We’re Not Here to Entertain: Punk rock, Ronald Reagan, and the real culture war of 1980s America

The specter of nuclear annihilation that hung over the Reagan era feels somewhat quaint now, in light of just how much President Trump’s draconian administration, the global pandemic, and the oppressive grind of social media have twisted up the American psyche circa 2020. Still, the 1980s were a fertile time for punk rock’s cultural growth on American soil.

In We’re Not Here to Entertain: Punk Rock, Ronald Reagan, and the Real Culture War of 1980s America, author and Connor Study Professor of Contemporary History at Ohio University Kevin Mattson delves into the golden era of hardcore, punk and DIY culture blooming in the shadow of the Gipper. Countering the oppressive forces of a conservative White House regime, a community bound by the music of groups such as the Dead Kennedys, the Dils, Minor Threat, the Avengers, Hüsker Dü, Bad Brains, Black Flag, and more was compelled to enact empowering social change that still resonates around the planet.

On Tuesday, September 29, Mattson will join GSU history professor and author John McMillian (Smoking Typewriters: The Sixties Underground Press and the Rise of Alternative Media in America, Beatles vs. Stones) and yours truly, music writer and editor Chad Radford, to discuss the book, the music, and more.

Tues., Sept. 29. 7 p.m. It’s free to sign in for our Zoom conversation. Head over to www.acappellabooks.com for details.

Paul Gorman ‘The Life and Times of Malcolm McLaren’ Q&A

Mark your calendars now, folks. On Thursday, September 24, at 6 p.m. Eastern Time, I am talking with journalist, author, archivist, and commentator Paul Gorman about his epic new biography, The Life and Times of Malcolm McLaren. It’s an 855-page book—I don’t know that I’ve ever read an 855-page book in its entirety (although Ulysses and Gravity’s Rainbow come close). McLaren carved a singular place for himself in history as a clothing designer, boutique shop owner, artist, and as a manager and promoter for both the Sex Pistols and the New York Dolls. Alongside his partner Vivienne Westwood, McLaren was an early progenitor of the punk movement. He’s a fascinating, worthy, and misunderstood subject for such a hefty tome, and I cannot recommend this book enough.

Gorman is an excellent conversationalist as well. Our Zoom chat is hosted by A Cappella Books. Check out the shop’s website for details on how to sign in, and how you can get a signed copy of the book.

Thurs., Sept. 24. Free to sign in, 6 p.m. www.acappellabooks.com.

The Post-Apocalyptic Malone Show every Thursday night on Facebook

SELF PORTRAIT: Bryan G. Malone

Bryan Malone, the long-standing Star Bar promoter, and guitar player with Atlanta rockers the Forty-Fives and Bad Spell, hosts a weekly live stream from his home in Pendleton Manor.

Malone takes on a new theme every week, ranging from Kinks and Ramones-heavy rock ‘n’ roll dance parties to root beer float appreciation nights.

Tune in via Facebook every Thursday night at 8 p.m. Eastern Time.

Gallery 992 Improv. Jam, every Sunday evening

Photo by Chad Radford

Gallery 992‘s Sunday night free improv jams are back!

For the time being, every Sunday evening from 6-10 p.m., the weekly jam has moved just a few doors down to the lot near the corner of Ralph David Abernathy Blvd. and Peeples Street, where there’s plenty of space to get spaced out. Under the direction of alto saxophone player Quinn Mason and percussionist Dallas Dawson, an assemblage of the city’s finest players lock into each other for a massive and seemingly telepathic group improv blast before opening up the stage. They’ll play for as long as the law allows—the noise ordinance kicks in at 10 p.m.

In this new, temporary outdoor setting, the weekly jam has taken on a whole new vibe, summoning a rejuvenated sense of community spirit in the West End. These performances are about catharsis, purgation, and finding mental and spiritual balance in the shadow of a world in turmoil.

Witnessing so much energy, and engaging with live music on such visceral and cerebral levels, after so many months spent in lock down is a powerful and emotionally riveting experience that’s not to be taken lightly—you need it more than you know.

Bring a lawn chair—it’s outside, but wearing a mask and maintaining that six-feet of social distance makes everyone feel a safer, and little more comfortable.

Mass Destruction Metal Fest IV feat. Repulsion, Nuclear Assault, Vimur, and more Nov. 5-7, 2021

Restless Nerve – Graphic Design

Due to the ongoing global pandemic, Mass Destruction Metal Fest IV has been postponed. A Rippin Production’s rescheduled annual metal fest is set to take over the Loft at Center Stage Friday through Sunday, November 5-7, 2021. Mass Destruction has been upgraded to a three-day gathering—current weekend pass holders will be allowed attend all three days.

Bands on this year’s lineup (so far) include Vio-Lence, Repulsion, Nuclear Assault, MonstrosityMassacre, Evoken, CenotaphUsurper, Thornspawn, MALIGNANCY, CruciamentumWITCHTRAPESTUARY, Antichrist Siege Machine, and Vimur. More will be announced soon. Stay tuned for more details as they become available.

Tickets are available now. $55-$150.

In the meantime, read Chad Radford’s CL feature story, “Vimur finds truth in the abyss: ‘Triumphant Master of Fates’ takes black metal to a grand scale”