"Gad, it must have taken you years!"

That's the first thing people usually say when they pick up this book. It's true. Like a literary stalagmite, it's been growing bit by bit over the course of a decade or more. Mountains of newspapers, record company bios, tapes of personal interviews and recollections, and of course, just plain living the music. I was personally disappointed that there wasn't a comprehensive book on the punk movement. In the rock scene, this is important stuff. The punk movement was a frontal attack on rock stars the media held up to the heavens, mindless disco, and that tarted-up over-produced shit that ruled the radio. It brought music back to the streets.

The '70s punk movement, with its trappings of safety pins, leather and bondage wear, seems like it happened a millennia ago. Yet the bands that emerged out of this clique shaped music with the same certainty and depth as the Beatles changed their generation. If it weren't for the musical enema that groups like the Stooges and the Damned gave to the establishment, we would probably have never heard of the Police, REM, The Cure, Depeche Mode, Pearl Jam or U2.

In the mid seventies, corporate rockers like The Eagles, Bob Seger and Queen were setting up dynasties and distancing themselves from their fans. If music were the world's cuisine, they were the white bread. Kids in garage bands setting out to copy their heroes could not even begin to come close to what was on those records. They were too polished, too packaged, too produced. What sixteen-year old could even begin to relate to Genesis? A corporate philosophy had taken over. Rock music had become a safe, packaged commodity, with consultants in control.

Then came the punks. Troublemakers. Attitude incarnate. They had nothing but disrespect for those before them. They distrusted anyone who wasn't one of them (and that was just about everyone). They set out to be a boil on the backside of the music world. They were homely, unkempt and generally couldn't play worth a damn. But that wasn't the point. They were a '70s rock hero's worst nightmare and this new sound was growing like an out of control fungus in every town and city in England and America. A radical change was in the wind. The late seventies saw a new movement sweep the world. Music was brought back to the street level, and a new generation of disfranchised kids found voice. Punk was labeled a fad, but this upstart escape from the treadmill of mediocrity was what saved rock and roll.

For many years, the punk movement was shrouded in mystery and misconception. Serious writers have never given serious thought to this upstart movement. Punks had no need for written approval! Fifteen years later, there are several books about specific bands, but few on the movement as a whole. Some of those few are riddled with stories conjured from the memories of drug addled participants, myths and over-eager misinterpretations.

"PUNK DIARY: 1970 -'82" covers the first riotous years of the movement, both in the U.S. as well as England. The story begins in 1970, and lurches through an incredible cast of characters and unlikely role models. You'll see the course of music broaden and shatter into myriad factions in 1980 and the rise of American bands with their own unique sounds.

What makes this unlike any other rock book is that it treats the scene on a day to day basis, diary style, the way it actually happened. The only way that this tangled web can make sense. Each entry details record releases, bands getting together or breaking up, riots, arrests, and revealing quotes from the personalities of the day. There's even a "Live Tonight" gig guide of who was playing where each night. The sources include a decade's worth of music newspapers, front room fanzines, a towering stack of records, magazines, in-depth personal interviews and copious notes. You'll find detailed listings for 1,276 bands, 3,187 singles, 1,334 albums and 12-inch singles, and even 50 cassette only released.

Going through the book from beginning to end, you will experience what it was like to watch the scene unfold, without having to change wardrobe. This is not a book of record reviews. In "PUNK DIARY: 1970-'82" there are no foregone conclusions, no value judgments. Make your own connections between the people and events and see who influenced who, what was real and what was contrived. There will be myths shattered and forgotten heroes found.

George Gimarc

It would be difficult to find anyone more in touch with the punk music than George Gimarc. Early in 1977, he originated one of America's first new wave radio programs, The Rock & Roll Alternative. It ran continuously for fourteen years and was heard on various stations in England, Ireland, Belgium, Italy, Australia and New Zealand, as well as home in Texas.

Since hitting the air in 1975, George has remained on the forefront of music, discovering new talent and breaking cutting edge sounds. He's interviewed hundreds of the scene's movers & shakers, making careers and setting trends. He was the driving force behind KDGE radio in Dallas; one of the nation's leading new rock stations with an audience in the hundreds of thousands.

Always looking for the next big thing, he ran an independent record company, was the co-creator of the Johnny Rotten Radio Show ("Rotten Day") as well as Rotten Television for VH-1, contributed to the Time-Live 'History Of Rock & Roll' documentary, and had a network radio talk show (on music) for over six years. His passion for music explains his collecting some 65,000 records, and knowing something about each and every one of them. There are few that can put a work like this together working from real life experience and their own resources.

George first started writing the first "PUNK DIARY: 1970-79 because he needed a reference book on the period and there wasn't one to be found. Even now, nearly two decade later, there is little which takes an accurate and detailed look at the entirety of the punk boom. A second book, "PUNK DIARY: 1980-82" followed and those two editions have been combined into this new release from Backbeat Books. "Punk Diary" is not only accurate with the resources used to compile it, it has also been fact checked by many of the major musicians of the period, each giving it a resounding thumbs up. And to think, it was all done working from original sources, newspapers, press releases, records, and ALL before the internet!

If you want to quiz me, send e-mail to

Copyright 1995 Reel George Productions, Inc.
Thanks!- George Gimarc