By Ian Winwood
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Two decades after the Sex Pistols and the Ramones birthed punk music into the world, their artistic heirs burst onto the scene and changed the genre forever. While the punk originators remained underground favorites and were slow burns commercially, their heirs shattered commercial expectations for the genre. In 1994, Green Day and The Offspring each released their third albums, and the results were astounding. Green Day’s Dookie went on to sell more than 15 million copies and The Offspring’s Smash remains the all-time bestselling album released on an independent label. The times had changed, and so had the music.
While many books, articles, and documentaries focus on the rise of punk in the ’70s, few spend any substantial time on its resurgence in the ’90s. Smash! is the first to do so, detailing the circumstances surrounding the shift in ’90s music culture away from grunge and legitimizing what many first-generation punks regard as post-punk, new wave, and generally anything but true punk music.
With astounding access to all the key players of the time, including members of Green Day, The Offspring, NOFX, Rancid, Bad Religion, Social Distortion, and many others, renowned music writer Ian Winwood at last gives this significant, substantive, and compelling story its due. Punk rock bands were never truly successful or indeed truly famous, and that was that — until it wasn’t. Smash! is the story of how the underdogs finally won and forever altered the landscape of mainstream music.
SOMETHING’S ODD, I FEEL LIKE I’M GOD
“What is this free hippie love shit?” asks Billie Joe Armstrong, his voice a mixture of mischief and malice. A sky-blue, sticker-strewn Fernandes Stratocaster guitar hangs low at his waist. Everywhere he looks his life is changing with great speed. The twenty-two-year-old regards the audience heaving before him and offers a greeting.
“How you doing, you rich motherfuckers?”
It is August 14, 1994, a Sunday afternoon, a supposedly summer’s day in upstate New York. Half a million people have descended on Winston Farm in Saugerties to commemorate, and hopefully celebrate, the twenty-fifth anniversary of the now folkloric Woodstock Music and Art Fair. It was at this event that four hundred thousand people gathered to see bands such as The Who, Santana and the Jimi Hendrix Experience, and hear The warning to give a wide berth to “the brown acid.” A quarter of a century on, at Woodstock ’94 the appetite was more amphetamine than hallucinogen. In the dog days of summer, bands such as Metallica, Nine Inch Nails and Red Hot Chili Peppers were on-site to trample on any notions of peace and love.
In case you were wondering, the answer to Billie Joe Armstrong’s impolite enquiry was “Yeah, not so good.”
Considering the scene of rural misery stretched out before him, Armstrong’s words were not emollient. From the lip of the stage to the flat of the horizon, people stood soaked in rain and slurry. The sight resembled a refugee camp, only with four-dollar bottles of water instead of worldly possessions. With crashing predictability, as Woodstock ’94 began, so, too, did the rain. On the border that separates the torrential from the unmanageable, for three days a dishwater sky threw its very worst onto the campers below. In an interview from this sorry site to a radio station in Sydney, the Australian journalist Andrew Mueller described the scene in one word: “shithouse.”
“I hope it rains so much you all get stuck,” announced bassist Mike Dirnt as if fingering the trigger of a gun.
This was the summer that saw the second coming of punk rock. In the United States, certainly, this arrival was a spectacle witnessed by an audience far in excess of that which lent an ear in the direction of the Ramones in 1976. A generation on, the new breed’s two biggest bands, Green Day and The Offspring, were legitimate mainstream concerns. Each band’s third album, Dookie and Smash respectively, had attained platinum status, and would go on to sell many multiples more. And while the disdain of audiences old enough to have witnessed the events of 1976 firsthand—“That’s not punk!” was the phrase that most commonly greeted these arrivistes from the generation that followed—fell like drizzle, for millions of younger listeners the Class of ’94 were the real thing. In other words, they were the real thing.
Billie Joe Armstrong inhabited a world where he could be found “smoking my inspiration.” Eighteen years after the Sex Pistols’ Johnny Rotten had announced, “I don’t work, I just speed,” in 1994 only the drug of choice had changed.
While punk rock as heard in 1994 had its army of older detractors dismissive of what they regarded as a sanitized sound and safe parameters, at Winston Farm the scene was one of authentic chaos. For many an older head, chaos was the genre’s key currency. It was chaos that John Lydon, the onetime Johnny Rotten, summoned at the Ritz in New York in 1980, when his band Public Image Ltd. performed behind a curtain, as he goaded the audience to riot by repeating the words “silly fucking audience” over and over again (duly, they obliged). That same year, it was chaos that spilled out onto the thoroughfares of Times Square following a series of dangerously oversold shows by The Clash.
The scene at Winston Farm, though, was chaos on an epic and dangerous scale. With gleeful abandon, Green Day provided the avenue through which an already testy and volatile crowd could express its frustrations. Billie Joe Armstrong would later opine that “I don’t think we played that well” at Woodstock ’94, as if this was somehow the point. By the time the trio had begun to slog their way through the normally definitive groove of “When I Come Around,” the sky was filled with clumps of mud launched toward the stage. By the end of the song, the platform on which Green Day were by now attempting to perform resembled a painting by Jackson Pollock. Amid scenes that were by turns farcical and fearsome, stagehands attempted to cover the stage in sheets of plastic. In an equally futile gesture, Billie Joe Armstrong abandoned his guitar in order to return at least a few clumps of mud in the direction from whence they came, all the while singing the words and the melody to Twisted Sister’s pleasingly brainless anthem of bedroom rebellion, “We’re Not Gonna to Take It.”
“Look at me, I’m a fucking idiot,” he announced, describing either the people in the audience or himself, or possibly both.
After forty-five febrile minutes, Green Day left the stage. In attempting to do so, Mike Dirnt was tackled by a security guard. The collision sheared his front teeth. Prior to his band’s arrival that Sunday afternoon, Billie Joe Armstrong’s greatest concern was that the slurry at his feet would ruin his box-fresh pair of black Converse. Such thoughts now seemed many miles removed. Leaving behind a stage in a state of some destruction, Green Day were expedited from Woodstock ’94 by helicopter, a mode of transport of which the frontman was terrified.
“Woodstock [’94] was about the closest thing to anarchy I’ve ever seen in my whole life,” Armstrong told the author in 2004. “And I didn’t like it one bit.”
This, though, was also beside the point. Spearheading a new breed of punk rockers, in upstate New York Green Day had orchestrated a riot; a riot of their own.
The one thing on which the dozens of people interviewed for this book are all agreed is the fact that up until 1994, any musician who decided to form a punk rock band was making a poor career choice. Metal bands made money. Hip-hop collectives made money. Country singers made money. But for many of its practitioners, punk rock did not guarantee a living.
Today it seems strange to write such a paragraph. Following the release of Dookie and Smash, anyone forming a punk band did so with the knowledge that it was possible to become wealthy. It may have taken eighteen years, but suddenly, and forever, the game had changed. Despite this, few writers have attempted to grapple at any great length with the significance and achievements of what Bad Religion singer Greg Graffin describes as “the democratization of punk.” This book is an attempt to right this wrong.
Punk rock groups are easy to form and there are hundreds of them. Because of this, many books about underground music are little more than a compendium of band names floating on the page without much context. To the best of my ability, I have avoided batching acts together in lists for no reason other than to acknowledge their existence. Unless a group serves the story, they’re not getting past the door. In choosing this course of action, many fine bands have been overlooked, particularly T.S.O.L., the Adolescents and Fugazi. Similarly, any reader hoping to find within these pages an encyclopedic take on every American punk rock hotbed from the period in question would do well to look elsewhere. But be assured, the decision to favor depth over breadth is deliberate.
I have also opted not to step into the debate as to whether Nirvana were or were not a punk rock band. The fact that they never explicitly defined themselves as such is good enough for me. And, anyway, the story of what happened up in the Pacific Northwest has been told many times, often very well. In other words, it has been given the credit it deserves.
The groups that serve this story are the ones who at the time defined themselves as being punk rock, and in fact still do. If it’s possible for a tale featuring many millionaires who enjoy enduring careers to be a story about underdogs, this is that story. If this sounds unlikely, then consider this: prior to Green Day and The Offspring, the idea that in the United States a band could become famous by playing punk rock music was unthinkable.
With the exception of the dependably elusive Rancid, every person with whom I hoped to speak has made himself or herself available, often numerous times. All did so free of charge. The overwhelming majority of quotes that feature in this book come from interviews specific to the project. Other quotes are from interviews with the author for magazine features written in years past, and are identified as such. In a handful of cases, quotes from other sources have been used—usually from Rolling Stone, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times—each of which is attributed to the source material. My gratitude for the many people who spoke with me for this project is sincere. The book would exist without them, but it would be unreadable, not to mention unpublished.
Any factual errors contained within are my own.
Camden Town, London
MORE A QUESTION THAN A CURSE, HOW COULD HELL BE ANY WORSE?
It was in a recording studio above a chemist’s shop that Bad Religion were told they weren’t very good. After months of practicing, the band entered Studio 9 on the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Western Avenue in Hollywood to lay down the six songs that would comprise their self-titled debut EP. The facility’s in-house producer looked them over and asked if they were a power trio. The four members looked at each other and answered, “Sure, why not?” The studio technician listened with growing skepticism as the group ran through their small collection of short songs. With a frown of disapproval he delivered his verdict. The compositions weren’t finished, he said. Some of them needed choruses. And where were the guitar solos?
The fact that at this stage in their development Bad Religion were about as capable of executing a guitar solo as they were of playing Chopin’s “Sonata no. 2 in B Minor” was beside the point. Between them, Brett Gurewitz and vocalist Greg Graffin had each written three songs that when combined clocked out at a blush over nine minutes. Two of these songs, “Politics” and “World War III,” were as fast as anything produced in the name of Southern Californian punk rock. In their eyes, their hirelings’ bewilderment at these efforts marked him as being yesterday’s man.
Greg Graffin, Brett Gurewitz and bassist Jay Bentley formed Bad Religion in 1980. The trio were students at El Camino High School in Woodland Hills. Gurewitz was seventeen, while Graffin and Bentley were two years his junior. Drummer and fellow student Jay Ziskrout completed the fledgling group’s original lineup.
Although they didn’t yet know it, Bad Religion had at their disposal a talent that would set them apart from other bands of their kind. An émigré from Wisconsin, as a student at Lake Bluff Elementary school on the north side of Milwaukee, each morning before class Greg Graffin would sing in the school choir. Under the tutelage of teacher Mrs. Jane Perkins, he and his fellow prepubescent choristers would gather in their school’s music room and sing songs from the radio and, when in season, Christmas carols. The unforgiving hour at which these gatherings took place was mollified by the fact that the students were given ten minutes in which to play records by the Beatles and Led Zeppelin on the school’s superior stereo system. In due course, Mrs. Perkins noticed Graffin’s talents and a bursary to a summer music camp in Madison soon followed.
“We were singing songs from Stevie Wonder and James Taylor and we would perform the songs of these artists when the parents came to the concerts,” Graffin recalls. “I was often chosen as the soloist, so I’d be singing these songs from the radio with Mrs. Perkins accompanying me on the piano. I never thought of myself as a particularly gifted singer. In fact, I just assumed that everyone could sing the way that I did.”
They couldn’t. Over time, Graffin’s soaring and authoritative voice would become one of Bad Religion’s defining characteristics; the band would also learn how to deliver three-part harmonies. This, though, would take time. As heard on their debut EP, the group were just one of many from Los Angeles County whose chief currency was the energy of youth. Their sound was unvarnished and sometimes ungovernable. Musical arrangements didn’t exist and their technical chops were no more than rudimentary. What they did have, however, was an instinct for melody that has endured for almost forty years. Even at their most incendiary, Bad Religion’s sound is never wholly divorced from pop music.
For Brett Gurewitz, the release of his band’s svelte debut recording would change his life in two ways. The first would steer a course toward becoming one of LA punk’s most charismatic and interesting writers. (“Brett is probably the most talented songwriter in punk,” says Fat Mike, himself no mean composer.) The second would see him develop into an astute businessman, not to mention punk rock’s most influential tastemaker.
In 1980, Bad Religion decided to eschew the complications of finding a label on which to release their eponymous debut EP by founding their own. In doing so they avoided the ignominy of being ignored by the majors and the frustrations of signing with a small independent. The label that now housed them was given the name Epitaph, an operation established and owned by Brett Gurewitz. Its first release carried the catalogue number EPI001.
For the start-up capital required to get his record label off the ground, Gurewitz tapped up his dad. Duly, Richard Gurewitz—know to some as “Big Dick”—lent his son fifteen hundred dollars without much hope, one would imagine, of ever seeing a return on his investment. With this, Bad Religion and Epitaph were off to the pressing plant, while “Mr. Brett,” as he is sometimes known, was on his way to becoming an impresario.
Despite Bad Religion’s status as their label’s one and only artist lasting for little over a year—Gurewitz’s would release the Vandals’ Peace Thru Vandalism EP in 1982—the company and the band for which it was formed remain synonymous.
In the year following its release, EPI001 sold a modest but not discountable five thousand copies. This tally was aided by Greg Hetson, who as the guitarist with the Circle Jerks occupied a space higher up the punk rock food chain than did anyone in Bad Religion. To this day, this hockey-loving rhythm guitarist remains one of the most recognizable and enduring figures of the LA scene. One night, Greg Graffin and Jay Bentley met Hetson at Oki-Dog, a stay-open-late hot dog joint on Willoughby and Franklin in Hollywood. Graffin had with him a cassette of his band’s music that he gave to the guitarist. Along with his thanks, Greg Hetson promised that if he liked what he heard he would make sure it was played on LA’s Rock Radio Show, broadcast in the vampire hours on the country’s most influential radio station, KROQ, on which he was to be a guest that coming weekend. This promise was honored.
“Oki-Dog was this twenty-four-hour place that punks would hang out at after shows,” remembers Hetson. “I don’t know if Greg believed me when I said I’d get them to play it on the show, but I meant it. That’s just the kind of thing that we all did. Everyone had each other’s backs. So I gave it to ’ROQ and said, ‘This is a new band from the [San Fernando] Valley’ and they put it on the air. I think it was a demo tape that probably ended up being their first single. That’s how I met them and we just kind of became friends after that.”
In order to record the full-length album that would soon follow, like many bands of their standing Bad Religion were forced to become creatures of the night. Ten months after the unveiling of their debut seven-inch single in January of 1980, that autumn the still-teenage band took a freshly minted collection of songs to Track Record in North Hollywood. Over the course of the next four months they recorded the collection that would emerge, oddly, more than a year later under the title How Could Hell Be Any Worse? If this schedule sounds lavish, it wasn’t. The studio may have been bona fide to a degree beyond the group’s most elaborate dreams, but in recording their album while the rest of city was asleep, the teenagers secured Track Record’s services for nigh on nix. And while it’s true to say that How Could Hell Be Any Worse? was recorded over three months, the sessions comprised short blasts of manic activity rather than a diligent twelve-week slog. The bulk of the album was tracked over just two nights in November of 1980; half of which tracks were mixed during the intervening day.
Following this initial flash of activity, the band departed the studio for their rehearsal room—otherwise known as the “Hellhole,” a fetid space that doubled up as Graffin’s mother’s garage—in order to write yet more songs. This process was delayed by a fit of pique from their eighteen-year-old drummer. Irked by the belief that his bandmates were failing to pay due respect to his contribution to the cause, Jay Ziskout gave notice to quit with no notice at all. Such was the speed of his departure that he walked out without his drum set. His replacement was Pete Finestone, a friend who might loosely be described as the band’s roadie. Hectic practice sessions followed as the group attempted to complete the writing for their album while bringing the playing of their newest member up to code. Bad Religion returned to Track Record in January of 1981, and over the course of a weekend completed the twenty-nine minutes and fifty-four seconds of music that would comprise their first twelve-inch vinyl release.
To say that How Could Hell Be Any Worse? is an improvement on the EP that preceded it is an understatement. It is, for one thing, untypical of similar albums from this period. Generally, punk records from teenage bands who spent their days beneath the sunshine of Southern California tended either to revel in their own brattishness or else try hard, and sometimes very hard, to shock. Bad Religion did neither. If not quite sophisticated, the music is nonetheless both confident and advanced. The band’s bold and perhaps reckless decision to produce the record themselves may have harvested mixed results—listened to today, the sound is somewhat swampy—but this instinct for self-reliance would in time serve them well. The album’s two best tracks, “We’re Only Gonna Die” and “Fuck Armageddon… This Is Hell” (a song that is much better than its title suggests), written by Graffin and Gurewitz respectively, are sufficiently innovative as to dispense with the services of a chorus. By now attention was being paid to musical arrangement and song structure. More notable still was the emergence of their vocalist’s enduring lyrical style, a humane and sometimes good-humored pessimism far too dignified to ever descend to a hysterical pitch. In the lyrics to “We’re Only Gonna Die”—“early man walked away as modern man took control / their minds they weren’t the same, to conquer was his goal”—Graffin gives a clue as to the direction his intellectual pursuits were headed. Brett Gurewitz’s own lyrical style was also emerging. The obverse of his bandmate’s glass-half-empty point of view—in which the glass was often entirely empty, while in some instances there was no glass at all—it would be simplistic to say that the guitarist’s words act as a counterbalance to Graffin’s intellectualism. But it would not be wholly so. The days when Gurewitz could write a couplet of the quality of “I had a paperback crime running straight down my spine” had yet to arrive, but poetry in its embryonic form does flicker from the album’s lyrics. “There are two things you can do, one is turn and fight / the other is to run headlong into the night” are the options made available on “Into the Night.”
How Could Hell Be Any Worse? looks the part, too. Its back and inner sleeve are adorned by Gustave Doré’s illustrations of Dante Alighieri’s Inferno. The front cover is a monochrome picture of LA’s surprisingly drab topography, shot by the noted punk photographer Edward Colver from a vantage point in the Hollywood Hills. The sleeve was issued in fire-truck red and, in the days when LPs were the size of pizza boxes, the overall effect was striking. The title written in capital letters on the album’s top right corner is of course youthfully glib. By no measure can Los Angeles be described as “hell.” But relatively speaking, the thousands of people hermetically sealed in cars, the paucity of the pedestrian life, the absence of greenery and the city’s often melancholic stillness can make Los Angeles seem hellish. The fact that it keeps catching fire doesn’t help, either. But in ways that don’t wholly matter, the title the band bestowed on their debut album tends to present them as hysterical brats unable to distinguish between a place that is sometimes soul sapping and somewhere that is life threatening. (Gurewitz himself would later amend the question posed in 1982 in the rhyming couplet “More a question than a curse / how could hell be any worse?”) But the question is not wildly unreasonable. Even in sun-kissed Southern California, a new generation had discovered punk and were using its power as a reaction against the eternal foes of conformity and the threat of a quiet life.
“I think there were a lot of bored middle-class kids who had time on their hands and who hated the image that the powers that be—parents, teachers, society—wanted to put on them,” says Noodles, known to his parents as Kevin Wasserman, the guitarist with The Offspring. “It was a reaction against clean-cut kids, good grades, nine-to-five jobs, two point three children, a wife and a white picket fence. That was just bullshit. People would go and work for Boeing, or some other defense contractor, which was a big industry in Orange County, which I think lends itself to a lot of the conservative attitudes here. And people just wanted to rebel against that. It’s just not how real people are. Punk rock in Southern California may not have come from the poverty that you hear The Clash talk about. It was different from that. And it didn’t come from playing shows on the Bowery [the site of the punk club CBGB]. But punk rock here did play in very poor parts of the city. You weren’t allowed to play the upscale clubs that had dress codes and girls in thongs serving drinks. Punk rock was relegated to the back-alley clubs. Or you would hire VFW halls in the middle of the desert. A lot of times the bands would be playing in burned-out warehouses in LA. So we did have that element of punk rock as well. But, yeah, a lot of the kids who were playing in bands grew up in really middle-class suburbs.”
If Bad Religion’s first twenty songs offered a glimpse of the towering influence its creators would in time exert, it was only a glimpse. But from these tiny acorns all manner of things would grow. In 1982, the band could at least content themselves with the knowledge that a copy of How Could Hell Be Any Worse? had taken up residence in the homes of ten thousand listeners. The group may not have been on their way to the top, but at least they were on their way to somewhere.
This forward momentum lasted for precisely twenty-two months and eleven days. On November 30, 1983, Bad Religion put their name to an album that is now regarded by those who know it, or at least know of it, as being one of the most peculiar releases ever unveiled by a punk rock group. Into the Unknown is a soupy, keyboard-heavy curiosity that would be entirely discountable were it not for its loveable precocity. A wordy oddness that its authors continue to embrace is also appealing. Not unpredictably, in 1983 the album’s waiting public either failed to understand what it was Bad Religion were trying to convey in such snappy songs as “Time and Disregard” (Part 1, Part II, Part III, Part IV), or else couldn’t stand it. The punk magazine Maximumrocknroll wrote of the record, “Into the Unknown and out of the window.” In a spirit of droll consolation, Greg Hetson half attempted to comfort Greg Graffin with the words “Fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke.”
“The punk scene at [that] time wasn’t very attractive to us,” says Graffin. “The drugs and violence had taken their toll, which were things that never interested me anyway. I was always in Bad Religion for the music. When we started playing punk it was a thriving social scene. It was a feeling that you were part of something… But from 1983 to 1987 the punk scene was completely dismantled. At best it was a loose conglomerate of various types of people who were interested in various types of music. And there was no central meeting point for the punk scene anymore. The police had closed down a lot of places because of the violence and the drugs. It was hard even to play in a punk band. Consequently, Bad Religion didn’t have a central focus at that time and I think that’s manifested in [Into the Unknown] itself. It wasn’t a focused album; it was all over the place. It’s easy to write it off as being just an attempt at a new style of music. But if you look at it in the context of two songwriters [Greg Graffin and Brett Gurewitz] who really loved music and felt free to experiment, it makes a lot more sense.”
Asked today, Mr. Brett will say that Epitaph printed ten thousand copies of Into the Unknown, of which they sold none. This seems statistically unlikely, but popular lore does have it that many, many thousands of copies ended up piled high in Jay Bentley’s garage. As if this weren’t odd enough, the fact that at the time Bentley was no longer a member of the band makes it only more so. The only time Bad Religion have played any songs from Into the Unknown live was at a concert attended by thirty people at the Mabuhay Gardens club in San Francisco. Realizing that punk rock shows at the time were drawing crowds of similar numbers even at venues such as the now venerated Cathay de Grande in Hollywood, Graffin began to lose faith. He was also fully cognizant of the fact that no one cared about Bad Religion’s curious new album. The decision was made to leave Los Angeles for his home state and a place at the University of Wisconsin. By doing so, for the next five years the band in which he performed fell into a slumberous state from which they would only occasionally emerge.
No one could have predicted that by effectively ceasing to exist, Bad Religion were opting for the wisest career choice available to them. Between the end of 1982 and the spring of 1987, the group played live fewer than twenty times. A creature of near total hibernation, this slumber was so profound that between November of 1982 and September of 1988 just five songs were recorded, one of which was an old song (a retooled version of the eponymous track from their eponymous debut EP). When in February of 1985, Bad Religion reconvened to record what would be for many the reassuringly titled Back to the Known
"An energetic history of the punk revolution of the 1990s, inspired by bands such as the Sex Pistols, the Ramones, and X...[Winwood has a] deep knowledge and thick dossier of interviews with these three-chord revolutionaries...This is a ripping fun music history and strongly reasoned argument for the place of oft-derided 1990s Cali punk in the annals of pop music."
- "[A] straightforward account of the improbably profitable second coming of punk rock...[Winwood] writes with authoritative enthusiasm about the 1990s rise of bands like Green Day and the Offspring and their broader relationship to the always-contentious question, 'what is punk?'...His knowing humor will appeal to younger fans and those who were there. A savvy reminiscence of the era when punk finally paid its debt to society."—Kirkus Reviews
"Through a series of interviews, Winwood documents the 1990s, the decade in which punk rock emerged from basements in California to the Billboard charts...The author thoughtfully maps the transformation of the punk rock ethos for both the record labels and the bands as they experienced an unprecedented wave of commercial success...Fans of punk and music in general will enjoy this work."
- "A phenomenal piece of work."—-LA Weekly
- "The amount of research and fact checking that the author undertook...is staggering. And it doesn't hurt that Winwood is a bloody great writer whose natural wit and sharp, incisive style turns what could have, at times, become a dry and slightly repetitive read into a compulsive, interesting and intriguing page turner... The nineties was, as Dickens once said, the best of times and the worst of times, but it will always be the era when punk rock conquered the world and in doing so made things a little better and Ian Winwood perfectly captures the history of, and everything that made that moment in time special, with Smash!."—Mass Movement
- "Winwood goes into depth about all things punk, getting commentary straight from many of the musicians that helped punk go mainstream. Winwood did such a great job with this book."—The Hype
- "Smash! gives us first-hand accounts of how '90s skate punk came to be. And while some of the story is public knowledge, there's a ton of juicy stuff in there that we had no clue about."—Kerrang!
- "Winwood gives us a side of punk rock that's not often discussed...It's not a complete history of the punk era. Rather it's a history of those who made the biggest impact...A loving homage to a forgotten era of punk...It's not only a story about the bands, but it's also a story about how punk rock rose from the ashes to conquer once again."—Genre Is Dead
- "Smash! is a compelling narrative of what led up to the punk breakout...It gives unparalleled access to the key artists, letting their voices shine through...This is important not just for fans of those particular groups but also for anyone trying to understand how punk rock became viable as a mainstream, commercial genre of music."—Oy Oy Oy Gevalt!
- "If you have any interest in how punk came to be the beast that it is today, you should seek out Smash!. The '90s punk explosion is a remarkable, if often overlooked, part of musical history. Finally, it has the book its story deserves."—Kerrang!
- On Sale
- Nov 20, 2018
- Page Count
- 320 pages
- Da Capo Press