Barred For Life: How Black Flag’s Iconic Logo Became Punk Rocks Secret Handshake

April 13, 2013

Barred For Life: How Black Flags Iconic Logo Became Punk Rocks Secret Handshake Fans of Black Flag have a lot to be excited about this year and with the addition of Barred For Life: How Black Flags Iconic Logo Became Punk Rocks Secret Handshake, fans have another awesome Black Flag related book to add to their collection of Black Flag reading material.

Although not a release endorsed by Greg Ginn, this book is a must have and an insightful look at Black Flags loyal fan base. More specifically it’s about that percentage of loyal fans with Black Flag tattoo’s, fans who are Barred For Life.

The books author is a long time Black Flag fan who set out to meet, photograph and interview like minded fans around the globe and that’s exactly what he’s accomplished. Over his lengthy excursions he was able to photograph hundreds of fans from all different walks of life who share a common love for Black Flags music and message.

Some fans prefer Keith Morris, others prefer Ron Reyes and some even express their distaste for Henry Rollins but all agree on one thing and that is that getting into Black Flag is a life changing moment and others with the “bars” are like extended family members.

The black and white photos that adorn the 322 pages of Barred For Life create this honest appeal that sets this book apart from many tattoo focused publications around today. The interviews with ex Black Flag members and colleagues add another dimension to it as well, one that adds a personal touch and truth.

Ron Reyes, Edward Colver, Glen E. Friedman, Kira Roessler, Chuck Dukowski, Dez Cadena, Keith Morris and Tattoo Artist Rick Spellman shed light on what it was like around Black Flag during the bands original incarnation both on and off stage. Their inclusion make this a must have for fans of Black Flag's music and art while the hundreds of photos make this a must have for both fans of Black Flag and tattoo culture.

If you love Black Flag, tattoos and Black Flag tattoos then you will need this book!
   We highly recommend getting this book!


-Louie Bones.-
Big Wheel Magazine


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WE GOT POWER! Hardcore Punk Scenes From 1980′s Southern California: by David Markey and Jordan Schwartz

September 30, 2012

WE GOT POWER! Hardcore Punk Scenes From 1980s Southern California: by David Markey and Jordan SchwartzThis book is a lot more than just another "Punk Scene" book, this is as real as it gets by two guys, Dave Markey and Jordan Schwartz, the proprietors of We Got Power fanzine based in Los Angeles who were at ground zero in the early 80's. Their job as reporters covering the scene for the fanzine they started put them in many key places to document the scene from an unique prospective that gets you the straight scoop.

The book is laced with very candid and sometimes self effacing essays by some of the Punk scenes most noted luminaries that include, Henry Rollins, Pat Fear, Keith Morris, Chuck Dukowski, Mike Watt, Tony Adolescents, Louiche Mayorga, Steve Human and more to give you a special insight into the Punk scene from their point of view. Along with the stories is about 400 photos of the people, the places and the environment that were the backdrop for this growing movement.

What makes the book so important is that it will give you a lesson in Los Angeles Punk rock and know what it was like for the kids of this era. This book will take you there with no agenda, no bullshit and without a pretentiousness as found in many other books on the period whose authors waste most of their book talking about how cool they were and how important they think they were. Thankfully authors Dave Markey and Jordan Schwartz open up their archives of photos that successfully document these moments in time which were common place for Punks of that era, while readers outside of the scene would find beyond belief. For the younger generation in today's Punk scene, this is one of the more definitive books you can get your hands on to teach you about your history as you turn each page.

A real treasure to this book is that all six issues of the We Got Power fanzine are included toward the end of this book.

This hardcover beefy book weighs in at a whopping 4 lbs and is 300+ pages of pure Punk rock fun.

The book can be found at better independent record stores everywhere as well as online here: -Make sure you pick up a copy of this book today.


-Chuck T.-
Big Wheel Magazine


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Commando – The Autobiography of Johnny Ramone

June 8, 2012

Commando - The Autobiography of Johnny RamoneIt’s been nearly 40 years since The Ramones met and jammed for the first time in New York City and almost 8 years since founding member and highly influential guitarist Johnny Ramone succumbed to cancer; in that time many books have been written on their music and legend, but none from the guitarist himself until now. The Final word is here in Commando.

If you were somewhat familiar with The Ramones from the numerous books or documentaries released in the last few years then you probably know that the band had a strict leader much like an army does; their leader was Johnny and he lead the band like commando’s into war.

Johnny was responsible for so much of the bands success and kept The Ramones in line over the years and is likely the reason The Ramones had such a lengthy career (14 albums and 2,263 shows played) where most bands from their era crashed and burned much sooner. It’s about time that one of rocks most important figures has a book to shed light on his part in music history, best of all a book written by the man himself. Many pieces were also put together by colleagues from other important bands or members of The Ramones inner circle and family.

Commando is not the average rock bio filled with hundreds of pages and few photos’, in fact it’s quite the opposite with only 200 pages or so and rarer behind the scenes photos than a family album. Like you’d expect the book traces back to Johnny’s childhood in Queens New York where he reveals his love for baseball, republican run America, hard work ethics and even his bizarre tale of throwing rocks at The Beatles during their prolific concert at Shea Stadium in 1965. Who else can say they’ve done that in their lifetime, likely only Johnny Ramone!

Details of Johnny’s first marriage, first guitar and first time meeting his fellow Ramones are also discussed in great detail. The touchy subject of falling in love with Joeys ex girlfriend Linda is also a whole other story that is finally revealed in full and explains why relations in the band were so strained from that point on. There are tons of personal stories shared within these pages that really show The Ramones in a light that most fans may be shocked to discover. There is always more to a bands legacy than what is shown on the surface and Commando is a full on tell all in that respect.

Conflict in the recording studio and on tour make for interesting chapters that add insight to perhaps your favorite albums or songs and help the reader understand how insane life was in The Ramones. The book is put together in an easy to read for all age’s style with its cardboard layout and story book like feel. Johnny shares his favorites list so fans can understand why some albums in the Ramones back catalog are his favorite while others are sub par.

Sadly as the book draws towards an end you can sincerely feel the pain Johnny suffered as his uphill battle against cancer slowly eats away at his health and well being. (I shed a tear myself as I reached that particular part of the book) Though when the book finally reaches its last page you can’t help but feel a certain respect for Johnny in more ways than one. Though he is no longer with us you will likely find your self smiling having enjoyed Commando with all it has to offer as it really is the final say on how amazing a life Johnny lead from his humble American beginnings to his tragic death here in Los Angeles in 2004.

The photos alone are proof enough that Johnny lived life to the fullest and shared his time with some amazing people who have truly left their mark on the world and have made it a better place, you’ll see what I’m talking about once you pick up your own copy of Commando which is highly recommended by us here at Bigwheel.

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-Louie Bones-
Big Wheel Staff Journalist


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An American Demon, a memoir by Jack Grisham

August 3, 2011

There are plenty of books on the market written by rock stars who’s tales of excess, rise and fall and return to sobriety often reflect that of a made for television behind the music episode. Generally if you’ve read one of them you’ve read em all due to the all to similar destructive vices involving alcohol, strippers, cocaine and many times heroin.

An American Demon differs from such books as it is a whole other monster in itself detailing the unusual upbringing and many near death experiences of T.S.O.L.’s front man Jack Grisham. Jack’s role on this planet is not that of a millionaire rock star, but that of a demon in a humans body who is hell bent on torturing loved ones, women and generally all who cross paths all the while feeling little to no remorse and often not dealing with consequences most people would suffer. Cat’s are believed to have 9 lives, let’s just say Jack could manage to outlive every cat on this fucking planet.

Jack opens up and discusses the most private of tales that will have you asking yourself; “How in the fuck did he not end up serving hard time or worse yet DEAD?!” Within its pages are stories that will horrify even the hardest of “bad ass’s” who’s actions would pale in comparison to the incidents that have occurred through out most of Jacks unconventionally lived life. Most people would hope to keep their skeletons locked in a closet doused with gasoline and lit ablaze so they could never resurface again. Here, An American Demon exposes every skeleton in a mansion sized closet and puts it on display for all to be horrified by and hopefully touched by in some way.

There are times where you may need to put the book down as it’s too much to take in, it has the power and then some. Punk rock purists who are hoping for a tell all that revolves solely around the early scene may be slightly disappointed as this book has much more to do with Jack’s than it does with punk rock or music in general. Within these pages are countless stories of abuse, deception, betrayal, sexual deviance, love, hate, and debauchery at levels that are almost impossible to imagine a human surviving.

If you’re hoping for the typical rock bio read than I suggest you don’t go near this, though if you’re looking for an honest in depth personal tale that showcases the lows of humanity and eventually the powerful overcoming of destruction and selfishness, than I suggest An American Demon as it’s a book that stands tall on its own unlike any other.

-Louie Bones-

Big Wheel Staff Reporter



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Metallica: Club Dayz 1982-1984 by Bill Hale

January 24, 2011

Metallica: Club Dayz 1982-1984 by Bill HaleLongtime rock concert photographer Bill Hale’s collection of sought after Metallica photos have finally seen the light of day in his new book; Metallica: Club Dayz 1982-1984. Bill’s involvement with the band stems back to their earliest incarnation, a time when the boys of Metallica were hardly old enough to buy beer, though would still proudly earn the nickname “AlcoholicA“. This rare and very intimate look into the world of Metallica captures the 4 horsemen live in small club settings, amateur promo shots, and candid photos taken backstage at concerts in the San Francisco bay area. Bill Hale’s ability to transform himself from front row concert photographer into fly on the wall makes for a most interesting look at one of Metals longest surviving bands.

The book opens with anecdotes from long time Metallica associates involved in the early 80’s thrash scene. Bill Hale explains his fascination with capturing the very explosive band that took the heavy metal world by storm overnight. In those days and in small clubs photo passes and safe photo pits were non existent, so if a photographer was interested in getting “the right shot” one would have to get very up close in personal with the very violent head banging crowd. The visual experience gained is a tremendous effort and prime example of a photographer suffering for ones art. Brief descriptions of each photo with locations and dates are provided giving a band timeline. The first photos of Cliff Burton as a member of Metallica are here along with Dave Mustaine’s first and last photos as a member of the band. Kirk Hammet even makes a few appearances here, first as a member of Exodus hanging backstage with Dave Mustaine (who Kirk would replace). These photos are as rare as they get in the Metallica world!

Many esteemed photographers like Ross Halfin and Anton Corbijn would shoot Metallica in their later years and capture them in all their success fame and glory, though what makes this book more interesting to the casual or hardcore Metallica fan is that what’s captured here is pure metal and nothing more and nothing less (112 pages to be exact!). There aren’t private planes, fame, ego maniac’s or sold out 75,000 seater stadiums here. What we get here in “Club Dayz” is a raw look at a band that had drive and determination to play music and work hard on the club scene night after night in front of a growing army of fans.

Being a fan of Metallica, I’m glad that Bill Hale was there at the right place at the right time with his camera shooting away. This happens to be the earliest account of photos to surface on this bands early period, the innocence captured here is complete opposite of what the majority of fans would later come to see, and because of that this book is a must have for the true Metallica fan.

Here is a source for the book:
Metallica: Club Dayz 1982-1984   from


-Louie Bones-
Big Wheel Staff Reporter


Touch and Go: The Complete Hardcore Punk Zine ’79-’83 – Book Review

July 10, 2010

Touch and Go: The Complete Hardcore Punk Zine '79-'83 book imageLet’s just start this book review off by saying “WHOLEY SHIT!” We get lots of stuff in the mail to review here everyday, the usual CDs, vinyl records and DVDs. Then there was the monster 4 pound package that left our mail guy asking if someone sent us a gold brick or something. As the box was opened we soon discovered that it was not a gold brick, but gold none the less, it was the book that we caught wind of months back and it was here in front of us for the staff to pick apart.

Touch and Go: The Complete Hardcore Punk Zine '79-'83 upon first inspection of just thumbing through it you realize that this is not just another book about the Punk scene of the early 80’s. Unlike a lot of books that seem to litter the landscape these days that are about the early days of the Punk scene that are written from a prospective of look at me and how bitchen I used to be, this book contains none of that bullshit. There was no reason with this book to write it in a self-aggrandizing way because this book is a meaty 576 pages of all 22 issues of iconic Punk zine of the day, Touch and Go -all packaged in a bound book. The magazine was started back in 1979 in of all unlikely places, Lansing Michigan by two guys Tesco Vee and Dave Stimson however in spite of their location, still had their finger on the pulse of the emerging revolution in music. For those vet Punks out there that remember somehow getting a copy of this fanzine filtered back to your part of the world back in the early days, you will fully enjoy having your own copy of all the issues (in book form) of this fanzine that you do not have to pass on to a friend as soon as you were done reading it as you did with the original back then. For the torch bearers of the current generation of Punks, this is a book that you will consider as one of your text books on the street level history of the Punk scene. Within the pages of this book you will find the unaltered historical look into the Punk scene as it was written and seen by a group of people that just wanted to make a difference by documenting the scene in their area.
Touch and Go: The Complete Hardcore Punk Zine '79-'83 book image
So many areas of this book will turn you on and one for example is the record reviews. The reviews of the records that came out back then were especially entertaining to read. Records and 45’s (kids if you don’t know what a 45 is, go look it up) such as Black Flag, Dead Kennedys, Sham 69, Joy Division, Bad Brains, The Misfits, DOA to The Adolescents and more. One of the reviews was on a Discharge record “Fight Back” is where they are reluctantly compared in manic intensity to Middle Class –talk about an unexpected comparison, but that is the charm of Touch and Go that you will find in the reviews. When you get this book check out page 218 where a record review for Black Flag’s “Jealous Again” is opposite of a review of The Stray Cats. Then look at the bottom of the page and see how Darby Crash’s real last name was spelled, which is interesting because every once in a while you hear his last name pronounced like that. Many of the records that they review are revered as MUST have’s for most Punks these days and it is pure gold to read how they were reviewed back then -see if you would agree with what they said about them back when they were just released.

There just are not too many of these kinds of books that get put out these days that truly get us excited, however Touch and Go: The Complete Hardcore Punk Zine '79-'83 made our pants bulge. We are sure that as soon as you get this book, you will not put it down until you have went through all 576 pages –consider yourself fore warned just incase this book consumes your entire day.

Here is a source for the book:
Click HERE and buy a copy of: Touch and Go: The Complete Hardcore Punk Zine '79-'83  NOW

-Big Wheel Magazine-


Listen here as the creators of this EXCELLENT book talk about the contents of the book as well as the times in which the fanzine Touch and Go was produced
<a href="" _fcksavedurl="">Side A by Touch N Go</a>


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