American Hardcore is the ultimate guide to the hardcore punk rock movement. Author Steven Blush gives his version of exactly what happened in this movement between the years of 1980-1986, which are what Blush considers to be “the peak years.”
A former concert promoter and hardcore connoisseur, Blush uses a non-traditional writing style to give readers a varied account of exactly what went down. In this second edition of American Hardcore, Blush managed to cram an additional 80 pages of concert flyers, interviews, magazine covers, album covers, and concert photos that were not included in the book the first time around.
Blush takes an incremental approach to delving into the scene. He starts by touching on over-arching themes like violence, religion, fashion, and demographics in the first part of the book. In Part 2, he devotes entire chapters to influential regions of the country and the bands associated with them such as Black Flag in Southern California or The Bad Brains in Washington D.C. Parts 3 and 4 discuss larger themes and trends, like reactions from the media and society, and the end of the movement.
Though Blush covers many bases and does his best not to leave anybody out, the movement was so huge, where so many acts consisted of three kids playing shows in garages and recording out of basements, that it’s an impossible task to really include everything.
I knew next to nothing when I picked up this book. While I definitely don’t consider myself an authority on the subject after reading it, I can still hold an intelligent conversation with the guy who owns my neighborhood record store, who’s been a hardcore fan for decades. If you like music end enjoy reading about the culture behind it, you’ll definitely like this book.