Elevate Difference

Real Punks Don’t Wear Black

In Real Punks Don’t Wear Black, Frank Kogan, noted rock critic and publisher of popular fanzine Why Music Sucks, dishes up heaping platefuls of malcontent, angst, sniping critical analysis, and anti-intellectual rants in a dizzying mishmash of essays, lists, reviews, and salvos focusing on an eclectic menu of singers and bands. Kogan loves to ask "Why?" while pondering the intricate mysteries of the music universe: "Why is music what it is? Why did it suck at times, particularly in the 80s, and succeed at other times? Why do punks destroy themselves?" Throughout the book, Kogan, whose favorite music is "basically Stones through Stooges and Dolls, or Sex Pistols too" dedicates pages of painstaking critical analysis to the societal role of the critic. He places music critics on the same elevated pedestal as rock stars, claiming: "Rock critics do the same thing that an Elvis or Jagger or Eminem does: They put themselves at issue, their personalities, their social stances, and in so doing force the reader into an attitude towards them." Kogan’s essays never fail to shock, amaze, or question, and his critical reviews are probing and often surprising. Teenybopper icon, Mariah Carey, appears to have either messed with Kogan’s mind or tickled his libido. In a bring-on-the-insulin critical review, a smitten Kogan sweetly describes Carey as: "A sexy waif, sitting in the corner." In another Carey critique, written for the San Francisco Bay Guardian, Kogan wrote: "Most people I know hate her. Her show-biz garishness irritates them. Too bad. They’re missing the excitement." Diehard music fans will either love or loathe Kogan’s spin on artists ranging from the Rolling Stones to DMX, and culture vultures will feast on his in-the-trenches pop culture reminiscences. Why don’t real punks wear black? It’s all inside. Read the book.

Written by: Rachelle Nones, December 29th 2006

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