In the early seventies, Detroit was the musical hub of America. Everything from the chart topping sounds of Motown records to the vicious proto-punk of The Stooges was being brewed out there and it seemed like there was no end in sight. But by the early eighties, the city was both a physical and cultural wasteland due to major label buyouts of the artists as well as the crippling drug habits of some of the others. Detroit’s most known musical export at the time was the vapid sounds of New Wave heart-throbs The Romantics; this wasn’t good. It took a gaggle of suburban skateboarders, a grade school teacher and a census bureau clerk to wake this city up from it’s slumber and start one of the first hardcore punk scenes in America.
Why Be Something That You’re Not chronicles the first wave of Detroit hardcore from it’s origins in the late seventies to it’s demise in the mid-eighties. Through a combination of oral history and extensive imagery, the book proves that even though the southern california beach towns might have created the look and style of hardcore punk, it was the Detroit scene – along with a handfull of other cities across the country – that cultivated the music’s grassroots aesthetic before most cultural hot spots around the globe even knew what the music was about.

“The Michigan hardcore scene was a crazy mixture of DC-style teen-thug-purists and debauched elders with a taste for the newest in high energy freedom. Tony Rettman has done a great service to Western Culture by interviewing the prime knuckleheads involved in this scene and reporting what he finds.” -Byron Coley Co-Author of No Wave: New York 1976-1980 –From the Back Cover

In the early seventies, Detroit was the musical hub of America. Everything from the chart topping sounds of Motown records to the vicious proto-punk of The Stooges was being brewed out there and it seemed like there was no end in sight. But by the early eighties, the city was both a physical and cultural wasteland due to major label buyouts of the artists as well as the crippling drug habits of some of the others. Detroit’s most known musical export at the time was the vapid sounds of New Wave heart-throbs The Romantics; this wasn’t good. It took a gaggle of suburban skateboarders, a grade school teacher and a census bureau clerk to wake this city up from it’s slumber and start one of the first hardcore punk scenes in America.

Why Be Something That You’re Not chronicles the first wave of Detroit hardcore from it’s origins in the late seventies to it’s demise in the mid-eighties. Through a combination of oral history and extensive imagery, the book proves that even though the southern california beach towns might have created the look and style of hardcore punk, it was the Detroit scene – along with a handfull of other cities across the country – that cultivated the music’s grassroots aesthetic before most cultural hot spots around the globe even knew what the music was about.

“The Michigan hardcore scene was a crazy mixture of DC-style teen-thug-purists and debauched elders with a taste for the newest in high energy freedom. Tony Rettman has done a great service to Western Culture by interviewing the prime knuckleheads involved in this scene and reporting what he finds.” -Byron Coley Co-Author of No Wave: New York 1976-1980 –From the Back Cover

…Tony talks first person to the people who you idolize: this from Steve Miller of The Fix on the D.C. scene and straight edge: “all those kids in those hardcore bands were throwing out their Aerosmith and AC/DC records. It all seemed fishy to me.” This, Barry Hensler, Ian Mackaye, Dave Stimpson, Tesco Vee, and John Brannon chatting like they’re at a sleepover. Tony’s gift as a writer is not what he knows, which borders on the obsessive, but his ear for the language and music he loves, and his gift for capturing rhetorical pratfalls. This is his head and his heart. Now will someone please pay him to write about Abba and/or Roger Nichols? –Elisa Ambrogio, Arthur Magazine

Publisher ‏ : ‎ Revelation Records
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 239 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1889703036
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1889703039
Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 500 grams
Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 23.00 x 17.00 x 2.00 cm