Punk Is Dead

by |
10/14/2009 1:46 PM |

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The punk in question is Brendan Mullen, who passed away from a stroke on Monday at age 60. Mullen was a Scottish transplant to Los Angeles who, in 1977, founded the Masque, which became a rehearsal space and venue, a regular home for most of the best L.A. punk bands—X, the Germs, and so on. (He was also an active music journalist, for the L.A. Weekly and elsewere.)

With the music journalist Marc Spitz, he compiled the great oral history We Got the Neutron Bomb: The Untold Story of L.A. Punk. Chapters about X and the Runaways, and the disputed account of the riot that Tom Waits started by hitting on Alice Bag of the Bags, are particular highlights. The book is essential reading if you care at all about that gloriously scuzzy subculture, and its underrated, sneering and sloppy contributions to first-wave punk during the sliver of time between glam and new wave and hardcore. One takeaway from the book is the close-knit interconnectedness of the scene, which led to fertile collaborations then and great stories afterward; much of this must be attributed to the guy who ran the the most important punk rock club in L.A.

Punks who don’t die young should be allowed to grow old, we feel.