No Wave – Book
by Marc Masters
Black Dog Publishing
I will admit that as much as I enjoy the No Wave bands that I’ve heard, I know little about them and only own a very small amount of the records that came out of that scene. It was Teenage Jesus and the Jerks that turned me onto the No Wave scene and I only found out about them about ten years after the fact when the Lydia Lunch – Hysterie collection got sent to me to review for my fanzine. There wasn’t much information about these bands available on the internet and the punk books that have been released so far barely made mention to this small but influential little scene that existed in New York City in the late 1970s. That finally has changed thanks to the release of this book.
This book tells the story of No Wave from it’s very infancy up though the bitter end. It goes into great detail how all the bands formed, how the people met, the recording sessions, the records, and of course the compilation, No New York, which (sort of) documented the scene and perhaps even killed it.
The book tells the story of the scene in both a chronological order and broken out by band or bands. A chapter will tell the story of either a single band, or a couple of bands if they had strong ties to each other, shared members, or one evolved into the other one. I really liked the way the things were broken out into a natural evolution from start to finish in each chapter. I learned more about these bands, their history and even where many of them ended up now than I’d have thought possible before the release of this book.
As a record collector, I really appreciated the selected discography at the end, and I also liked how nearly each chapter delved into the recording and releasing of each of these band’s records. My want list has now grown thanks to this book, and I’ll go even more broke trying to track down some of these old records I’m sure. The author really did his homework as far as researching this book goes and he got a lot of people in these bands involved to get their stories and for the ones he couldn’t get, there were plenty of past interviews referenced in the book.
This book weighs in at 205 pages. On top of the great history there are tons of great photos of all the bands covered inside along with scans of the record covers, old flyers, etc.. It is an attractive package from cover to cover. If I had one complaint is that much like the No Wave itself, it seemed to end very quickly but that’s only because the only time I put it down was when I was forced to and I read through the book faster than any I can think of in a very long time.
if you haven’t, you should check out “downtown 81″…it’s a film staring jean-michel basquiat and takes place during the “no wave” period…has some very interesting live footage of DNA, james white and the blacks, and others…