In the Fascist Bathroom: Punk in Pop Music, 1977-1992

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9780674445772: In the Fascist Bathroom: Punk in Pop Music, 1977-1992

Was punk just another moment in music history, a flash in time when a group of young rebels exploded in a fury of raw sound, outrageous styles, and in-your-face attitude? Greil Marcus, author of the renowned Lipstick Traces, delves into the after-life of punk as a much richer phenomenon―a form of artistic and social rebellion that continually erupts into popular culture.

In more than seventy short pieces written over fifteen years, he traces the uncompromising strands of punk from Johnny Rotten to Elvis Costello, Sonic Youth, even Bruce Springsteen. Marcus's unparalleled insight into present-day culture and brilliant ear for music bring punk's searing half-life into deep focus. Originally published in the U.S. as Ranters and Crowd Pleasers.

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Review:

By now, first-generation rock critic Greil Marcus is better known as the author of highbrow pop-culture tomes (Invisible Republic: Bob Dylan's Basement Tapes) than as a workaday, keep-it-pithy critic. This collection of columns and short pieces (most rewritten to varying degrees for the book) churned out for New West, Artforum, The Village Voice, and Rolling Stone presents the erudite Marcus as a periodical commentator subject to deadline and word-count pressures. As such, it gives a history-as-it-happens perspective on the music scene rather than a sweeping overview, meaning it's perhaps less provocative than Marcus's more recent efforts, but it's also more readable. Invigorated by the emergence of the Sex Pistols, Marcus delighted in chronicling the music and behavior of the first wave of punk provocateurs. Here are pieces on the import of the Pistols, the Clash, Elvis Costello, the Gang of Four, and (closest to the author's heart?), the Mekons, presented largely as they were originally written, with the din still ringing in the scribe's ears. --Steven Stolder

From the Back Cover:

There isn't a bland sentence or obligatory opinion in this book. Brittle, lyrical, funny, outraged and for all the untouched bases, remarkably whole, [In the Fascist Bathroom] has the feel of a vital fin de sicle document.-Matt Damsker, Rolling Stone

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