The Scene (#4): At The Library

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I listened to Green Day’s Kerplunk and Dookie and the Violent Femmes Add It Up, what seemed like 24/7. I had been spending my last remaining days of summer break inside with headphones on, completely oblivious to the outside world around me.

But I needed more; More music, more bands, more everything! I had no money, no job, and no driver’s license. What I did have, though, was my two feet, a local public library less than a mile from my house, and a library card. 

I grabbed a few pencils and a notepad with the band names from Kerplunk’s liner notes written in it and tossed them into my backpack and made the walk across town. One flip through the card catalog quickly revealed that I wasn’t going to be finding any independently released albums at the library, so I simplified my search and flipped through the drawer labeled with “P.”

“Playbill,” “Portland,” “Punisher,” “PUNK!”

BOOK: England’s Dreaming: Anarchy, Sex Pistols, Punk Rock, and Beyond

BOOK: Rotten: No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs

- Punk Rock Music: also see; The Clash, Ramones, Elvis Costello & The Attractions, Material Issue

VINYL LP: The Clash - Sandinista!

VINYL LP: The Clash - Combat Rock

VINYL LP: Ramones – Mania

VINYL LP: Elvis Costello & the Attractions - This Year's Model

VINYL LP: Material Issue - International Pop Overthrow

I ran to the section for the books and quickly found them on the shelf. I flipped through them, looking at all the pictures: Sex Pistols, Jonny Rotten, Sid Vicious, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Generation X, The Clash, and The Buzzcocks. I quickly tossed them into my backpack and made my way to the 3 shelves of vinyl records in the far back corner and grabbed the 5 LP’s.

I raced all the way home with a backpack full of loot. I still had 5 hours before my mom would be home from work and make me stop listening to my records to come and eat dinner.

Just as I did with the albums my sister’s boyfriend lent to me, I listened to the vinyl records while recording copies for myself onto blank cassettes.

“Well I’m running, police on my back” and “Should I stay, or should I go now,” I sang along with The Clash while trying to perfect my English accent.

“Sheena is a punk rocker, Sheena is a punk rocker, Sheena is a punk rocker now,” I jammed along with the Ramones while playing air guitar.

Elvis Costello & The Attractions introduced me to a whole other brand of subtle punk attitude as I listened to him sing, “I wanna bite the hand that feeds me. I want to bite that hand so badly. I want to make them wish they’d never seen me,” on “Radio Radio.”

I wore out the cassette I made of Material Issue. There was just something gripping about their power-pop sound and I couldn’t get enough of songs like “Valerie Loves Me,” “Renee Remains the Same,” and “International Pop Overthrow.”

I read through both books by the time the new school year was ready to start, so I’d be ready when my English teacher handed us our first book report assignment of the year. I was all in on punk rock, but would everyone else at my high school be in on it too, or was I about to become the “Outsider” the Ramones were singing about?

YOUR TURN: What punk rock books do you recommend reading? Tell us below!

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