where Markey lived with his Mom. They wrote the zine from 1981-1983, as punk transmogrified into hardcore and spread throughout both Greater Los Angeles and the rest of the country. In doing so, they both documented and added their own voices to the hardcore scene. The new book We Got Power! contains both the full color run of the zine and hundreds of pages of photos and interviews with people who populated the scene. Unlike some other books on hardcore, many of the pictures and interviews feature girls along with boys. Henry Rollins describes these intelligent but troubled kids who populated the scene: “It seemed to me that either they didn’t take their lives seriously—that is to say, that they thought they couldn’t die—or they in fact were trying to make an early exit and have a great time fanning the flames of their own immolation. I didn’t know if it was fearlessness, insanity, or stupidity that made them this way. I had never met anyone like them. They seemed like they had seen so much, like they were veterans of some long-running urban conflict (page 6-8).” The idealism of the 1960's was dead to these kids, but they still wanted something more. Though often violent and destructive to themselves or others, they were also extremely intelligent and had the kind of intensity and courage needed to break through the divisions of modern life, whether architectural, technological or other, and to form a true community in a vacuum. We Got Power! brings their lives alive. To read We Got Power! and other books on punk, graffiti and other subcultures of the West, come to the Western History and Genealogy department. Search DPL’s catalog to view the library’s holdings.


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