We Never Learn: The Gunk Punk Undergut, is the first and only book on the last great wave of punk rock. Musician and journalist Eric Davidson. Sold by: Book Depository US Book 1 of 5 in the We Never Learn Series Browse our editors' picks for the best books of the month in fiction, nonfiction. We Never Learn book. Read 28 reviews from the world's largest community for readers. Includes a code for free CD download of many of the bands featured i.

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    We Never Learn Book

    Messy musings sprung from the punk missives in my book, We Never Learn: The Gunk Punk Undergut, - by Eric Davidson. In the new book We Never Learn: The Gunk Punk Undergut, –, New Bomb Turks frontman Eric Davidson delves deep into the overlooked garage. We Never Learn: The Gunk Punk Undergut, – is a book written by Eric Davidson of the New Bomb Turks. The book covers a specific sub-culture.

    Green Day and the Offspring, bands birthed from a genuine punk subculture, shared chart space with En Vogue. Mudhoney was popping up on MTV. Covering more bands than one may care to remember, Davidson shows how raving loons such as the Mummies, the Gibson Bros. Beginning in the late s with bands such as Death of Samantha and the Cynics, Davidson tracks a movement that acted as a dual response to the somewhat militant, orthodox ideology of hardcore and the self-consciously retro, paint-by-numbers bangs-and-Beatle-boots acts. A lot of these bands were on Crypt and In the Red and Estrus together. Sympathy [for the Record Industry] put out probably all of these bands. They clearly liked the Ramones, but they hardly ever talked about anything past Black Flag. These bands were obviously not like that. Not even necessarily apolitical but enough with the riot grrrl fights. The inevitable question arises: Are beer bashes, raunchy fliers, and a scholarly knowledge of sleazy rock enough of a legacy for future generations?

    It was a struggle to read, in fact. There are too many adjectives; too many adverbs; too many descriptions of venues, for instance ; too many bad similes. Actually, you haven't. Because this book tells a lot of stories, band stories, almost all of which follow the Shakesperean rise-and-fall trajectory, as band stories tend to do.

    Again and again we read how a band got together, briefly flourished, albeit in a very limited way, and ultimately disintegrated.

    You and that disco square were having sex! Why were you having sex with a disco square? Oh, really? They tend to use too many adjectives, adverbs, and bad similes, much like the author.

    It makes sense, seeing that they were all raised on zines, and this book is proof that the zine style of writing, while sometimes effective in record reviews in zines at least , is not wisely employed when it comes to a book, even when the book deals with people raised on zines.

    Take that, smug Pitchfork stereotypers. Do you think he got wind that you were also talking to some of his detractors? I made the fatal mistake of trying to be open and honest, and sent him ten basic email questions; I said, answer however many you want, or not. He could imagine what they had to say. I tried to be fair and open. He decided to compare himself to Edgar Allen Poe, via a book excerpt I think was swiped offa Wikipedia. Oh well. How about telling our readers a little about the New Bomb Turks and your ups and downs along the way?

    Ah, Guernot was alright. He was what he was, as they say. He was pretty straight-forward with saying he wants his bands to tour until they drop — a sure way to get the band you just gave a big advance to increase their drug use and break up. Anyway, New Bomb Turks guitarist Jim Weber and I met in a dorm at Ohio State, friends right away, big music fans, Jim started playing guitar, we had a college radio show, etcetera. And early on, , we noticed that our fave local bands — Gibson Bros.

    Is that so weird an idea? And you can read some of them in We Never Learn, of course. First gig at CBGB. Maybe Kindle has ruined my ability to read actual paper books. I certainly read much more than I did pre-tablet, but I find myself turning away from the cost and inconvenience of carrying around hard copies of books. That said, I don't think the reason I didn't, and probably never will, finish We Never Learn has to do with the mode of transmission.

    I guess I kind of lived this in real time, and reading about it now gives me a weird feeling of fake nostalgia. Also the fact that the Spits are on th Maybe Kindle has ruined my ability to read actual paper books.

    Also the fact that the Spits are on the cover and get about a page mention in the book is annoying and hardly a mention of Gaunt, another band from Cleveland who helped define the scene and sound. I made it through pages and I can count on one hand the number of books I've started but not completed. Perhaps someday when I'm older and I want to re-live this era I'll pick it up again, but for now I'll stick to reading histories of times where I wasn't so intertwined.

    Also it doesn't help that Davidson has a snarky way of writing that distracts from the actual events which are obviously colored by the fact that he was there. Sep 30, Jason S. And of course, there's the joy of learning about new bands, labels, and compilations, too, that were I'm glad books like this exist, that trace the otherwise lost history of punk rock through the s, and Eric Davidson writes with the same verve and swagger that he did while penning songs for NEW BOMB TURKS. And of course, there's the joy of learning about new bands, labels, and compilations, too, that were only names in the my mind's eyes from listening to friends talk about them Nuggets, Sympathy, Crypt.

    But it's also a book to be read in doses. How many times can you read about how music sounds before even Davidson's army sack of cool slang starts to become a little monotonous although I will applaud his many digs at mopey Grunge music, which I loved, but in retrospect seemed odd. To paraphrase ED, "There was no war, the economy was good, and all these bands in the burbs were complaining about the fatigue of life? What the fuck???

    We Never Learn: The Gunk Punk Undergut, 1988-2001

    Be that as it may, Eric Davidson has created a map to the lost country of Gunk Punk. And only he could have done it. It rekindled my interest in a lot of these bands and their bastard brood.

    You'll no doubt enjoy the ride. Jul 28, Steve rated it really liked it. I came of age high school and college in the mid to late 90s and loved almost all the bands Davidson discusses. His band, the New Bomb Turks, are probably my favorite band of all time; others discussed in the book, such as the Supersuckers, the Gories, Gaunt, and Billy Childish were and are huge favorites too.

    We Never Learn: The Gunk Punk Undergut, By Eric Davidson, pgs. By Ty | Razorcake

    I loved reading about Crypt Records honcho Tim Warren, a real unique, wacky, and unrecognized character in the history of rock music. Davidson is a good storyteller but some of his highly stylized prose gets irritating after a few chapters.

    Wordplay like "jalapeno-fed gorilla," "skin smasher" instead of "drummer," and "psychotic, fiery, fractured fuzz bombs" gets old real fast. His songwriting is brilliant, but his gift for wordplay doesn't translate as well in prose. Not to mention the dozens of typos and often irrelevant, meandering asides. Definitely could have used some tighter editing, as Davidson spends a good deal of time spouting his political beliefs with which I tend to agree, but that's not the point.

    All in all, a deeply entertaining book for fans, but I'm not sure just any old music fan or casual reader would enjoy it -- I think "you had to be there" would apply here. I loved the stuff, so this was a real treat for me. May 03, Oliver Hunt rated it liked it. I expected more from Davidson, actually. There are some good interviews, and some good writing, but so much of the time it feels like Davidson's writing ad-copy for a fanzine page, especially given his overuse of shikka-shikka-gonzoid-hyphenates.

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    Also, sorry, but a good chunk of wh I expected more from Davidson, actually. In this same line of complaint, omissions with this type of book are inevitable, but some here are really glaring: I mean, maybe it was a little late in the game, and yeah, they did transition into lame Warped tour pop-punk, but Denton's Riverboat Gamblers warrant some mention for their live shows and earlier MC5 by Dictators-esque recordings alone.

    No Sons of Hercules? Cretin 66? Somebody was real selective about their homework. So, yeah, it was worth a read, but didn't really work. There was no way it could have, I don't think. It's like taking a chunk of a huge picture and calling it the whole picture, or at least most of it, and it ain't. One thing I'll say for it, it did get me to thinking about Rock N' Roll again, and all of it's possibilities. So that alone makes it not a waste of time. Aug 07, Simon Harvey rated it it was ok.

    There are many, many more every bit as appalling to be found inside. I'm really disappointed in this almost impossibly badly-written book. I always though Davidson was a great singer in NBT, but the schtick wore thin live-- all that mugging and posturing was so contrived.

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, the writing style here mirrors that tendency, and what is meant to be witty or clever is densely, relentlessly smarmy and cloying to the point of unreadability.

    The metaphors are clumsy, even stupid, while the grammar and blatantly misused words leave me wondering if this even had an editor. The bio, noting that the author makes a living writing and editing, is depressing. Too bad, because I was excited to finally read a rock book about something that I experienced first hand myself. That said, there are some articulate, interesting and enlightening people interviewed herein, and when Davidson steps back and allows them to speak, the book still produces some enjoyable and informative passages.

    Dec 13, Ned Bajic rated it really liked it. There are a lot flaws in this book but the author is not a novelist or historian so this is to be expected. But it fits with the kind of music he's covered, often badly recorded, released on labels you've never heard of and played in tiny run down venues to obnoxious drunks. This is not about profesionalism or career opportunities though a few actually managed that! I'm old enough to remember There are a lot flaws in this book but the author is not a novelist or historian so this is to be expected.

    I'm old enough to remember some of these bands and did see the author fronting the New Bomb Turks in a pub years ago.

    That was a great gig, I remember it like it was yesterday! So at least he wrote about something he was a part of.

    We Never Learn, Vol. 4

    The interviews are what holds this thing together: This book is about rocking out in the face of adversity. You might even re discover some great bands and records along the way. Nov 17, Tom Weber rated it it was amazing.

    Exciting book. Delves into the bowels of a music scene that smelled almost as rank as the music it was kicking out. Some of my favorite bands are here and a host that I had barely heard of before reading We Never Learn. Of important note - I recommend reading this like a short story collection. The author has an over the top style that works great in short, spastic doses and each chapter is pretty self contained.

    Read straight through like a novel - I may have rated a little lower - but my coupl Exciting book. Read straight through like a novel - I may have rated a little lower - but my couple chapters a week approach had me running back to the book with excitement to read about the next set of almost big, always interesting groups that may or may not have hit my radar screen back in the day.

    Sep 23, Alex rated it it was ok. I loved reading and checking out all the bands in this book, but it was a chore to work through the author's "style". You know how as a writer you have to kill your darlings?

    Every sentence is Eric Davidson's darling. If you edited out all the alliteration, cliches, ridiculous similes, and unnecessary adjectives, this book would be half as long as it is.

    Eventually I got used to his writing enough to just ignore how over-the-top it was, but I'd still groan and roll my eyes when I'd come across a I loved reading and checking out all the bands in this book, but it was a chore to work through the author's "style". Eventually I got used to his writing enough to just ignore how over-the-top it was, but I'd still groan and roll my eyes when I'd come across a particularly obnoxious use of words.

    Still, lots of great bands and this is pretty much the only book that talks about that scene. Aug 18, Gerry LaFemina rated it liked it. As much as I liked many of the bands this book talks about, and I like Davidson's willingness to poke at some sacred cows how nice to see Jack White be taken off the pedestal , the prose feels a bit forced-gunk-punk cool at times, and giving us complete transcripts of interviews with the questions, etc may work in a 'zine, but I'd have preferred those moments be delivered as oral history--we're smart enough to infer the questions.

    A good read, but a book that pales in comparison to other histor As much as I liked many of the bands this book talks about, and I like Davidson's willingness to poke at some sacred cows how nice to see Jack White be taken off the pedestal , the prose feels a bit forced-gunk-punk cool at times, and giving us complete transcripts of interviews with the questions, etc may work in a 'zine, but I'd have preferred those moments be delivered as oral history--we're smart enough to infer the questions.

    A good read, but a book that pales in comparison to other histories of alternative music. The link to the 20 song download doesn't work anymore--so downloading the book new and getting the code is moot. Aug 15, Nicholas Coleman rated it liked it Shelves: Very comprehensive tour through the garage-rock scenes of the 80's, 90's and 's.

    The writing can be a bit precious and the organization of the book is a bit slapdash, but oddly enough the roughness works as an asset by reflecting the anarchic character of the music it describes. Unfortunately the publisher or aut Very comprehensive tour through the garage-rock scenes of the 80's, 90's and 's.

    Unfortunately the publisher or author did not bother to renew the registration on the website where the free downloads are hosted, so I didn't get to listen to those. Jun 08, Beverly rated it it was amazing Shelves: Unromantic but affectionate and written by the leader of The New Bomb Turks We Never Learn is required reading for any fan of garage punk or whatever you want to call it.

    The best thing is that Eric Davidson has an endless supply of things to call it. Few books on rock history evince as much love for language as they do for a scene or genre like this one does. Writing in the tone of a smirking carnival barker Davidson never runs out of inventive ways to call a band a bunch of drunk assholes who Unromantic but affectionate and written by the leader of The New Bomb Turks We Never Learn is required reading for any fan of garage punk or whatever you want to call it.

    Writing in the tone of a smirking carnival barker Davidson never runs out of inventive ways to call a band a bunch of drunk assholes who play inept punk and so We Never Learn never gets dull -- even as it goes into minute detail with its histories of bands and labels that mostly self-destructed years ago.

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